Skin care products and ingredients can be confusing and overwhelming for many. The internet, TV and print advertisers are all overflowing with skin care lines. Each one wants us to believe we can achieve great skin if we just purchase their product. The sad part is it takes a lot more than just purchasing a product for it to work.
First, the average skin care product will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to show any real change in the skin. Consistency in a routine and proper use of any product is the first thing consumers need to be sure they are doing when starting on a new regimen. Our bathroom vanities sometimes contain a department store worth of beautiful jars and bottles in the never-ending quest to prevent or slow down the aging process. Secondly it is important to know how to apply these products correctly. The order, the amount and the time of day are all key to achieving visible and long lasting results from your products. Some skin care lines will number their products. This is a great help, however, knowledge is power as they say, so it is important to know key terminology and terms related to skin care.
To start any beauty routine, it is important to begin with a fresh palette. By using a cleanser twice daily you will ensure this, and be on your way to healthier skin. Using a quarter size of cleanser is recommended. Sometimes choosing to pre-cleanse with a wipe or an oil helps to remove heavier make-up, this is a personal choice. More oily skin types or people active in sports are sometimes prone to washing their faces more often in an effort to reduce the oil. Keeping skin wipes in your gym bag or locker might be a better choice, as every time we wash our face our skin is stripped of it’s natural oils, and the body reacts by producing more oil, so over cleansing leads to more breakouts. Today many people are extremely busy, so something has to be sacrificed. If you find yourself falling asleep at night with your make-up still on, start to keep facial cleansing wipes next to your bed as a backup. This shouldn’t become routine, however in a pinch it is much better than sleeping in your make-up, which can cause damaging effects to the skin.
Cleanser is meant to clean the skin. Many of today’s cleansers do much more than just clean the skin. They are make-up removers, some contain active ingredients like salicylic acid to help with breakouts, while some may even have exfoliating features. The most important key is to choose a cleanser compatible with your skin type. As we go through life and even seasonally we may need to adjust the type of cleanser we use. Some skin-types may even require a different cleanser at different times of the day. For instance, many people with normal skin may want a more powerful cleanser to remove their make-up at the end of the day, and use a milky, or gentle cleanser in the morning. Whichever type of cleanser you choose, make sure it doesn’t strip your skin. If your skin feels tight or stings after using a cleanser, your may be using one that is too powerful for you skins needs.
Milk cleansers are made for dryer/sensitive/aging skin. They tend not to foam, yet remove dirt and makeup.
Gel cleansers typically foam, and are best for combination and oily skin conditions.
After cleansing, the next product that should be applied is a serum.
Serums are concentrated, and are usually thin liquids that will deliver active ingredients deep into the layers of the epidermis. Frequently, serums are one of the most expensive items in a skin care line. The higher cost associated with serums is because they are made with performance elements such as vitamins, lipids and antioxidants. The use of multiple serums for different skin issues is acceptable, but it is advisable to allow time for one serum to penetrate before applying another. Usually ½-1 pump of a serum is more than enough to cover the entire face and decolletage area. Time of day will also play an important part in choosing which serum to use. Also, most serums are light in consistency and require very gentle handling. Pressing the serum into the skin, rather than rubbing it will make it more effective and go further. Many serums work best if after application, you wait 30 minutes to apply the next step.
Many daytime serums may include antioxidants, plant stems cells and moisture binders. Every skin type can benefit from the use of a Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C is great in protecting the skin from free radical damage. Vitamin C on it’s own is very unstable and many products containing it will turn dark orange or brown when exposed to the light. It is important to keep your Vitamin C in a dark area.
Many nighttime serums may include Vitamin A, peptides, glycolic or hydroquinone. Some ingredients can make the skin more sensitive to the sun, always read the package label for instructions.
Specialty products, such as eye and neck creams, can be applied on top of serums. Under eye circles and darkness can be lessened with the continued use of products containing vitamin K, which helps to strengthen the walls of blood vessels and contributes to the healing of damaged tissue. Eye cream should be gently tapped into the delicate eye area with your ring finger. Only a rice grain size is needed to treat both eyes. As you apply the eye cream you can also perform a light lymphatic drainage of the eye area: start at the inner corner and gently kneed with a slight rolling action continuing to the outer corner.
The use of a moisturizer or hydrator is important for all skin types. People with oily skin are sometimes reluctant to use a moisturizer, however this is a big mistake. When the body senses an unbalance, it will do what is needed to re-balance itself. A proper moisturizer or hydrator can help those prone to oily skin have less breakouts. Also, while receiving a professional facial the extractions will be easier to perform on hydrated skin. Moisturizers are great for protecting the skin from the elements. They help to nourish the skin with active ingredients, balance the oil-water content, as well as help treat conditions like redness, dryness and aging. A dime sized amount is enough for your entire face. First, you can place small dots all around your face. Then gently rub in, using upward movements, starting under the chin. Doing a light facial massage while working in your moisturizer is a great way to stimulate blood flow and lift the underlying muscles.
Hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient used in many hydration products as it holds up to 1000x’s its weigh in water. Every skin type can use hyaluronic acid. It helps to bind water to the surface of the skin, giving a softer, smoother appearance.
During the day, choose either a light weight moisturizer with SPF added on top, or a moisturizer that contains SPF. It is important to use a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30 every day. Often people will only use an SPF on beach days, however we receive sun damage everyday while driving or sitting by a window, and even office lighting can give off small amounts of UV rays. In the winter months, it is also imperative to keep using sun protection when snow is on the ground because the UV rays are being reflected onto our skin.
A thicker moisturizer works well for dryer/mature skin types.
Often users of Retin-A will experience redness, flakiness and dryness. A little trick to prevent this is to apply the Retin-A over your moisturizer. At night our skin is in repair mode so choosing the right moisturizer is important to help facilitate this process. Do not use your daytime moisturizer at night if it contains SPF.
Our skin is the largest organ on our body. It also performs many important functions, including protection, sensation, heat regulation, excretion, secretion and absorption. These processes can be thrown out of balance very easily. Poor diet, hormones, stress, alcohol consumption and many other factors can affect the skin in adverse ways. Choosing products that irritate, cause redness or sting may be an indication that it is not right for your skin. By knowing which products are right for your skin and how to use them, the visible signs of damage can be lessened and sometimes corrected.