The thing about great skin is that it isn’t just about the blessings of good genes. A lot of it depends on your skin care habits too. The problem is that there are a dizzying number of products out there. But the fact is that skin care should be simple and personal. Here’s everything you need to focus on amidst all that noise.
Identify your skin type
Before you dive into products and ingredients for your skin care, you need to figure out what type of skin you have
This skin type tends to have a shiny, sweaty appearance with large pores. An effective skin care routine for oily skin needs to focus on dealing with acne and blemishes.
Dry skin tends to feel tight and flaky. Its care requires special attention towards inflammation, redness, and fine lines.
This skin type has oily skin in some areas and dry skin in others. Oily skin is generally concentrated in the T-zone or the area around the nose and forehead while the jaws and cheeks remain dry and flaky.
Sensitive skin is very delicate with fine pores and tends to get irritated easily. It is prone to allergies and often develops reactions like rashes.
The 4 Main Skin Care Steps
At the end of the day, skin care comes down to 4 simple steps:
Washing and cleansing is the most important step of your skincare routine. It gets rid of the dirt and impurities including dead cells that your skin sheds. It also helps with oil control and keeps the pores clean.
Cleanse your skin twice a day, once in the morning and once in at night.
How to find the right cleanser for you
Depending on your skin type, different types of cleansers might be suitable for you. The popular cleansers are:
Cream or lotion cleanser:
These are suitable for dry skin prone to eczema. They contain emollients like shea butter or glycerin to wipe away dirt while keeping the skin hydrated.
Botanical oils are suitable for sensitive skin. Oils like argan, jojoba, grapeseed, and sweet almond oil are excellent options as they are light, non-comedogenic, and are quickly absorbed by the skin.
Foaming liquid cleanser:
These are suited for oily or acne-prone skin. They are formulated such that when activated with water, the airy foam breaks down impurities and excess oil and removes them from the pores.
Micellar water cleanser:
These are suitable for all skin types. They are soap-free and contain molecules that pull out dirt from the skin like a magnet without leaving the skin dry as soap cleansers do. Unlike with other cleansers, no washing is required, a simple wipe works.
Melting balm cleanser:
This option is well suited for mature or aging skin. This is a buttery formulation that ‘melts’ into the skin when rubbed on it. It dissolves the dirt and heavy makeup which can then be wiped off.
Toner is something that delivers nutrients to the skin while aiding the absorption of other products. As the name suggests, it also balances the skin complexion, giving it an even tone. You should tone right after cleansing and before applying anything else.
What should you be looking for in a toner
This locks in the moisture in the skin and makes it supple and plump
AHAs and BHAs:
Alpha and beta hydroxy acids- These get rid of dead skin cells, clear out the pores, and remove dullness from the skin
Green tea and rose water:
These are anti-inflammatories that reduce redness, irritation, and swelling
Vitamin C and E:
These are antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidation of the skin cells. They also promote skin healing and the disappearance of dark spots and scars.
Vitamin B3, peptides, and retinol:
These encourage the skin to produce elastin and collagen which make the skin firm and prevent wrinkles.
Moisturizers are an essential part of your skin care routine as they ensure the skin remains hydrated and soft. They prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) and complement the protective natural oils produced by the skin.
How to choose the right moisturizer for your skin type
These are suited for oily skin type. They are water-based, lightweight and are quickly absorbed by the skin. They are also non-comedogenic (they don’t clog the pores) and don’t make the skin prone to acne.
They are suited for normal or combination skin type and refer to the classic moisturizers. They have a deeper moisturizing effect when compared with gel moisturizers but are absorbed well by the skin.
These are suited for dry skin and are more oil-based and relatively heavier than lotions.
Suited for sensitive and extremely dry skin types, these are heavier in texture and more deeply moisturizing than creams and lotions.
These treat specific concerns such as puffiness, dryness or hyperpigmentation around the eyes. The skin around the eyes is delicate and more prone to damage. It needs milder ingredients in comparison with the other areas of the face.
If you’re looking to add an eye cream to your skin care routine, look for caffeine, hyaluronic acid or peptides to treat eye bags. For dark circles, go for kojic acid, niacinamide and vitamin C.
Your skin needs protection from external aggressions, specifically UV ray exposure. Photodamaged skin becomes wrinkly, dry and riddled with dark spots. Look for a sunscreen or sunblock with a minimum SPF of 30.
How to choose your sunscreen:
Basically, there are two types of sunscreen formulas:
These include chemicals like octinoxate and oxybenzone. They react with UV radiation and prevent the damage caused by it. They are light and transparent. On the other hand, their disadvantage is that the chemicals can irritate the skin.
These include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that physically block the UV rays by reflecting them. They don’t come with the risk of skin irritations but have a whitish tint which is usually visible, especially on darker complexions.
Other tips for a healthy skin care routine
- Your skin care routine needs time to show desirable effects. The skin takes about 4 weeks to complete a full cycle of recovery and rejuvenation. Be regular with your skin care routine and be patient if you want to see changes.
- Don’t complicate your skincare routine with a million products and a million procedures. Stick to a simple, consistent routine instead of bombarding your skin.
- Switch to natural ingredients and support your skin’s microbiome. Think about your skin-health with a wholesome perspective. Think about the skin’s flora- the many healthy microorganisms that live on the skin promoting its health. Instead of using harsh, synthetic chemicals that sterilize them, move to natural ones that help them thrive.