Skin Care Guide – Part 1
Golden Rule of Skin Care – Cause No Harm
When it comes to skin care, most people make the same mistake:
In pursuing and testing various skin care recipes and products they often do more harm to their skin then help it, and the accelerated skin aging is often a result of skin mistreatment rather than a natural process.
So the first thing you should remember and religiously adhere to once you set out on the skin care journey – DO NO HARM.
Foreseeing your next question – How do I know what harms my skin and what doesn’t??? – let me tell you the following: First and most of all, never try anything of what you are unsure. Did you do homework and made certain that this product or recipe should indeed help you? If not – don’t use it!
So indeed, the first, the easiest and the cheapest way to start improving your skin is to stop harming it. The challenge here, however, is that skin damage can’t always be felt or doesn’t always cause pain or even irritation, and hence may go on unnoticed. Therefore, the only way really to avoid unintended skin damage and unnatural skin aging is to know what factors cause it. Without further ado, I’ll list them below:
Minimize Sun exposure. Whether you knew this or not, but sunlight damages your skin, enhancing skin aging and creating wrinkles. Ultimately sun exposure may lead to skin cancer. Therefore, first and foremost, minimize exposure to direct sunlight and when it’s unavoidable – use appropriate sun protection measures.
Avoid Harsh Detergents. Most soaps, shampoos, body washes and dishwashing liquids contain extremely harsh detergents – sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate (both referred to as SLS) or sometimes their analogs – ammonium lauryl sulfate. The best way to minimize contact with them is to use alternative washing products free of SLS’s such as glycerin-based baby soap and non-irritating baby shampoos (Johnson’s Baby series – see Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Johnson's Head-To-Toe Baby Wash) for bathing, and use protective gloves when washing the dishes.
Avoid Hot Water. Hot water produces skin damage because it speeds up the rate of chemical reactions, washing away protective skin oils and leaving it dry hence more prone to physical damage and penetration of bacteria. So when taking shower or bath, water temperature should be just comfortably warm and never too hot.
Avoid Excessive Skin Washing & Treatment. Don’t wash your face skin more than twice a day and don’t take showers or bath more than once a day (every other day is about the optimum frequency unless you live in a very hot climate). Periodical skin exfoliation is useful as it removes dead cells, but doing it too frequently removes living cells and strips the skin of protective layer, which may eventually exhaust skin’s ability to regenerate itself. Optimum frequency for exfoliation is one or twice a week maximum – do not exceed this.
Use Makeup in Moderation. Most of makeup products, especially long-lasting ones, contain strong skin irritants (harsh chemicals), which may damage the skin in two ways – by directly damaging skin cells and by triggering inflammatory or allergic reactions (the second type is particularly true for people with sensitive skin). Especially sensitive to the irritants is your eye area. To counteract this threat, use makeup in moderation, minimizing the use of eye area cosmetics and especially avoiding long-lasting makeup products, which are not only more chemically aggressive but also require more irritating solvents to be removed.
Avoid Squinting and Frowning. A lot people squint and frown constantly without realizing it. Apparently, these and other facial movements lead to wrinkles and crow’s feet. Particularly prone to squinting are short-sighted people not wearing glasses or wearing ones with insufficient strength. If you are one of those – get yourself appropriate glasses and start wearing them at all times whenever you need to see in the distance. If, on the other hand, squinting or frowning is just a habit, get rid of it! The first step here is to be aware when you start making these facial expressions (ask you friends or closed ones to alarm you) and consciously relax your facial muscles as soon as you start noticing their tension.
Choose Skin Care Products Carefully. Do research and select skin care products that can really benefit your skin instead of harming it. Some ingredients in regular skin care products can cause long-term skin damages, while others if misused – may cause skin irritation, allergy or even chronic inflammation. Carefully study the ingredients list of all skin care products you intend to use regularly (See our Skin Care Ingredients Dictionary) and make sure that they don’t contain any harmful ingredients. In addition, those products should also contain enough of active ingredients that specifically treat your skin problems.
- Eliminate Skin Inflammations. Continuous skin inflammation constantly releases free radicals and metalloproteinases (MMP) which accelerate skin aging, and while occasional inflammation due to cuts, abrasions, burns, use of inappropriate cosmetics should not be too much of a bother, chronic inflammation should be dealt with and treated as soon as possible. Some of the skin conditions that may cause chronic inflammation include acne, eczema, rosacea, dermatitis and psoriasis. Don’t settle for skin care products that remove some of your symptoms while leaving the skin constantly irritated. Instead, consult a dermatologist ASAP to work out the best treatment for your skin conditions and eliminate constant inflammation.
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