Now, we all know the saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. However, in the case of people’s skin, the cover can often provide a glimpse into the daily, or lack of, daily routines. The skin is a complex organ. A shocking amount is going on within just a few millimetres, resulting in skin making up around one-seventh of a person’s body weight. Alongside sweat glands, blood vessels and nerve endings, skin is moderating our internal body temperature and serving as a protective barrier. It is this last function which really highlights the importance of establishing a good skin care regime and giving back to the organ which does so much for us. Not convinced? Here are three reasons to take care of your skin:
You’re now convinced about the importance of skin care. This is great news! Hang on though, where should you start in your new quest to care for your largest organ? There is an effective order to good skin care, which basically breaks down into three main principles:
- Cleansing- Getting unwanted substances off your skin.
- Toning- A nutrient hit for your skin to help create balance.
- Moisturising- Hydrated skin is happy and healthy skin.
Stop and consider for a moment all of the things that your skin will come in contact with on an average day. It would be fair to start by considering all the things you touch, pick up, rest against and brush by. However, this doesn’t even begin to take into consideration all the environmental pollutants and dirt floating through the air. All the things we can’t necessarily see but that settles on our skin over the course of the day. These need to be removed at least once but preferably twice a day, to help avoid clogged pores, dullness and acne.
Regardless of whether you have sensitive skin or not, a good cleanser should wash your skin without stripping all of the healthy oils that are essential to your skin's radiance.
Toners typically have a bad reputation. This is largely due to the fact that conventional toners often contain high levels of alcohol, which, ironically, is not known for its hydrating properties. Toners have been known to strip oil and water secretions from the skin, actually contributing to the signs of skin sensitivity, such as; dryness and inflammation. So, why include toning as part of your skin care regime if it has the potential to damage your skin? Thankfully, toners have and continue to evolve, with many now opting for far more effective ingredients than the alcohol laden options of the past. Of the three main principles of an effective skin care regime, toning ranks as the only real optional element. However, if you’ve got something specific with your skin that you are trying to target then toning can provide the nutrient boost to balance your complexion. If this is you then prioritise the following ingredients for best results:
- Alpha and beta hydroxy acids: These really help to add radiance to your skin by clearing dead skin cells and can aid recovery for sun damaged skin.
- Hyaluronic acid: Much like the last two ingredients mentioned, this is a real hydrater, helping to seal in the skin's moisture.
- Rose water and green tea: Soothes skin irritation, helping to minimise inflammation or redness.
- Vitamin E and C: These barrier vitamins help to ward off substances which might cling to and cause damage to your skin.
Hot tip: Serums are also your skin’s ally, providing substantial protection from all of those harmful invaders mentioned earlier. Use serums as prevention when starting your day and ask your pharmacist for recommendations on specific ingredients when targeting certain conditions.
Lastly, but certainly not least, keep your skin hydrated. As you may have been picking up, hydration is central to skin health. Every stage of a skin care regime should promote hydration. If not moisturising, then at least not stripping moisture from the skin. As skin ages, it loses the ability to retain moisture and many of the activities we partake in throughout a day can further serve to strip water from the outer layers of the skin.
The right moisturiser for you will depend upon your skin type. Oily skin, go for a gel. Dry, pick a cream. Fairly balanced or a combination, a lotion will serve you best. If you are particularly sensitive, stick to a balm to also help relieve irritation.
Sunscreen for protection
Sunscreen gets its whole own subheading because it cannot be exaggerated how crucial its role is in protecting your skin. Don’t think for a minute that sunscreen is just benefitting your skin when outdoors. As well as helping to protect against the formation of skin cancers, it also helps to fight signs of aging. Many moisturisers include built in broad spectrum SPF, making it easy to factor into your daily skin care routine.
Hopefully this has helped to decode some of the more daunting aspects of skin care and motivated you to protect your body’s cover.