Preparing for back to school can be a busy time and you want to make sure you have everything you need to get through yet another year of school. When it comes to getting organized, not only do you want to have all of your school supplies, but you also want to make sure your skincare cabinet is fully stocked with the products you’ll need throughout the year.
While it may be tempting to hit your local drugstore to stock up on inexpensive skincare products, truly caring for your skin goes far beyond that. Quality ingredients are essential to giving your face the necessary nutrients it needs, especially during this stressful time of year, where you’ll most likely notice more blemishes than normal.
So, before you get back to the books, let’s review the basics of skincare application and the essential products that keep your skin looking its radiant best.
Step 1: Cleanse
Cleansing the skin, not once, but twice daily (morning and night) is important for a healthy glow. In the morning, cleanse to rid the skin of your previous nighttime skincare products, as well as any sebum residue that may have been released on the skin while you slept. In the evening, cleanse to remove the day’s dirt, oil, bacteria and makeup.
When choosing a facial cleansing product, it’s important to look for one that is customized to your skin type with gentle, yet active ingredients. What works for one person’s skin may not necessarily work for yours, so look for active ingredients that are safe for your skin type. Above all, you’ll want to choose a cleanser that is enriched with exfoliating acids and properly washes away oils, bacteria, and impurities.
Step 2: Tone
Toning the skin twice daily is another important skincare step, as it will remove any remaining bits of oil, dirt and debris left behind by the cleanser. More importantly, toning the skin will help soothe, nourish, and gently exfoliate the skin while restoring its delicate pH balance.
When choosing a toner, it’s important to look for a solution that is not only customized to your skin type, but also one where its ingredients will properly prepare the skin for the next step: activation. A good toner will allow for the absorption of peptides, vitamins, and emollients, which are found in many activating serums and moisturizing creams.
Step 3: Activate
Activating the skin is necessary in your skincare regime. Unlike the other skincare steps, activation should only be done at night. Why? Your skin cells do their repair work most effectively at night. Also, because such products contain clinical-grade concentrations, overuse could do more harm than good.
Once applied, skin activators will penetrate into the upper layer of the skin, weakening the anchors that hold onto dead skin cells. This allows the layer of dead skin cells to slough off, revealing the smoother and more evenly pigmented underlying skin. In addition to removing dead skin cells, skin activators help to bind moisture, which increases skin hydration leading to a healthy glow.
When choosing a skincare activator, it’s important to look for products with clinical-grade concentrations of lactic, glycolic, salycilic and kojic acids. Not only do these concentrations work on skin through the night to reduce signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, redness, dullness, and blemishes, but they can also be easily combined with any anti-aging therapy or regime.
Step 4: Moisturize
Using a facial moisturizer twice daily is an essential step for healthy, blemish-free skin. A lightweight facial moisturizer is ideal for hydrating, nourishing, and calming your face, especially if you suffer from dry skin.
When choosing a facial moisturizer, look for a product that is not only formulated for your specific skin type, but also one that contains emollients, vitamins, botanicals, and extracts. Your facial moisturizer should work to hydrate your skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne, dryness, and uneven tone.
Step 5: Protect
Just because this is the final step in your daily skincare regime, doesn’t mean it should be treated with less importance. In fact, protecting the skin, in other words, applying SPF to your face is the most important skincare step you’ll ever perform. Why? Failure to apply sunscreen every day could result in:
Overexposure to the sun’s harmful UVA and UBV rays
Skin cancer or the development of a precancerous mole
Skin discolouration, hyperpigmentation, and brown spots
The development of wrinkled, premature aging skin
When choosing a facial sunscreen lotion, it’s important to look for a broad-spectrum formulation that’s water and sweat resistant, an SPF in the 30-50 range, and provides chemical block protection.
Exfoliation is the removal of dry/dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and though it shouldn’t be done on a daily basis, it also shouldn’t be forgotten about. Exfoliation not only helps common skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and rosacea, it also increases blood circulation, which in turn helps you to achieve healthy glowing skin.
When choosing a facial exfoliator, look for a product that contains fruit enzymes, as they will not only provide exfoliation to scrub away impurities, but are also gentle enough for all skin types and conditions.