Skin should be your prized asset. A healthy diet, enough sleep, regular exercise and a complete beauty regime are all very important in maintaining good skin. Your skin just like you requires a diet to keep it taut and supple. But this diet needs to be altered to meet the skin’s requirements from time to time. The diet should be adjusted according to the climatic conditions as well as according to your age and hormonal changes. The perfect skin diet consists of good eating habits as well as good skin products, but finding the right products to suit your requirements can often be a costly, hit-and-miss affair. To make skincare simple, the first step is to identify your skin type and then address its needs.
Normal skin has an even tone, a smooth texture with no visible pores or blemishes and no greasy patches or flaky areas. A basic beauty routine is sufficient to maintain its natural balance, but do not be tempted to neglect your skin -a great looking complexion will not last forever if not taken due care.
This skin type is commonly dry, delicate and prone to allergic reactions. Temperature changes, some deter- gents, cosmetics arid alcohol-based products such as toners can all cause irritation leaving the skin red and blotchy with visible surface veins. Choose products that do not contain potential allergens such as fragrances or sunscreens.
This skin type is characterized by an over- production of sebum (the skin’s natural hydrator), which results in spots and blemishes. The great advantage of this skin type is that it ages at a slower rate than the rest of the skin types. Avoid harsh products that strip your skin off oil and cause flakiness. This can cause a reaction followed which the ail glands will have to work over time to compensate for the loss of natural oils. Products that leave your skin taut and dehydrated should also be avoided as they cause the upper layers of the skin to shrink. This restricts oil flow through the pores and leads to blockages and breakouts. To cleanse oily-skin, use oil-based products as they dissolve sebum effectively. Opt for oil-free moisturizers to maintain a shine- free complexion.
It has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. Dryness is exacerbated by wind, extremities of temperature and air-conditioning, all of which cause the skin to flake, chap and feel-tight. Use moisture rich products and increase the intake of essential fatty acids in your diet. If you have dry skin, use a cream or oil- based cleanser. Avoid water- soluble variants as exposing dry skin to water can aggravate the condition.
When you choose a cleanser, consider your skin and your personal preferences. Also bear in mind that cleanser is only on the skin for a little more than 30 seconds. An effective cleanser should remove impurities without leaving any residue or greasy film 9n your skin once it is removed.
Avoid cleansing with soap and water as the skin is slightly acidic whereas soap is alkaline -it disrupts the skin’s naturally acidic protective film. An oil-based cleanser is suitable for all skin types and removes make up effectively. Water soluble and oil-based cleansers are ideal for oily skin and combination skins whereas cream cleansers suit dry skins. If you have sensitive skin, avoid cleansers rich in fragrance, color and any potential skin irritants. Always smooth on an oil-based or cream cleanser and leave it on for a few seconds to dissolve impurities and then gently wipe it off with a damp tissue or cotton wool. If you are using wash-off cleanser, apply it to damp skin and then rinse with warm water. Removing cleanser with a facial sponge or cleansing brush will remove impurities and exfoliate the skin at the same time.
Using a toner after cleansing is optional. It will refresh your skin and remove any impurities or remnants of cleanser. Avoid alcohol-based toners even if you have an oily complexion, as it strips the skin of essential moisture. Floral waters are inexpensive alternatives to commercial toners witch-hazel is ideal for oily, problem skin; whereas rose water for dry complexions and chamomile water suits both normal and sensitive skins.
Your skin has a natural moisturizing factor (NMF) that regulates water flow from the dermis (the skin’s deepest layer) to the surface. Sebum (the skin’s natural hydrator) also plays a vital role in the prevention of moisture loss, forming a barrier on the surface of the skin that delays water evaporation. With age, both the NMF and sebum production decreases hence the need for waste-regulating moisturizer. All skin types, even those prone to oiliness, need moisturizing at least twice a day. There are two types of moisturizers -‘Humectants and Occlusive. Humectants draw water up from the depths of dermis or attract it from the surrounding atmosphere. Occlusive create an oily film on the skin’s surface to seal in moisture and prevent it from evaporating. Oil-free formulas and oil-in-water emulsions benefit oily skins, and water-in-oil formulations, which are more hydrating, suit dry / normal skins. Always spray water onto your skin before applying moisturizer. The water ‘plumps’ up the skin cells creating an even surface and makes lines less apparent and the moisturizer prevents this water from evaporating. Today’s advanced formulations can maintain this effect for up to twelve hours.
Skin normally produces new cells and sheds old ones. Normal skin renews its cells every 28 days. This process slows down with age and leaves the complexion looking dull and lifeless. Exfoliating scrubs, creams and gels all whisk away dead skin cells and the manual pressure (using fingers) exerted during exfoliation increases circulation and helps stimulate cell production. Exfoliate your face every two to three days. If you have acne or sensitive skin, use a peel -off facemask instead of an exfoliate.
Giving your face a steam or sauna is a deep-cleansing treat, especially for congested skin. Fill a bowl with near-boiling water and add three drops of each essential oil recommended for your skin type. For normal skin use lavender and mandarin; for dry skin use chamomile and rose; for oily skin lemon and eucalyptus and for combination skin lavender and cypress. Once you have added the oils, agitate the water to disperse the droplets. Hold your face 20-30 cm above the bowl for three minutes. This opens the pores and prepares your skin for the application of a face mask.
If you have sensitive skin or broken capillaries on your face, then you must avoid steaming. The intense heat causes the blood vessels under the surface of the skin to dilate, exacerbating the problem. Facial steaming is not recommended if you are pregnant or suffering from asthma.
Use a face mask once a week. For best results, apply the mask after a facial steam and leave it on only for the time specified by the manufacturer. When you are to buy or choose a mask keep in mind that mud or clay enriched masks are ideal for deep-cleansing the skin. They contain negatively charged ions which attract positively charged impurities. Gel-based masks set to form a fine film which when washed away removes dead cells and grime. Rich cream masks (which do not set) are beneficial for dry and mature skins. Sulphur- based masks treat oily and problem skins but should not be used on sensitive or dry skins. Fast-acting masks are an option when you are in a hurry.
Because the skin around your eyes is much thinner than the skin on the rest of your face, it requires extra care, especially to ward off signs of aging. Use an eye cream or gel both at night and in the morning. Make sure you apply it gently along the orbital bone (the bone directly under the eye).