February 24, 2018
Are you new to skin care but don’t know where to start?
When it comes to advice on good skin care practices and products, it is very easy to get confused, feel intimidated, and be overwhelmed because there are literally hundreds of articles out there on the Internet about this topic. But don’t you worry, we got you covered.
In this article, we’ll present to you the absolute basics of good skin care. We will be talking about habits or practices you can adopt to help your skin become healthier and look fresher. We will also touch upon examples of ingredients that are found in every good skin care product, so that you will be guided in choosing which products are best for you.
Why the need for good skin care?
It should be intuitive that good skin care is important, but many people take it for granted. They assume that simply washing your face before bed time is enough. Worse, and this is true especially for men, they consider skin care as a form of vanity or something that is trivial, superficial, and unnecessary. Those are popular misconceptions about skin care and they can have negative consequences.
Below are a few of the reasons why good skin care is not only important but also necessary.
Because skin is our primary means of defense against microorganisms and other harmful elements in the environment. Our skin is the main barrier that protects us from our environment. It forms part of the integumentary system, along with our hair, nails, and sweat and oil glands. It is also our biggest external organ. Its main purpose is to shield us from viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that are found in abundance all around us. If we don’t maintain the integrity of our skin through good skin care, we’ll easily get sick.
Because skin helps regulate our body temperature. Skin has two layers: the epidermis, which is the outer layer, and the dermis, which is the inner layer. The epidermis consists of different cells that don’t have blood vessels. The dermis, on the other hand, contains a vast network of blood vessels that provide it with a healthy supply of blood. When environment temperature is high, these blood vessels dilate and provide larger amounts of blood to the dermis. As a result, the sweat glands produce more sweat and the body gives off more heat, keeping the body temperature within normal levels. On the other hand, when the temperature in the environment drops, the opposite happens. The blood vessels in the dermis constrict, thus lowering the supply of blood in the area, and therefore preventing the loss of body heat. Poor skin care practices can alter this regulatory function of the body.
Finally, skin helps eliminate body wastes. Our skin helps excrete wastes like ammonia, urea, and uric acid. These wastes are byproducts of certain body functions and they are eliminated through sweat. Unhealthy skin care habits can interfere with this function of the skin, thereby retaining these harmful wastes inside the body.
What are the basic practices of good skin care?
Now that we know that good skin care habits are absolutely essential, not just aesthetically, but also, and more importantly, for good health, let’s take a look at some of the steps we can take to get us started in our journey to good skin care:
Wash your face daily. First and foremost, wash your face at least twice every day, once upon waking up in the morning, and second before going to slee. This is the most basic but often skipped or neglected practice. A simple washing of the face immediately removes dirt, oil, and toxins from your skin.
Use sunscreen often. A common misconception is that you should only use sunscreen when you are at the beach. The fact is, you can use sunscreen wherever you may go (to your office, school, or when you’re commuting or traveling) and especially at certain times of the day. It will depend on where you live, but the hottest times of the day is usually between 10 or 11 in the morning to 2 or 3 in the afternoon. A broad-spectrum sunscreen, or one that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more is advisable.
Use skin care products and make sure they contain these essential ingredients. There are many types of skin care products, but for starters, the most basic are cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and serums. Each of these products may contain dozens of ingredients, but they can be grouped according to three kinds: antioxidants, ingredients that restore skin, and ingredients that replenish skin. More on these below.
See your dermatologist if you notice any abnormalities in your skin. It’s very cliché, but it’s true that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. If you notice any abnormalities in your skin, don’t hesitate to visit your dermatologist. Don’t wait before it’s too late. Excessive exposure to UV rays, for example, can lead to skin cancer.
What are the basic types of skin care products and what ingredients should they contain?
As mentioned above, there are many kinds of skin care products, but the most basic of them are:
Cleansers. Cleansers and soaps are not the same things. Cleansers contain special ingredients that dissolve oil from your skin. They don’t have irritants, unlike soaps. They hydrate and moisturize your skin, keeping it clean, soft, and supple at the same time.
Toners. Face toners perform several functions, but in general they remove oils from your pores and thereby unclogging and closing them.
Moisturizers. Depending on the type of skin you have, your skin can become too oily or too dry. Skin moisturizers can give your skin some balance. They make the skin more soft and supple.
Serums. Skin serums are basically moisturizers, but they can penetrate your skin more deeply. With daily use, the skin becomes smoother and firmer. They can also close the pores.
When checking the ingredients of your skin care products, make sure they contain the following:
Antioxidants. Antioxidants contain natural and synthetic chemicals that fight off “free radicals”. Free radicals make the skin age fast and they can also harm our DNA.
Ingredients that restore the skin. These ingredients restore the skin’s suppleness and softness. They are often found in brightening and retinol products.
Ingredients that replenish the skin. These kinds of ingredients hydrate and nourish the skin. Examples are glycolic acid, salicylic acid, amino acids, and many others.
We have seen that good skin care is essential and necessary for good health. It is a misconception to think that they are for the vain and superficial. Skin performs important protective and regulatory functions and it is therefore paramount that we take care of it.
Washing your face daily is a good first step, but is not enough. We should also use sunscreens, good skin care products, and seek help of skin professionals in case we notice abnormalities in our skin.
Examples of good skin care products are cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and serums that contain antioxidants, and other ingredients that replenish and restore skin.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? By devoting a few minutes of our time each day for these practices, we will have clean, healthy, and fresh looking skins for a very long time.