It’s time to heal your skin from the end-of-the-year celebrations and start afresh. Melissa Nazareth explores skincare habits and products to include in your daily routine.
There’s no denying that the festive season takes its toll on our skin; poor sleep thanks to late-night parties, dehydration from lack of water intake, poor nutrition or a diet loaded with sugar. While we don’t regret having fun and making merry, we believe balance is everything. Incorporate these skincare practices and products into your daily routine for a healthy and good-looking complexion.
NOURISH FROM THE INSIDE
Who says beauty is skin-deep? A balanced diet is the foundation of good skin. It’s not just what you wear on the outside but also how you nourish from the inside. Eating foods rich in omega-3 acids, which are present in oily fish, has a host of benefits. Omega-3 acids hydrate, retain moisture and reduce inflammation. Fatty fish is also high in vitamin E, an antioxidant, and zinc, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Other superfoods include avocados, tomatoes and bell peppers, all rich in vitamin C, which brightens your skin. Broccoli is rich in vitamin A, which is good for healing and repairing, and green tea is packed with antioxidants. You can also opt for different types of nuts and seeds that abound with zinc, vitamins and minerals.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to hydrate, especially if you’re involved in some form of physical activity, which has its benefits. Drinking water helps refresh your skin, lending it a natural glow. Further, it improves elasticity – more elasticity, less chances of wrinkles, fine lines, puffiness and sagging – and fosters collagen production, offering your skin a more youthful, radiant appearance. It also maintains your skin’s pH balance. Dry skin means enlarged pores, which are easily clogged by pollutants, makeup and dirt, leading to blemishes, acne and pimples. Hydration plumps up your skin, shrinking the pores and making them less likely to clog.
MOVE YOUR BODY
The benefits of exercise on the skin are highly underrated. Physical activity improves blood circulation, which nourishes and repairs cells, causing your skin to glow and look healthy and younger. The effects continue long after your workout session, which is a plus. Exercise is also known to facilitate lymphatic circulation and drainage, which flushes toxins out of your body; the lymphatic system balances fluid levels. There are many indirect benefits, too: skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis are triggered by stress, and exercise is a stress-buster – however, it’s not a substitute for medication. While there are studies that show these skin conditions can worsen due to excessive sweating and clogged pores resulting from exercise, it shouldn’t stop you from hitting the gym or running a few miles – nothing that a good shower and cleansing routine can’t fix.
THE HOLY TRINITY OF GOOD SKINCARE
Cleanse. Tone. Moisturise. Repeat – follow this in the morning before you leave your home and at night before you go to bed. Cleansing rids your pores of any traces of make-up, dirt, sweat and oil built up during the day. Toning removes any sneaky impurities that might have been left behind after cleansing, balances your skin, which may have been stripped of moisture during the cleaning process, and hydrates, refreshes, soothes and primes. Choose your toner based on your skin type and needs. For instance, dry skin would benefit from a hydrating, exfoliating toner and acne-prone skin from an alcohol-free toner with salicylic acid. Topical salicylic acid treats acne by unclogging pores allowing pimples to shrink, as well as reducing swelling and redness. It also helps to get rid of dead skin cells.
Moisturising is the last step. It pays off to invest in good day and night moisturisers. The former protects against UV rays and other damaging factors and the latter repairs and regenerates skin cells. Seal the deal with a final layer of sunscreen during the day – very important!
Under-eye creams and patches are something to swear by. The skin around the eyes is delicate and hence, the first to show signs of ageing. Using eye creams and patches twice a day helps reduce dark circles, puffiness and fine lines. Facial masks are another extra care option to have in your beauty arsenal. There are various types depending on your requirements – moisturising masks for dry skin, clay masks for oily skin, skin tightening, brightening masks and much more.
Typically layered under your moisturiser, serums supplement your skin with the good stuff. These days, hyaluronic acid-based serums have become the rage. Naturally produced by our bodies, hyaluronic acid facilitates water retention and lubrication. Hyaluronic acid-based serums supplement elasticity, repair and heal, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and scars. While serums usually contain a bunch of ingredients, including topical antioxidants, retinol, hyaluronic acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and peptides, there are serums focusing on specific needs, from hydrating and brightening to reparative and renewing. A caveat: most serums can be used daily without causing any irritation to the skin. However, they have acids involved, so it’s best to consult your dermatologist before you use them, especially if you have sensitive skin.