Much like every other part of our body, our skin requires nourishment, care and the right kind of treatment. Too often, we take skincare for granted and get lazy in taking the necessary measures to preserve its health, but maintaining good skin requires effort, and it’s never too late to start implementing a regime that will holistically ensure its consistency.
But a lot of us find ourselves struggling to make sense of how to implement skincare. There are a plethora of products available these days – and most of them quite expensive, to be frank – and that, coupled with the staggering bunch of home remedies that are the norm in Indian households is enough to confuse you. But, the basics of it remain the same – cleansing, toning, moisturizing.
Before going into each separate process of a skincare regime, it is first important to understand that skin types vary. Though they are largely classified under ‘dry’, ‘oily’, and ‘combination’ skin, each person comes with their own set of irregularities and complications and will have separate needs. Going by basic principle, dry skin would require better moisturization and oily skin would require better toning and pore-control, but that might not always be the case with every single person. Some types of dry skin might benefit from less oil-based moisturizing and some types of oily skin can use excess moisturization. Hence, it is important to figure out what type of skin you might have (preferably by consulting a dermatologist) and what its needs might be, accordingly.
This is the first and perhaps most important step when it comes to building a skincare regime. It is imperative to thoroughly cleanse your face at least twice (or sometimes thrice) a day to make sure that it is cleared of all dirt, impurities, and excess oil. Moreover, if you’re a regular user of makeup, cleansing it at the end of the day is absolutely compulsory. Having leftover foundation on your face will dry it up and close your pores; and leaving the mascara on at night may cause the eyelashes to become hard and crack. So how do you go about it?
Cleanse with water and face wash religiously. Pick a face wash that goes with your skin type, one that is not too harsh or packed with chemicals, and preferably with moisturizing properties of its own. Washing your face with regular soap is absolutely not advisable since it dries the skin out and causes breakouts. However, using additional products like cleansing milk or micellar water are always beneficial if you want to clean out extra dirt or makeup and prevent clogging of pores. For oily or acne-prone skin, foam-based face washes usually work wonders because they’re efficient in breaking down excess oil or sebum and clearing out bacteria, while dry or inflamed skin benefits from application of shea butter and gycerin. Tea tree oil, and other essential oils can also be used sometimes as they have certain healing properties.
If you suffer from acne, eczema or other sensitive skin conditions that leave your skin scarred and reddish, then always seek out non-comedogenic products, both in terms of makeup or cleansers. A non-comedogenic product is nothing but a product that prevents extra skin ailments by not blocking your pores and glands and not irritating your hair follicles. Though the products that claim to be non-comedogenic sometimes aren’t foolproof with their effects, but quite a few of them are very beneficial.
Toning is a relatively new branch of skincare, but an important one nevertheless. Toners are an extra layer of nutrients to the skin, which helps in maintaining the skin’s pH balance, in keeping the pores intact and in nourishing and regulating the skin’s natural state. Toners also add an extra level of hydration to the skin which keeps it supple and warm. However, it is again important to use the right toner based on your skin type. Alcohol-based toners and astringents dry up the skin excessively and expose you to more breakouts, but water-based ones are more naturally hydrating. Toners with alpha and beta hydroxy acids are also good when it comes to removing dead skin and combatting sun-based damage. Therefore, it is always preferable to know what suits your skin best.
For acne-prone or sensitive skin, milder toners are more preferable. Rose water or Apple Cider Vinegar (mixed with water) are great natural toners that heal skin ailments while maintaining the skin’s natural balance.
Toners are typically used right after the process of cleansing, and should ideally be applied twice a day.
The last step in your basic skincare regime is moisturizing. The process doesn’t just involve the application of moisturizers, but also serums, balms, and lotions, creams, as and when required. Moisturizing hydrates and softens the skin, keeps excess oil in check and protects the skin’s building blocks (like ceramides and other enzymes). Our skin begins to lose its natural ability to retain moisture as we age and the excessive cleansing of skin can actually strip away its hydrating capabilities – this is why problems like acne only occur after a certain age – and hence, moisturizing is essential in making sure that our skin remains healthy. Sometimes, a simple moisturizer is enough to ensure that this hydrating process is complete, but sometimes, it requires added supplements. For example, an antioxidant serum might protect those with sensitive skin against certain allergies or breakout triggers, or a cold cream in winter might help with dryness. These requirements vary from skin to skin, and it’s important for you to assess your needs and implement the right regime.
Very often, moisturizing agents require altering between night and day. The day cream or moisturizer protects against daily environmental aggressors, while the night cream helps restoring damage, and focus on spot treatment or replenishing moisture levels. An extra layer of undereye cream is sometimes required for treating dark circles.
As complex as the processes may sound, they take up barely a few minutes in your entire day, but yield considerably important results. If you continue to ignore your skin or take it for granted, you’ll inevitably face certain ailments, because our skin is more vulnerable than you think. And so, think twice before you dismiss skincare as something frivolous. Because it is not.