Friday, September 7, 2012

The Basics of Skin Care

With so many skin care products and remedies available on the market sometimes it is important to get back to the basics of skin care. Healthy skin is not difficult to achieve if your fundamental skin care routine is correct.
For starters you should keep your skin clean. If your skin is dry or oily, look for products designed for your type of skin. It is not necessary for it to be "squeaky" clean, just make sure that all makeup and pollution is removed. Use a mild cleanser with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry. Your skin should not feel tight, just clean and without makeup or cleanser residue. A mild toner should be applied, followed by a mild moisturizer. In the morning, a good sunscreen should be applied after the moisturizer has dried. In the evening, skip the sunscreen but use the moisturizer.
Regular inspections and maintenance of the skin is important because you will be able to catch problems before they become major issues. If you notice many whiteheads or blackheads you should schedule a facial, or learn the proper steps to give yourself one at home. If you decide to remove them at home, have patience and do not get too aggressive on your skin. If you have pimples, acne or other signs of infection, you should see a dermatologist, but do not pop, squeeze or pick your pimple or acne. This rough handling will spread bacteria and infection and cause bruising. If you have overdone it and have injured your skin, use an antibacterial ointment for a day or so and avoid prolonged sun exposure (apply sunscreen to the affected areas) until the area is healed.
Hydration is also very important. Most people are dehydrated and don't even know it. A quick test to know if you are dehydrated is to look at the color of your urine. If it is not clear, then you are not drinking enough water. The long standing recommendation of a minimum of eight glasses of water per day is a good place to start. Another benefit of drinking that much water is that you will not have much room to drink the bad stuff, i.e., soda, coffee and alcohol.
Protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun. Sunscreen should be used every day, even on cloudy days to avoid accelerating the aging process. Regular use of hats and sunglasses are a great way to protect the skin on your face. Always remember to apply sunscreen to the backs of your hands. The hands sometimes can age much faster than the rest of the body.
You should also inspect your makeup products. Make sure they are fresh and have not gone rancid. Different products expire at different times. For example, replace your mascara and liquid eyeliner every three months, or sooner if you find it is becoming clumpy. Liquid foundations should be tossed after six months or sooner, particularly if you notice the foundation is beginning to separate. Eye and lip pencils should be replaced every six to eight months. Lipsticks have the longest shelf life, but after a year or so, you should replace them. If you are not sure how old your products are, you should not take a chance, throw them out, but if you are tempted to try them, give them a quick sniff, you can sometimes smell when some products have gone bad, particularly liquid products (i.e. mascara and foundations).
Finally, take a look at your tools: makeup brushes, hair brushes, loofahs, sponges, tweezers, scissors and shavers. These items should be carefully inspected and cleaned at least once every month in a mild soapy solution (baby shampoo works great), and if necessary, replaced when they show signs of excessive wear. Sharp metal tools should be disinfected with alcohol. All of these items, if not properly taken care of can harbor bacteria that can lead to skin irritations, acne and other types of infection. In the case of sharp tools, such as razors, scissors and nippers, dullness or rust on the metal can cause injury and dangerous infections on the skin.
No matter how much money is spent on skin care products, if your basic skin care routine is lacking, you will not get the full benefits of the products. The above steps will help give you the foundation to maintain healthy skin.

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