Does it sometimes feel like nothing you do for your skin is right? Are you having daily battles with dry, flaky skin or oily, acne-prone areas? You might want to consider that your skin care routine (or lack of one) is doing more to contribute to these problems than fix them. In fact, many soaps, toners, cleansers, and moisturizers, as well as dermabrasion and peeling products can simply leave you frustrated and inflamed if they are not right for your skin type! For the next few weeks, we would like to talk to you about the importance of good skin care, the products and therapies that can be most effective for your facial skin, and offer some insight into the special care required for different types of skin.
Your skin is an important barrier between your body and the outside world. It protects you from harmful microorganisms and pollutants by producing an oily substance called sebum. In normal quantities, it performs a necessary and beneficial function, but daily skin care can not only wash away too much oil, it can also wash away the beneficial microorganisms your skin needs to help you remain healthy.
Skin type is inherited, but skin conditions can be linked to the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs, allergens and chemical irritants, the environment, and even chronic illnesses, like diabetes. When more than one problem exists, the challenges become ever more difficult; but, there IS hope!
Consulting a salon professional about the products and therapies suitable for you is always a good idea, but following these three, common-sense steps should help you avoid further damage to your skin.
- First, if you have oily skin, use a mild cleanser and gently cleanse – don’t scrub! Do not ever use any harsh or alkaline-based soap on your skin, especially your face. Once or twice a week, use a mud or clay-based mask that will draw out the oil. Some exfoliants can remove dead skin cells without dryness or irritation, but be sure to use products with low concentrations of alpha-hydroxy (salicylic acid) and beta-hydroxy (glycolic acid).
- If you have dry skin, you are more likely to show early signs of aging but, resist the temptation to skip proper cleansing and lather your skin with moisturizers. Instead, avoid overly alkaline products and use gentle, lotion-type cleansers with the words “milk” or “creme” in them. Use only tepid water – never HOT! Rinse thoroughly, and pat – not rub – your skin dry. Use only moisturizers meant for specific areas of the body. For example, don’t use body lotion on your face. Consider applying lotion several times during the day, especially in cold, dry weather.
- If your skin is sensitive, or you have irritated skin (dermatitis) you should avoid the use of any chemicals and consult a professional! It is important that you use NO soap of any kind, and cleansers or moisturizers without fragrances or dyes. Also, use your fingertips to cleanse, rather than a scrubbing sponge or washcloth, to avoid further irritation. Finally, use a “blotting” technique to remove excess moisture and let your skin air dry.
Following these three easy steps will keep your skin looking healthy. Remember, you should always follow the advice of a skin care specialist, like your esthetician or dermatologist and use only products designed with your skin type in mind! Check back again when we will discuss a number of beneficial facial therapies for your skin!