You haven’t thought of your face as baby smooth since you were in high school. Still, you find now more than ever the effects of sun damage, lack of hydration, and daily shaving is starting to take a toll on your complexion. Instead of dabbling around in your girlfriend’s toiletry bag, here’s a step by step rundown on how to protect and nourish your skin and maybe even turn back the hands of time.
1. Know your skin type
Instead of using any old skin care product or system, the first step is to start paying special attention to what your skin likes and doesn’t like.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology identifying your skin type, or the natural composition of your skin, is the best way to avoid using products that might inflame your skin. To do this, simply take a piece of blotting paper or a sheet of one-ply toilet paper, and dab lightly around your T-zone. If you find that the paper becomes saturated in oil, especially in the center portions of your face, you are likely to have “oily-combination skin.” If the paper is mostly dry, with only a small amount of oil from both the center and perimeter of your face, you have “normal-to-dry skin.” In addition to the two primary skin types, you may also suffer from “sensitive skin” issues, which quite literally means you are prone to allergic reactions, acne,and other visible skin imperfections either due to environmental changes or topical irritants like shaving balms or creams.
If you are on the oilier side of things, stay away from products that are oil-based or do not specify usage for oily or combination skin. Instead opt for gel-based or oil-free skincare, which are lighter and thinner formulations which won’t make you shiny and also work to keep your oil production at bay. If you happen to suffer from acne or the occasional breakout, look for non-comedogenic products, which are specifically formulated to sit on top of the skin and not seep into sensitive pores. On the other hand, if you have dry skin, you can afford to use heavier oil-based products to properly hydrate and cleanse your skin.
2. Lather up
Although you may like the thought of an abrasive scrub to clean your face, exfoliating your skin daily as a means of washing your face is a big no-no. According to dermatologists at Everyday Health.com, over-exfoliating removes all traces of the skin’s natural oils, which can almost immediately dry out the skin as well as significantly reduce your skin’s elasticity over time. Friction can also cause paper-thin scratches that can lead to redness or more seriously, an allergic reaction due to product absorption. To avoid wreaking havoc on your skin in attempt to better it, use a foaming gel or cleanser to gently wash over face and neck. To get into the crevices of your face, eyes, and under your jawline, you can use a soft bristle facial brush, or your clean fingertips. Doing this is a rather safe and effective way to get your face clean and prepped for subsequent skincare.
Whatever you do, please put the salt scrub down and reserve that for the rest of your body.
3. Hydrate and protect
No matter your skin type, it is important to keep your skin hydrated. As you age, even oily skin can lack water hydration leading to a stronger prominence of fines lines and wrinkles. Experts at the Dermatology Center second this important skin care tip, saying: “ Staying hydrated will rejuvenate your skin so it looks and feels smooth and soft. This is due to the fact that the outermost layer of the skin has the moisture it needs to flush away toxins and carry nutrients to the skin’s cells.” In other words, failing to moisturize your skin will hasten your skin’s aging process, as well as prevent the body from carrying out its natural detoxification process.
To help your body out, and to in turn improve your skin’s texture and overall health, make sure you are taking in at least 8 fluid ounces of water. In addition to drinking heaps of H2O, make sure you use an appropriate moisturizer during your day and night time skincare routines.
For extra measure apply a thin layer of SPF all over your face and neck, not only to seal in moisture but to also protect your skin from harmful UV rays. If you are dreading the usual white cast associated with sunscreen, mix a dime sized drop of your SPF with an equal part of your facial moisturizer. Or, simply opt for a facial lotion that includes SPF15 as a prime ingredient.
4. Shave intermittently
As much as you like a clean shave, shaving your face everyday is possibly the most harmful grooming ritual men do almost daily. Shaving is quite literally the act of tugging downward or upward on hair that tends to grow in indiscriminate directions. The hair is only finally cut once the tugging action is complete, which quite obviously, isn’t healthy for the skin.
Studies at the International Dermal Institute found that “shaving triggers a high level of visible irritation and can lead to over-exfoliation, as well as a compromised lipid barrier.” Meaning shaving also removes vital layers of the skin that help lock in moisture as well as protect your skin from the elements. If you shave daily, or even every other day, your skin is likely to develop tiny razor bumps that can develop into a chronic rash, that can take several months to properly clear and cure. On the other hand, shaving your face either once at the beginning of the week and once at the end of the week will help your skin recover from excessive pulling and abrasion, as well as keep your skin healthy and supple.
5. Avoid germs
Most people consider themselves to be rather cleanly, however germs and funguses are just as alive and well as they were when you were a kid. Although your idea of a good time no longer includes a bacteria-ridden sandbox and toys shared by well and sick kids alike, germs found on subway poles, railings, and even on your own electronic devices can cause skin irritation and breakouts. According to Health Central.com, stubborn acne along the side of your face and jawline is often caused by frequent cell phone use, meaning it’s important to clean your devices before and after every use.
Also carry a small packet of disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and if necessary a bottle of portable hand soap just in case you find yourself in a restroom with a broken or empty soap dispenser.
Being sure to wash your hands, and to be conscious of keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth is a great way to mitigate breakouts as well as ward off the common cold. After all the healthier you are, the healthier your skin will look.