If you’re like most people, you’ve likely set up some simple routines for self care—you brush your teeth twice a day, floss every evening, and head to the gym each morning before work. These self-care programs work because you have a system. You follow the routine and you see results. So, why should skin care be any different?
Skin care may seem like rocket science, especially if you’re prone to pesky breakouts—but it’s actually quite simple. Establishing a skin care schedule will take some of the magic out of the process.
Components of Skin Care
Regardless of skin type, there are some basic components to skin care that apply to nearly everyone—wash, exfoliate, moisturize, extract, replenish. The problem is that some of these components are daily necessities, whereas others are more sporadic. Setting up a skin care schedule will ensure that you’re taking optimal care of your skin. Divide your skin care needs into daily, weekly, and monthly requirements and set up a system.
There are a few important things you should do to take care of your skin on a daily basis. These daily tasks form the foundation of healthy skin.
- Cleanse: After identifying your skin type and finding a cleanser that works for you, set up a system for cleansing daily to remove dirt and grime. Once a day is enough for some, but most people should wash their face twice each day, morning and night. If you plan to wash your face when you brush your teeth, you’re likely to stay on track with this daily task.
- Tone: The jury is still out on whether toner works. Many skincare professionals are steering away from toners. Some recommend serums instead and others say to skip it altogether. If you have a toner or serum that works for you, apply immediately after cleansing.
- Moisturize: Moisturizing is one of the most important things you can do to care for your skin and protect it from the elements. Be sure to use a moisturizer that matches your skin type and the climate. Most of us need lighter moisturizers in the summer and heavier ones in the winter.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen is non-negotiable. Use it every morning. Some moisturizers have a built-in sunscreen. Just don’t use these at night, as the ingredients are not intended for constant use.
The weekly skin care tasks are the ones that are harder to remember. Some skincare professionals recommend exfoliating twice a week, whereas others prefer once. Some suggest using an exfoliant once a week and a mild mask or peel once a week. Once you’ve determined what your needs are, tie the task to something else. Maybe Monday is trash day and that’s the day you exfoliate. If you have two weekly skincare tasks, maybe you do one on trash day and one on the day the cleaning crew comes. Set up a system so you don’t forget.
- Exfoliate: Use a mild scrub (or peel or mask) to help slough away dead skin cells and prevent build-up and congestion that can lead to acne.
About once a month, our skin needs a little more attention, or a tune-up if you will. A monthly facial works wonders for the skin. If that’s not in the budget, you can take matters into your own hands.
- Extraction: Despite the best skincare routine, we all fall subject to blackheads and build-up. It pays to take a little time each month to remove blackheads. Steam the skin and use a blackhead removal tool to extract blackheads. Whatever you do, don’t squeeze!
- Mask: Facial masks can be used for several purposes, including unclogging pores and rehydrating the skin. Depending on your skincare needs, take the time each month for a soothing mask. Your body will appreciate the 20 minutes of relaxation and your skin will appreciate the extra attention.