Tag Archives: Skin Care Routine

Five Steps To A Great Skincare Routine

There is nothing new about the “less is more” concept. Even before Susie Faux termed the phrase “capsule wardrobe” in the seventies, people have realized the wisdom of quality over quantity and the freedom derived from having less. So why is it that so many people are obsessed with multi-step beauty routines?

Of course, if you have the time and patience, you’re welcome to spend as much of it on skin care as you like, but, if you don’t, there is nothing wrong with keeping it scaled down. Remember, you own your beauty routine, it doesn’t own you. So, if you believe in keeping it short and sweet, here’s are five steps that will help you maximize while you minimize.

Woman cleansing skin

Cleanse
Cleansing skin is the most basic step in a skin routine. It should be done twice daily, once in the morning and once at night, to give skin time to heal and breath without being clogged by makeup and debris.

Cleansing should be done with clean hands. Begin by wetting skin with warm water to open the pores. Apply a cleanser appropriate to your skin type using upward circular motions. Some products will be more effective if you leave them on for a minute or two to allow penetration. Remove with damp cotton pads or by splashing your face with cold water. (Cold water will close up pores.) Pat dry gently with a clean towel.

Tone
Toning restores your skin’s pH balance, which is usually altered during the cleansing process. This step can also make your skin more resistant to bacteria. Some toners will only restore your skin’s pH, others will kill bacteria, still others may contain an extra ingredient to prevent acne. Choose the one that suits your skin, and, if you have sensitive skin, be sure to use a specially formulated toner.

Apply toner to entire face with a cotton pad, taking care to avoid your eyes. Do not rinse off.

Woman moisturizing

Moisturize
Moisturizing is the most important step in the beauty routine, and should not be omitted, even if your skin is oily. There is quite a variety of moisturizing products, such as gels (oily skin), creams (dry/sensitive skin), and serums (normal/oily skin). Some may contain anti wrinkle, and anti acne agents, others may tint, or tan, skin.

Apply moisturizer to the face and neck, after toner has dried, using a circular motion. You may want to follow up with a separate moisturizer targeted toward preventing swelling and aging in the eye area.

Exfoliate
Once or twice weekly, use an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells. Make sure not to use anything too harsh, which can irritate skin and tear skin cells.

Remove makeup and massage the exfoliator gently into your face using an outward circular motion for about thirty seconds. Remember, gently is the key word here! If you’re using an exfoliating wash cloth, soak it in warm water and rub it in small circles on your face. Be sure to target creases by your nose and other areas on which blackheads tend to develop.

Face mask

Face Mask
Peel off masks are the best option for unclogging pores, and are the best for oily or acne prone skin. Those with dry skin will benefit most from moisturizing masks.

Choose a natural, mild mask. Keep applications down to once a week or less; frequent applications will result in over cleansing your face. You can make your own, in the interest of keeping it natural, or use a store bought one, following directions on the package.

What do you think of the five-step skin routine? Is less more, or is more more? Let us know what you think?

Boost Your AHA

Woman getting a cleansing treatment

Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of several types of acids which naturally occur in foods, including but not limited to citric acid from citrus fruits, glycolic acid from sugar cane, lactic acid from milk, malic acid from apples, and tartaric acid from grapes. But why should you care? Well, interestingly enough, there’s a fair bit of evidence indicating that alpha-hydroxy acids could help even out and firm up your skin when applied topically. While more study is necessary to say for certain, alpha-hydroxy acids seem to be able to remove the top layers of dead skin cells, making them a powerful exfoliant, and cause deeper, living layers of skin to thicken, which may promote firmness, acting as a potential anti-aging ingredient.

So let’s go over a few of the ways you can use alpha-hydroxy acids to better your skin.

Commercial Creams
You can get commercially available creams that contain various alpha-hydroxy acids in moisturizers, peels, etc. For something you’re going to leave on long-term, you don’t want anything stronger than a 8% concentration for most alpha-hydroxys, and 14% for products using the alpha-hydroxy acid acid gluconalactone. Leave-on creams with this concentration are effective for treating sun-damaged and aging skin to help firm it up.

For exfoliation to get softer, smoother skin and/or help reduce the appearance of acne scars, glycolic acid is a good bet. You should use glycolic acid peels once every two weeks, starting with a 20% concentration and then building to 35%, 50%, and finally 70%, leaving the peel on for 2 minutes the first time, and adding a minute every time until you hit 4-5 minutes.

Homemade Treatments
Remember how we said that alhpa-hydroxy acids are found in foods? You can take advantage of this fact by using fresh fruits right at home. You can apply lemon juice to your face (though you might want to water it down slightly, try one part lemon juice to one part water) and rinse after leaving it there for a few minutes. You can also used crushed papaya, tomato seed pulp (the juicy, seedy center of the tomato), plain yogurt (which contains lactic acid), or blended pineapple meat as an anti-aging mask. It might be a little messy and sticky, but the leftovers from your project mean you get an anti-aging treatment and a snack at the same time!

Talk to Your Dermatologist and Listen to Your Body
With all alpha-hydroxy acids (and, for that matter, beauty products in general) listen to your body, and immediately stop and rinse off the product or homemade treatment if it starts to cause uncomfortable pain, tingling, or burning (low-levels of tingling that do not cause discomfort are okay).

Finally, make sure you discuss your skincare with a dermatologist, and don’t forget to detail all aspects of your home care! And with potentially harmful acids (alpha-hydroxy acids are considered generally safe in the right concentrations and when used correctly, but they are still acid, and can quite literally burn you if misused), you should check with your dermatologist before beginning any homemade treatments. Tell them exactly what you intend to try and get the all clear first. It may sound like a pain, but “better safe than sorry” definitely applies here!