At the age of 27, my skin care routine has gone through many revisions. In the process, I learned a lot about what to do as well as what NOT to do when it came to caring for my skin and preventing breakouts.
So I’ve decided to pull together some of the skin care tips that I’ve collected after years of skin care reading and research, recommendations from estheticians, and my own personal trial-and-error. I continue to follow these tips everyday, because for me, they actually work.
I believe these skin care tips can benefit any everyone, regardless of age. So read on! I hope you find a tip or two that helps your skin look its best!
Daily & Weekly Habits
1. Hands off! You use your hands all throughout the day – from eating to typing to opening doors – and they pick up a lot of dirt and bacteria in the process. I remember when I used to go to work and rest my chin in my hands during the day, only to find that I was constantly getting acne in the same exact spot I was touching. To think I was putting all the dust and dirt from my desk (and who knows where) on my face! Anyway, sometimes you just need to step back and recognize those habits, and then work hard to stop yourself from that point on.
2. Clean your pillow – often! Think about it – this touches your face for 6+ hours per day. That soft snuggly pillow of yours may look innocent, but it is a home to a lot of nasty stuff – from your leftover makeup to dead skin cells and oils; not to mention dust and anything else that accumulates there during the day. So it’s important to clean it often (try for at least once a week). Also, make sure to use hot water in order to thoroughly remove all the residue.
3. Cleanse in the morning. In the morning, it’s important to wash off any dust or impurities that may have attached themselves to your skin while you slept. At the very least, do a quick wipe with micellar cleansing water using some exfoliating cotton pads. I love these because they do a great job at cleaning (better than any makeup wipe I’ve tried), and you don’t need to use any water. You seriously just squirt it on the pad, wipe, and done!
4. Cleanse twice at night. Think about it – you wear a layer (or two) or makeup, and then under all that, your skin is generating oils and letting go of dead skin cells. To make sure everything is removed, cleanse twice! You can use the same cleanser, just go over your skin a second time after the first rinse. I like to start with a gentle oil cleanser to get rid of all the makeup on the surface of my skin, then I use a konjac sponge and a deep cleanser (with salicylic acid) to thoroughly remove the dead skin plus wash away the gunk that’s accumulated deeper in the pores.
5. Exfoliate everyday. By this, I don’t mean you have to use a scrub or powerful peel. It’s more about incorporating something as simple as a wash cloth into your skin care routine to help remove dead skin while you cleanse. Or, go for a konjac sponge to help carry away dead skin cells (they are even gentle enough to use around the eye area). I like to use the ones below because of their size and shape (they are easy to hold on to versus the typical circle shaped ones, plus the tip fits easily into corners as well as under the eye).
Choose the Right Products
6. Opt for an oil cleanser. These may seem like they’d be counterproductive (even my first thought was, ‘I’m fighting oil, so why would I put more on my face?!’), but they are really great at removing everything from dirt and oil, to makeup (especially waterproof makeup). Most importantly, they are extremely gentle and non-drying on the skin (i.e. they help it to retain its natural oils so your skin stays hydrated and soft, and shows less wrinkles.)
7. Change it up for Winter. Winter is probably when I have the most trouble with my skin. If you’re not using the right products, you too might be trying to break free of the continuous cycle of fighting dry skin while keeping your face free of oil and pimples.
So during the Winter, when skin is drier (or even if you just have dry skin all the time), opt for a gentler cleanser that won’t strip skin of its natural oils. (I love this one from Peter Thomas Roth, and this oil cleanser from Julep). Unless you have acne or pimples, try to limit the use of any cleanser containing salicylic acid to only a few days per week, as this will only dry out your skin further. Lastly, finish with a rich and slightly heavier moisturizer than you would normally use in the warmer, more humid months (my favorite is the ‘Dramatically Different’ Moisturizing Lotion+ from Clinique).
8. Say no to pore strips! If you search it online, there are many reviews out there of people using pore strips and in the end, suffering with broken capillaries and even small holes on the sides of their nose! I actually used them only a handful of times and already have very noticeable broken capillaries on the side of my nose. Instead of strips, try using a blackhead/whitehead extractor tool. (It’s important to use these things properly, so make sure to watch a YouTube video or ask for a demonstration by a professional.)
Every Now & Then…
9. Give yourself an at-home facial. Follow these steps: Cleanse as you normally would, then use a scrub and move in slow little circles around your face using very gently pressure (you want to avoid pulling your skin), then moisturize.
Extra steps: 1) If you have a blackhead tool, use this after the scrub step (make sure you took a shower just before you start this – maybe wash and scrub your face in the shower first – or press a warm wash cloth over your face for several minutes to open the pores). 2) Use your favorite serum or oil before moisturizing (like argan oil).
10. Get a real facial. I had my very first professional facial at 25 and wish I started sooner. I learned so much about my particular skin type and how to care for it from my esthetician. If you have some extra cash to spare (you can expect to spend between $50-$100 for a good 1+ hour session, plus a tip), I recommend getting a professional facial at least once every couple of years, as your skin needs may change. A good esthetician will do a thorough analysis of your skin and give you advice on what products (toners, cleansers, etc) would work best for your skin type. (Just do your research beforehand to make sure they are professionally licensed.)
11. Go makeup free. Your skin needs to breathe, so on days when you don’t necessary need a full face of makeup, try a BB cream or, better yet, skip the foundation all together. This way, your skin has one less day to collect makeup in your pores, and more time to heal and recover. (Plus, there’s something freeing about wearing no makeup and letting your natural skin shine through!)
What skin care tips do you live by?