With the advent of social media and constant bombardment of information (often unverified or dubious), it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and feel like you need to keep up with all the trends to get that perfect glowing porcelain skin.
First off, nobody’s skin is perfect. The people you see on social media are either behind a veil of filters or bright ring lights which gives the illusion of perfect skin by blurring out any irregularities (read irregularities, not flaws). So you needn’t chase false goals. Focus on your skin and your personal goals.
So without much further ado, let’s get right into the basics of skincare to get healthy and beautiful skin.
Step 1: Cleansing
Let’s start with the first and most important part of your skincare, cleansing. Sounds basic, but so many people get it so wrong. Throughout the day, your skin builds up dirt and grime due to environmental pollution and natural oils and sebum being secreted by your skin. You need a clean base before you put on any products for the products to work.
What To Use?
Use a mild daily cleanser that suits your skin type. No need to use heavy duty cleansers for “deep” cleansing. You don’t need them, especially people with acne and men who are targeted with ‘stronger’ cleansers for their ‘tough’ skin. If your skin is irritated or sensitive, stay away from fragrances and aggressive cleansers. Fragrances can be enticing, but they add nothing to your skin other than a nicer experience. If a soap has been working for you all these years, by all means continue with that. Use what works for you!
Wash your face 2x daily, once in the morning and once at night. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. DO NOT overwash your face! Ignorant people might tell you have acne because your face is dirty, but washing your face more than 2 times per day is actually harmful. It strips the skin of moisture and disrupts the natural barrier. Avoid using hot water as it strips the face of moisture leaving it dry.
Step 2: Moisturizing
Your biggest ally, moisturizer will tackle almost all of your problems. Moisturized skin = healthy skin, which has a better fighting chance against all skin problems. It is preventative as well as healing. Dry skin? Dull skin? Tight skin? Irritated skin? OILY skin? Textured skin? Moisturizing helps all of them. There is a moisturizer for each type of skin and skin concern. You can use a basic moisturizer if you just want healthy supple and glowing skin. Or you can use moisturizers that target particular concerns, like relieving irritation or deep moisture or even oil control! Yes, oily skin needs moisturizer too to regulate the sebum.
What To Use?
Use lighter formulations in the day, and heavier ones at night so you don’t feel greasy in the day. Dry skin types can use cream based moisturizers, while oily and combination skin can use water based gel moisturizers. Use non-comedogenic formulations for sensitive and acne prone skin.Look for products with ‘Hyaluronic Acid’, a recent breakthrough ingredient. It is a humectant which attracts water from the environment making skin hydrated, soft and supple. Very well studied and effective, it is fantastic for all skin types and ages. Look for sodium hyaluronate formulations though, as plant based hyaluronic acid is not the same.
Use 2x daily. Use immediately after cleansing your skin, as it promotes better absorption and helps retain the moisture from the water you just used to rinse your face. Apply gently and generously on your entire face and neck.
Step 3: Sunscreen
No it is not just for the beach or the pool! The most overlooked step of any skincare routine, you must not skip applying sunscreen, ever! The biggest culprit behind early signs of aging is frequent sun exposure. It not just prevents skin tanning, it actually protects you from harmful UV rays which cause aging and even cancer. So if you want a more youthful look, no matter how many products or even procedures you get, you won’t get the desired results unless you limit and protect yourself from sun exposure.
You might think that since you don’t get much sun, you are safe…Wrong! If the sun is out, you’re being exposed. Even if you live in a cold place, and you don’t feel the heat of the sun, you’re still being exposed. The only exception is, if there is a heavy cast and the sun is hidden behind clouds and rain, you’re safe for that time being, but that sun is gonna come out eventually. So you’re better off safe than sorry.
What To Use?
There are two types of sunscreen, physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens are mineral sunscreens containing Zinc Oxide which physically reflect the sun rays off of your skin. This is a great sunscreen, but it has a major drawback, of having a white cast which looks ashy on deeper skin tones. The other kind is chemical sunscreens. Don’t be scared of the word, it just signifies the mode of action (sidenote: everything is a chemical, water and air included). Chemical sunscreen absorbs the UV rays before they have a chance to hit your skin. So both types of sunscreen work equally as good, it is up to you to find one which works for you the best.
Sunscreen does break out a lot of people, so don’t give up. Keep trying sample sized variants till you find the one that suits you best. You can use a different sunscreen for your face and body (making it more cost effective). Don’t skip sunscreen if your makeup has sunscreen in it, that isn’t enough.
Apply 1x in the morning daily. Apply it as the last step of your skincare, but before any makeup. Keep reapplying every 2-3 hours if out on the beach or in direct sun for long periods of time.
There you have it. The HOLY TRINITY of skincare. This is the most basic and most effective skincare regimen that works as the basis for healthy and clear skin. You can first perfect this before adding on different steps for a more tailor made custom skincare regimen for your specific concerns.