Lisa’s Guide to Keeping Your Skin Young and Fresh

18 09 2009

By Lisa

Sometimes a woman’s greatest fear isn’t public speaking – it is aging, or more to the point, looking her age if her age is over 20. Beauty magazines contain pages of products promising a tight, wrinkle-free face. But there is a limit to what these products can do and some can even leave your skin in worse shape than it was. There are some simple steps you can take that will keep your skin looking great no matter what your age.

The best way to fight the ravages of time is to prevent wrinkles before they start.  This advice is older than time, but if you want to stay young-looking, stay out of the sun, don’t smoke and don’t drink in excess. After your lifestyle is in check, it is time to hit the store.

The most important thing to do before buying any products, is to determine your skin type. There are five basic skin care types:  oily, normal, combination, sensitive and dry.  Oily skin tends to be shiny with enlarged pores, and is prone to blackheads and blemishes. Normal skin has medium pores, and a smooth and even texture. Combination skin has dryness on the cheeks while being oily in the t-zone.  Sensitive skin gets itching, redness and patches on it.  Dry skin feels tight, especially after cleansing.
Image courtesy of wrinklecreamrescue.com

Image courtesy of wrinklecreamrescue.com

Your skin type will determine what type of products you use, but each will look its best with a basic routine of a water-soluble cleanser, moisturizer and a separate eye cream, sunscreen and exfoliant. Additional items can be added in according to your skin’s needs and these can include a nighttime moisturizer for dry skin, an alpha-hydroxy acid product if you are prone to breakouts, a facial mask and/or an irritant free toner.

Sensitive skin is the most challenging as different skin types react to different ingredients. I can’t tolerate witch hazel or citrus oils in my products but some people swear by them. You will have to find out through trial and error what works for you. Try to get samples before you commit to a full size.

Let’s examine the building blocks of a skin care routine:
  1. The first step is finding a cleanser that rinses completely and removes all makeup. If you are wearing waterproof mascara, you will probably need to apply an oily makeup remover first (I use jojoba oil). If you have oily skin, you may also want to wash your face in the morning while dry skin types can get by with a splash of cool water to start the day.
  2. Exfoliating the skin removes dead skin cells, prevents breakouts and keeps your complexion glowing. You can make a manual exfoliant by adding jojoba beads to your cleanser or you can choose a chemical exfoliant such as an alpha-hydroxy acid product, a skin “peel” or a microdermabrasion cream. This is the step that can cause the most irritation so it is very important that you choose carefully.  Sensitive skin types usually should avoid chemical exfoliants and only use a manual exfoliant once a week.
  3. The type of moisturizer you use greatly depends on the needs of your skin. In the warmer months, you may want to switch to a lighter formulation during the day and forgo a night cream altogether.  Oily skin types may want to use an alpha hydroxy acid product at night, and a light, water-based moisturizer during the day.  If you have very dry skin, you’ll probably want a moisturizer with a lot of oils in the ingredients list. When choosing an eye cream, the main concern is that it doesn’t cause irritation. Only apply cream to the undereye area so it will not interfere with your eye makeup application.

Sunscreens are the only real anti-aging product on the market.  I prefer physical sunscreens so I use a separate sunscreen rather than using one in a moisturizer or foundation, which usually contain a chemical one.  Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the energy of UV radiation before it affects your skin. Physical sunscreens reflect UV radiation before it reaches your skin.  Physical sunscreens have the added bonus of providing protection immediately, as opposed to chemical blocks that take about 30 minutes to absorb. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are two physical sunscreen ingredients.

If you like the way a toner feels on your skin, you can use one after the cleanser. Regardless of your skin type, you should stay away from a toner containing alcohol.  If you have sensitive skin, you should keep in mind that the more products you use, the more likely you are to suffer irritation.

As for facial masks, they are purely a little bit of luxury for me.  I put one on while I am deep conditioning my hair and in a few minutes, my skin is baby-soft and smooth.  A clay mask will absorb excess oil and clean out blackheads, while a moisturizing mask is best for dry skin.  Forgot to pick up a mask at the drugstore? Beaten egg white mask is great for oily skin, while normal and dry skin will love one made of honey.

This routine is not a cure for wrinkles but it will keep your skin looking its best. The best thing you can do to ensure young-looking skin is to stay out of the sun.  Not very glamorous, but it is the only thing that works.

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One response

18 09 2009
Jessi Pagel

GREAT article! Fantastic job Lisa! I totally agree 100%

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