Fitness Program for Your Skin (Part I)
Now that Winter in Australia is behind us and the days are getting warmer, our skin is starting to see daylight again. But, oops, it's looking a bit on the dry side, pale and well, another year older. It's the same story every year, so how can you get your skin's fitness back on track?
The Basics are always a good place to start. So let's take a step-by-step approach to invigorating and 'rejuvenating' our skin.
This is not foreign to any of you who undertake a regular skin care regime.
Exfoliation is simply the use of a loofah, or a scrub-based skin care product that is applied to your skin to remove the dead skin cells that build up on the surface of your skin.
Dead skin cells have a dull appearance and tend to clog skin pores, which sometimes results in white- or blackheads or acne pimples.
Healthy looking skin is just below this surface. It is enriched with blood that provides nutrients and oxygen, and this is why this 'new' skin will look healthier and does not have a dull, silvery shine to it.
Just using an exfoliant will improve the look of your body's skin.
2. Facial skin exfoliation:
Because your facial skin is somewhat more delicate than your arms, legs and remaining body skin, you can't really use a loofah on your face. It is just too ruff and could do more damage than good.
So for the face, you would probably choose a facial scrub or a deep cleansing face mask. Both of these two products are useful to remove dead skin cells, but because they also contain (or at least they should) essential oils and other herbal extracts that nourish, hydrate and promote healing of the skin, they are more suitable for use on your face.
Just remember, don't go overboard with rubbing the skin when using an exfoliating scrub or when washing off the product after you have finished the exfoliation step. You don't want to damage your skin in the process of washing off product residue - that's what the cleanser is for.
3. Cleansing your skin:
Exfoliating is the first step, now it's time to remove any residue from the mask or the scrub you have just used.
Cleansers are products that help to remove any of the soap used in scrubs or traces of clay left behind in the little lines and wrinkles of the skin.
Remember your skin is not a perfectly smooth surface, no matter what age you are. So inevitably there will be some product residue left behind and it is the cleanser's job to get rid of it.
Using upward, circular movements, but without firm pressure, apply the cleanser to your facial skin and neck using a cosmetic pad.
Use warm water to rinse off and you're ready for the next important step in 'rejuvenating' your skin.
4. Toning your skin:
Toning your skin is a step many women leave out. I don't know why, but they do. Here's why this is not a good idea to leave this step out:
a. You have just spent time on removing dead skin cells, and/or
b. You've cleansed your skin and removed any residue from the exfoliation process; or used the cleansing step to remove make-up and other cosmetic products from your facial skin.
This process has the result that your skin's spores are open and the acid mantel of the skin has been largely or totally removed. Your skin is very vulnerable at this time to microbes and infection.
Using a toner will rectify this. A toner will close the open pores and in doing so stop additional moisture being lost from your skin, thus preventing dehydration.
In addition, your toner will also start to rebuild the acid mantel of the skin (the acid mantel is a protective layer that prevents the infection of the skin from microbes). It is designed to rebalance the skin's pH and, as mentioned before, prevent loss of moisture.
Moisturising your skin is the final step in your daily quest to rejuvenate and invigorate your facial and body skin. Moisturising does a number of things including hydrating, protecting, nourishing and supporting your skin.
Now there are a few types of moisturising products on the market and they each do different things. So let's quickly look at each of these and establish their purpose:
- Day creams - This is a moisturising cream that you apply to your face and neck during the day. It is generally a lighter cream that may need to be applied a couple of times. You should choose a day cream that is specific for your skin type(s) and that does not leave a 'greasy' feeling on your skin.
- Night creams - This type of cream is designed to be applied before going to bed. It is usually a heavier cream and should contain many essential oils and herbal extracts that are specific to nourish, hydrate and 'rebuild' your skin.
Night time is the best time to nourish your skin, because it is at this time of the day that your skin will absorb nutrients best.
- Eye & Lip creams - These creams are specifically formulated to be used around the eyes and lips, where your skin is somewhat thinner and more delicate. Other than that, they are similar to day creams/night creams in that they are designed to nourish and protect the skin. Depending on the formulation, they will help to rebuild the underlying tissue to help keep those lines and wrinkles in check.
- Age Defying Products - Age Defying skin care products are formulated for mature skin. They come in the form of day- or as night creams (lighter for day use, heavier/richer for use at night).
- Body moisturisers - Body moisturisers are usually more general moisturising lotions, rather than creams. They are similar to a day cream in that their functions are to protect, hydrate and nourish your body's skin, but they are usually not as concentrated and spread more easily over the skin. You should choose your body moisturising lotion according to your skin type - remember that your body's skin type can be very different to that of your face. It is not unusual to have an oily T-Zone on your face, but a dry overall skin type.
Now lets see how all this will help your skin's fitness and get it ready for Spring and Summer.
The first way in which your skin will benefit from this type of fitness program is that it will be able to 'breath' easier and have greater access to vital nutrients and hydration. Applying skin care products over the top of layers of dead skin that cannot absorb the products is simply a waste of money, time and effort.
Secondly, the outlined fitness program for your skin will improve its overall health. This is because all the products mentioned above contain nutrients that benefit the skin on all levels. By 'all levels' I am referring to all the layers of the skin (epidermis - 5 layers of skin responsible for generation of new skin; dermis - layer where blood vessels, nerves and other supporting structures are located that give support to the skin and provide it with flexibility and elasticity; Hypo-dermis or Subcutaneous layer - where all the underlying tissues such as muscles, etc., are located) [You can read up on the anatomy and physiology of the skin by reading 'Anatomy & Physiology of the skin'.]
Your skin's health and look is also improved because the essential oils and herbs contained in the products are used not just included because of their smell, but because most, if not all of them, have medicinal properties that work on the fundamental health of your skin and its associated tissues.
Evening Primrose Oil, for example, is contained both in the Age Defying Essence and the Rejuvenating night cream, and is known for its healing effects on the skin as well as its use in menopause and PMS.
Chamomile (contained in our Hydrating Cleanser, as well as many other products) is another powerful medicinal herb. Apart from all its other healing properties, Chamomile is renowned as a major analgesic, anti-inflammatory and wound healer, relieving pain, redness from any cause, and stimulates the skin's ability to repair itself.
So if you follow the above fitness program for your skin, you will end up with healthy, vibrant and radiant looking skin before you know it. You'll feel better about showing your 'new' skin in public and that's got to be a big plus right there.
You can read Part II - Skin Care: Fitness Program for Your Skin (Part II) here.
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