Whether you are 16 or 65, it is never too late to begin taking better care of your skin. I believe that you should treat it according to its unique condition, rather than your age, and I don’t prescribe to skin ‘types’ as I find them too narrow in scope. When you decide to make your skin a priority, it can be overwhelming! There are tons of choices as well as friends and ‘influencers’ giving you advice, and you do not always have enough knowledge about your own skin to understand what you need.
Here are some tips on how to make the process easier, and simple things you can do to create a healthy routine that will yield great results.
- BEGIN WITH A PROFESSIONAL
Find a reputable esthetician (or depending on your condition, a dermatologist) and get a consultation. As with any doctor, you need to be your own advocate. Have a set of questions to ask. Let them know why you are there, what your concerns are, what results you are looking for, and be honest! Now is not the time to hide that you have botox regularly, certain allergies or that you may be pregnant etc, as all of these details are crucial, and will help the expert understand how to treat your skin best. The more seriously you take the process, the less reactions you will have and the better the results will be.
Depending on needs, lifestyle and budget, you and your esthetician will come up with a treatment plan that could range from 1x per year to 2x per week. And equally as important, they will help you with a home routine, advising on what ingredients and products are best for your skin.
- THERE ARE 5 KEY STEPS
Your basic skincare regimen should include the following steps in order of application:
- Cleanse: Cleansers clear away impurities and give skin the opportunity to repair and recover from product build-up and exposure to pollutants and free radicals in our environment.
- Tone: Toners are the first step to hydration, as they balance the pH of the skin and help the products that follow absorb more easily. Many people mistakenly think that toners are a second step in cleansing, but this is wrong.
- Massage (if you have severe acne, skip this step): Facial massage speeds up circulation, bringing more oxygen to the tissue, resulting in brighter, healthier skin. It can also change the shape of the face; lifting the brows, the jawline and emphasizing the cheekbones.
- Serum Application: Serums contain concentrated levels of key ingredients that target specific skin concerns.
- Moisturize: Moisturizers are the last step in hydration and seal in all of the important ingredients.
Exfoliation and masking should happen 1-2x per week.
There are so many products available in each category that address different concerns, and it is important to listen to your professional and choose the ones that are right for your particular condition at any given time. Feel free to have a few products in each category that you can use as your skin’s condition changes depending on climate, diet, lifestyle etc...
- PRIORITIZE YOUR NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
Your skin is 60% more potent to absorb products when your body is at rest. Take advantage of this and don’t skip your nighttime routine. Do all 5 steps every night. Invest in your skin, and it will show.
Your morning routine, while similar to the nighttime, has a couple of key differences. In place of cleanser, I recommend using water and a washcloth to rinse off the residue of the evening product and you can skip massage. Add in SPF 30 (you don’t need to go higher than this) if you are in the sun or a very sunny climate for more than 20-30 minutes.
- PAY ATTENTION TO CLIMATE
When the climate changes because of the season or travel, our products and treatments need slight adjustments.
- In extreme cold, you need an oil based cleanser as opposed to a water based one, which can freeze and cause capillaries to expand and burst, creating spider veins, which are permanent.
- In warmer weather, many people don’t need heavy moisturizers and can switch to lighter water based ones.
- Save aggressive treatments for the milder seasons (fall + spring). as Healing is sped up during these times because the body is not using energy to fight heat or cold.
- YOUR FACE STARTS AT THE NIPPLES AND ENDS AT THE HAIRLINE
Don’t forget about your neck and decolletage. Both have reduced lipidic layers and can reveal signs of aging more quickly than other parts of your body. Everything you do to your face should be applied to these delicate areas, and any leftovers should be used on your hands (another neglected area).
- CONSISTENCY IS KEY
The results of skincare treatments and maintenance are cumulative, much like body workouts are. You can’t change your body by working out once a month, but if you workout every day, big noticeable changes occur. The same can be said for the skin.
- THE EARLIER YOU BEGIN, THE BETTER
While typically our skin doesn’t start to show signs of aging until our 20’s, our cells’ ATP energy starts to diminish at age 7 and once puberty hits, major changes begin to take place. The sooner you begin to create a healthy skincare routine, the longer the cumulative effects last.
Please keep in mind that as you begin your regimen, your skin may have adverse reactions. This is normal as the skin is working on balancing itself out. Communicate with your esthetician along the way as they can adjust your treatments and products accordingly.