Monday, May 5, 2014

Skin Care: The Basics

I think for where I am in my life, my skin looks pretty good. At 37 years old, I don't have major signs of skin aging. I have been able to control breakouts and acne even though I have some hardcore PCOS. My children have not yet told me I look "old". In fact, I usually get compliments from complete strangers about my skin and complexion? (Not friends so much-what's up with that? Lol!) In fact, when I am in the makeup aisle of any local Walgreen's, Target, or Wal-Mart, I usually have a lady ask me what I use. So, I guess it is time for a post about what I do and my thoughts and feelings towards skin care.
I decided I am going to do a few posts in a series about skin care, and I will have recipes and links to what I use and have found successful. I hope this benefits you as much as I will have fun sharing it with you! 

**UPDATE: At the urging of friends, I have included photos of myself, no makeup {GULP...It's that moment you trust your friends will not lead you astray.}**

Let me jump right into this topic and break the ice by saying- I have my own, very strong opinions about skin care. Having lived in UT, CA, and SC I have been exposed to different climates and had my fair share of skin issues: light acne, dry skin, up to cystic acne. I don't think one thing solves all of our problems, but it is our job to figure out what our skin is asking for. I also believe, that what our skin asks for changes from time to time. This is a list of what I have observed over the years:
  • Many do not understand the real function of oil on the skin.
  • Many people strip their skin of these oils.
  • Many people do not restore the moisture to appropriate levels after using soap and/or astringents.
  • Many lack exfoliation in skin care routines.
I am not going to discuss the basics like drinking enough water, consuming healthy fats, and hormone issues associated with puberty, or medication side effects, etc. Also, I have not researched any science behind my opinions and thoughts of skincare (Gasp!)..although it is probably out there. I want to talk more about what we may be doing to our poor skin by our own hand.

Okay, so in my own efforts to care for my skin this is what I do every morning:
  1. Exfoliate
  2. Cleanse
  3. Astringent/Toner
  4. Moisturizer with sunblock
This is what I do at night (most of the time...if sleep doesn't get the best of me) :
  1. Cleanse
  2. Astringent/Toner
  3. Moisturize
  4. Moisturize
No, number 4 at night is not a typo- it is intended. And no, I am not vain. I do not spend hours on skin care or hundreds of dollars. All of this take less than a total of 5 minutes for both routines!! It really is easy. The hardest part is to get into the habit.

Purpose of Oil on the Skin: The pores on your skin create a naturally occurring oil called sebum. This oil prevents the skin from drying and cracking. The body also uses it to protect the skin from bacteria. If this is something your body makes on purpose, then taking it away on a constant basis (and not replacing with appropriate moisture) just tells the body there is not enough of it. So what's your body gonna do? It is going to send more signals to create even more oil! Yeah, I know, not your intent. Just learn and move forward from here. :)

Exfoliation: First, did you know that you should only exfoliate your skin in the hours of the day before noon? True story. Try this and see if the results are not better than what you are getting now. For those who don't....I compare this process to using a very fine grit sandpaper. It smooths things out to the softness of a baby's backside. It takes all the yucky, dead, dull skin cells off the top to reveal the younger skin underneath. There is more, but this will come in a different post.

Cleanse: This removes any make up, dirt, bacteria and old oils from the surface of the skin. But beware. There is a way to know when you have found the right type of cleanser for your skin. After washing, 15 minutes later your skin should not feel tight (like if you smiled your face would crack??). It might feel like you don't have surface oils, but it should not feel tight. If it does you are over stripping your skin! 

A hairstylist once said to me about shampoo: In reality, we need about 25% of the soap we use. We over use it thinking a better clean happens. So I started using a smaller amount of cleanser, and I still get the same clean. 

Astringent vs Toner: This particular area chaps my hide... it is so misunderstood! In high school, after basketball practice, I saw girls using bottles of alcohol-like the first aid bottles of isopropyl alcohol. They said it killed the bacteria and gets rid of the oil on their skin! Not what any person should be doing...

Toner is gentle product used for hydrating skin. Astringent is basically toner with more chemicals that help to fight bacteria and control oil. My personal belief is not to use astringent at night. Hydrating skin so it can repair and detox itself is what you should do. 

Moisturize: This is the area that I think is cut short. Because there is so much that happens to strip the skin of oil, there needs to be an equal amount of restoring that moisture. Moisturizer comes in a lot of forms just like cleanser. There is the department and drugstore brands, all the way to the at home methods. If you read my post on Homemade Lotion you will see that Kokum Butter is a great choice, along with coconut oil or other natural products. A lot of people would squirm if you asked them to put oil on their face, but the results are amazing! Making sure you have a product that is non-comodogenic is important (non pore clogging). At night, I slather my moisturizer on. If you were to actually see my face, it looks nothing short of "oily" as there is a deep shine, almost a glaze! LOL! I use my Homemade Lotion on the corner of my eyes, laugh lines, and forehead, followed by a heavy moisturizer at night and a lighter moisturizer with sunscreen for the day.

I hope this make sense for all of you! This is an overview of what I do. Coming up I will have recipes and links to the things that I use. If you have questions, feel free to email me or comment.

**I am not a doctor. I am not a dermatologist. I am not an esthetician. I am not giving any form of medical advice.