Much to my friend’s chagrin, I never understood the need for a skin care routine.
Growing up, I felt there was a certain stigma associated to being ‘one of those girls’, you know the ones, the ones who were forever moisturizing, the ones who very girly and had to maintain their appearance and I began associating being girly with most ‘ self- care’ routines.
So I lost my interest in make-up, only cared about skin care when I needed to get rid of a pimple and moisturized once a day.
I had a lip balm because I didn’t like cracked lips, but those were the only concessions I allowed myself, because I thought being a ‘ real girl’ meant spending less time being vain and more time being productive.
As I got older, I began to realize how important my skin and overall health actually was and started to slowly move out of the mindset that taking care of myself was vain or shallow, instead I noticed the health benefits, however, I then felt overwhelmed by the sheer about of products out there that seemed necessary.
So yeah, I abandoned ship again.
Recently, after a very thorough massage, the masseur told me my skin was too dry… that made no sense to me; my skin was clear and glowing right?
The culture shock after she explained that I needed a better skin care regiment, including needing to protect myself from UV rays, made me realize that maybe I needed to bite the proverbial bullet and figure out a regimen that made sense to me.
If you’re like me, buckle up as I break down the real things you need for your skin and as it turns out, it’s not that difficult!
A healthy body shows in your skin, so whatever you’re putting into your body will impact your skin.
This is why increasing your veggie intake as well as eating foods rich in healthy oils, zinc and beta carotene are so highly recommended for better health and skin.
Caroline Cederquist, MD, author of The MD Factor Diet, explains that an overall healthy diet, including at least 2 litres of water goes a very long way in keeping the skin healthy.
“… it is also the combination of eating a well-balanced diet in lean, adequate protein, and healthy fats along with staying hydrated,” says Cederquist.
Board-certified dermatologist and surgeon Margarita Lolis, MD, goes further, explaining water hydrates the cells in the body, and flushes toxins, resulting in a healthier system.
“The truth is that when you drink water, it doesn’t automatically go to the skin. It hydrates cells once absorbed into the bloodstream and filtered by the kidneys. So at the cellular level, drinking water is great as it flushes the system and hydrates our bodies overall,” says Lolis.
Skin care routines when you boil it all down consist of three main steps including cleansing, toning and moisturizing.
It starts with washing your face ( cleansing) this most basic and essential step is the best way to get rid of sebum and other environmental pollutants and should be done twice a day to avoid acne and clogged pores.
New York City dermatologist Dr. Carlos Charles, says “Our skin comes in contact with environmental pollutants, dirt and other factors each day that should be gently removed.”
Lolis recommends using a gentle cleanser rather than soap, to avoid stripping your skin of essential and healthy oils.
The second step in the routine is toner, which is basically balancing your skin and should be done after washing your face to further remove dead skin cells or to boost hydration and subtly treat fine lines.
“Toners are most helpful and necessary for people with oily or acne-prone skin, or for people who want extra cleansing after wearing makeup or other heavy skin products such as sunscreen,” says Dr. Hadley King, a New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist.
The last step in this process is to moisturize your skin, which is where the hydration and softening of the skin happens.
“Essentially, moisturizers assist in preventing water loss through the outer layers of skin,” Dr. Charles explains. “They can also complement the naturally found protective oils and other building blocks within the skin, such as ceramides.”
While moisturizers are necessary for all skin types, especially since as we age, skin will naturally lose the ability to retain moisture and some daily activities will strip natural hydrators from the surface, the texture of the moisturizer will be dependent on your skin type.
It’s no surprise in this day and age how good exercise is for your physical, mental and even emotional health and so when it comes to skin, the biggest organ on the body, getting ourselves moving on a regular basis will not just have endorphins soaring, but also help you to keep that fresh faced and youthful appearance.
Dr Rekha Tailor, Aesthetic Doctor of health + aesthetics clinic, Farnham, lists Zumba, Yoga, Running, Cycling, Swimming, Pilates, Resistance and Weight training as some of the best exercises to help with healthy skin.
“Resistance training helps to stimulate the production of collagen within the body, which makes the skin, appear thicker and suppler; this form of training also helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite,” says Tailor. “Cycling encourages blood flow around the body and helps to get rid of toxins, resulting in clearer skin. Taking to your bike is also a great exercise to protect the skin from pollution. Air pollutants rob the skin of oxygen resulting in a dull and tired complexion and damage to the skin”.
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