Taking Care of Your Skin
Skin care is, and should, be an important part of every woman's life. While some might argue that investing in skin care products is superficial, or frivolous, taking care of your skin is central to your well-being.
Our skin is not only an important organ, like our brain or heart, it is our largest organ. Skin protects us against infection and illness. Looking after our skin helps to keep us from developing acne, or wrinkles and reduces the risk of developing various types of skin cancer, such as melanoma.
It seems that everywhere you turn there are skin care products for women claiming to do it all: prevent blemishes, get rid of wrinkles and replenish dry, irritated skin, and some even tout skin tag removal, but before buying expensive skin care products, you should determine what type of skin you have.
The four skin types are:
Women who have dry skin often feel that their skin is tight, or rough. Dry skin is often also flaky and scaly, and it can sometimes be red or itchy. If you have dry skin, you should avoid washing with hot water. Also, stay away from harsh soaps and alcohol-based skin products, as these will only further irritate your skin.
Oily skin is shiny in appearance and often has large pores; it is also prone to acne. If you have oily skin, you should avoid scrubbing your face as this will lead to more breakouts; use non-comedogenic skin products.
Normal skin has a healthy glow and does not have any redness or large pores. It is neither oily nor dry; women with this skin type should use products that will help their skin maintain its natural water balance.
Combination skin has areas that are dry and oily. The oily sections are generally the forehead, nose and chin (also known as the T-zone), while cheeks tend to be less oily. Women with combination skin should use products developed specifically for their skin type, in order to avoid over-drying their skin and causing irritation.
Women with sensitive skin should ensure that that they use water-soluble products and wash with tepid water to avoid irritation. Look for alcohol-free skin care products and sensitive skin care products that contain thyme, rosemary and calamine.
Women with dry, or sensitive skin should also take short showers or baths of no more than five to ten minutes, using lukewarm water. They should use a moisturizing cream immediately after a shower or bath; moisturizing hand soap is also useful in keeping the skin properly hydrated.
Daily Skin Care
Every woman's skin care routine should be made up of three main components, morning and night: cleansing, toning and moisturizing.
Cleansers remove makeup, dirt and oil. If you have normal or oily skin, you can use soap, while a formulated cream works better for women with sensitive skin. Make sure to rinse well, splashing the face five to ten times with warm water. Pat dry.
A toner or astringent removes any remaining traces of oil, dirt and soap. Those with drier, or more sensitive skin should consider alcohol level when purchasing a toner, as toners can dry out the skin. Toners should be applied using a cotton pad or cotton ball. Toners are especially helpful for those with oily or combination skin.
Moisturizing is an important final step of every woman's daily skin care regimen; even oily skin needs to be well moisturized. A skin care moisturizer cream helps replenish the skin, helping it regain the moisture lost throughout the day and through the cleansing process. Dot moisturizer on gently and avoid rubbing it in.
Using a mask once-weekly helps deep clean the pores and replenishes moisture to the skin.
Also remember to keep your hands off your face; touching your face spreads germs and can lead to break outs. Wash your hands with soap and water.
Skin care doesn't have to be expensive; there are many affordable skin care options available for women. Find a brand that works for your skin type and stick with it for at least 6 to 8 weeks in order to start seeing results.
Diet and Your Skin
One of the easiest ways to get healthy, glowing skin is to maintain a balanced diet. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables helps skin look and feel its best while drinking lots of water keeps skin moisturized.
While most people develop facial acne and body acne as teenagers, due to hormonal changes, adults can also develop acne due to stress and changes in hormone levels.
Proper acne treatment should include the use of a cleanser containing either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, both of which help reduce breakouts.
Cleanse the face gently; scrubbing only exacerbates the skin. Also be sure to change your pillowcase on a regular basis, as it can trap oil. Pull your hair back as much as possible; oil in the hair can cause breakouts, especially along the hairline.
Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer and foundation to avoid clogging your pores.
More severe forms of acne are more effectively treated using prescribed oral treatments, such as birth control pills and oral antibiotics. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about which oral acne treatment is best for you.
Anti-Aging Skin Care
The most common signs of aging skin are the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; skin also loses its elasticity due to a decrease in collagen production.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet also minimizes the effects of aging on your skin. So does not smoking.
Look for skin anti-aging care products that contain flax oil and vitamin B complexes. Many top skin care products have anti-aging skin care treatments that contain retinol. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol boosts collagen and elastin in the skin, making it appear more youthful and healthy-looking. Retinol also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Look for wrinkle free skin care products that contain retinol to keep your skin looking and feeling great.
Topical Vitamin C Skin Care
Many new skin care products contain vitamin C; vitamin C is the only antioxidant that is shown to increase the synthesis of collagen, which slows down the signs of aging. Studies have shown the effectiveness of vitamin C in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. However, when vitamin C comes into contact with oxygen, it is impenetrable and therefore useless. Ask your doctor or dermatologist about which vitamin C products are effective.
Organic Skin Care
Organic skin care products are products in which no chemicals were used during their development. Chemicals are used to produce skin care items on a large scale. Organic products help exfoliate the skin, as well as cleanse and nourish it.
Herbal Skin Care
Herbal skin care is excellent for all skin types.
- Chamomile is great for helping to soothe dry skin
- Plantain oil works well for irritated skin
- Products containing aloe help soothe skin that is inflamed or red, and also helps reduce itching.
The effects of the sun on your skin can be fatal. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation leads to changes in the skin, including moles, and pre-cancerous and cancerous growths such as melanoma.
To reduce skin sun damage, avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm, when the sun's rays are at their strongest. Always wear a sunscreen (year-round) with an SPF of 15 or higher. Make sure that your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays, as both these types of UV radiation can lead to serious sun damage. Reapply every two to three hours.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat and cover up with clothing to further protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays.