With having such a busy day to day life, I must admit that sometimes I do get lazy when it comes to the end of the day. Like many of you, I spend my days running around nonstop… to appointments, to stores for different errands, to work, to spend time with friends and family, to get to the gym. It’s easy to get caught up in everything you have to do and forget about some of the things we SHOULD do to make sure we are taking care of ourselves well. One thing that sometimes gets put on the back burner for me is making sure to take good care of my skin. If you don’t have a skin care routine already, you’re not alone. In fact, a survey conducted last summer reported that 1/3 of women admitted to sleeping with their make up at least twice per week! There are SO many benefits to having a consistent skin care routine and there is so much damage that can occur by NOT having one, that even creating a simple daily routine for yourself can create a lot changes in your overall health.
By not taking care of our skin, we put our body at risk for all kinds of issues. Did you know that our skin cell’s renewal process switches on only at night? When our face is covered in makeup, it cannot breathe or absorb key vitamins and minerals needed for cell regeneration. This causes our skin to dry out, look dull, and increases wrinkle formation. Make up also clogs our pores, creating a great environment for bacterial growth, break outs, and infections. When makeup becomes impacted in your pores, it can make your pores appear larger and can stretch them out. Because our skin loses elasticity and collagen production decrease as we age, our pores won’t be able to “bounce back” to their original size after being stretched out. Leaving your face covered in the sweat, dust, dirt, smoke, and everything in between that you are exposed to every day creates buildup of free radicals on your skin which can speed up the skin’s aging process. Sleeping with eye makeup on causes swelling and enlargement of the blood vessels in your eyes, creates increased irritation, and can lead to drying of your eyelashes, which may cause them to fall out or break.
If so much damage and harm can come from not taking care of our skin, why doesn’t everyone have a skin care routine? Well, there are actually many reasons people don’t stay consistent with a skin care routine or leave certain steps out. One of the top reasons for this is that people feel a full skin care regimen daily will take up too much time. Other reasons range from the products being too expensive to just not knowing how much of a benefit it can have. Benefits of establishing a routine for your skin care include having a more youthful appearance, decreased breakouts and acne, prevention of wrinkles, and decreased risk for infections. Our skin is our largest organ and also the number one barrier to keeping bacteria, viruses, and other harmful things out of our body, so it is important to make sure we are taking good care of it.
Establishing a skin care routine may seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t already have one. Despite some of the beliefs we talked about earlier, a skin care regimen does not have to be complicated or expensive. The first step to building your skin care routine is determining what type of skin you have so you can choose products that will most benefit you. Skin is usually classified as dry, oily, or combination. Skin can also be considered sensitive or normal. Your choice of product and routine will likely depend on your skin type. There are three steps that should be including in everyone’s skin care routine. These products should follow the guidelines of cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen… plus a couple optional steps should you choose to add them in.
First, use a cleanser to remove dirt, oil, makeup, dead skin cells, and other types of pollutants that our skin comes into contact with daily. Cleanser is applied gently with your fingers, covering your whole face while avoiding direct contact with your eyes, and then rinsed away using warm water. If you have dry skin, avoid cleansers with alcohol and fragrances as these can cause more drying to occur. Also avoid using hot water for rinsing as this will strip away your face’s natural oils more quickly. For oily skin, choose an oil free cleanser and rinse with warm water. If you have sensitive skin make sure to avoid cleansers with fragrances, alcohol, soap, or acid. Choosing products with aloe, chamomile, green tea, and oats may help with calming sensitive skin.
Next, apply a moisturizer. Moisturizers are important for all skin types and should be included in everyone’s basic skin care routine. Moisturizing daily helps reinforce the natural protective barrier of your skin and helps prevent dry, rough, scaly skin and minor skin irritations. If you have oily skin and are worried about increasing your skin’s oiliness, choose a product that is lightweight and oil free.
Finally, apply sunscreen. We are all probably familiar with lathering on sunscreen before a day by the pool or at the beach, but it’s important to apply sunscreen to your face daily. The sun can cause damage to your skin in as little as 15 minutes, so even if your moisturizer has sunscreen in it, it is still a good idea to apply it separately. Make sure to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Even on a cloudy day some of the sun’s rays can penetrate the clouds and can cause sunburns. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and should be at least SPF 30.
Besides these three basic steps, there are extra steps you can take depending on your skin type. Toner and astringent can be helpful for extra oily skin. These products help strip extra oil off the skin that may be left even after cleansing. They can cause irritation though, so if you notice any redness or itching, discontinue use until symptoms disappear. Exfoliating can be helpful for extra dry skin prior to moisturizing to help rid excess layers of dead skin cells. This allows your moisturizer to reach new, fresh skin cells and provides a barrier of protection.
We do things that take a toll on our bodies everyday… from stress at work, to home responsibilities, to dripping in sweat at the gym, to running through the rain and laying out in the sun. It’s important to take care of ourselves from the inside out and a good skin care routine is a part of that. Start with basics and give it a few weeks to see how your skin reacts. Your routine can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it, so it can be personalized to fit your skin and lifestyle. Starting a skin care routine early on life will help maintain youthful, healthy skin for you whole life!
Image by: Mike Zuch. Zuch Photography. June 2016.