Our regular habits make a big difference over time, whether we’re talking about food, exercise, and, yes, skincare. What we do on a daily or weekly basis adds up, for better or worse.
For example, regularly sleeping in makeup can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Routinely skipping sunscreen can mean sunburn and cumulative skin damage over time. How else could your daily habits be influencing your skin?
Read on to discover daily, weekly and monthly tweaks you can make to improve the health and appearance of your skin, starting today.
Your daily skincare routine starts with washing your face twice a day. Wash once in the morning, and once again before you go to sleep.
Your morning wash is to prep your skin for products like antioxidants, moisturizers, and sunscreens. If you have drier or more mature skin, your morning routine might consist of a gentle cream or micellar cleanser. If your skin gets more oily overnight, you’ll probably prefer a more traditional gel or foaming cleanser.
Before bed, you're washing away impurities that built up on your skin during the day. This buildup clogs pores, trapping dirt and pollution on your skin. This in turn, blocks your skin from repairing itself while you sleep. At night, take care to thoroughly cleanse your skin of makeup, oils and the day’s grime.
A hot shower can be tempting, but using lukewarm water is much better for the health of your skin. Limit the length of your shower and pat the moisture from your skin with a soft towel instead of rubbing it. Use the same principle when washing your hands to avoid scaling and flaking skin.
In addition to using a daily moisturizer on your face, pay special attention to the area around your eyes. This is the thinnest skin on your body. Use an eye cream to hydrate and boost collagen production.
Other areas to pay attention to are your neck, decolletage, hands, and arms. These areas show the signs of sun damage and aging before the other parts of the body. The best time to apply your moisturizer is right after you shower when your skin is most primed to absorb it.
If you only follow one piece of skincare advice, let it be using sunscreen! Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher every single day. Even if the sun isn’t out. Sunscreens not only protect against skin cancer, but also decrease the signs of aging and keep your skin barrier healthy. Choose a broad-spectrum formula, with both UVA and UVB blockers.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. So if you’re not giving your body what it needs to be healthy, it will show up on your skin. Drink lots of water (at least 3.7 liters a day for men and 2.7 liters a day for women), get lots sleep and eat lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Exfoliation is an important part of any good skincare routine. Regularly exfoliating your skin smooths rough patches, reduces redness, fades acne scars and dark spots, and brightens your overall complexion.
Chemical exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy-acids are slightly more acidic than the skin. This allows them to gently loosen dead skin cells from living ones. Think of them as dissolving the glue between skin cells.
Mechanical exfoliation involves using a rough surface (like a washcloth or cleansing brush) or granular substances (like sugar and salt scrubs) to slough off the top layer of skin.
One to three times per week, you should exfoliate to reveal new, fresh skin cells beneath the upper surface of the skin. Your method of exfoliation is up to you.
Face masks have the power to quickly deliver a potent dose of powerful ingredients. A face maskcan address nearly every skin care concern- from age spots, wrinkles and fine lines to clogged pores, dryness and dullness. Pick a day each week to unwind for the 10 to 15 minutes it takes for the mask to work its magic.
Tailor the mask to your skin type. If you are experiencing oily skin and blemishes, a clay mask might do the trick. If you are feeling dehydrated, choose a mask with a burst of moisture like hyaluronic acid. If you’re feeling sensitive, a cream-based mask with soothing botanicals like oats can deliver soothing. For dullness, a brightening vitamin C or AHA mask can help perk things up.
Not only will you be infusing your face with skin-healthy ingredients, but studies show that lowering stress leads to clearer skin.
You might not think your workout has anything to do with your skin, but exercising at least three times a week tightens skin and reduces stress, which in turn leads to better skin.
Your very best skincare routine means absolutely nothing if the surfaces you come in contact with daily are dirty. Clean all makeup brushes, cell phones, and pillow cases weekly. Not sure how to clean your tools without damaging them? Here’s a quick guide:
How to clean your makeup brushes
Overusing a physical exfoliator can be very drying on your skin. So stick to an in-shower body scrub once a month. Massage a gentle sugar scrub into your skin using circular motions over your entire body, paying particular attention to dry areas like knees and elbows. You should feel your skin tingling, which is a good sign that the scrub is activating your circulation. Rinse it off, dab yourself dry, and finish with a skin toning body butter.
A facial is a multi-step skincare process that deep cleans your pores and sloughs away dead skin cells. A facial follows a pattern of cleansing, exfoliating, steaming, extracting, masking, treating, moisturizing, and massaging. There are also steps to treat specific skin conditions. Once a month, treat yourself to a facial with our step by step guide to an at-home facial.
Even a skincare routine that's worked reliably for you may need a tweak from time to time. Check in and reassess at the start of each season. Evaluate everything from your diet to the products you use. Dry winters usually require heavier, more hydrating products. Hot summers, on the other hand, are a good time for pore clearing skin acids. Otherwise, if you're experiencing breakouts, or your skin stops responding to a product the way it once did, consider seeing a dermatologist.
From face masks to serums, you may not use up your products before they expire. Expired skincare products can become contaminated with bacteria. And when applied to the skin, this bacteria could cause irritation, rashes, blemishes, even skin infections. Once a month, check the expiration dates of your products for anything that needs to be tossed.
Once a month, check your skin for any moles or spots that have changed. If you notice any changes, make an appointment with your dermatologist. Learn how to do a thorough self-exam to detect skin cancer from the American Academy of Dermatology.
You only have one skin and time invested in skin care is time well spent for maintaining its health. With a few minutes twice a day you can create a big improvement, with a few weekly and monthly habits to keep things on track. To summarize, here are the key takeaways to keep in mind for your daily, weekly and monthly skincare steps.
Print out our skincare guide cheat sheets and keep them on hand until the steps become habit. With our daily, weekly and monthly guide to better skin, you’ll be glowing in no-time. Give your skincare all the TLC it needs with the only skincare guide you’ll ever need.