If you’re over the age of fifteen, then chances are that you’re a target of many cosmetic and skin care companies trying to bombard you with products that you ‘just need in your life’. The breadth of these companies and their products can be quite overwhelming and sometimes even confusing, do I need this, do I not need this? And more often than not you do not need all the miracle items thrown at you. What you need is a concise, basic and most importantly an unbiased source of information to see what you really need, or as the skin care queen Liah Yoo says, “giving your skin what it craves”
Let us first see the constituents of good skin care and break down the essential and basic steps to see what is needed and what isn’t.
Use a Cleanser Which is Closest to Skin pH
It includes a cleanser, actives (if required), moisturizer and most importantly, a good sunblock. Starting off with the cleanser, remember these golden words, whoever tells you use a strong soapy harsh cleanser that is meant to strip off your face is not your friend, drop them from your life! The cleanser is the part of our skin care routine that can be the most damaging to our skin barrier so the gentler it is, the better it is for us. It doesn’t matter if you have oily skin, our skin barrier should always be kept intact. Use a gentle gel facial cleanser that is the closest to our skin pH, which is slightly acidic, between 4-5. It is important to choose a cleanser that aims as closely as possible to your skin concerns and type, being acne, dry, combination or oily. If after washing your skin you get that squeaky clean and tight feeling, it means that that particular cleanser is too harsh for your skin.
Avoid Using Too Many Actives or Serums at Once
The next step is the actives or serums part; this is something that people get the most confused about. With more and more affordable actives and serums coming to the market the biggest mistake that people make is getting too many too soon. The best thing to do is to do one activity at a time. Look at your skin, prioritize your concerns and target one issue at a time. Do not follow the Instagram trends of taking tons of layers of expensive serums and dumping them on your face all at once. Take your time on your skin, it is understandable that when you finally decide to take care of your skin, you would want to fix everything at once. But it takes time for our skin to adjust to a new routine, so work slowly but continuously.
Choose Moisturizer According to Your Skin Type
The second last step is our moisturizer. It is first important to understand the difference between a moisturizer and a humectant. Basically a humectant brings hydration to the skin, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid bring water or hydration to the skin. A moisturizer, on the other hand, provides, well, moisture but it also maintains the moisture, almost enclosing the goodness of our skin under a blanket. It is important to remember that body lotions are not made for the skin and are generally heavier on the skin on our face. Another misconception that some people have is to think that all oils are moisturizing. While some may be, such as naturally derived squalene, others like coconut oil are occlusive to the skin and do not allow the skin to breathe. In fact, coconut oil can be quite comedogenic and can cause acne to many skin types. Always choose your moisturizer according to your skin type since heavier kinds can lead to breakouts.
Don’t Forget to Use a Good SPF or Sunblock
The last and yet the most crucial step is a good SPF or sunblock. You cannot be serious about your skin unless you take sun damage seriously. The two types of sun rays that can damage our skin are the UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays can cause sunburns and the number on your sunscreen refers to your protection against that. It is generally seen that a sunscreen between the range of 30 to 50 works perfect, anything exceeding that is unnecessary. UVA rays cause wrinkles and can penetrate through our windows so you still have to wear sunscreen even when you are indoors. When a sunblock has written on it, ‘broad-spectrum’, it means it will protect you against UVA rays too. Lastly, yes, you have to wear sunscreen in winters too, anyone who says otherwise is cuckoo.