The answer to this question is impossible to answer in short few sentences since it depends on your skin needs. Ultimately there are a few key rules that applies to all:
- Avoid smoking and excessive drinking.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
- Cleanse your face daily.
- SPF, SPF & SPF
How to take care of your skin – why do we care?
Like I said, these are key rules for all regardless of what skin type you are or what skin conditions you have. Is that it? NO! The skin on your face, neck and chest will probably need a bit more than that and I will touch on a few trends that are seen today in the skin care” community”. Community? Yes, community.
The interest in skin care has exploded the last, 2-3 years. I mean, people have always been interested in taking care of their skin and the industry has always sold billions in moisturizers, toners, serums and cleansers etc.
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The interest in skin care has always been there at some level but recently the boom in skin care experts online and on social media reflects the interest that has arisen. One can wonder why that is, but my speculation is that Korea has a part in it (South Korea to be precise).
Together with the western popularization of Korean music and drama shows, Korean skin care and make up (or K-Beauty as it is also called) has been all the rage lately. Brands like Krave Beauty, COSRX and Klairs to mention a few is popular everywhere online.
Influences and Influencers to “blame”
With this interest in pop culture, we are now seeing an upswing in content about not only brands but in ingredients. Five years ago, you would never have heard about Niacinamide or Ascorbic Acid if you weren’t a dermatologist or someone working in skin care OR an avid enthusiast already back then.
Would you have known the importance of using Vitamin C daily on your face? Or that Retinol is great against acne as well as premature signs of aging? Probably not.
On different social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok there has been an explosion of channels and accounts that solely focuses on skin care; hence, a community has been formed. Many of these content creators are teaching and speaking about the topic so creatively that that has heavily influenced (get it? influenced? anyway) the interest in any topical treatment for the face.
How to take care of your skin - Your own skin care routine
So how do you know what your skin care should look like? Well, first of all, what skin type are you, or rather, do you have? To learn how to take care of your skin you first need to know if you have dry, combination or oily skin. Maybe you have” normal” skin, in that case, go away! Kidding. But no, really.
If you have so called normal skin then congratulations, you probably do not have any skin related issues and this is VERY unusual in adults (why this is called normal is a mystery, it should be called abnormal or something).
Let’s break it down.
- Acne prone
- Premature aging
- Hyperpigmentation (here we include post inflammatory hyperpigmentation)
You have a variety of skin conditions that may or may not be affected by the skin type you have.
Breaking it down a bit more
Ok so I’ve tried to break it down a bit. To start, you need to understand what your skin type is and there are MANY that speak about the topic, so it’s easily found online. If you are oily, you probably already know that you’re oily.
Do you wake up with an oily sheen on your face? Do you always feel like you need to blot your face with tissue paper in the afternoon? Well, then you are most likely an oily faced person. Are the oily parts concentrated on the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin)? With the cheeks sometimes feeling dry, especially in colder weather? Then you probably have combination skin.
Dry skin is also easily detected but can sometimes be confused with dehydrated skin. The difference is that dry skin is a skin type and will never change. Dehydrated skin is a condition that can be helped. So, if you have Dry skin, will your face also be automatically dehydrated?
No, with the right skin care you can fight the issues you may have that is affected by your skin type. Dehydrated skin can affect all skin types and not just those with dry skin.
Oh, how we were lied to.
Acne is something most of us fight against, even at a more advanced age. Did you know about this growing up? I sure as hell didn’t. I thought that acne was just a form of torture that life gave us growing up to toughen us up. But noooo. Some of us get the most problems in our 30’s or 40’s. Thank you, life.
With oily and combination skin you’re more likely to suffer from acne because of the amount of sebum that is produced (that is the oil) and that can clog up the pores. With that comes the acne. If you have oily or combination skin though there is one upside.
There seems to be a tendency in that the oil that is naturally produced on your skin may help premature aging and acts like a barrier. Premature aging is caused first and foremost by genes, sun exposure and smoking. But many seem to feel like dry and dehydrated skin causes the skin to be more sensitive and therefor more prone to wrinkles.
Now with that said, this is not a rule and there are so many factors to premature aging. But if you have oily skin then you might just benefit be having more “younger looking” skin that those with dry skin.
Sensitive or sensitized skin?
So, what’s the difference between sensitive and sensitized skin? Sensitive skin is genetic. You may notice that your skin does not agree with harsher products and products that are heavily fragranced is not for you. With sensitive skin you have to be more careful when using an acid and therefore use one that suits sensitive skin.
With sensitized skin you have no one to blame but yourself. If you go about life doing stuff with your face and experimenting with acids, at home derma rolling and what not. Then the result may be a sensitized skin.
Luckily, there are ways to repair that skin barrier again. Sensitized skin is just a condition that you can fix by, firstly, stop with everything you’ve done and go back to basics.
Another thing that may be caused by too much experimentation and by being too rough on the skin is hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation – spots and scars
This is a condition that is partly genetic but also due to outer stressors. Hyperpigmentation is darkening of skin, an over production of melanin on certain areas. This can be caused by sun exposure (and I’m not talking about a tan) and would look like sunspots or melasma.
You can also be affected by hyperpigmentation from injury like burns or cuts and even acne and other skin related, medical issues like lupus. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is, just like it sounds like, dark spots or scars from an inflammation in the skin. Acne scars is a common affliction to the skin that provokes post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Rosacea – sounds pretty but is a pain in the…
Lastly in this post, but not unimportant, is rosacea. A skin condition that just like hyperpigmentation is partly genetic but can also be caused or triggered by outer stressors. There are different types of rosacea and I’m not going in depth with it but to identify rosacea you look at a few symptoms.
To start, if you get red patches on your skin, more commonly on forehead (between the eyebrows), nose and on the cheeks (on the sides of the nose). If the skin there feels tender and warm. If you have small bumps that look like acne. Then you probably have rosacea.
Unfortunately, there are no cures to rosacea, but you can try to avoid those stressors that causes flare ups, and you can have a skin care that helps with the symptoms. With rosacea you have to treat your skin as sensitive, so no harsh products and a lot of moisture.
Getting to the point of this post finally…
New to skin care and don’t know how to start? I would recommend starting slowly, which I know from experience is super hard. Once you get the bug you want to try EVERYTHING. Your skin will not thank you for it.
1) Cleanse (use a cleanser that isn’t drying your skin) if you use make up then double cleanse your skin in the pm. Either use two different products or just use the same twice.
2) Use a serum. From all the information above, you now know if you have a condition that you may want to fix (over time, because there are no quick fixes). The serum stage is where you add an active ingredient that targets that issue.
3) Moisturize. The trick is to find one that suits your face and needs. If you face is super oily you might want to start with a gel-based moisturizer that doesn’t sit heavily on your face. And with dry skin you may want to have some good oils in your product.
4) Spf, spf, spf (in the morning not in the evening).
This is a good base to start from. Use one active ingredient and after a few weeks, start to develop with one product at a time. Retinol, Niacinamide, Salicylic acid, Vitamin C, Arbutin, Lactic acid are a few products you will bump into during your skin care journey. Take it easy, you don’t need to learn them all. Focus on the basics first.
Your skin will thank you for it.