There isn’t anything as simple and complex at the same time as skin care.
We spend a lot of time and money searching for the perfect tonic, the perfect cream, the perfect mask for our skin type, and, in case of failure — the ideal makeup for masking our skin’s imperfections.
In the process of trial and error, you might not achieve the result you’re going for, and in the worst case scenario, you might even harm your skin.
But are there any basic rules on how to keep our skin beautiful and healthy that are useful for everyone? Today Atlas Biomed will tell you about the universal principles of skin care.
Disclaimer: all the tips in the article are advisory in nature. Periodic pimples and black dots happen to everyone and this is normal. If you have medical problems with skin, or you would like to select more personal care for your skin, you should talk to a doctor.
Where do the problems with skin come from?
Many factors can cause skin irritation. Most people face the problem of acne during adolescence associated with hormonal changes. Other hormonal changes in adulthood, such as menstruation, pregnancy or menopause can also cause skin problems, although, for some people the changes can get rid them of their original problems.
Skin problems can be linked to family history. If your parents had skin problems, then most likely you do too. Pimples can be also caused by certain drugs (such as those used to treat epilepsy and depression), or by a reaction to makeup or skin care products.
Which products can help to build basic skin care routine?
The main secret of successful skin care is to know your skin type. This will help you to choose the most effective care product. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are five types of skin:
- Sensitive skin may sting or burn after product use
- Normal skin is clear and not sensitive
- Dry skin is flaky, itchy or rough
- Oily skin is shiny and greasy
- Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others
Often (especially in summer) your skin can be dehydrated. This is a skin condition, not a type. If you have it, your skin is lacking water. This can be caused by lots of factors such as makeup, diet or weather and seasonal changes.
To cleanse your face or get rid of dehydration, use a gentle non-abrasive cleanser that does not contain alcohol. Don’t wash with really hot water and don’t use aggressive surfactants: it can disrupt the natural lipid barrier and cause skin irritation.
When choosing a cleansing product, pay attention to the place of surfactants in the list of ingredients, such as SLS and ALS. These surfactants are safe but can cause skin irritation in some people, especially when they are first on the list. Try to choose pH balanced products, because their formula is safer and doesn't cause skin irritation.
If you think that just washing your face with a cleanser is not enough, you can also use a skin tonic, but it’s not really necessary today, especially if you use a good cleansing product and a good cream. Skin tonic is used to remove soap residues and moisturize the skin, but today soap is not used in skin care, so skin tonic is just an additional step.
Use moisturizer after cleansing, especially if your skin is dry or itchy. Be careful when applying any cream around the eyes, so you do not irritate sensitive skin. Don’t avoid cleansers with parabens. They prevent the growth of microorganisms - that’s why mould doesn’t cover your cream two days after you open it.
If your skin needs a scrub or chemical exfoliator, apply the product gently using small, circular motions. How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type. Usually, the more aggressive the exfoliation, the less often it needs to be done. If you are not sure that exfoliation is what your skin needs, then it's better not to do it.
Try to use sunscreen every day before you go outdoors, especially when you are sunbathing. It can slow down skin ageing, save you from sunburn and pigmentation, and help to prevent skin cancer, including melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
If you want to have the best protection from sun exposure, pay attention to these three criteria: SPF (from 30 and higher), water resistance and broad-spectrum protection (UVA/UVB). You also may see the PA+ ratings on skin care products. Each plus increases the level of protection against UVA rays. You can also pick up a sunscreen that suits your skin type (just read the label carefully).
I still got a pimple. What should I do?
Sometimes, even a thorough skincare regime does not prevent a pimple appearing on your face (usually, at the most inopportune moment). First of all, do not squeeze or pop it, even if you really want and you think that the pimple will heal faster this way. Trying to squeeze out a pimple will make the skin more sensitive, skin in this area will become irritated and the pimple will become even more noticeable. It can also cause scarring.
The best course of action is to:
- Apply a warm compress. It can soften the spot, allowing pus to come to the surface. It can also help a blind pimple come to a head.
- Use non-soap cleansers. They’re better at treating acne than traditional soap.
- Apply creams and ointments. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends over-the-counter creams that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur.
- Apply ice packs if you feel pain.
Do not forget, you can also hide a pimple with makeup. Choose cosmetics that do not block pores.
What should I do to avoid skin problems?
Skin problems can be solved with proper external care, but also from the inside. Contrary to popular belief, food does not cause acne, but it can improve the skin’s general condition, primarily through vitamins and antioxidants.
There are also several ways to achieve healthy skin.
Try to diversify your diet as much as possible. One food group can’t provide you all the essential nutrients for your skin. But a healthy, balanced diet provides a rich supply of antioxidants thought to help protect and repair our skin.
Studies suggest that the intestinal microbiome’s influence extends beyond the gut. In particular, there are findings that represent evidence of a more direct link between the gut microbiome and cutaneous homeostasis, but this connection has just begun to be explored. Moreover, studies have demonstrated that gut bacteria can positively impact the response to disturbed skin barrier function.
Intestinal dysbiosis, a state of microbial imbalance, has the potential to negatively impact skin function and contributes to common skin disorders (such as acne, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis). That is why it is important to monitor your gut microbiome’s health.
1. Regularly wash your face with warm water.
2. Do not exfoliate your skin too often, it can lead to damage and irritation to skin.
3. Always remove all makeup before going to sleep.
4. Everyday basic skin care routine consists of a cleanser, a skin tonic (if you think that cleanser is not enough for you), moisturizer and a scrub or chemical exfoliator (but really carefully).
5. Try not to sunbathe in the open sun. Always use sunscreen before you go outdoors.
6. Do not touch your face throughout the day.
7. Regularly check your skin for changes and reaction to care products. It will help if you immediately change a product you are allergic to before the reaction get worse.
- Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. 2016.
- American Academy of Dermatology.
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- Final report of the amended safety assessment of sodium laureth sulfate and related salts of sulfated ethoxylated alcohols. 2010.
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- Acne. The National Health Service UK.
- Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. Opinion on parabens. Updated request for a scientific opinion on propyl- and butylparaben. 2013.
- Skin Health. The British Dietetic Association. 2016.
- Dermatologists advise patients that over-the-counter acne products can have benefits and a place on their medicine shelf. American Academy of Dermatology. 2014.
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- I. Salem, A. Ramser, N. Isham, M.A. Ghannoum. The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. 2018.