If you want fresh, glowing, healthy skin, follow these six rules of skin care each and every day. Keep it simple, but be thorough - read labels, learn ingredients, and never go to sleep without removing your makeup first!
#1: CLEANSE PROPERLY (AT LEAST TWICE A DAY)
Washing your face isn’t just a matter of splashing with water, lathering up, and toweling dry. To cleanse properly:
- Remove makeup before washing. Regular cleansers usually don’t dissolve eye makeup, heavy makeup, or sunblock, and they can also leave residue. Get rid of as much of that as possible first. This is especially important if your makeup is labelled as either "smudge-proof" or "long-wearing." Use an eye makeup remover first and then follow that by wetting some cotton with a gentle cleanser (like micellar water) and wipe it all away.
- Use a cleanser especially formulated for your skin type and concerns. If you have sensitive skin, use a gentle cleanser; if you have dry skin, use a hydrating one that will help your skin retain moisture. If you have oily, breakout-prone skin, use a cleanser with salicylic acid, which can help calm the redness and inflammation of acne and psoriasis.
- Use only lukewarm water. Hot may feel good, but it will strip away your healthy skin oils. Lukewarm water will not only clean your skin and weaken dirt and sebum, but will soothe inflammation and redness.
- Cleanse twice. All of what builds up on your face in a day isn't easily eliminated with only one cleansing, so cleanse again to make sure it’s all gone.
- Use a proper washing technique. Just as we’re told to soap our hands for 30 seconds to eliminate germs, we should leave cleanser on our faces for at least 20 seconds so that it can do its job. Careful though, because it’s definitely NOT a case of “more is better.” If you lather too long, skin will become dry and irritated. Use a gentle, circular motion with fingertips or a washcloth to encourage circulation. After you've thoroughly rinsed - pat dry, don‘t rub.
- Don’t miss a spot! The neck is one of the first places to show aging and so you don't want to exclude it from cleansing. And skin breakouts can occur at the hairline (often due to overly waxy hair product residue) and so cleansing along the entire hairline is a great new behavior to add to a beauty regimen to keep skin breakout-free.
- Avoid facial cleansers that contain sulfates, parabens, or fragrances. Parabens are synthetic preservatives often found in skin care products, cosmetics, and foods. More research is needed, but what is known for sure is that parabens can be absorbed through skin. Many people avoid them entirely because of concerns, especially with the possible estrogenic effects. Choose a different product if you see any of these words on the ingredient list: sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, or ammonium laureth sulfate. Sulfates are surfactants that cut oil from skin, but they’re stronger than you need and will only dehydrate skin in the long run. Bar soaps are to be avoided because they have a high pH and the binding ingredients that hold a bar of soap together are too strong for delicate skin and will cause redness and broken capillaries.
- Follow up with a toner and moisturizer immediately. If your skin starts to feel tight, it means you’ve waited too long!
#2: CLEANSE SKIN - EVEN IF YOU DON’T WEAR MAKEUP
If you don't wear makeup, that doesn't mean you can skip cleansing. Your skin will still will still sweat, produce oil, and get coated with dirt and pollutants. Some would even say that makeup protects your skin from environmental pollutants, but whether it does or not, cleanse a makeup-free face with the same care as you would if you had makeup on.
#3: CLEANSE IN THE MORNING, TOO
Cleanse your face in the morning as thoroughly as you do at night. Well, except for the part about removing makeup, because no one should go to bed wearing anything on the face but a nice night cream, but more on that soon.
Even the cleanest pillow case will have some germs on it. During sleep, our face will also be coming into contact with hair oils (and products like conditioners or hair spray from the day before if you didn't wash your hair that night), and your own saliva and sweat. All of this needs to be cleansed away.
#4: DON’T SLEEP WITH MAKEUP ON - EVER
We all have those late nights when all we want to do is get into bed as quickly as possible, but you really need to cleanse your skin first! At the very least, wash your face and apply a serum or moisturizer. If you leave makeup on while you sleep this is what can happen:
- Skin can become red, irritated, and may even develop a rash. Makeup often contains fragrances and other substances that can cause inflammation.
- You risk infection. In and of itself, makeup doesn’t cause the infection, but if you have an inflamed active acne pimple, your skin barrier is already compromised.
- The skin barrier is a defensive mechanism, says the National Institutes for Health (NIH), so not washing your face will only add to any problems you are already dealing with.
- You’ll look aged. Dirt and makeup will become trapped. That causes oxidative stress which results in free radicals, rogue cells responsible for advancing both aging and disease. In 2013 article published in the UK Daily Mail, a woman stopped washing her face for 30 days, which resulted in her looking +10 years older!
- Breakouts will occur. Dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells won’t be removed so they’ll clog pores, those pores will become inflamed and lead to pimples.
- Your facial skin will be dull. Oils and dead skin cells that collected on the pillow all night will be transferred to your face. Regular cleansing and exfoliation will create healthy new skin cells and allow the natural repair processes of the skin to take place.
#5: KNOW YOUR INGREDIENTS
You learned earlier what to avoid in skin, personal care and baby products, and cosmetics. And now - here are the ingredients that are great to help remove makeup and cleanse skin thoroughly:
- Aloe leaf extract: Aloe vera, that desert plant with spiky leaves, has antiviral and antibacterial properties with the ability to treat everything from acne, dry and sensitive skin, to diabetes, digestive problems, and more. Aloe vera leaves hold a gooey translucent gel that are known all over the world for their exceptional healing properties. This translucent gel is made up of around 96% water and is a type of protein that contains 18 of the 20 amino acids, as well as vitamins A, B, C and E - all considered some of the most important vitamins for anti-aging. One of the most crucial elements found in aloe vera gel is a complex carbohydrate known as acemannan which allows nutrients to reach the cells and nourish and detoxify them.
- Comfrey root: Comfrey contains both allantoin and rosmarinic acid. Allantoin promotes the growth of new skin cells and combats lines and wrinkles, while rosmarinic acid has painkilling effects and reduces inflammation. Allantoin softens and protects skin. It’s non-irritating so it calms and soothes. Allantoin stimulates cell regeneration, and is a known keratolytic - meaning it helps remove warts, calluses, and other skin issues where the epidermis has produced an excess of skin cells. While brightening the complexion through gentle desquamation (skin peeling), allantoin increases the water content of cells, making it a great moisturizer that may also help speed up wound healing!
- Grape seed extract: Grape seeds are packed with skin nourishers and antioxidants like tannins, oligomeric procyanidins, catechins, epicatechins, vitamin E, and linoleic acid. Studies indicate especially, that catechins should be included in the daily skin care regimen for better skin health. Antioxidants and flavonoids neutralize free radicals in the skin that threaten skin elasticity and durability, reducing wrinkles, age spots, and blemishes and growing the new, healthy cells that keep skin youthful.
- And here's a few more incredibly beneficial ingredients to look for in a cleanser capable of removing makeup without leaving skin dry and irritated afterwards: avocado oil, jojoba seed extract, seaweed extracts, and rose oil.
#6: Eat “SKINFOOD”
We tend to forget that our faces reflect our overall health, so the final rule of skin care is to learn about and consume more “skinfood.”
Older cells are constantly replaced by younger ones and we need a steady supply of nutrients to support this rapid growth. If you eat a good balance of foods, you'll be fueling the growth of your skin, so make sure your diet includes an abundance of helpful vitamins, such as A, C, E, and the Bs.
Don’t forget about great healing spices like turmeric and cloves. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties and cloves are tiny little immune-boosting powerhouses. Healing herbs such as chamomile, thyme, or rosemary should be part of your “medicine garden.”
NOTE: Don’t skip meals because that means you’ll skip nourishment - and your skin will age faster because it is lacking what it needs to repair and regenerate!
RULES OF SKIN CARE - BONUS TIPS
Finally, follow these bonus tips that many dermatologists would add as pillars of anti-aging:
- Avoid major oxidators such as cigarettes.
- Get plenty of exercise and sleep.
- Practice stress management.
If you follow the rules of skin care outlined above, and make a few important behavioral adjustments, you’ll be well on your way to having clear, vibrant, healthy skin.
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