Beyond good nutrition and drinking plenty of water, if you are seeking a skin care regimen to help maintain healthy, hydrated and youthful looking skin there are a seemingly endless range of products. Once you have narrowed down the essentials, for optimum results you will need to know which products to apply first. Following are the basic steps.
Step One – Cleanse
Carefully cleanse your skin before applying moisturizers or skin treatments. This important first step removes dirt, oils and dead skin to help maximize the effectiveness of the remaining steps in your skin care regimen. Avoid soaps and harsh cleansers that may cause severe drying and irritation. Opt for alcohol free cleansers and be careful to choose one that is appropriate for your skin type.
- Dry skin – try cream or gel cleansers. If your skin is especially dry, avoid cleansing your face more than once per day.
- Oily skin – if you opt for a foaming cleanser to combat oily skin, look for a creamy formulation to prevent the risk of over drying.
- Acne-prone skin – According to WebMD, medicated cleansers with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, sodium sulfacetamide, or benzoyl peroxide, can also help clear up skin.
Step Two – Tone
Toning is quite often a neglected step, however it is important for several reasons:
- completes the cleansing process, removing final traces of skin cleanser, oils, makeup and dead skin
- soothes and calms skin after the initial cleansing process and prepares it for the next steps
- shrinks pores
- helps restore pH balance of skin
- helps prevent ingrown hairs
Step Three – Treat
From fading age spots and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles to fighting breakouts, skin treatments and serums can help address a myriad of concerns. Some of the more popular options include acne treatments, retinal and hyaluronic acid. Generally apply treatments while your face is still damp and before moisturizing for best absorption into the skin. Follow product package instructions carefully, and consult with your doctor or dermatologist with any questions.
Step Four – Moisturize
The products we use for cleansing, drying effects of the sun and wind, and the heat from a shot shower are just a few of the reasons a good moisturizer is needed to restore hydration and suppleness to our skin. Moisture at least once or twice daily, as needed based. This is especially important if you are over 40 and experiencing the dryer skin that often results from changes in hormone levels.
Step Five – Protect
According to The International Dermal Institute, “Exposure to daylight and ultraviolet (UV) rays on a daily basis means we really need to ensure we’re protecting our skin year round.” It is still important to avoid prolonged sun exposure because no product offers complete protection from excessive sun exposure. Proper use of sunscreen can help offer some protection from the following:
- skin damage
- premature aging
What about if you would like to apply makeup? Do the steps ever change? There will be exceptions – think multipurpose bb creams, but generally speaking, makeup should usually be applied after you give your sunscreen a little time to absorb into your skin. One more tip for healthy, beautiful skin ladies – never sleep in your makeup!
Each product is different and your needs may vary with the seasons and over time, so always read the product application instructions and share any concerns with your dermatologist.