Steps to Healthy Skin
Beautiful skin is a product of the skin you were born with and how you care for that skin as you age. Just as the rest of your body has changing needs as it grows, your skin also needs to develop and maintain a healthy structure as it evolves over time. The good news is that because we have been able to develop so many scientifically based approaches to improving skin health, there are a lot of choices available to treat all kinds of problems. Unfortunately, because there are so many choices, it can sometimes be confusing. In this article, I'll provide a guide of where to start—and where to go—if you have needs beyond the basic level.
Several essential needs of the skin should be met on a regular basis. All skin types need to cleanse, hydrate, and protect every day. Adding a toner can also help prepare the skin to receive the benefits from other products.
The hydrate step provides vital lipids, replenishing moisture, and key repair components for optimal nighttime recovery.
The protect step meets the skin's basic need for a morning moisturizer with SPF to guard against harmful UV rays and environmental stressors. Sun damage degrades the moisture barrier and structural proteins and promotes discoloration—all signs of premature skin aging.
Toning works in several ways: it calms and soothes the skin, minimizes the appearance of pores, and balances the skin's pH.
Here are a few hints to help you make sense of how these steps fit together:
- Apply serums or gels before lotions or creams. Allow them to dry completely before applying the second layer.
- Day moisturizers with SPF protect the skin by reflecting and absorbing UV light. They do not have to be next to the skin. They should be applied after the treatment lotions or creams have dried to prevent wiping away the active ingredients.
- Wait for day moisturizers to dry completely before applying cosmetics.
- You may need to adjust your regimen as the seasons change since humidity levels and environmental stressors may differ.
Advanced Skin Care Steps
In addition to the basic daily needs, the skin also has advanced needs that can be met by incorporating additional regimen steps designed to address specific concerns on an as needed basis. Starting in our late 20s, our advanced needs steadily increase. Follow these six steps to meet the advanced needs of your skin:
- For protecting skin health and maintaining youthfulness, the nourish step can nurture the skin with powerful antioxidants to neutralize free radicals that damage and prematurely age the skin.
- The treat step meets an essential advanced need of the skin when key components, functions, or structures within the skin are compromised, leading to signs of premature aging. Treatment products are specially formulated to target those key skin components
- The refinish step focuses on skin that has become dull and rough. Refinishing helps to resurface and polish skin for a fresh, glowing complexion.
- When environmental stressors and intrinsic aging begin to interfere with healthy cell renewal, the exfoliate step may become essential. Exfoliation helps remove dead cell buildup for smoother, more youthful looking skin.
- The mask step meets an essential advanced need of the skin when the skin requires a concentrated application of key ingredients for an extended period of time. Some masks deliver key ingredients to the skin while others draw out impurities.
- Tired, stressed skin requires the essential step revitalize to restore vibrancy and promote cellular energy.
Meeting Your Individual Skin Care Needs
Not everyone has exactly the same skin needs. As a result, the key to optimal skin health and beauty is to meet your skin's basic needs with a comprehensive personalized skin care system. Once these basic needs are met, meet your advanced needs by incorporating additional steps into your daily routine. Consistency is also important to maximize the beneficial effects of any product. With these guidelines in mind, you should be on your way to designing a regimen that meets your needs and that will keep your skin healthy and beautiful for years to come.