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15 January 2014

Your beauty routine demystified

Before you pop into bed, you cleanse and moisturise your skin – just like your mother taught you. But do you know why you follow this skincare routine? Find out.

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Before you pop into bed, you cleanse and moisturise your skin – just like your mother taught you. But do you know why you follow this skincare routine? Find out.

Busy days, late nights, stress, too much sun and pollution. These are just some of the culprits that give your skin a daily beating.

And yet, while some of these factors are unavoidable, you can avoid having your skin looking drab, lacklustre and showing signs of premature ageing. All you need is a good skincare routine.

Did you know?
• Skincare is for everyone – not just for adult women.
• You should choose skin products according to your skin type.
• There are a couple of different skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination and sensitive skin.
• A dermatologist or beauty-counter assistant can assess your skin type.
• Your skin changes over time, and so too should your skincare routine.

Although everyone should be following a good skincare routine, many of us shy away from it because we don’t know where to start. The first step is to familiarise yourself with the basics. This includes cleansing, toning (optional), moisturising, repairing and taking steps to prevent premature ageing and permanent damage to the skin.

Cleansing:
• A good cleanser cleans the skin, removes dirt and bacteria, and clears away make-up, other fat-soluble particles and excess oils.
• Your face and neck should be cleansed first thing in the morning and before you go to bed.
• Always use mild or natural soaps suited to your skin type.
• Never over-wash. This will strip your skin of its natural, protective oils.
• Use a cleanser specifically formulated for your skin type:
- Dry skin needs soaps with emollients such as olive oil or lanolin.
- Oily skin needs a product that will gently control excess oil (sebum) and shine.
- Combination/normal skin needs a cleanser that won’t dry out the skin, but which will help control oil and shine in the so-called T-panel (the forehead, nose and chin).
- Sensitive skin needs a product with ingredients that calm the skin (e.g. aloe). It’s also best to avoid highly-fragranced cleansers and products with alcohol, retinoids and/or antibacterial ingredients.

Moisturising:
• A good moisturiser smooths and hydrates the skin by locking in moisture and providing a barrier between the skin and the environment.
• The skin needs to be moisturised twice a day – in the morning and before bedtime.
• A good moisturiser should contain glycerin, hyaluronic acid and dimethicone.
• Moisturising is especially important for dry and combination skin.
• Oily skin needs a light moisturiser, specifically formulated for oily skin.
• For combination skin, it might be worth only moisturising the areas of the skin that need it most, avoiding the oily T-panel areas.
• Over-moisturising can create clogged pores and lead to breakouts, especially if you have oily or combination skin.

Toning:
• Toning isn’t strictly necessary, but a good toner can remove any last bits of make-up and excess oil if you have oily or combination skin.
• Choose a toner that is free of alcohol.
• See how your skin reacts to a toner. Stop using it if it seems to dry out your skin.
• If your budget is tight, rather spend your money on a good cleanser and moisturiser.

Repairing:
• This should be tailored to the specific conditions that affect your skin.
• One type of product specifically aimed at repairing the skin is serum.
• For an instant lift, use products that contain antioxidants and dimethylethanolamine (DMAE).
• For red or irritated skin, use a product that contains a vitamin C ester.

Preventing premature ageing and damage:
• A good, nourishing, antioxidant-rich sunscreen is your best defence against the sun’s harmful rays.
• Make sunscreen part of your daily skin routine. Don’t skip it – not even in winter.
• Choose a product with an SPF of 30 or higher.
• Unfortunately, make-up with an SPF factor doesn’t provide enough protection in our harsh climate. You need a sunscreen too.
• Wear a hat for extra protection on sunny days.

A few tips
These skincare tips will see you through all the different seasons of your life:

• Change your skincare routine seasonally.
• Use heavier formulas during the winter months.
• Use a lighter, oil-free moisturiser during summer.
• Only use a pea-size amount of moisturiser in the morning and evening, and consider using a day cream and night cream, if you can afford it.
• Exfoliate your skin every couple of days to rid it of dead skin cells. Choose a gentle, good-quality exfoliator.
• Always make sure your hands are clean before you touch your face.
• Try new products, but don’t chop and change too much.
• If you live in a busy city, you’ll need a more intensive cleanser to eliminate impurities.
• Your skincare needs will change with age, and so too should your products.

REMEMBER: It may seem like a daunting task to find the correct regimen for your skin, but putting in the effort and time will give you a radiant skin for longer.

(Hayden Horner, Health24, January 2014)

 
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