Male or female, we can all do a little more to help our side on the skin care front. Here are 10 of the top, correctable, skin care mistakes that I’ve experienced in dealing with clients. Heed where applicable.
- Not knowing your skin Most of us fall into this category, because let’s face it – the skin can be a confusing organ. Yes science shows that we are born with a specific skin type, but there are so many factors (both internal and external) that affect the condition of the skin from season to season – even day to day, that it’s challenging to truly understand what is going on sometimes. A product that worked amazingly two months ago may quite possibly function so differently today that we may be prone to think that something is wrong with it! Oftentimes it could just mean that the needs of our skin has changed, and as such it requires a different cocktail of ingredients to maintain its health. There can be great danger in using some of the skin care products on the market today without a proper understanding of what our individual skin requires. In this way, a lot of damage may be done to the skin unknowingly, which puts the way the skin reacts in a viscous spin cycle. A professional skin analysis by a qualified skin therapist/ esthetician can help us understand the past, present and future of our skin. It gives a view into why our skin is the way it is now and what habits or behaviours in the past or present is/ has contributed to it yes, but more importantly, what can be done to put us on the path to healthy skin. The best part? This service is free at all of our locations.
- Not having a skin-care regime “Cleanse, tone, moisturize.” At the very least, let that be our mantra. It’s a basic ways to help maintain healthy skin. For makeup wearers, it is critical that makeup is removed at night before bed as not doing so can lead to clogged pores, which can lead to blackheads, breakouts and inflammation, which often times can lead to hyperpigmentation (irregular darkening of the skin), among other things.
- Not moisturizing the skin As we age our skin loses moisture, gets drier and requires hydration from both the inside and out. Replenishing the moisture that our skin craves, through the use of a moisturizer suited for our skin type, will help skin maintain it’s vibrancy and elasticity. This has often been a particularly challenging concept for some oily/ acneic skin clients as, understandably, the skin feels “moisturized” enough. But, believe it or not, increasing the levels of hydration (water) in the skin, through the use of an oil-free moisturizer or serum, for example, may aid in reducing the levels of oil produced by the skin.
- Not drinking enough water Every little bit helps as our organs, including the skin, need water to perform the processes required to detoxify itself. Coffee, like most other caffeinated beverages, is a diuretic, meaning it causes increased passing of urine, which in turn helps to deplete the water levels in the body which is available for the skin. It is recommended that you drink two (2) glasses of water for every one cup of coffee ingested. Additionally, cutting down on our intake intake of soda and commercial fruit juices (save the calories for dessert!) can help make room for an increased intake of water.
- Not re-applying sunscreen Even the highest level of SPF, when applied, does not last forever especially when we sweat or get wet. Do reapply. The sun’s ultraviolet rays only speed up the aging process by damaging skin cells. Protect your skin. All day. Every day.
- Yo-Yo dieting This confuses the skin. “Am I only getting only protein today, or am I only getting cayenne pepper?…”. The skin needs nutrients – vitamins, minerals and various antioxidants to maintain itself and repair against daily environmental damage. In general, long-term, extremely restrictive diets do not offer many of the nutrients the body needs, and so ultimately a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle – one that encourages us to start moving and to stuff our faces with balanced protein, complex carbohydrates, and colourful veges is usually our skin’s best friend.
- Drinking excessively Apart from obvious health and cognitive issues, high alcohol consumption can severely dehydrate the skin. Moderation is key.
- Smoking Really a one-way, first-class ticket to accelerated aging of the skin. The act of smoking, or inhaling second hand smoke, bombards the skin’s cells with far more damaging free radicals than the skin is capable of repairing on its own. A diet and skin care regimen that is loaded with antioxidants, would definitely be one way to help to reverse the damage done here.
- Popping zits and picking pimples Popping zits or picking pimples with finger nails on an uncleansed face increases the risk of a bacterial infection on site, and ultimately scarring. It also increases the risk of hyperpigmentation on skins at are prone to discoloration or darkening, especially on medium to darker skin tones. Instead, reach for a cleanser and spot treatment that contain ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sulphur, which specifically target acne. Do avoid using harsh denatured alcohols directly on the skin, and monthly professional facials to keep the problem in check.
- Not getting enough sleep The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School states that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. Most of us do not get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night. With respect to the skin, sleep deprivation can result in dull skin tone, under eye puffiness and dark circles, or even increased sensitivity which may lead to a myriad of other skin issues.
- Stressing unnecessarily
Yes, I said ’10’, but this is just too important to omit. Elevated stress levels can have an adverse effect on the condition of our skin and can lead to break outs, at the very least. It’s usually easier said than done, however it is important that we schedule downtime in our lives. A little TLC goes a long way.
What simple changes have you made that has resulted in a positive change in your skin?
Written by: KoKo Fernando
KoKo Fernando is a qualified chemical engineer, cosmetologist, and professional skin therapist with a background in education & training, sales and operations management within the energy, manufacturing, fashion and beauty industries. Her passion for health and wellness, combined with her chemical engineering training, fuels her fascination for how product ingredients affect the body and mind. She currently teaches courses in the Cosmetics, Esthetician/ Spa Management and Fashion Arts programs at a College in Toronto, Canada.