The Basics of Skin Care

The Basics of Skin Care

They always say that you should take care of your body and keep it in good health throughout the years of your life. When we get older, we often think about good heart health, optimal digestive health, and a fulfilling sex life. However, we sometimes fail to consider taking care of the largest organ of our bodies: our skin.

Skin and its care are perhaps the most important physical aspects of my life. However, my skin has always been my biggest insecurity. I will give you a quick background of my skin care journey, and how far I have come in regards to not only self-care, education, and awareness, but confidence as well:

I was one of those girls with an abundance of teenage acne…like pizza face kind of acne. That being said, it wasn’t such a big deal back then. For those of whom don’t know, pubescent teenagers often get acne in response to fluctuating hormone levels; this is common. However, I wasn’t dealing with it very well as far as proper care was concerned. I wasn’t using the right cleansers or doing research on how to control and prevent it. Therefore, my habit of popping pimples and lack of self-care caused my skin to be very blemished with acne scarring.

Along with those acne scars, I would continue to get active pimple and blackhead formation. I tried several different products, hoping that they would work, but nothing ever did.

Years and years later, even into my early 20s, I suffered from acne, not just on my face, but on my chest and back as well (though not as concerning). You can imagine I felt very uncomfortable and self-conscious.

It wasn’t until relatively recently, perhaps in the last year, that I decided to take action and learn more about how I could clear up my skin. I consulted with a local dermatologist, of whom I still see, in order to know more about how to treat my sensitive, acne prone skin.

I would like to discuss with you the toll that my physical and mental states took on my skin care journey, and how I have learned to overcome them.

Physical

As I stated before, my skin became very blemished. I had dark spots all over, especially on my forehead. When putting on foundation, I would have to heavily conceal or apply more foundation in order to get the coverage that I was aiming for. I became obsessed with covering every imperfection. Now, it’s gotten much much better, but I still have remnants of dark spots on my face. I became very self-conscious when I’d go somewhere without makeup. It didn’t make me feel good at all. Presently, I am still learning to deal with this issue. The products that I use now for my skin cause it to be less irritated and therefore a bit more low maintenance. They aid in fading my dark spots and preventing active pimples from forming. I have much more confidence than I did years before, but am continuing to love my skin despite its many imperfections.

Mental

If you’ve ever tried to go on a diet, you know how hard it is. Your’e 2 days in and you believe yourself to be doing pretty well, then all of a sudden, you go to a restaurant with your friends and eat an entire plate of bacon cheese fries before your entree is served. Sound familiar? Well this is kind of what skin care can be like. It takes dedication, determination, and patience. Most skin care issues cannot be resolved overnight, and that’s okay. That’s why it’s a process. When I finally got into the mindset that I was going to change myself for the better, I kept looking forward to the happier outcome: a more confident me. But it all starts with having the will power to make the change.

I began doing research on products for my skin type. I talked to a dermatologist about treatment options. These actions proved to be successful in the long run; I simply had to take the initiative.

That being said, I mentally prepared myself for the steps that I had to take for clearer skin. It would undoubtedly take months before I saw any results, but every day was a better day than the day before, and that’s all that mattered.

Along the way, I gathered a few tips to achieve your healthiest skin:

1. Know your skin type. You may think this is dumb to say, but there are tons of people who don’t know their skin types. If you don’t know your skin type, I’ve got descriptions of the 5 skin types for you as follows:

Normal: People with a normal complexion have the ideal skin type. The skin is not too oily or dry, and it appears smooth, clear and healthy. Normal skin has a nice balance of moisture and oil, with good elasticity. The pores are minimally visible, and the skin has an even tone.

Dry: Dry skin does not retain enough moisture, which causes wrinkles and fine lines to develop more easily. A lack of oil makes the skin flaky and fragile and reduces its ability to act as a protective barrier. As a result, the skin is much more susceptible to the effects of external elements such as pollution, UV radiation and extreme weather. Small pores are another characteristic of this skin type.
Oily: Some people have oily skin, particularly during adolescence. The skin has large pores and produces too much oil, which gives it a greasy, shiny appearance. People with an oily complexion tend to develop lots of blemishes, pimples and blackheads, and the skin looks plump because dead cells do not shed as quickly.
Combination: People with a combination skin type have both dry and oily areas. The skin is usually most oily in the T-zone — the forehead, nose and chin — with dry patches on the cheeks and around the eyes. Combination skin can be difficult to manage because the various areas of the skin require different treatment.
Sensitive: This skin type is the most fragile. People with sensitive skin tend to burn easily, and the skin is prone to irritation and redness.

(For source, click here.)

You may also be a combination of any of these skin types. Knowing your skin type(s) will help determine the right cleansers, moisturizers, exfoliators, toners, etc. for your skin.

2. Do (lots of) research. Now that you have figured out your skin type, you can do research on what you need to achieve healthy skin. First, start with a cleanser, then a moisturizer. I find that these 2 items are the most important in any skin care routine, regardless of your skin type. And when you do your research, do a lot of it. Though the Internet is a great source for product reviews and testimonies, you can also consult with a dermatologist or a skin care expert who know can guide you in the right direction.

3. Don’t overcomplicate your routine. Now that you’ve done your research and have some products that you are confidence will work for you, stick with those consistently and determine if there are positive results from their use. Many people have the misconception that using a lot of products will be better for your skin, but this is false. Using a lot of different products with a lot of different ingredients can cause irritation of the skin. The ingredients in all of those different products could also cancel out each others’ beneficial effects. Keep it simple. Only use a handful of products and stick to them.

4. Be patient. Give the products time to work. As I stated before, it may take months to see results. Use the entire tube of a product before you say that it doesn’t work for you. However, if you’re using a product that causes swelling, redness, or any type of irritation has is not an expected side effect, then stop using that product immediately. The only case of which I would think you could swap products is one where the weather is of concern. For example, in the summer time, your oil-free moisturizer would be ideal. However, in the winter months, you may want to use a moisturizer better suited for the drying effects of cold weather.

5. Stay healthy. What do you hear time and time again? Drink water. Yes, stay hydrated. Water can cause the excretion of toxins that are harmful to your skin. Flushing out those toxins can cause pores to be less clogged and for skin to appear more clear. You should also get sufficient sleep. I know that this can be hard for teens and young adults, but growth hormones are secreted during sleep. These specific hormones promote new cell growth and collagen production, both of which are responsible for replacing dead skin cells and the giving your skin elasticity and youthfulness. If you can, also find time to exercise and mediate throughout the week. Exercise increases circulation and the transportation of nutrients to centers of your body responsible for cell growth. Meditation helps lessen stress which can aggravate acne, eczema, and other unwanted skin conditions.

 

 


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