Taking care of yourself is not an indulgence or a luxury. It is necessary. Taking good care of your skin is as important as taking care of any other part of your body. Skin is, in fact, the largest organ of the body. Yes, skin is an organ, and it is important that we maintain it. It keeps us all put together and endures all the environmental factors around us and all the human activities we put it through. So, surely it deserves a little love and care from us.
For many years, self-care and skin care weren’t seen as a necessity, but now, more than ever, we are starting to realize that these things are pivotal to our health, and managing a good skin care routine will help our overall health in many ways.
Despite how everyone has different skin, some may have skin issues, and there are certain things that everyone can do, regardless, to help keep skin healthy.
Today, we will talk you through everything from what skin care actually is, all the way to building your routine and top tips.
Let’s get to it!
What Is Skincare?
‘Skin Care’ is the most basic care of your skin- the largest organ in your body. Skin plays a very important role in protecting you from things such as outside pathogens, and it holds all your internal organs in place. Imagine if we didn’t have skin! Not only would that be gross and terrifying, but we would be so vulnerable to everything in the world, the human race could never be where we are now.
Skincare is about caring for your skin with the same passion with which you care for other body parts, such as regularly brushing your teeth, getting your eyes tested, or brushing your hair.
Your skin requires at least some attention for it to continue functioning properly.
Basic care and keeping of your largest organ (skin)
One of the most basic ways to care for skin is to protect it from skin cancer. Protecting your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun is imperative to skin care, as protection from these rays can prevent skin cancer. But, more on this later.
Generally, when we think about skin care, we think about the more daily ways we can care for our skin and make it appear glorious, glamorous, clear, and beautiful.
So, when we talk about a skin care routine here, we are talking about the things you need to do to set yourself up with a skin care routine to help you get closer towards the beautiful skin you have always wanted to have. If you do not know where to start or even what skin care means, it is okay, we have got your back.
Note: Things that don’t even touch your skin can affect it. The food we eat can impact the health of our skin, and drinking enough water is vital to having happy and healthy skin too!
The importance of skincare
Caring about skincare may seem like it’s the new trendy fashion these days, but whether it is trendy or not, giving your skin some TLC has cosmetic and medical benefits. Although we cannot pause time, or slow down the effect that it has on us, with a finely tuned skincare plan you can reduce the appearance of those fine lines, dark spots, wrinkles, and sun damage. It is also entirely possible to manage more minor, and common problems, such as oily skin, or excessive dryness.
However, for people who have more specific skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne, and psoriasis, general skin care is not always an option, and it is not always enough. Treating skin conditions means that you need to employ a specific skin-care routine. For some conditions, it is possible that your skin may be more sensitive to particular ingredients in general.
Finding skincare routines that work, offers a vital way in which someone can manage and treat their conditions. This stands for all skin.
Of course, we cannot ignore the fact that some people find that their skin care routines can also offer some mental health benefits too. Having the routine in place can help you to notice how easy it is to do good things for your body, and you may find yourself indulging in them more, because they make you feel good. It can also add control to your life, giving you time for yourself. Even if this is the only time in your day during which you do get time for yourself, it adds a sense of control to your day.
Let’s take a look at the things that skin care can do for you.
You can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
We briefly mentioned this before, but going into detail is a must. Who doesn’t worry about the fine lines and wrinkles that come with age? In your 30s, you find yourself avidly checking your face every day for any sign of a single wrinkle.
There are plenty of ways that you can protect yourself from wrinkles. Of course, you cannot stop them forever, but slowing them down is possible. The first thing you should do is protect yourself from the sun. Exposure to the sun can damage your skin, which can lead to premature aging and wrinkles. Using a retinoid, moisturizing, staying hydrated, and eating vitamin-rich foods will also help you to keep wrinkles at bay.
Remember when you were a kid, and you frowned, your mom probably said ‘If you keep doing that, your face will stay that way forever. Well, she was not entirely wrong. Frowning is one of the things that can lead to those tedious forehead lines. So, it can really pay off to relax your face every once in a while, too. Finally, it probably goes without saying, but smoking and drinking excess alcohol will also contribute to poor skin too.
Effectively manage dry and oily skin
Many people will suffer with dry skin and many with oily skin. However, there is also the issue of dry yet oily skin. Somehow this can and does exist. This is known as combination skin, and it often occurs in people who are chronically dehydrated. However, the most common cause is genetics.
This also means that you may have fine lines, wrinkles, as well as acne, blackheads, and other oily issues all at once. You can tell if you have combination skin by checking three areas, but you should always seek out a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis. You may have an oily T-zone which is your chin, nose, and forehead. You may have large pores visible in the mirror on your forehead, and nose, and you may have dry spots around your cheeks and under your eyes.
However, you can also have just dry skin or just oily skin, and having a good skin care routine can help manage either of these. Using the right products and steps for your particular skin type can alleviate a whole manner of issues related to your skin’s dryness or oiliness.
Many people find building a skincare routine provides them a sense of control and relaxation- it is great for self-care
There are many stories out there about how skin care doubles as self-care, and not always in the totally obvious sense. It can also be good for your mental health. We live in an age where so many people suffer with their mental health simply due to the constantly demanding state of living now, as well as traumas and stresses that we cannot always avoid. Having a great skin care routine helps us break away from this. It’s your time, for you. Honoring yourself aesthetically, taking time out from the world and its pressures to just love yourself. Having a routine, and being gentle and rhythmic can be one of the most calming things in the world, almost meditative.
Some people will take to gardening, painting, or music to find their peace in the world, but we do not all have the hours these things can take. Sometimes all we have is a few minutes, and we can spend those minutes loving and caring for ourselves through our skin care self-care routine.
Before starting skincare
Now that we know all this, you may want to just jump headfirst into your new skin care routine. However, you can’t just jump straight in. Before you do anything with your skin, the most important thing is to make sure that any products you get, and any routine you put into action is right for your skin. If it is not, you can always end up accidentally making things worse.
You wouldn’t want to use an oily product that will make oily skin worse. If you had eczema, you certainly don’t want to put any potential irritants on your skin either.
Important to know your skin type
This is why it is very important that you know your skin type before you use any products on your skin. If you suspect you have dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin, you should double-check first. Ensure you know your skin type before you start lathering yourself in products.
Knowing your actual skin type can help you out the next time you are in the cosmetics aisles. If you use the wrong products, or get enveloped in the idea of internet skincare hacks, you can end up with a bigger skin problem, with more dryness, more acne, or in some cases, you could end up having a reaction to a product.
One of the first steps to figuring out your skin type is to think about how your skin acts without any products on it for a few hours after showering or bathing. If a few hours after cleansing you find your skin is a bit oily or greasy, you likely have oily skin. If it is dry or a bit flaky, then you have dry skin. If you have a mixture of the two, then you will likely have combination skin. If neither of these applies to you then you will have ‘normal’ skin.
Understanding your skin type will help you choose the correct routine and the correct products for your skin.
Be aware that if your skin gets a bit irritated when you use certain products, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a product then you may have sensitive skin. Similarly, if you suffer with eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and so on, this would also be considered sensitive skin.
If you have sensitive, oily, dry, or combination skin, you will need to be extra selective in product choices so as not to exacerbate your skin situation.
Seeing a dermatologist isn’t necessary before starting a skincare routine, however, if you are trying to address severe acne, it’s always important to check with a dermatologist
While you do not necessarily need to see a dermatologist before you start up a skin care routine, it is worth doing so if you have sensitive skin, or if you have a skin condition. Similarly, you may wish to seek out a dermatologist if you have any further skin concerns such as stubborn or severe acne, or hyperpigmentation. A qualified dermatologist will help you through the process of developing a skin care routine that will accurately target the areas of concern that you have, and help to fight off any issues you may have that are causing you concern.
Steps To Building A Skincare Routine
As you build your skincare routine, it is important that you choose the right products, understand your skin, and take things step-by-step.
If you have skin problems, then seek out a dermatologist to get some assisting knowledge in how you should approach your skin care routine to look after your skin while tackling any outstanding issues you have.
Building a skin care routine doesn’t mean heading down to the local store and just picking out the biggest brand name products because ‘they have to be the best’. It means taking things step by step, and being more selective and picky about what you use and how you test products for your skin.
Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated
First of all, skincare need not be complicated. Brands may want you to think you need their entire product to look as radiant as their models. However, you do not need this. The first and foremost thing that you need is to simply wash your face. Nothing quite beats washing your face, much like you wash your body.
Always remember that warm water opens your pores, and cold water closes pores and refreshes your skin.
But face washes are not the only basic way to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. If you wear makeup, one of the best things that you can do for your skin is to ensure that you remove it after each time you wear it.
Maintaining a stable diet and ensuring you stay hydrated also count as basic skin care. Our skin covers our whole body, and a massive percentage of our body is water. Staying hydrated will always help our skin feel and look better.
As many will also know, ‘you are what you eat’, foods that are high in fats, salts, and sugars will typically encourage breakouts and unhealthy skin. Whereas, science shows that fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats are all associated with fewer wrinkles and less age-related dryness.
‘Beauty sleep’ may also sound like a myth, but it certainly is not. Not getting enough sleep can affect your overall health and your skin. When we do not get enough sleep, we will often find that we get bags appearing under our eyes, and we are more susceptible to breakouts of spots and acne as our immune system is more compromised when we have suffered lack of sleep.
Similarly, the air we breathe can also affect our skin. If the air we breathe is heavily polluted, contains cigarette smoke, or artificial fragrances, this can harm the health of our skin, and cause irritations. Organic products and antioxidants can help you to undo this damage. One thing that not many know is that mold can also have an effect on skin too. Since we shower or bathe in our bathrooms, these rooms are perfect for damp and therefore mold growth. Exposure to these molds can irritate the skin. If you are allergic to molds as well, this can cause more severe irritations. Older homes are typically more susceptible to mold and dampness, and if you believe you may be having a reaction, a dermatologist can perform a mold allergy test.
Start a basic skincare routine and then add extra products
Once you have started a basic skin care routine, with makeup removal, face washing, plenty of hydration, and a good diet, and all the other basic skin care tips noted above, you can add in the use of some extra products.
Be sure that you choose products that are ideal for your skin type. You do not want to risk making your skin worse, so the first step is to be sure of your skin type and then shop for extra products according to your skin type. For example, if you have dry skin, you want to have a product that will hydrate and moisturize your skin to prevent it from getting dry.
Remember to patch test new products, especially if you have sensitive skin
Before you go out and buy a ton of products that you think will work, it is always advised that you check that they will work. You should always test products before you commit to them.
Not only should you be testing before you buy to save you from buying the wrong product, or spending money on something that does not work, but, if you have sensitive skin, patch testing is a must.
If you use box hair dyes, then you will be familiar with exactly why this is something that needs to be done. Patch testing needs to be done to prevent any allergic reactions. If you have sensitive skin, the incorrect product could easily result in a reaction. Testing before you buy is, therefore, a wise choice that will prevent you from being stuck with a product that is not good for you.
A general rule of thumb is that you should cleanse your complexion twice each day, in the morning and in the evening. When you cleanse in the morning, this will help you to remove any sweat or oils left from your pillow or hair during your sleep. If your skin is not oily or sweaty, then you can also just use plain water in the mornings.
When you cleanse in the evenings, you should never skip or compromise doing this. You should always cleanse at night to remove any skin product, makeup, excess oil, sweat, dead skin cells, and other debris that may have collected through the day. A hydrating cleanser is always a good idea, as most skin types will tolerate this, especially if it is fragrance free, and has minimal ingredients.
Using serums with vitamin C or growth factors, or even peptides is best to use in the morning, as well as under sunscreen. At night, use retinol or prescription retinoids if you choose to use a serum.
If you have oily skin, you may think to stay away from moisturizers. However, even the oiliest skin needs moisturizing. If you do have oily skin, you should use one that is lightweight and does not block your pores. Dry skin can benefit from cream-based moisturizers.
To adequately protect your skin you should apply a sunscreen that has at least 30 SPF, 15 minutes before you head outdoors, this is because it takes a while for sunscreen to activate, and in those 15 minutes enough damage can be done.
Contrary to popular belief, dark skin tones typically need more sun protection, as hyperpigmentation is harder to correct. If you do apply sunscreen and, despite doing so, still get burned, then be sure to apply a moisturizer after sun. While this will not undo the more lasting damage done, it can hydrate your damaged skin and help in relieving any pain or discomfort.
Super Skincare Tips
Skin care can really be easy. However, with so many brands telling us different things and with social media making it hard to understand what is right and wrong, it is helpful to have some tips so that you can rest assured you are doing what is right for your skin.
Patience and Consistency is key
We live in a world that wants everything and wants it now, why else would we have next-day delivery systems everywhere and food delivery for almost every eatery. So, when we start a skincare routine, we want it to start working now, so that we can see the results of our efforts and purchases as soon as possible.
For some, if they do not start seeing changes straight away, they may feel agitated and come to the conclusion that it isn’t working. However, patience is a virtue, and skin care is 100% something that requires patience. This is why you should know that any product that promises immediate results is lying.
You should avoid experimenting to try and speed up results. Let your skin have a chance to grow accustomed to your new routine and the products you have used. If you are worried that your products are not working then you should try it for a few months before you switch just to be sure that it is not working.
The only time you should totally abandon your current skin care products is if they bring about an allergic reaction or any kind of irritation.
Less is more
Sure, you may feel like you are doing more and will get better results if you use millions of products, but the truth is that less truly is more. Keeping this in mind is pivotal when you are lathering yourself in products.
Setting your regimen and sticking to it is the foundation of a good skin care routine, and it will do much better things for you than simply going overboard and buying endless products.
More products do not mean that you will get better, faster results. Quantity is insignificant. Quality is all. It is about the ingredients that are in the products you are using. One person who uses one product with ingredients lined up for their skin type will see better and faster results than someone who is using multiple products that are more generalized.
Keep clear from DIY skincare hacks
DIY skin care hacks might sound great at the moment, but they are not dermatologically recommended. It should go without saying that you should never put something on your skin if you cannot be 100% certain how your skin will react. While we all know the benefits of things such as Aloe Vera, some people can be allergic to it. But there are more risky hacks out there than Aloe Vera, and some of these could do potential damage to your skin more than help it.
A lot of DIY hacks for many things are subjective, or they are doctored. While hack videos might be fun to watch, take what they say with a pinch of salt, as these things rarely pay off. It is just best to stick to the facts, and if in doubt, consult your doctor, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Understand which active ingredients are right for you
Every skincare product has active ingredients in it, and all active ingredients can do different things for our skin. Some skin care products may contain AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid), which is an exfoliator. This will be great for some but perhaps not so great for those with excessively sensitive skin.
Similarly, Hyaluronic Acid is another active ingredient that you can find in many skin products. It is a super hydrator. It is fantastic for people who have dry, mature, and eczema-prone skin. However, some of this is animal-sourced, so it is not suitable for vegans and those who are for ‘cruelty-free’ products.
It is important to understand what your skin needs and which active ingredients will best fulfill these needs.
Temporarily avoid using certain products if you are pregnant
During pregnancy, we are sensitive to a whole trope of things we never thought of. So, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it may be wise to stop using particular products, especially acne products. Pregnant people should also avoid using retinoids, such as; isotretinoin, tretinoin, tazarotene, spironolactone, and adapalene. Antibiotics are also recommended avoiding. If you have an avid skincare routine and fall pregnant, talking to your doctor about which products you should stop using at this time can be a good idea that will help you feel more at ease. If you are worried about stopping using any of these products for some time, you can always talk to your doctor and see if they can recommend or prescribe something to use in its stead.
Summary: Start Your Skincare Routine!
While the world would have us believe that it is hard to have a good skincare routine, it really is not quite as difficult as you may believe. Good skin care starts with understanding your skin type.
It does not need to be an endless routine, and you don’t have to spend insane amounts of money on products to have a good skincare routine. Sometimes the best things that we can do are the simplest, washing our skin and being more mindful about what we put in our bodies.
However, if you suffer from a specific skin condition or have sensitive skin, you may need to be more wary about how you build your skincare routine, and talking to a qualified dermatologist can help you better understand what you need to do.