The skin is the body’s largest organ. And because it’s on the outside of your body for everyone to see, you want it to not only be healthy, but to look great as well. Women of any age want skin that is clear, smooth and radiant. However, the biggest mistake I see women make when it comes to their skin is failure to customize their skin-care routines. Your skin-care routine needs to change and adapt according to the season, your age and your lifestyle. Also, what works for your friend or your sister won’t necessary work well for you when it comes to your skin.
That said, customizing a skin-care routine doesn’t require a lot of time and effort. With just a few easy steps you can create a routine that works for you and simply tweak it over time as your lifestyle or skin-care needs change.
1. Consult a professional. If possible, the best way to start is with a visit to a dermatologist, especially if you feel that you have particularly problematic skin (ex: acne, sun damage, unusual dryness or other skin conditions). Not everyone can afford this step, but keep in mind that the visit may be covered by your insurance plan. Explain your skin care concerns to your dermatologist and ask for product recommendations. They can help get you on track to customizing a routine and can help you narrow down your focus when it comes to product so that you don’t waste your hard-earned money on products that aren’t right for you.
2. Start with the basics. Wash your face every morning when you wake up and again before you go to bed. Never, under any circumstances go to bed without removing your makeup. Clogged pores will lead to unsightly blemishes. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest. What you put into your body will show in your complexion, so make sure to drink lots of water (to flush out toxins and hydrate) and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Stay away from cigarettes; they cause premature aging of the skin. If you do one thing for your skin each day (besides your daily cleansing), apply a sunscreen each morning (don’t forget to cover your neck as well), to avoid premature wrinkles, sunspots and skin cancer risks.
3. Customize a skin-care routine. Now that you’ve consulted with a professional and are taking care of your body from the inside out, it’s time to create a routine that will optimize all of your healthy habits. While everyone is different, most people benefit from a gentle cleanser (Cetaphil or Purpose come highly recommended by most dermatologists), a pore-cleansing toner (I prefer SeaBreeze for sensitive skin) and a good moisturizer (again I prefer Purpose, which also has added sunscreen).
I beef up my daily routine according to the season and my skin care needs. During the winter, when my skin gets dry, I like to use a moisturizing mask once a week. During the summer, when my pores tend to get clogged with dirt and sweat, I will add a once-a-week exfoliator or deep-cleansing mask. I also like to use Biore pores strips about once a week for blackheads on my nose and chin. Unfortunately, I am at that in-between age where I still need to worry about breakouts and blemishes, but am beginning to see the early signs of aging (no doubt accelerated by my frequent visits to tanning salons in my youth).
As you can see, taking care of your skin doesn’t have to be a huge commitment of your time or your money. If you take a little time to set up a routine, it will become a healthy habit that your skin will thank you for. Once you’ve taken the time to find out what works for you, making small changes here and there will be a breeze.