You probably know that your skin makes up the largest organ of the human body. This is why it makes perfect sense that many people's beauty drawers are crammed with skin-care products But for most of us, using more than the necessary products on a daily basis is needless -- and may even be doing more harm than good.
The exposed layer we're slathering with lotions, creams, toners, scrubs, and cleansers is called the epidermis -- it's the outermost of the three layers of skin. The epidermis is the most vulnerable to environmental damage, typically UV light that can leave it discolored and old-looking; and skin, in general, undergoes an aging process that can leave it looking dull, wrinkled and dry. Enter the hundreds of "scientific" skin-care products on store shelves intended to clear, plump, de-wrinkle, brighten and just generally beautify all different skin types. In reality, it's not rocket science.
Skin only needs a handful of simple, treatments to get and stay healthy -- and healthy-looking. And many of those treatments are the same ones the rest of your body needs to operate at its optimum level. Adding additional, expert-recommended products into a skincare routine isn't necessarily a bad thing, and can in some cases be quite beneficial; but for most people, effective skin care is actually a pretty simple process.
So what five things does your skin need?
Washing your skin is the most basic element of any skin-care routine. It not only removes excess dirt, pollutants and pore-clogging oil from the epidermis so it can remain blemish-free, but it also preps the skin for any subsequent products you'll be using, so active ingredients can penetrate and be most effective. Keep in mind that not all cleansers are the same. First, a facial cleanser should always be soap-free; the soap products you use on the rest of your body are typically too harsh for the face.When cleansing, be sure to massage it into your face for at least 20 seconds so it has a chance to do its job.
As we age, the process of cell regeneration slows down. This means that the body is slower to shed skin cells and generate new ones. When old skin cells start to pile up on the surface of the skin, it can leave skin looking dull, rough, and dry. Furthermore, the buildup of dead skin cells can result in excess oil and clogged pores, leading to blemishes and acne. Proper exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin and uncovers fresh new cells below. This opens the way for moisturizing and anti-aging products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which makes them more effective. In short, a regular exfoliating routine will leave your skin looking fresh and healthy.
Antioxidants are widely believed to be beneficial for both cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. They're found in all sorts of foods, including fruits, vegetables, seafood, and oils. Antioxidants' free-radical-fighting activities destroy molecules that can damage healthy cells, and as it turns out, they're as great for skin cells as they are for every other cell in the body. Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes that can help to prevent and repair damage to your body's tissue. Antioxidants do this by slowing or preventing the effect of free radicals, which start oxidation -- a process that causes damage from oxygen that can lead to cell dysfunction. If you've seen a peeled apple turn brown, you've seen oxidation in action.
As antioxidants block the effects of free radicals, they end up being oxidized. This is why it's important to constantly replenish your supply of antioxidants. OPCs are one of the most powerful antioxidants available and are 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E as free-radical scavengers.
Have you ever noticed that your skin becomes extremely dry and chapped when exposed to cold, dry air? Chapped lips, hands, and cheeks are a common issue during the colder months. This is especially true if you spend lots of time outside. When your body is cold, it tries to conserve heat. Part of this process forces the blood vessels in your skin to constrict, which keeps skin from getting the moisture it needs. As a result, you’re left with dry, red, and irritated skin.
Regular moisturizing also helps to nourish your skin in the long term, potentially slowing the signs of aging. At least that’s what an article published in a 2010 issue of the British Journal of Dermatology found. The study compared the number of wrinkles and levels of skin hydration in 122 women over a period of eight years. The researchers found that on average, a 28-year-old woman had a 52% increase in visible wrinkles by the time she was 36 if she had dry skin, compared to a 22% increase in women with well-hydrated skin. This connection between moisturizing and wrinkles comes down to the skin barrier, the outermost layers of skin that help to maintain consistent moisture levels. As you age, your skin barrier becomes less effective, leading to the types of damage we often associate with aging
When you use sunscreen, you're not just helping to protect yourself from diseases like skin cancer; you're also helping to prevent
the signs of skin aging that come from sun exposure. Skin that's left naked in the sun ends up more discolored and wrinkled and less elastic than skin that has been steadily shielded from UV radiation. In fact, what most of us think of as "aged skin" is, more specifically, sun-damaged skin To protect your skin from the effects of the sun, you choose a physical one, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.Look for one with a sun-protection factor (SPF) greater than 15, and apply it at least 20 minutes before you're going to be in the sun. That way, the active ingredients have time to take effect before the UV. Of course, if you really want to protect your skin from aging - wearing a facial sunscreen daily is of the utmost importance!