A good skin care regimen can help preserve the youthful appearance of your skin and possibly even turn back the clock on some signs of aging. Fortunately, an effective anti-aging skin care routine doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.
Morning vs. Night Routines
During the day, your skin care priority should be to protect your skin from exposure to harmful environmental factors like UV rays (from the sun), wind, pollutants, makeup, and other potentially damaging substances. At night, your regime should include cleansing before applying topical preparations that can help enhance your skin’s restoration while you are sleeping.
Step 1: Cleanse and Remove Makeup
Sleeping in makeup can cause uneven skin tone, dryness, redness, acne, and even deepening of wrinkles. It can also increase your exposure to free radicals that become attracted to makeup and skin during the day, possibly leading to collagen breakdown and premature aging. Mascara and eye makeup can clog the tiny hair follicles in your eyelids, potentially causing irritation, inflammation, or even a painful infection or cysts.
In the evening, clean the skin thoroughly with a makeup remover, followed by a gentle, low-pH cleanser to wash away makeup as well as any natural skin oils, pollutants, and bacteria you’ve accumulated through the day. In the morning, a light cleansing can help remove any oils that have built up overnight. If you have dry skin, a splash of water may be all that’s necessary.
Step 2 (optional): Tone and Tighten
Toners were developed to balance and restore the low pH of the skin after washing with harsh, high-pH cleansers like soap. If you’re using a cleanser with a low pH, then a toner is generally unnecessary unless your skin is extremely oily. For most normal skin, a splash of cool water is all that’s necessary to tone, tighten, and refresh skin.
Step 3: Exfoliate
As you age, your skin’s natural turnover of cells starts to slow down. Since dead skin cells aren’t replaced by fresh cells as quickly, your skin starts to look dull, uneven, and even blotchy. Exfoliants help speed up the removal of dead cells, revealing the fresher, more even, younger-looking skin beneath.
Exfoliants can use physical abrasives, like beads or granules, or chemical components like acids to speed up this sloughing process. Harsh physical exfoliants like sugar scrubs, however, can damage skin and make it more susceptible to sagging. Chemical exfoliants, including alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid, can more gently encourage the turnover of loose, dead skin cells.
Step 4: Moisturize & Nourish
As your skin ages, it produces less sebum and can dry out more easily. While this often causes a reduction in the occurrence of acne, it can also lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Keeping skin hydrated with a good moisturizer can help it stay plump and youthful. Today’s state-of-the-art moisturizers contain water-binding humectants like glycerine and hyaluronic acid that help skin retain moisture, but using traditional occlusive formulas like petrolatum (found in brand names like Vaseline and Aquaphor) or mineral oil at night can also be very effective.
Step 5: Protect
Protecting your skin from the sun is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking as young as possible. Damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin discolorations, age spots, moles, wrinkles, and even skin cancer (melanoma). As part of your morning routine, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with SPF 30 or higher—every single day. For a safe, healthy bronze glow, use self-tanner or bronzing powder. A makeup primer can help protect your skin from penetrating free radicals and pollution while keeping your makeup looking fresh all day long.
Evening is the optimal time to apply restorative products like serums, which can penetrate the skin while you sleep and help your body repair damage. Serums can contain intensive moisturizing ingredients as well as anti-aging components. Some of the most common are vitamin A derivatives known as retinoids (retinol, tretinoin, and tazarotene), vitamin C, and vitamin E. These components may help increase collagen in your skin, improving its elasticity; they may also act as exfoliants and antioxidants, counteracting environmental factors like pollutants and UV exposure that cause cell damage and visible signs of aging.
Ongoing Care and Maintenance
To keep your skin healthy and looking its best, follow a regular regimen and choose high quality skincare and makeup products. All-natural mineral makeup, dermatologist-tested skincare products, and professional spa skincare treatments can help your skin glow all year long (even in the Iowa winters!). Contact the professionals at Urban Effects skin wellness center for a personalized consultation to develop a skin care regimen that is perfect for you.