The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is susceptible to so many environmental hazards and other factors; the most vulnerable and exposed area is the face. So, you need to take extra care to look after it and protect it if you want it to stay healthy and looking good.
But it really doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to give your skin all it needs. With a healthy routine and attentive habits, you can help your skin to look and feel great.
Night & Day
Our morning and night-time routines are the two common times when people carry out their face care strategies and use various products. What you do and when you do it is important. There is a right time for the right face care practice.
Nighttime is the best time for products. Cleansing is a must before you go to bed. You want to get rid of microparticles from air pollutants and free radicals which damage the healthy collagen in your skin. Cleansing also takes off any make-up, dirt, and oil that can clog your pores.
Follow the cleansing with your toner of choice to remove any excess remaining oil, and then moisturize to hydrate the skin. This repairs the damage the skin has endured throughout the day.
You can also try a natural oil, like coconut oil, which is rich in lauric acid. Or avocado oil, which is a collagen booster. The Oil acts as a moisture barrier, which effectively seals in the moisturizer you have used, so the skin stays hydrated and protected until morning.
Generally, you will not need to use soap in the morning, as you will have cleansed the night before. A splash with warm water or a soft wipe with a warm washcloth will be sufficient. And won’t lead to over-drying or result in the skin trying to compensate by producing even more oil. You can then moisturize as normal.
But try to be observant of your skin. When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, notice how your skin feels and looks and give it what it needs on that particular day. Do not be afraid to change up your routine and adapt.
If you notice you are breaking out, gently cleanse and use toner. If your skin looks dry or you are noticing the effects of dehydration, warm water cleanse and extra moisturizer is the way to go. Let it really soak in before you apply any make-up.
Nourish & Hydrate
Your skin is like any other part of your body and needs nourishment from nutrients, which it gets from what you put into and onto your body.
As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” If you eat well, you look and feel good. So, it is no surprise that there is a connection between diet and complexion.
The skin is composed of cells, just like the rest of your body. So, your overall general health and well-being will affect your skin as it does the rest of you.
A healthy gut will have a healthy microbiome which reduces inflammation in the body and improves skin health – it stimulates the cells’ self-cleaning and damaged cell recycling process. Try including probiotic-rich foods like kefir, yogurt with live cultures, kimchi or sauerkraut.
Try intermittent fasting, which has been known to reboot the gut microbiome.
A good diet for healthy skin includes healthy fats, such as omega 3’s and those found in avocados and nuts. Include sources of antioxidants, found in berries and green tea. Vitamin C is also important; it promotes faster skin healing and improves skin texture, aiding the collagen to lift and tighten skin.
Reducing your sugar intake is also beneficial, as sugar can increase cortisol in a process where the sugar binds to collagen and weakens it.
Hydrate & Moisture
Hydration is one of the most important things you can do for your skin. The cells in our bodies are mostly made of water and this needs to be replenished to function effectively.
Maintaining the water content of the skin is vital for healthy skin. A lack of hydration makes your complexion dull and can even accentuate wrinkles.
You should drink plenty of water and herbal infusions to keep your cells hydrated. Moisturizers are extremely beneficial to hydrate your skin, as they slow down water loss of the skin cells and strengthen the skin barrier.
Respect & Purify
Your skin is an effective barrier to the outside world and it experiences harsh conditions in our environment to keep us safe. It deserves to be treated with respect and gentle attention.
Keep it Natural
There are ways to care for your skin that are gentle but still very effective. Products with added chemicals can dry out or actually damage the skin further. Natural products are better for your skin.
Rosewater is a simple natural way to hydrate, nourish, refresh, uplift, and rejuvenate the skin.
Keep make-up light. Use only when and where necessary. Your skin needs to breathe!
Also, try not to use too many products. Limit to your basic needs, with some options based on what your skin needs at any given time. Stick to what works for you and is reliable. Stay away from trends and fads.
Don’t over scrub or scrub too hard or over-exfoliate. This leads to microscopic inflammation which swells the skin, clogs pores and causes redness and blemishes. You only need to exfoliate just once a week.
And resist picking and popping pimples as this damages the skin and can lead to scarring.
When you wash your face, make sure the water is either warm or cool, but not too extreme in either direction. Very hot water will strip and damage the skin. Very cold water will not dissolve the soap properly and leave a residue. Extreme temperatures, either way, can also cause broken capillaries.
Protect & Care
Your skin can withstand a lot but to do its best job and look its best requires extra protection and care.
You can enormously help your skin by protecting it from the damaging effects of the sun, which age the skin’s elastic and collagen tissue. This damage can cause excessive wrinkles, sagging and thinning of the skin as well as skin discoloration. And remember, it does not have to be hot to experience the negative effects of the UV rays.
So, wear a good SPF Sunblock, keep to shade when possible and wear hats and UV protective sunglasses.
Cells regenerate and repair while you sleep. So, getting enough sleep is vital. Regularly missing out on this essential resting period can cause stress to the body. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, breaks down collagen in the skin and this will show on your face.
Also, a lack of sleep can contribute to darkness under the eyes, called periorbital hyperpigmentation.
Consider sleeping on your back if you are able. This can prevent sleep wrinkles and help drain away fluid from the face so you’ll be less likely to look puffy in the morning.
And remember to keep your pillowcase clean. Bacterial growth can build up on your pillow, which can lead to acne on your face.
You could also try silk pillowcases which help avoid fine lines on the face.
Mood, Relaxation & Stress
Beauty begins from the inside. Mood and stress can play a big part in how you both feel and look. Stress causes an increase in cortisol, resulting in collagen and elastin breakdown and this leads to wrinkles and aging. When you are constantly stressed, this disrupts the skin’s defense system, resulting in the skin becoming more susceptible to microbial infection.
So, remember to include some relaxation techniques and mood-enhancing habits, like meditation or listening to music. When you are relaxed, you feel good from within and look great on the outside too.
Smoking is bad for your health in many ways, and your skin is no exception. If you want healthy skin, ditch the cigarettes. Not only do they lead to unflattering yellow-stained teeth, but they cause lines around the mouth and greying skin. Nicotine also destroys skin, making it saggy.
Nurture & Invigorate
Keeping your body in good and fresh physical condition, with everything working and flowing at optimal levels, will improve the health and appearance of your skin.
What’s good for the body is good for the skin. Exercise aids in better blood circulation, which helps to better deliver nutrients in the blood to the skin cells, nourishing them. Efficient blood flow also helps to detoxify your system and give a better complexion.
To increase proper circulation to the skin in the face, try standing or lying with your head upside down. This will stimulate a rush of blood to the face and improve skin quality.
Invigorate the skin and blood flow to the face with alternating cool and warm water splashes.
You can also use gentle icing therapy to shrinks pore, reduce puffiness and help with under-eye darkness. Freeze a water-soaked cotton make-up pad and gently dab under your eyes.
Most of us will neglect to exercise our faces. It is not so much the lines on the face that give the appearance of age, but the drooping and sagging of the facial muscles. There are numerous muscles in the face that you may rarely use. If you keep these muscles in good shape and exercise regularly, you can keep it all looking tighter and the face looking younger.
Do a search for the muscle structure of the face to see just how many there are. Explore the different movements of these muscles in slow stretches in all directions. Or look into Face Yoga.
A good facial massage will benefit the appearance of your skin, reducing lines and wrinkles. Massage can improve circulation, encourage lymph drainage, relax the muscles and tighten and tone the skin.
If you want to invest more in your skincare, there are a number of products and additional processes you can use to give your skin some extra TLC.
Retinoid Creams and Serums
Retinoids are Vitamin A-based products that boost collagen production. They create a plumping effect, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. They also stimulate the production of new blood vessels, helping to even the skin tone and improve color. There are many available to suit your particular skin type needs, though some are more effective than others.
Apply to damp skin after cleansing and follow with your moisturizer, to be sure your skin does not dry out. And be sure to wear sunblock as retinoids increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
Sometimes, you might need an extra source of what your skin needs, besides your food. Skin supporting supplements can do wonders for your skin. Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, Zinc and Cod Liver oil all have beneficial effects on your skin health.
And there are other skin-supporting supplements you can take, which can boost natural functions. Nicotinamide Riboside aids the body’s processes to repair and restore cellular function. Adaptogens like Rhodiola help combat oxidative stress in the cells. And Phytoceramides help with ultra-hydration by replenishing naturally occurring ceramides.
Although face masks are not a priority or a necessity in your regular routine, they are a good complementary care activity. They provide immediate effects if you are looking for something to help your skin feel good right away.
They have many functions from hydrating or brightening to tightening or pulling out impurities and unclogging pores. And they also allow you a moment of rest and relaxation, to pamper and treat yourself so your skin and your mood will both feel better.
Be Kind & Patient
When you try new skincare routines, it is likely to take some time before you notice significant results. Especially if you have been neglectful or inconsistent in your skincare practices and are trying to repair many years of damage. It could take a number of weeks or even months. But be persistent and patient, and over time you will see results.
And take extra care and pay special attention if you are having more serious skin problems or bad reactions; be sure to seek a dermatologist’s advice. Your skin is precious. Take care of it and it will take care of you.