A good daily skin care routine is vital to keep your skin clean, hydrated, protected, healthy and glowing. And for this, it is important to make cleansing, toning, moisturising and protecting a regular feature in your routine.
Skin care routine
It is absolutely vital to determine your skin type prior to using any product on your skin. This is because the type of products you use will depend on your skin type. Your skin care professional will help you to know your skin type after checking your skin.
Cleansers are of various types. Those with dry skin should use a cream cleanser while those with oily skin should use a medicated cleanser with salicylic acid designed to reduce breakouts. Wash your face with warm water to loosen dirt and clogged pores. Then apply the cleanser in a gentle circular motion or with gentle upwards strokes and rinse thoroughly with cool water to close the pores.
Tip: Never use very hot or very cold water.
Toners remove any residual cleanser left on your skin. Always use a toner formulated for your skin type. Those with very dry skin should use an alcohol-free toner, also called a tonic. The toner is applied with the help of a cotton ball, using a gentle upwards stroke.
Moisturisers just like cleansers are of various types. If you have dry skin use an oil/cream based moisturisers, very sensitive skin then avoid moisturisers containing AHA’s [alpha hydroxy acids], perfumes and use moisturisers developed specially designed for sensitive skin using hypoallergenic products. Those with oily skin should opt for a gel-based moisturiser or one with in-built sunscreen.
Apart from following the normal skin care routine you must:
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- Shower immediately after exercising to maintain hygiene.
- Wear open shoes to allow circulation, especially if you perspire a lot on the feet. This will keep odours away and prevent fungal infection due to the dampness.
- Use a deodorant if you suffer from excess perspiration and body odours.
- Wear loose cotton clothing to keep comfortable and prevent sun burns
- Apply sun-block on all exposed areas.
Many women notice that their skin is extra oily around the time of their menstrual periods, during pregnancy, or at menopause.
To keep oil in control, cleanse the skin using a face wash at least twice daily. Also use a toner or astringent at home.
A natural astringent could be a few drops of eau de cologne in cold water. Scrub your face at least once a week using rice powder, lemon juice and water or oatmeal and milk.
Use a sun block with SPF 15 or 30, depending on your daily activity 20 – 30 minutes before going in the sun.
It is best to avoid sun tan
A tan is a result of exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. If the amount of exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light source exceeds the ability of the body’s protective pigment, melanin, to protect the skin then sunburn will result. Now let us understand why we tan.
Dermatologists classify skin in its relationship to sensitivity to the sun by using a rating system called as Fitzpatrick Classification of Skin Types.
Type I: Very sensitive, always burns easily going very red in sunlight, never tans
Type II: Very sensitive, always burns going red after sunlight, minimal tan after
Type III: Sensitive, burns moderately going red, tans gradually with a light tan
Type IV: Moderately sensitive rarely going red, tans easily going brown
Type V: Minimally sensitive, rarely burns, going brown always, dark brown
Type VI: Never burns, always deeply pigmented, black.
A tan is better prevented than treated. Effective sunscreens protect from UVA and UVB [long and short wavelengths of ultraviolet light], which are responsible for tanning, burning and cancerous changes in the skin. Wearing a sunscreen with high sun protection factor [SPF] is recommended. I usually suggest a sunscreen with an SPF level of 30 or greater. It should be generously applied 15 – 30 minutes before sun exposure, and re-applied every hour during and after swimming. You can also opt for make-up with sun protection.
There are two ways of getting rid a tan. One is to moisturise and gently exfoliate the skin daily to remove dead cells and help in new cell formation. Every three weeks, skin cells are replenished, and new skin cells make their way up from the lowest level of the epidermis. The secret to exfoliating is to make way for new skin cells by getting rid of dead skin cells. For those prone to tanning, a natural bleach like curd + lemon juice+ honey or egg white + corn flower + lemon juice can be used. Potato juice mixed with lemon juice is also a good exfoliator. These should be applied, kept for 5 – 10 minutes, and then rinsed off using warm water. You can also use a home-made oatmeal scrub or sugar and lime.
Second is to undertake a sun-tan removal treatment using ingredients such as tyrosine peptides, arbutin [skin whitening agent], vitamin C, mulberry extract, and liquorice extracts, which help to achieve overall lightening effects quickly. There are a variety of tan removal treatments available. These help to remove the tan by 70 – 90 per cent in a single treatment and can be undertaken weekly or monthly.
Pimples can be managed
Pimples or heat boils are caused due to excessive oil production, toxins, pollution and unhealthy habits.
For those who suffer from pimples, it is best to use products containing tea tree oil, aloe vera, fuller’s earth [multani mitti], witch hazel [natural astringent], and zinc. Tea tree oil is effective as it contains bacteria-fighting substances. Aloe vera has a soothing effect on the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Aloe vera can be used fresh from the plant. This can also be refrigerated and used cool to calm the skin.
Homemade packs containing Fuller’s earth [mixed with yogurt] and witch hazel may also be used.
Bathe at least twice daily and cleanse your skin well. This is especially important for those who perspire a lot. Fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables and water also help to keep skin healthy. Also, keep the skin calm and cool by using products containing calamine, cucumber or aloe vera. It is best to avoid comedogenic agents like cocoa butter, linseed oil, acetylated lanolin, butyl stearate, and isopropyl myristate.
Looking perfect isn’t just about your make-up routine. Healthy skin begins from within. Hence it is absolutely essential to treat the skin from the inside as well as from the outside.