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(Note: This article is a part of our 31-day series, “31 Days to a Whole Body Makeover“.)
Your skin is the largest organ of the body. And like all of the other organs, its functions are essential for our well-being, therefore demanding that we take good care of it for our overall health, including daily maintenance.
Here is your guide to properly caring for your skin, with a step by step skin care routine!
The skin serves as a barrier that holds everything in, expels and keeps bad things out, and selectively lets in the things that we could put to good use, like vitamins.
Unfortunately, some bad things do get through and cause major trouble. For example, the sun’s rays can permeate our skin, causing a change in our DNA, and produce an overgrowth of new cells that turn into a cancer, sometimes being the most fast-spreading killer, malignant melanoma. In fact, one in five Americans will develop some type of skin cancer within our lifetime.
In addition to risks of skin cancers, the sun’s rays also account for 90% of aging to our skin, the rest being made up of exposure to pollutants in the air.
Have you ever left a rubberband outside only to find it and realize that it was all cracked and easy to break? Just as the sun causes a rubberband to disintegrate, it too will cause the breakdown of the proteins in our skin called collagen and elastin, causing the wrinkling and sagging of the skin.
As for the pollutants that contribute to 10% of aging? We’ve got free radicals to blame.
Free radicals are formed when the oxygen in your skin mixes with the pollutants in the air. They permeate the skin, causing a terrible chain reaction in the DNA that can lead to/contribute to skin cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Think of the last time you cut open an avocado or an apple. Just like our skin, they very quickly turn brown from the pollutants in the air mixing with the oxygen being released from the fruit, causing free radicals to brown the newly opened fruit. Dirt, smog, car exhaust, cigarette smoke… there are so many pollutants in the air that by the time we go to bed at night, our face has an invisible layer of gunk that if left overnight will continue to attack our skin as we sleep and not allowing for the replenishing of skin that *should* be happening overnight! Yikes!
Thankfully, our skin was so divinely designed that we do have a barrier of protection called the acid mantle that when you wash and tone your face, you replenish that acid mantle, keeping those free radicals at bay. And it allows for the absorption of antioxidants to help stand guard while the skin replenishes.
When it comes to putting antioxidants on the skin before bedtime, the most important vitamin I look for in a nighttime serum is vitamin E, but there are other many beneficial vitamins as well. Remember the newly opened apple I referenced earlier? What happens when you put vitamin C on the fruit? It blocks the oxidization, and thus, it doesn’t brown! Science!
So if you get into the habit of taking care of your skin, you will both prevent cancerous skin growths and delay the aging process significantly.
To help you know how to take these precautions, we are going to explore basic skin care practices, and I will be breaking this up a little bit, so for today let’s just focus on the basic daily skin care that you absolutely should be doing every.
Your Daily Skin Care Routine
To take care of your skin, you need to make sure you wash your face twice a day: Once after waking up (or waiting until after the gym if you work out in the morning), and then again before bed.
This is the routine that works best for every skin type, and is needed to be done every morning, and every night before bed. This is just the minimum of what you should be doing.
For your convenience, I have linked to the products I personally recommend. These are affiliate links, but the opinions expressed are 100% mine. I would never recommend a product I personally would not use.
Mountain Rose Herbs has a GREAT skin care line, much of it being organic, but all of it plant-based, which is the only way to go. I will always stand by the importance of using petro-chemical free skin care products. Burt’s Bees is equally superior, in fact, their sunscreen for the face is rated among the top sunscreens! And my first love, Aveda, is among the gold standard as well. These three skin care lines are your very best bet for great skin.
Basic Care (the bare minimum):
STEP 1: Cleanse. Use upward circles as you apply it to your face with wet hands.
STEP 2: Tone. Spray a few mists of toner onto your face to help replenish your acid mantel, or your protective barrier.
STEP 3: (Morning) Sunscreen (Burt’s Bees rated among the very best!) – The sunscreen in your makeup is not going to cut it! Buy a facial sunscreen from the skin care aisle of your store.
STEP 4: Moisturizer. Even oily skin needs moisturizer. Read the labels to find the type that works best for your skin.
I would really recommend adding a few more steps to really take the best care of your skin possible:
Advanced Care (recommended for optimal results):
STEP 1: Cleanse
STEP 2: Tone
STEP 3: Eye Cream (facial moisturizer is not recommended for the delicate tissue around the eyes; they may cause white bumps near the eyes.)
STEP 4: (Night) Serum – Antioxidants or other nighttime serums that will repair your skin overnight while you sleep.
STEP 5: (Morning) Sunscreen
STEP 6: Moisturizer
STEP 7: Lips – Apply a protective layer to your lips, day and night.
Once a week, it is recommended that you treat your skin to an exfoliation and a treatment mask (or masque)
STEP 1: Cleanse
STEP 2: Treatment Masque (preferably exfoliating or purifying like a clay-based masque) Allow it to sit for ten minutes.
STEP 3: Wipe off with a hot towel
STEP 4: Soothing/cooling masque (preferably something hydrating and repairing) Allow it to sit for ten minutes or more.
STEP 5: Wipe off with a cool towel.
STEP 6: Tone
STEP 7: Eye Cream
STEP 8: Moisturizer
STEP 9: Lips
For tips on treating acne and other breakouts, check out how to Clear Up Your Acne the Right Way!
Have you been having any specific challenges with your skin? Please feel free to ask me about it in the comments below!
If you found the tips in this article to be helpful, please share with your social media friends! Thank you!