“IT’S NEVER TOO LATE
It’s never too late to look after yourself. Never too late to look after your skin. You’d be amazed at how quickly your skin and body can rejuvenate given the right environment.” – Jana Elston
What Causes Severe Dry Skin
Our skin goes through treacherous treatment throughout the year. We subject it to harsh treatment as a result of the weather, climate and daily lives. As we get older these damages leave permanent impacts on our skin which are very difficult to reverse or cover up. Our skin starts to look old, loses elasticity, develops stretch marks and dark circles or bags. All of these can be traced back to a set of common contributors that we all face.
During the Summer we expose it to hot heats. In Winter we expose it to cold and dry winds and drastic changes in temperature adjusting between indoors and outdoors. All of these adverse temperatures and climates can stretch-out, dry, flare and crack our skin. Without the proper treatment, our skin loses its ability to retain its natural state.
Lack of Moisture
One of the key contributors to the damage to our skin is the loss of moisture. We hydrate our bodies but go whole days without hydrating our skin. Moisture is key to the maintenance of skin. It prevents eczema outbreaks, prevents cracking, regulates the natural body oils secreted from the skin. Without the necessary moisture, the skin will lose all of the benefits mentioned above and showcase symptoms of dryness.
The stress we experience throughout the day can manifest itself through our skin in the form of oils, wrinkles, and dryness. Work-related stress often correlates to increased cortisol which can increase the skin’s production of oils. Physical activity stress can cause our bodies to also release more oil-producing hormones as well as coat the skin with sweat and dirt. Indirect consequences of stress like poor food choices and lack of drinking water can also have impacts to dry-out or detract good blood-flow/necessary moisture to the skin.
Some of us are pre-disposed to have skin that cannot maintain its vitality, elasticity, shine, and moisture as we get older. Our bodies naturally may not have the means to support healthy skin or vibrant skin as others. In certain cases, genetics (when combined) with other factors can create a powerful chain reaction that could harm the skin even more than usual. Or could act together to create skin conditions that are very difficult to reverse. I myself have suffered from light dark circles under the eyes due to genetics but when I worked went through months of limited sleep and late hours the dark circles quickly got more prominent.
Skin Care Routine And Products
Despite the condition of your skin, it is possible to heal, care, reverse and prevent future damage. However, this requires continued maintenance and a well-balanced skincare routine that can give your skin the nutrients and preservatives it needs. Building an easy yet effective routine will also allow for a quick and repeatable application as well as discipline. This skincare routine compounded over many years of application is guaranteed to heal your skin and restore its vitality. Having a skin that is vibrant, colorful and healing can make you look much younger than you are. It is important to view the routine in three parts:
The first step is to acquire the products that can specifically work to heal your face and body. There are hundreds of different products that do a multitude of different things but it is key to focus on the essential product. For the face, the essential products are: moisturizer, toner and eye cream.
Moisturizer is for hydrating the face to give your skin elasticity and prevent dryness. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of dry skin. Dry skin causes wrinkles, cracks and flaky skin which can act to make you look aging. Think of a cast iron pan. When it is dried out, it looks old, used and you can see its flaws. A well-oiled cast iron pan has a nice sheen to it making it look brand new.
Toner is for reducing acidity and detoxifying pores to provide a cleaner look. Toner helps to shrink the size of pores making your skin preventing many oils and toxins from settling into the skin. This helps in reducing acne and preventing an overall oily face. Toners also contain moisture and chemicals to balance your skin’s natural pH level so it looks more vibrant and smoother.
Eye cream is for reducing dark circles, bags, and wrinkles around the eye. These creams add moisture and brightness under the eyes to reduce the appearance of dark circles and bags. They have ingredients such as peptides, retinol, and oils to fill in wrinkles and reduce puffiness. They also contain vitamins and caffeine to rejuvenate the skin.
As important as it is to get the right product, the procedure of applying those products is equally as important. The procedure and application method need to be in the correct order and time of day otherwise you could not be getting the full effect and benefit.
Step 1: Wash Your Face
Before applying anything onto your face it is important to clean all of the dirt, oil, sweat, and makeup on your face. Over the course of the day, our skin pores accumulate dirt from the dust and debris floating around the places we go. Natural oils are also accumulated in our pores from daily stress and sweat. Any creams or products applied to the skin while there is dirt, oils or sweat may not be as effective because there is a layer on top of the skin preventing the products from penetrating. Think about trying to apply water to a sponge that is wrapped in saran wrap. None of the water will be absorbed because all of the pores are blocked.
Step 2: Dry Your Face
In order for the products to effectively penetrate your pores there needs to be no moisture on your face. Moisture acts as a barrier that blocks pores. Think about a bowl half full of water, when you pour oil into the bowl, the oil floats on the top and cannot reach the bottom. Since water is denser than some of the products you will put on your face they will never reach your pores because they will be diluted and caught in the excess moisture.
Step 3: Apply Toner
As discussed earlier, toner is for reducing acidity, detoxifying and shrinking pores for smoother skin. Toner needs to be applied first because it will provide a foundation for the other products to work effectively. By tightening up the pores and removing any residue of acidity or oils, it removes anything that could be an interference with the other products.
Step 4: Apply Eye Creams
Now that your skin is smooth and balanced, applying eye creams around the eyes will be even more effective to reduce wrinkles, lighten dark circles and reduce puffing. These creams contain nutrients and chemicals in high concentrations that repair and even reverse. It is important to apply eye creams below, under and around the eyes. Most people only concentrate under the eyes but the upper eyelid is just as sensitive and crows feet take place on the outsides of the eye. The eyes are the key giveaways for a person’s stress, habits, and age. As such, it is important to target them all around and with enough product so they can heal and restore.
Step 5: Apply The Moisturizer
Although the eyes are the key giveaways for a person’s face, the other parts (cheeks, forehead, nose, temples, chin) should not be neglected. We want to have a well-balanced face that is smooth and vibrant all over, not just around the eyes. As such, we need to apply moisturizer last so we can hydrate the skin and prevent flak skin, cracks and wrinkles. Applying moisture is like applying a protective coat to allow the skin to retain moisture despite weather and stress, throughout the day or night.
The time during which you apply your skincare routine should also be correct, otherwise, you might not get the full effect or cause a reaction because the skin is too sensitive at that time. Although we tend to believe the morning is the best time to apply skincare and products to our face, studies show the night time is actually the best suited.
When we wake up our skin is the most sensitive and starts to produce natural oils which are for hydrating and blocking UV. Washing this away or applying products on top would be counterproductive. This could result in a bad reaction to the products and a waste of product since the skin is naturally doing this anyways.
At night, before we sleep is when our skin starts its own rejuvenation period. Our skin naturally tries to correct the damage done throughout the day from dryness and stress by repairing tissue and producing collagen for restoration. In order to compound the skin’s natural healing and repair, this is the best time to apply our skincare products. The products will act to give the skin more nutrients, moisture, chemicals, and oils to help it expedite the repairing and healing process.
Furthermore, when we sleep our faces are not exposed to strange climates, winds, stresses or dirt. This means the full effect of our skincare will be focused on repairing and healing the skin rather than protecting it. When skincare is applied in the morning, it is splitting its effectiveness by doing two jobs, healing and protecting. By giving our skincare the only job of healing we can compound the effect and results.
As with any new routine you implement in your life there needs to be measured progress otherwise why do it? Since skincare does take time and the compound effect can only be seen after weeks or months of use it is important to document progress.
I would recommend taking pictures of your face before starting the routine. Be sure to take pictures from different angles and with good lighting. As you implement the new skincare routine, take pictures of your face from the same angles every month. A month is a good frame of time because it allows for repair and healing of facial features which take time such as wrinkles and dark circles. Taking pictures to often won’t show visible change and may cause you to get deterred to the routine or products.
So what happens if you do not see results as you expected? There could be a few factors which might lead to this. You might be applying too little of a product. If you have deep wrinkles then applying only a small amount of eye cream will produce results but it will take much longer. In this case, it might be necessary to increase the amount of eye cream. Another factor might be you should switch to a product that focuses on a particular problem area. If wrinkles are a problem area, you might want to consider an eye cream that focuses on wrinkle reduction. Generic eye creams may contain nutrients and chemicals for wrinkles but in a much smaller dosage because they are all-purpose.
Taking pictures to measure progress is a great way of visualizing your efforts in adopting the skincare routine. It will provide a powerful motivator for you to continue and build some good self-confidence along the way.
As important as it is using the right product and procedure, limiting or preventing the causes of imperfection on your face is just as important. All we have discussed thus far are products and methods for healing and reversing the damage already done to your skin. They are mostly reactive and not pro-active. As such, if your face continues to receive damage which causes imperfections you will only be playing catch-up. Furthermore, damage to the skin can occur much faster than repairing it.
In order to truly reverse the damage done and bring out the vitality to your skin, we must also identify and stop the behaviors, climates and lifestyle choices that inflict stress and damage on our faces. A good rule of thumb is to focus on the following areas and determine what you do which could potentially be harming your skin:
- Are you going from hot to cold places frequently?
- Are you walking outside in cold and windy weather often?
- Are you in dry places for long periods of time?
- Do you shower every day?
- Do you wipe sweat from your face after long workouts?
- Do you wear clothes and hats multiple times without washing them?
- Do you read in low light or the dark?
- Do you stare at a computer or mobile screen for long periods of time without break?
- Do you constantly rub your eyes or face?
- Do you work in low light or very bright rooms?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are exhibiting a behavior or operating in a climate where it is a taking a toll on your skin in the form of wrinkles, acne, dark circles, dry skin or rashes. Although it may not be possible to completely eliminate, there are things we can all do to reduce the strain or stress of these things in our lives. A good example is, I used to browse my phone at night in the dark. The bright screen caused my eyes to constantly strain and as a result, I got more wrinkles and darker circles under my eyes. Since identifying the harm of this behavior I have almost completely cut this out. I either browse my phone while I am getting ready for bed or I use a lower brightness so my eyes do not have to strain as much.
It is up to you, to be honest, and change/remove the key areas which are causing strain, stress, and damage to your skin. If you can do this, you will boost the effectiveness of the products you use and see more dramatic improvements on your face. Not mention, doing these things can actually reduce overall stress on your body and help keep your skin looking young.
Having a routine to hydrate, clear and rejuvenate your skin every day will provide your face with all it needs to withstand the environment and lifestyle impact you put it through. Building and maintaining this routine helps enforce a discipline and will have compounding benefit as you get older. By following this routine you can maintain your skin and retain its vitality. Your face will age gracefully as you grow older. You might even get complimented on having a younger looking face. The face is the key to a person’s appearance and often times is the first (and last) impression formed of us. Having a face that looks and feels healthy will be a positive reflection of oneself and creates a perception that they are healthy as well. This can only lead to many positive benefits to boot confidence, new opportunities, and approachability.
How Do You Keep Your Face Looking Young?
What I’ve shared above are tactics and techniques that have worked for me, however, I am still constantly trying to refine my skincare routine to keep my face looking young. I would love to hear what tactics or techniques have worked well for you. Feel free to comment below with an example or identify an area I might have missed. Please share so we all can learn and possibly incorporate ourselves.