Giving your Skin the TLC is Deserves

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Your skin is your largest organ, and it receives abuse from many sources: unprotected hours in the sun, products with harsh chemicals, and unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Our skin tells our age, so it’s never too early to start treating your skin with the care and attention it deserves.

A Cornucopia of Products

There are many skincare products out on the market, and it can be intimidating to select the right products that will work for you. Whether you want to target aging wrinkles, sun spots or more, a skincare regimen does not have to be complicated or expensive. With a little knowledge about your skin type, you can find core products that will help your skin stay balanced, refreshed, and glowing. Creating a skincare routine can be daunting, but a good place to start is with a basic skincare routine that addresses your skin’s specific needs. To avoid confusing your skin and creating unwanted adverse reactions, don’t use too many products at one time. Once you find products that work for you, stick with that routine and your skin will thank you.

What Is Your Skin Identity?

Before choosing a personalized skincare regimen, consider what skin type you have. Understanding your skin type is an important first step so you don’t treat your skin with products that could cause allergic reactions. There are five general skin types:

  • Normal – balanced, not particularly sensitive, and not too oily or dry
  • Oily – enlarged oil glands and pores, shiny, prone to acne
  • Dry – dehydrated, flaky, textured
  • Combination – oily in the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) and dry in other areas
  • Sensitive and acne prone – red, easily irritated, and allergic to many products

Tailored Skincare

Now that you are familiar with your skin type, it’s time to develop a basic routine to meet your skin’s needs. No matter your skin type, begin with a habit of cleansing, exfoliating, toning, moisturizing and protecting your face morning and night. The type of products you use will depend on your skin. Remember, what works well for one person may not work for you.

Keep It Simple

The way you take care of your skin contributes to your complexion’s vitality, glow, smoothness, and bounce. In order to care for your skin properly and effectively, understand what products you should include in your morning and nighttime routines.

Wash That Grime off Your Face

Before you wash your face, start with clean hands. This will prevent any transfer of bacteria from your hands to your face, which could result in breakouts. If you wear makeup, first use a makeup remover, then splash your face with lukewarm water and begin to cleanse. Oatmeal is a natural, universal cleanser and exfoliator, and is suitable for all skin types because of its calming and soothing properties. Apply your cleanser of choice in gentle upward motions and rinse off with lukewarm water. Gently pat dry with a towel and do not use rubbing motions, which can cause irritation of the skin.

Out with the Old, in with the New

Exfoliation is important for removing dead skin cells and keeping your skin texture smooth. Your skin cells renew themselves every 28 days, so you should exfoliate no more than two to three times a week. Rinse off your exfoliator with lukewarm water, pat dry, and follow with an alcohol-free toner. Avoid using products with alcohol, which can strip your skin of essential oils and cause dryness and irritation.

It’s Time to Recalibrate

After cleansing and exfoliating, your skin pH may be slightly unbalanced. Using toner helps to neutralize your skin, remove residual traces of makeup, and gives your skin a healthy glow. Follow with a moisturizer formulated for your skin type.

Lock In That Moisture

Think of your moisturizer as the top coat for your skin. Moisturizer seals in hydration for your skin and keeps your skin looking supple, vibrant, and youthful. Just like an apple a day keeps the doctor away, supple skin keeps the wrinkles away. Apply a generous amount of moisturizer in an upward circular motions and don’t forget your neck and décolletage, as these areas are quick to show signs of aging.

Shield Your Skin

As part of your morning skin routine, always follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains zinc oxide, which is effective in deflecting both UVA and UVB rays. Excessive exposure to UVA and UVB rays causes damage to your skin on a deeper level and can lead to the development of skin cancer. So slather on that high-level SPF sunscreen before you spend time in the sun.

Common Skin Conditions

Skin conditions such as rosacea, dryness, age spots, sun damage or hyperpigmentation are common, but there are treatments available to prevent these conditions from getting worse. If you suffer from rosacea, your skin is sensitive, easily irritated, textured, and embarrassingly red all the time. Although the cause of rosacea is unknown, there are prescription oral and topical solutions to help reduce discomfort and redness. Speak to your doctor about a regimen that is right for you.

If you suffer from age spots, sun damage or hyperpigmentation, you have probably spent many years in the sun. Age spots are a type of hyperpigmentation – the increased production of melanin, the pigment that produces color in our skin. Age spots are brown or black in color, are rounded and flat, and are benign. Treatments to fade the pigmentation include prescription creams containing hydroquinone, lasers and chemical peels. These treatments can increase sun sensitivity, so be sure to generously apply sunscreen.

If you suffer from dryness, your skin is dehydrated, rough, scaly, and itchy. Weather, medical conditions, and repeated hand-washing can exacerbate this condition and cause painful fissures in the skin. Be sure to stay hydrated, moisturize frequently, and avoid using products that contain alcohol or other harsh chemicals that can aggravate your skin.

Article by
Cedar Rapids Plastic Surgeon