Beautiful skin can be a huge self-esteem booster, but vanity isn’t the only reason to prioritize a careful regimen. Proper skin care is important because our skin is the largest barrier against infection we have. Keeping skin healthy and moist keeps our shield strong and resilient.
It goes without saying that everyone’s skin is different. One product that works for one person may not work for another, even if they share the same skin type. And while there’s a million and one recommended products out there, the following tips offer a good place to get started.
Find your skin type
Generally speaking, there are four different skin types which all have different needs.
Normal skin has good elasticity and a balanced level of moisture and color tone. People with normal skin may be tempted to do nothing to care for it, but it’s important to take preventative measures so that skin issues don’t creep up.
Recommendations: Use a gentle cleanser in the evenings and a light moisturizer to keep your skin happy. Consider introducing an antioxidant serum.
Dry skin is easily agitated by the sun, wind and elements. It also feels itchy, flaky and rough to the touch. Since most dry skin is due to external causes, it responds well to external skin care treatment.
Recommendations: Skip long, hot showers as these can strip oils from the skin and cause more dryness. Opt for warm water when washing your face and moisturize your skin while it’s still damp to help lock moisture in.
Oily skin is the most acne-prone skin type and it usually looks greasy or shiny. This skin type is also characterized by enlarged pores and blackheads on the nose.
Recommendations: Look for cleansers that contain sulfur, salicylic acid or tea tree oil which dissolve excess sebum. You may be tempted to exfoliate your face daily, but that can potentially stimulate oil production. Stick to exfoliating once a week.
Combination skin is the most common skin type. It’s characterized by patches of oily skin on the nose and forehead, but normal skin on the cheeks and jawline.
Recommendations: Use a gentle cleanser morning and night, paying particular attention to the areas where oil builds up. Combination skin may benefit from an oil-free moisturizer to soothe dry patches while preventing the T-zone from becoming more slick.
Apply sunscreen 365 days a year
You read that right. Regardless of your skin type or color, protecting it from the elements is key to maintaining skin health and preventing cancer. The most commonly cited cause for prematurely aged skin is sun damage. Those harmful UVA and UVB rays don’t hibernate in the winter. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more.
A tip for darker-complected ladies: Look for chemical sunscreens rather than physical ones. This will help avoid the white cast so many zinc and titanium-based sunscreens leave behind.