Whether you prefer using the essentials or following through with a 10 step Korean skin care routine, there are a few things to look out for.
To help you learn how to build a more improved line up of skin care products, here are 5 skin care tips to consider before purchasing your next routine.
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1. Assess your skin type, then your skin conditions
It’s important to recognize the difference between a skin type and a skin condition, as they both need separate care.
It’s very common for women to focus on their skin conditions and in turn, neglect their skin type. Treating both is very important, however, the skin type should always be assessed first, as it’ll be the foundation for all of your skin care products.
Your skin type is predetermined by your genes and cannot change. It can only be managed, balanced, and controlled by using the correct skin care products. There are 4 main skin types: Normal, combination, dry, and oily.
Normal skin: Normal skin has little to no imperfections, small pores, and has the perfect balance of hydration and oil levels. If you’re lucky enough to have this skin type, treat yourself to very lightweight, yet hydrating products.
Combination skin: Combination skin is defined as being dry in some areas and oily in others. Oily areas and enlarged pores typically tend to be in the t-zone (forehead, between the eyebrows, on and around the nose, and on the chin), whereas the cheeks and sides of the face will be dry. It’s okay to use skin care products targeted towards combination skin, however, if your t-zone is exceptionally oily or the sides of your face are exceptionally dry, it’s important to use two different skin care routines for each area to help balance the skin, otherwise you run the risk of creating clogged pores and drying out the skin too much.
Dry skin: Dry skin is characterized by matte, tight, dull, and flaky skin all over the face. Those with dry skin types have invisible pores, low skin elasticity, and are more prone to premature wrinkles, so it’s important to supplement the skin with lots of moisture. Opt for cleansing milks and moisturizers with ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, and oils.
Oily skin: Oily skin produces a high amount of sebum, has a shiny appearance, shows visible and enlarged pores, and develops fewer wrinkles in comparison to other skin types. Use skin care products such as gel or foaming face washes, AHA/BHA serums, oil-free moisturizers, salicylic acid exfoliators, and clay masks, as these products will help to absorb excess oil and minimize clogged pores.
Skin conditions are typically caused by internal and external factors such as diet, stress levels, the environment, hormones, and age; however, there are also some instances where skin conditions (such as rosacea and eczema) are genetically predetermined. Unlike skin types which are more or less permanently yours, skin conditions can be treated and minimized with the correct skin care routine.
Sensitivity: Sensitive skin is characterized by symptoms of irritation, rashes, burning, and itchiness when exposed to different factors, such as temperature changes, hormonal changes, certain foods, and certain cosmetics. Those with sensitivity should avoid skin care products with irritating ingredients like sulphates, synthetic fragrances, parabens, mineral oil, and chemical sunscreens.
Dehydration: Dry and dehydrated skin are not synonymous with each other. Dry skin is a lack of oil, whereas dehydrated skin is a lack of water. Even oily and combination skin types can have dehydrated skin. It’s characterized by flaky skin (typically most noticeable near the eyebrow region), overall dullness, and pronounced fine lines and wrinkles. The best way to treat dehydrated skin is by staying out of the sun, drinking a sufficient amount of water, eating foods that have a high water content (such as cucumbers and watermelon), and incorporating a hyaluronic acid skin care product into your routine.
Acne: Acne is a broad term that includes a variety of different skin lesions such as blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, papules, pustules, and nodules. If your acneic skin is mostly whiteheads, this is a telltale sign that some exfoliation is needed to clean out the pores. Build your routine around skin care products such as gentle AHA/BHA cleansers, vitamin C toners, glycolic or salicylic acid exfoliating pads, and oil-free moisturizers. Be careful not to over treat your skin, as this can cause your condition to become worse; leaving you in an endless cycle of acneic and dehydrated skin. If your breakouts are mostly cysts, it’s important to go see a dermatologist, as this type of acne is the most damaging to the skin if it is left untreated or is treated incorrectly.
Hyperpigmentation: Hyperpigmentation is characterized by dark areas on the skin that can be very stubborn/difficult to treat. Hyperpigmentation is caused by internal changes in the body such as aging and hormones, as well as external changes where the skin has been compromised through factors such as acne and sun damage. Those with hyperpigmentation should look for ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, and liquorice extract in their skin care products. It is also critical to wear SPF everyday to prevent further darkening of the areas when you have this condition, no matter your skin tone.
Aging: The three main signs of aging are fine lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and a loss of volume. It’s important that those with this skin concern incorporate ingredients such as resveratrol, peptides, and ceramides into their skin care routine, as these will help to replenish, restore, and slow down the appearance of aging skin. It is also important to be diligent about sunscreen, as this will help to prevent further effects of aging skin.
2. Look beyond the marketing and claims
No matter where you turn to for skin care, there has been marketing and persuasive language put in place to convince you to buy their products. It’s important to always do your own research on the ingredients in your skin care products, so you can have a better understanding if a product will be helpful in solving your skin care woes.
Hyped-up + cool-looking brands
Oftentimes we see brands (seemingly) pop out of nowhere and become the “it” company all across social media platforms and the web. However, keep in mind that just because a brand’s marketing is impeccable, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their products will be beneficial for your skin. Try to look past the hype and see if their skin care will actually work for you and your needs.
Paraben-free, gluten-free, sulphate-free, fragrance-free, GMO-free can be great news, but this doesn’t guarantee that other harsh ingredients haven’t been included in a product. To get a better understanding of what’s in your skin care, stray away from the front label and take a look at the ingredients list on the back of the product to analyze all of the ingredients that are in it.
Organic, natural, and green
This is a big one. Oftentimes we see many skin care products labeled “natural” or “organic”, but unfortunately, this isn’t a guarantee that the product will actually be good for your skin. Natural ingredients can cause skin sensitivities to develop over time, cause damage to the skin from being too abrasive, and even cause bacterial skin infections, so make sure to do a lot of research on the brand and the ingredients prior to purchase.
3. Examine the first few ingredients in your product
Ingredients are typically listed in descending order, from highest to lowest concentration (unless they are less than 1% of the formula, then they are listed by however the manufacturer prefers). Take a look at the first 5 to 10 ingredients on the ingredient list and see what the bulk of your product actually contains (water can be 80% of the entire product!).
Just keep in mind that if your favourite ingredients are listed at the bottom of the list, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is no good to use. For example, collagen-boosting peptides are most effective at low concentrations.
4. Opt for protective packaging
Do your best to opt for opaque pump bottles and tube packaging when shopping for skin care. There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, many beneficial ingredients found in skin care products (such as retinol) are unstable. This means that every time it is exposed to light and air, it loses a bit of its effectiveness (also known as oxidation). The more these ingredients come into contact with these factors, the sooner they lose their skin care benefits.
Secondly, jar packaging is less hygienic than protective packaging because our fingers are constantly coming into contact with the product itself. Even if we’ve just washed our hands, our bacteria still makes its way into the product and then on our faces.
So, although not always avoidable, try to strive for dark-coloured packaging, that comes in the forms of tubes, pumps, and airless jars (these types of jars block oxygen from entering the formula). This will ensure that your product stays fresh and clean for you to use.
5. Invest in your skin care while you sleep
Besides receiving an adequate amount of shut-eye every night and using a correct nighttime skin care routine for your skin type and concerns, it’s important to invest in products that offer preventative care for your skin. After all, the second cause of wrinkles (after the sun) is how you sleep. Many of us enjoy sleeping on our sides and our stomachs because it’s comforting, however, pressing your face into a pillow night after night and year after year is bound to mold wrinkles into your forehead, cheeks, and eyes.
The best way to avoid this is to sleep on your back, but not everyone can catch proper zzz’s this way, especially after sleeping on their sides and backs for the majority of their lives. If you’re one of these people, there are some solutions that can help you prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, whilst still allowing you to slumber in your favourite position.
Silk pillowcases are a perfect option for those who sleep on their sides or backs. Unlike cotton pillowcases, they have a slip, which in turn, prevents creases from developing on your face. Not only do silk pillowcases protect your skin from premature wrinkles, they also work to prevent frizzy hair.
Purchase the Slip for Beauty Pure Silk Pillowcase here.
Copper-Infused Eye Mask
Although this eye mask won’t prevent wrinkles, it will help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around your eye area. This eye mask is infused with copper, an essential mineral that promotes the natural growth of proteins in our skin.
Purchase the Me Glow Beauty Boosting Eye Mask here.