1. Start with a gentle cleanser. Choose a product free of harsh ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfates or alcohol. They strip the skin of its natural moisture and leave it vulnerable to damage.
Cleanser formulations vary for different skin types but some very gentle products, like Cetaphil, are designed for everyone. Cleanser is usually used twice a day Ė once in the morning and once in the evening before bedtime.
2. Exfoliating the skin helps to remove dead cells, lessen the look of fine lines or discoloration, and make skin more youthful looking. The good news is there are many ways to exfoliate your skin, including the following:
- Facial scrubs contain tiny grain-like spheres and are applied to damp or wet skin, usually before or during cleansing. Simply rub gently in a circular motion and rinse when finished.
- A damp or dry washcloth can exfoliate the skin as well. Rubbing gently in a circular motion works best. Rubbing too hard can lead to skin damage or irritation.
- Products containing glycolic acid can be applied daily to keep skin looking its best. Itís essential to buy one made for your skin type, so consult a dermatologist or esthetician if youíre not sure. Itís also important to protect your newly revealed skin while using glycolic acid so sunscreen is a must.
- Retin-A or Renova is a great exfoliating product that also helps increase collagen in the skin. Itís available by prescription so a visit to the dermatologist is required. As with other medications, itís imperative to follow your doctorís orders when using it to get the best results.
- Chemical peels and Microdermabrasion treatments, once provided only by an esthetician or dermatologist, are now available for home use. Generally used once a month, youíll find them online or at stores like Sephora and Ulta.
3. The sun is the biggest culprit when it comes to skin damage. Lines, wrinkles and dark spots can result from too much sun exposure. To stave off these effects, use a sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or more every day Ė no matter what the weather forecast calls for. A good product protects from both UVA and UVB rays. It should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure. For outdoor activities, reapply the product every two hours or after swimming or perspiring.
4. Essential for dry or mature skin, moisturizers work to lessen the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Many act to seal in moisture already present in the skin. Beauty professionals sometimes insist that everyone needs a moisturizer. But people with oily or acne skin often donít. For those that do use a moisturizer, itís normally applied in the morning after cleansing and in the evening before bedtime. Buying two moisturizers Ė one containing sunscreen for daytime use and one without for night time use Ė is a good idea and many cosmetics companies design their skin care lines this way. Products come in a wide array of formulas for almost any skin type and budget.
Having a beautiful complexion requires proper diet, exercise and skin care. And while specialized products, like eye creams, lip balms and others are available, only a few products are truly necessary. These four basic skin care products Ė a cleanser, an exfoliating product, sunscreen and moisturizer Ė are all you need to care for skin and get the beautiful complexion you desire.