Think proper skincare is complicated? It doesn’t have to be. In an age where we constantly are bombarded with new and often contradictory information it can be hard to keep up and separate the good advice from the bad.
Luckily, maintaining your skin so it stays clear, young and beautiful isn’t as complicated as it’s made out to be. Of course some people are more prone to having skin woes than others but the basics are the same for everyone.
Think of these as the ten skincare commandments you can make the foundation of your regimen. These are good habits that will help you attain better skin and help you look your best!
1. Always Use Sunscreen
What’s the most common way people neglect their skin? Forgetting or thinking they don’t need to put on sunscreen. If you’re outside during daytime — even in the middle of winter or on a cloudy day — you’re exposing your skin to UV rays. You might think ‘Oh but I’m not burning it’s fine!’
It really isn’t though.
The UV rays might not be strong enough to give you a tan but they still cause photoaging — the term for UV induced wrinkles and saggy skin that accumulates over a lifetime. If you want to keep your skin looking young for as long as possible, you should be applying some sort of sun protection every day.
Does tanning really even make you look better in the first place? We answer that here and give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about the Fitzpatrick scale. The Fitzpatrick scale helps determines how prone your skin is to burning and it’ll help you decide on an SPF level for your daily sunscreen.
Can’t be bothered with sunscreen? Why not use a moisturizer that also has some SPF protection. That way, you won’t be needing another product in your skincare ‘arsenal’ and you won’t even have to think about applying it since you’ll be moisturizing daily anyways (you will be moisturizing right?)
If you really want that sun bronzed look, try eating foods high in carotenoids instead or using natural looking self-tanners to get that glowing skin.
Do your skin a favor, and put on some sunscreen — you’ll be thanking yourself years later when people start asking you how do you look so young.
2. Follow a Routine Tailored To Your Skin’s Needs
It’s no secret that not everyone’s skin is the same. Some people have more sensitive skin than others, some have skin too dry, some have skin too oily, some have a combination of the two and some have what we call ‘normal’ skin, or skin without any glaring flaws.
Each type has its own specific needs that need to be addressed. When going through your daily skincare routine, you don’t want to be following a routine designed for dry skin if yours is oily — this will only make things worse!
First read this intro to skincare which will get you caught up on the basic products, what they do, and why we use them. If you already know your skin types, here they are:
3. Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face
As hard as it may be, try your best to avoid picking, itching, or touching your face. This can be harder than you think because it’s easy to just forget and rest your face on your palms.
Why avoid touching your face? Grime, grease, and dirt that builds up on your fingers and hands from interacting with the world around you (touching door handles, shaking hands) then gets transferred to your face clogging up pores and wreaking your skin’s natural lipid barrier. This is especially important if you have sensitive or acne prone skin because scratching or touching your face can further inflame conditions such as eczema or cause you to breakout!
This also means you shouldn’t be popping pimples. Unless you know how to do it like a pro.
As a best practice, keep your hands off your face just to be safe.
4. Treat Problems As Soon As They Come Up
We all get skin emergencies — bad things that happen to our skin at the worst possible time. An ugly pimple before date night. Lifeless skin after a long night with yearbook photos being done the next day. We’ve all been there.
Skin emergencies are best handled as early as possible. The sooner you take action, the better results you’ll see. Treating your acne as soon as it comes up won’t give it a chance to develop and further inflame your skin. Fresh pimples are easier to handle than heavily inflamed and deeply rooted ones that take time to mature. Another example is stretch marks — it’s easier to remove newer stretch marks compared to older ones that have matured.
If something comes up, don’t neglect it! Half the battle to attaining perfect skin is showing up.
Ignoring the problem until it goes away might work sometimes but the other times it doesn’t you’ll have to pay for it. Follow this commandment and strike down problems as they come up.
5. Be Gentle With Your Skin
It’s easy to think that the stronger and more powerful the products you use, the better the results you’ll get. This is a rookie mistake — the pros know that stronger products usually mean trouble.
It’s best to use gentle products except in rare circumstances because they’re less likely to irritate, overdry, or cause redness and stinging. Your skin doesn’t like you using a bar of soap as a cleanser, products with a pH that’s too high (over a 6 on the scale), or extreme chemical peels.
If you have sensitive skin, you should also avoid common irritating ingredients like fragrances, plant extracts, alcohol, or witch hazel.
Remember, your routine should be making your skin better NOT worse. Sometimes it takes time for your skin to adjust to new product, but if it’s still inflaming or irritating you a month later, it’s time to give it up and try something else.
6. Exfoliate… Occasionally
Exfoliation is a great way to give your skin a ‘brand new’ look. We’ve already gone over why exfoliation is so crucial but in case you didn’t know – by exfoliating you strip away the older, dull looking skin cells to reveal the newer and brighter ones underneath. Exfoliation is used to make skin look younger, reduce wrinkles, and treat a variety of skin woes like acne hyperpigmentation and stretch marks.
Exfoliation should be a part of any serious skincare routine. But it is possible to overdo it and get too much of a good thing. Over exfoliating does more harm than good because it excessively dries out your skin and since it speeds up the turnover rate of your skin cells, it can actually age your face if you do it too often.
Milder exfoliators like salicylic acid are okay to use more often but more powerful exfoliators shouldn’t be used daily. A couple times per week is enough.
So exfoliate… but only occasionally.
7. Treat Yourself To A Facial Mask Every So Often
Treating yourself to a facial mask is an easy way of improving your skin. After you apply the mask just kick back and relax as it works its magic.
Check out our mega guide on facial masks here where we talk about the different types (clay, cream, peel-off, charcoal, etc.) and how you can use them to treat your skin’s specific needs. Thanks to the variety of masks available, you can use them for almost anything from moisturization, to deep-cleansing pores, to exfoliation, to soothing sensitive skin, to spot treating blemishes, and much more.
We also have 10 of our favorite DIY homemade facial mask recipes here so you can experiment with making your own masks without ever leaving your home using ingredients straight from your kitchen.
Here’s one of our favorite DIY recipes… a strawberry mask great for oily skin and acne problems!
Don’t underestimate what a quality facial mask can do for you. The right one suited to your needs could be a game-changer and give you that extra something needed to look your best.
8. Eat A Skin Healthy Diet
We said it before, we’ll say it again: Nutrition is the FOUNDATION of your skincare regimen!
Even if you’re using the best skincare products in the world, that won’t be enough to help you reach your potential if you’re constantly on a poor diet. To really see your skin transform into something better, start eating better.
Check out our guide on skin nutrition where we talk about the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you should be eating to improve your skin quality (and the ones you should avoid).
We also have a list here of the 10 foods you NEED to make a staple of your diet for their skin-boosting effects. Those 10 foods pack a nutritional punch that’ll give your skin the tools it needs to remain in optimal condition
From offering UV protection, to diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, to improving your skin tone, to reducing inflammation — this is all possible by eating the right foods. Stop neglecting your skin and pay attention to what you eat.
9. Thou Shall Stay Active
Leading an active lifestyle will do more for your skin than being a couch potato. Here are a few reasons why everyone serious about their skin needs to break a sweat occasionally (the more often the better).
- Intense exercise let’s you sweat out toxins and increases circulation to your external organs meaning blood rushes to your skin delivering much needed oxygen and nutrients. It also gives you that post-workout glow that really helps your skin look ‘alive’ and injects some life into an otherwise dull complexion.
- Exercises helps manage your stress levels. Stress hormones like cortisol could be responsible for breakouts, and they increase your skin’s oil production giving it a shiny greasy look.
- Staying active will help reduce the appearance and likelihood of developing cellulite.
10. Introduce New Products One At a Time
You decide your current skincare routine isn’t working out for you so you completely revamp it and replace all your current products with new ones you’ve never tried before. You go through your regular routine (remover, cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer, sunscreen) but instead of better skin, your face starts getting easily irritated and you begin breaking out. What happened?
Well, we don’t really know. Introducing more than one product at a time into your routine makes it hard to pinpoint exactly what’s causing you the trouble.
This is why you need to replace products ONE at a time so if any problems arise, you know where to point the finger of blame. If after a couple weeks you don’t notice any negative effects, introduce another product. This is the best way to build up your routine into something that works!
So there you have it. Rules to live by and best practices to help your skin look the best it can possibly be. Follow these ten simple guidelines and you’ll have 99% of your skincare regimen down pat!