You probably have heard this before, but the skin is our body’s largest organ. Besides being a nice wrapping paper for your insides, it is your body’s first defence mechanism agains intruders and an important player in maintaining a healthy body temperature. The skin is made up of 3 layers: the epidermis containing pigment cells on the outside, the stratum corner surface layer made up of flat, dead skin cells in between and the basal layer on the inside, where new cells are made and travel upwards . The blood vessels, nerves, oil glands, collagen fibres and elastin all house in the middle dermis layer. The inner layer contains blood vessels, hair follicles and fat cells.
So before you spend all your money on expensive skin products to keep your skin clean, young and dew, you have to get your inner health in check with good skin care habits. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated and looking fresh, as dehydration is one contributing factor to premature wrinkling. Avoid the habit of yo-yo dieting and fad diets (in general), a diet made up mostly of whole plant foods with the addition of spices and herbs is key, which is rich in antioxidants (likes vitamins A, B, C and E) that fight off free radicals and help the skin repair itself.
If you are interested in how your diet can help (or not help) with getting a clear and healthy skin, let me know, I would happily do a separate post on the relation between your skin and the foods you eat.
Other things you should consider are sleep, which is very important for not only your skin but your health in general, and stress. Stress has a major influence upon mood, health, behaviour and your sense of well-being. So do whatever you can do to manage your stress levels. In the future I will do a separate post on the types of stress, the effects and what you can do to reduce stress. In the meantime this article goes into the relationship between stress and health.
Another factor that can really affect your skin is hormones. Hormones can go into overdrive and become unbalanced when experiencing stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, processed foods and chemical exposure.
After taking all this in consideration we can look into a skin care routine, which can be different for every person. We all have different skin types, live in different parts of the world and have a different life style. You should experiment with what works best for you and your skin, however here are a few steps I take and you could take as well.
MORNINGS: The first thing I do after waking up is washing my face with warm water. You can use gentle cleanser if you feel it is necessary (see some of the products I use below), but I sometimes just use water. Afterwards you could either gently pat your skin dry with a soft cloth or, as I prefer, let your skin air dry. Follow that with a toner if you think it needs an extra cleanse (make sure you choose one that is suitable for your skin, as they can be a bit harsh at times) and finish with a nontoxic sunscreen and moisturiser.
DURING THE DAY: I try to avoid using makeup in everyday life, and only put on some tinted moisturiser and a thin layer of mascara if I feel like something extra.
EVENING: Before bed always, always wash your face and use a gentle cleanser (to get rid of all the dirt you collected during the day) and pat dry or let air dry. Afterwards you can use a moisturiser of your liking or, as I do, use a facial oil to restore your skin for the next morning.
ONCE IN A WHILE: Once a week I add in a suitable exfoliation treatment to my routine. It must be effective but still very gentle, smoothing and purifying the skin whilst respecting its natural balance. When I remember I also like to apply a face mask once a week and very occasional I treat myself on a treatment at a skin clinic, like the SPA from the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam which also offers great massages.
P R O D U C T S I U S E
M O R N I N G
Extra Gentle Cleansing foam by Clinique
Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Gel by Clinique
Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Lotion by Clinique
Anti-Blemish Sonic Cleansing Brush (not everyday)
Ultra Facial Cream by Kiel’s
E V E N I N G
Same cleansers and lotions as in the morning
Midnight Recovery Concentrate by Kiehl’s
Coconut Oil (also great for cooking). The best coconut oil to get is ‘unrefined’ cold pressed, expeller pressed or centrifuged. You know it is high quality if it is crisp white when solid and crystal clear when completely liquid with no yellow tones.
O N C E I A W H I L E
Gel Nettoyant Comment by Sisley
Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque by Kiehl’s