If you are tuned in to the latest beauty news, you could get the impression that effective skin care is a very complicated and time-consuming process. Fact is, it isn't rocket science, so do not get discouraged. There are very quick, simple things that you can do that will go a long ways towards improving your skin today, as well as protecting it against future damage.
Proper cleansing is gentle cleansing, since facial skin is delicate. Non-soap cleansers are best for all skin types, but are essential if your skin tends to be dry, since they better preserve the skin's natural moisture barrier. Don't scrub – just spread the cleanser over your face and neck with a gentle circular motion, give it a minute or two to break up dirt, oil and makeup, then rinse with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Cleansing twice daily – morning and night – is generally sufficient, keeping skin free of harmful contaminants without over-drying.
Unless you have very oily skin, moisturizing immediately after cleansing is essential – sealing in the moisture your skin has absorbed. This also helps preserve the skin's natural moisture barrier, and keeping skin well hydrated helps the natural skin renewal process. Additionally, if you have fine surface lines, moisturizing helps minimize them, plumping the skin to make them less noticeable.
The type of moisturizer you should use depends on your skin type. If your skin is prone to acne, make sure to use a light, water-based moisturizer to avoid clogging pores. Rich, creamy moisturizers are generally best for very dry skin, while lighter facial lotions may be best for slightly dry or normal skin types.
Moisturizers that contain antioxidants are great for all skin types, helping to protect against damaging free radicals that age your skin. Since moisturizing is one of the most important steps in improving your skin and protecting against skin aging, it may be worth your while to see a skin care specialist for recommendations as to the best products for your particular skin type.
This simple step is the very best way to improve your skin. UV radiation from the sun is responsible for the majority of skin damage that we typically attribute to aging, including skin dullness, discoloration and spotting, lines, wrinkles and creases, and reduced skin elasticity and volume.
The best way to protect against that damage is to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day, all year round. Most moisturizers contain sunscreen these days, streamlining the morning skin care routine. However, even with the best sunscreen, protection wears off in a few hours. Effective protection means remembering to reapply every few hours – a task that can be much easier if you use a mineral powder sun block that can be brushed on over your makeup.
There you have it – three simple steps that can, if done daily, greatly improve your skin. Of course, you may need to add a step or two if you are treating a specific skin condition, such as acne or existing sun damage – but all-in-all, good skin care can be handled effectively in just 10 or 15 minutes, morning and night.
Your skin will thank you for taking the time, staying smoother, fresher and younger-looking for years longer than it would if neglected. Still have questions? Invest in a session with a skin care professional, who can examine your skin thoroughly and tell you just what it needs, according to your specific skin type and condition, to look and feel its best.