- Daily skincare is a year-round routine for healthy skin.
- Now is a perfect time to kick off your proper skincare routine.
- Dead skin cells contribute “to suffocating” your skin causing breakouts and enlarged pores.
- Spring clean yourself into action: Exfoliate, Cleanse, Tone, and Hydrate
- Remember to protect your skin.
Following a Daily Routine Is Important
Firstly, you might be thinking that this is already the subject of one of my previous posts, and of course you are right! But I am passionate about skincare being a daily routine, whatever the time of year, our environment and circumstances. So, no apologies for revisiting this subject.
For many of us, depending on our location, we are still deep in the midst of the Winter months when we would expect to be spending much of our time indoors. Some of us are still using the pandemic as a reason to justify the indoors. It is only natural not to be thinking so much about the way we look or the condition of our skin, and it is therefore likely that we are neglecting or spending a little less time on our daily skincare routines. But in the same way that we are all starting to have to get used to unusual weather patterns, a climate that is not so easy to predict, and a consequent change in our lifestyles and behavior, it is time to recognize the importance of following a daily routine, throughout the year, when it comes to the care of our skin, and the way we look.
Now is the perfect time to do a bit of spring cleaning, on our skin, unusual as that may sound. Because this is your moment to turn the camera on (and not just your computer’s) and truly come out. So, whether you are already following a daily skincare routine or you need a nudge and some inspiration to get back into the habit, here are a reminders and tips.
How Your Skin Can Be Affected
Spending prolonged periods of time exposed to the extreme dryness of artificial heating not only depletes our skin of hydration but can also contaminate our surroundings and turn the air into a gritty environment full of particulates, invisible to the naked eye. These can form a deposit on your epidermis, clogging it, which may result in unsightly breakouts, black or white heads and ultimately enlarged pores.
There is also a greater chance that the regular body of dead cells that forms daily as the outermost layer of your skin, is now a few layers deep, contributing to “suffocate” your skin, making it look dull and murky and causing all those breakouts and enlarged pores. In short, everything but the youthful, glowing tone that we all yearn for.
It is therefore essential that we get back to a proper routine of cleansing, toning, exfoliating, hydrating, and moisturizing.
How to Start
First, and very important, is to examine your face, neck and decolletage (AKA deck), and do it in depth. Be generous with your time and honest with what you see. Don’t be afraid to zoom in, magnify and investigate pores, nicks and crevices. Communicate with your skin, it has so much to say to you. Take note of what you observe.
Step One: Exfoliate
I am not a big fan of frequent mechanical exfoliation, be it physical (in form of beads, sugar, or salt scrubs, etc.) or chemical peels (based on acidic and often harsh ingredients), as they can be fairly aggressive and throw skin’s biome off balance. But they are desirable when you want to purify your skin. No better time than this present to try one.
Make it mild so it doesn’t “scratch” your face, completely eliminate your skin’s natural barrier, or worse still, your face ends up raw, just like beef carpaccio. When getting a chemical peel, it is always best if you get it done by a professional, but if you opt for DIY then always follow the instructions, especially regarding dosage and the time applied. This is not a time to follow a “more is better” philosophy.
If what you observed when getting in touch with your skin was dullness, a scaly layer and dryness, your best option will be a gentle and mild scrub, to ensure there is no potential damage to your already vulnerable skin.
If you observed enlarged/clogged pores and shininess (coming from excess oil), a soft, controlled chemical peel will be your best solution. Look for one with salicylic acid when the oil level is higher than usual. Should you have the time and your budget allows, splurge on a custom facial. And don’t be shy to discuss your concerns with your aesthetician and understand your options to target them. I am a fan of HydraFacial, which can cleanse and hydrate at the same time. If you were to get extractions, make sure that they are preceded by a steam bath and followed by mild laser zapping treatment, which will help scarring and prevent infections. A product containing pre-biotics or fermentation by-products (AKA post-biotics) is always favorable.
Step Two: Cleanse
Use a creamy soap with clays, mud, or any other purifying agent. Find one that has a short list of ingredients, with all the right ones: water, potassium hydroxide and at least one of the following: olive, coconut, hemp, safflower, sunflower oils; or some version of a castile soap.
Once you identify the one that works for you, make sure you use it once a day, preferably before going to bed, so that you can wash the day off.
Step Three: Tone
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of incorporating toning into your skincare routine. Such an underrated step…
A toner will restore the pH of your skin (thrown off when you use any soap), provide a quick burst of hydration and can even help with skin evenness and sun/age spot reduction. Look for bacillus, kojic and lactic acids, and calming ingredients like chamomile,and even capsicum to tame the irritation that may come with “spring skin awakening”.
Step Four: Hydrate
Much of that dullness and lack of skin suppleness comes from the loss of water in the skin, which is what maintains the collagen network in the dermis. This collagen is responsible for the bouncy and pliable quality of youthful looking skin, and the hydration to maintain it is very hard to keep up with. Our skin is permeable to water and thanks to the osmosis phenomenon, which makes the process of hydration loss possible, especially in dry environments.
Always Remember to Protect
The sun is damaging, at any time of year, and as much as we love to have a good sun kissed glow, it is best when it takes longer to achieve it. Limit exposure and always wear a sunscreen with a high SPF level. I am not a big fan of throwing a specific number as it can depend on your skin tone, thickness, the time of the day and where you are located; amongst other factors (pun intended). I always recommend mineral, but any will always be better than none. And the best you can do is to limit exposure and cover up: a generous hat, sunnies, and clothing layers.
And speaking of protection, choose a good moisturizer. It is the only way to keep the hydration of your skin in, and the adverse atmospheric agents out!
Spring Clean Now
So, there you have it. It is not too early to spring clean your skin now, get back into a routine of looking after it on a daily basis, and keep that routine going throughout the year. Do that and you will be ready to show up at any moment, each and every day.