The key to healthy skin starts with having a good skin care regimen. Here are the essential must haves!
Cleanser for Face and Body
Just from your daily ins and outs, your skin gets exposed to many elements: dirt, dust, pollution, not to mention its own oil secretions. Add make-up, sunscreen, sweat from the gym and tada! You have skin that needs a good cleansing! Not only will this help to avoid breakouts and other maladies, clean skin is the first step to healthier skin. If your skin isn’t cleansed properly, it can aggravate certain skin conditions and worst, cause infections (think bacterial and fungal) and breakouts. Also, it’s good to have multiple cleansers; one being for the face and one for the body in different seasons where skin needs can change.
One to two times a week or at the frequency your doctor recommends, exfoliating skin helps to slough off dead skin cells, remove excess oils and debris. Dead skin, excess oil and debris if left on your skin can lead to a tired, run down appearance, clogged pores and subsequent breakouts. Methods include microdermabrasion, fruit acid peels and over the counter (OTC) scrubs. Microdermabrasion uses aluminum or natural salt crystals to exfoliate while fruit acid peels use glycolic acids derived from cane sugar. OTC scrub ingredients can include walnut shells, fruit seeds and jojoba beads as exfoliating agents.
Whatever method(s) you choose, your skin will thank you! Who wants to look run down anyway? Not I! Remember moderation, this is not the case where more is better. Over exfoliating can dry your skin out and cause irritation (no buff puffing your face till you look like a tomato please!!!).
Tiny white bumps on the skin due to trapped debris. They can occur in newborn infants as well as adults.
Not all parts of your body will be equal when it comes to moisture levels so it is important to note which areas of your skin feel dry versus oily. Remember, sebaceous glands are found in greater numbers over your face, scalp and chest. You may find these areas to be more oily, so consider your moisturizers with this in mind. In general, body moisturizers should not be used on the face as they are known to be heavy. Heavy lotions can clog pores, add too much moisture and contribute to acne and milia. Facial skin has delicate areas (such as the skin around the eyes) and many glands, so the ingredients used should be non-pore clogging (non-comedogenic) and light.
Circumstances also dictate what kind of product you need. Perhaps you are a mom with a newborn baby, submerging your hands in water all day with laundry and dirty diapers. Your hands will be very dry due to the excessive water exposure. In this instance, your hands require more moisture and hence a product which relieves very dry skin.
Or maybe it’s the middle of winter - the outside temperature runs in the negative 20s, the house heat is always on and no humidity in the air. Think your skin is crying thirsty?
You should have different moisturizers on hand for different parts of your body such as face, hands, body and feet (and for different times of the year). Patients with conditions like Eczema need to have a good skin regimen in place inclusive of moisturizing. This helps to keep flares to a minimum. Acne sufferers use caution with over moisturizing. If your skin is already naturally oily, adding more moisture may clog pores and contribute to new acne lesions. Yes, sometimes acne products can dry out your skin. If that is the case, perhaps apply moisturizer only in those dry patches and not all over.
Your lips also battle the elements every day. They can feel dry and peel. Lips should not be overlooked and should be protected from the sun. A lip balm with SPF of 15 or 30 is recommended. And like sunblock, it should be re-applied. (Friendly reminder – skin cancer can develop on your lips too!)
For individuals with a history of cold sores, lip protection is especially important. Sunlight or extreme temperatures can potentially induce a cold sore outbreak. I personally like Burt’s Bees lip balms and for sun protection, I use Loving Naturals brand sunscreen lip balm with SPF 30. I try to keep my lip product ingredients very basic without artificial chemicals. I once used a popular name brand lip balm with an amazing fruity taste and scent. After one use, I developed a severe reaction! Holy cow! My lips were raw, peeled for at least a week and felt gross (not to mention unkissable!!). Upon examining the ingredients, I noticed fragrance and artificial chemicals! Three words, Yuck! and NO More!
Whether you use a block or sunscreen, the most important things to remember - BROAD SPECTRUM product, SPF 30 or HIGHER and always REAPPLY sunblock! If you're sweating or spending time in the water, check your sunblock for water resistance and for how long. Twenty, 30, or 40 years down the line, too much sunlight exposure and harmful rays can and will cause you Skin Cancer. And if it doesn’t cause you Skin Cancer, you might find yourself contemplating Botox or laser to fix those lines, wrinkles and brown spots! Use sun protection and save yourself money in the future! (And some discomfort, some of those treatments hurt!)
This is a basic overview of what one should have in their arsenal for healthy skin. Of course, you will read about the latest anti-aging serums and special creams. But first things first, assess what your skin needs. Those reasons should dictate what you buy. Remember, not every product will do what it claims to do, and you don’t need every trending product (marketing may make you think you need it). Also, depending on skin conditions you suffer from, you will need to tweak your regimen accordingly or avoid certain products altogether.
Just remember these basics:
Just remember these basics: cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and protect.
Also keep in mind that eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting enough sleep and keeping stress to a minimum are also important to maintaining healthy skin. I always recommend doing research and always seek the advice from a licensed medical professional, such as your dermatologist. He or she will help you figure out a regimen that’s best for your skin, taking into account your skin history, family history, amount of sunlight exposure and present needs.
What’s your skin care regimen like?
What products do you rave about and why?! We wanna know!!!