Don’t forget to smile!
Someone asked me recently for my top five best skin care tips. The question actually stopped me in my tracks, because I have way more than five and narrowing them down and prioritizing seemed impossible for me to do! But let’s face it, we all probably have five things that we do religiously for skin care.
When I think of skin care, I think of the importance of protecting it from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun, because those rays are most responsible for aging the skin. I think about dirt and oil on my skin and immediately start to squirm and want to run and jump in the shower. I think about proper hydration, especially since my skin is a bit on the drier side most days. There are so many things to think about when it comes to skin care.
I look at my bare feet and my mind races just thinking about my heels, toes, soles and nails and all the things I can do to make my feet look better. And that’s just my feet. So, I’ll entertain this exercise if you do the same. It’s a challenge, but I’ll narrow the list down to my five best skin care tips.
Here we go. My five best skin care tips…
Grimy dirt, sticky oils, dried up skin cells and way too many other terrible things to think about are everywhere! Our skin is in contact with a lot more than we can see. All these things can wreak absolute havoc on our skin. We need to properly care for our skin and that proper care starts with cleaning. Dirt, excess makeup and oil left on the skin can clog pores and make the skin look rough, tired and uneven. Keeping the skin free from all these things is important, not only for our skin to look its very best.
- Always wash your hands before you start your skin care regimen. Whether it’s cleansing, moisturizing or masking, you should always start with freshly cleansed hands so as not to transmit any more grime onto your skin.
- Try not to touch your face if you can. Every time you touch your face, you run the risk of transferring something onto your skin.
- Make sure your makeup brushes are cleaned on a regular basis, and the same thing goes for your telephone. Anything that comes into direct contact with your skin needs to be clean. You would be surprised how many people complain about one side of their face having breakouts, only to realize that it’s the side they hold their grimy phone up to when they talk.
Clean skin is definitely in the top five for me. Without a clean template to start with, the rest of your skin care regimen becomes compromised. And, by the way, I never go anywhere without a hand sanitizer to keep my hands clean, and neither should you.
Beware of the sun
I’m the first one to admit that I was a seasoned sun worshiper. I’ve fried my body in the sun like it was a piece of chicken just for that summertime deep, dark tan. But, boy, have I paid the price for it. I learned this bad practice from my mother, who to this day is a sun worshiper. No matter how many times I tell her to stay out of the sun, she just laughs at me. She has a year round tan but swears she’s never in the sun. She’s simply impossible. While I’ll never give up on pestering her about it, I know I’m fighting a losing battle. It’s because sunscreen is not a word that’s in her vocabulary—no matter what she says! Sunscreen, however, is in my vocabulary, and I truly value its importance when it comes to staying healthy and fending off signs of aging.
The sun’s rays (UVB rays) not only burn the skin, they also age the skin (UVA rays). Skin cancer aside, which is everyone’s main concern, the sun’s rays are responsible for skin spotting and discoloration, freckling, fine lines and course wrinkles. And the destruction of elastin and collagen tissue that can lead to sagging skin and wrinkles. It can even be responsible for dilation of small blood vessels under the skin. When skin is not protected, it can suffer a tremendous amount of damage at the hands of the sun. This damage is easy to prevent if we take the proactive measures necessary.
- Never go into the sun without wearing a product that contains SPF (Sun Protection Factor). SPF products are available as daytime facial moisturizers, body lotions, cosmetics, hair care products, you name it. There are no excuses when it comes to incorporating SPF into our daytime skin care regimen. From lip products to eye products, there are always options that contain sun protection. Look for those products containing SPF 30 or more for daily protection. If you’ll be swimming or sweating, choose a product that’s water resistant—and remember, you must reapply throughout the day for maximum protection.
- Stay covered up: use a wide-brimmed hat, big sunglasses, gloves and even a shady tree can help keep your skin protected. If your skin is exposed and unprotected, it’ll most likely suffer the damaging effects of the sun. Keep yourself covered up with SPF and articles of clothing whenever you’re in the sun.
- Sun protection must start at an early age. Keep your kids protected by applying product before they head off to school, and make sure they have a tube of sunscreen in their back packs. Be sure to teach them about the importance of SPF, and encourage them to apply before recess. If you start early, it’ll become a natural part of their everyday activities.
- These are drug products, so remember to use them as indicated on the label.
Exfoliating is one of my favorite things to do. If you want to remove the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, you must exfoliate. As teenagers, our bodies completely shed skin about every two weeks on average. As we age, that process gets slower and slower. It needs our help, and that’s where a good exfoliating scrub comes in. Not only will a good scrubbing reveal the youthful skin cells beneath the dead skin cell build up, it also does something very important. These scrubs remove the barrier that prevents our skin care products from penetrating into the skin to do their job to the best of their ability. If you want your products to deliver their maximum benefits, you must exfoliate on a regular basis.
- “Physical” exfoliating scrubs, also called manual scrubs, contain exfoliating particles such as blueberry seeds, jojoba beads, nut shells, sugars and salts just to name a few. These particles, when massaged into the skin, provide a physical scrubbing effect that helps to remove the skin cell buildup and other debris.
- Chemical exfoliating scrubs contain ingredients such as enzymes and other ingredients to help dissolve the dead skin cells. Some examples include commonly known acids such as Glycolic, Salicylic and Lactic acids. There’s no manual scrubbing with chemical exfoliants, and this type of exfoliating scrub may not be suitable for all skin types, as they can be a bit harsh for those with sensitive skin.
- Everyone can benefit from a facial scrub. Men and women alike will feel and see a difference in their skin after using. I use mine 1-3 times a week for maximum benefit. Remember, always use according to label instructions.
Moisturize all day, every day
When your skin is hydrated, it looks more youthful and has a radiant glow. Hydrated skin doesn’t come easily for most people. A daytime moisturizer and a rich night cream are necessary to maintain our skin’s moisture barrier and nourish the skin. Moisturizer is not just for the face, but also important for the body as well. And we all should make it part of our daily regimen to moisturize, from head to toe, each and every day.
- Look for facial moisturizers that are clinically tested. We need the hydration, so why not capitalize on other key benefits as well. We want to improve our moisture for 8 hours or more, minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and use SPF to protect us during the day. Yes, we can have it all!
- Nighttime hydration is just as important, if not more, then daytime hydration. So, never go to bed without a rich, hydrating night cream. It’ll do all the work while you sleep.
- Apply your body moisturizer when you first get out of the shower, while skin is still damp. This will help to maximize the moisture already in the skin, which the product can help you retain.
Last, but certainly not least (and some of you will say that I am cheating, but honestly I’m not)…here it goes…
Technically this isn’t a skin care tip. But I thought about eyes, lips, serums and all of those other great skin care products that are necessary for us to look our best—and a smile out ranks them all. Smiling will take years off of a person’s appearance for sure. There’s nothing more unapproachable, or unattractive for that matter, than a pouty puss. If you look happy, people will perceive you as happy. If you look grumpy and mean, well who wants to be around that? All those best skin care tips and products might be wasted, because no one will notice your fabulous skin behind that mean face.