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Category: Skincare

5 Fundamentals of Good Skincare

Let’s face it: Not everyone was blessed with naturally beautiful glowing skin. Most of us have to work for it. 

But with the myriad of creams, serums, balms, exfoliators, rollers, lights, and other products out there … it’s hard to know what actually works.

Below, we’ve outlined 5 fundamental tips for good skincare. These are the tried and true tips — the tips you need when all others fail, the first tips you should learn if you are a total skincare newbie, the tips that will make you look your best. 

Let’s get started. 

1. Wear sunscreen every day. 

The simple act of wearing an SPF every day can keep some of the most common skin issues at bay. It will prevent fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots and aging spots, sunburn, and (most importantly) skin cancer.

If you don’t like the idea of applying a separate SPF product every morning, consider purchasing a moisturizer that has sunscreen already in it. Most dermatologists recommend an SPF of 50 or higher for the face.

2. Always wash your face at night.

Although it probably often seems easier to just go to sleep without washing your face, don’t make this mistake. This is especially true if you wear makeup.

Leaving your makeup on all night can clog your pores, exacerbate acne, and cause other skin issues. If you just hate washing your face at night, consider purchasing some makeup remover wipes, which are easier and faster to use. 

Even for those who don’t wear makeup, it’s still important to wash your face before bed as sweat, oils, and pollution from the day can build up and also cause skin issues. Even just giving your face a quick splash or two with cool water is better than doing nothing.

3. Cleanse and moisturize morning and night.

If you only do two things to your face every day (other than applying sunscreen), make them cleansing and moisturizing. You need to do this every morning and every night.

You don’t need fancy cleansers and moisturizers. In fact, you want something quite simple that your skin can rely on. Take a look at what type of skin you have (dry, combination, or oily), and find a simple cleanser and a simple moisturizer that are made for that type of skin. 

Give these initial products a try, and if they don’t work, move on to other products until you find a cleanser and moisturizer you like. 

4. Periodically exfoliate.

Once or twice a week, use an exfoliator. Do not use an exfoliator sponge or brush, and do not use an exfoliating cleanser with microbeads. Use a chemical exfoliant — a skincare product with exfoliating properties. One with AHA or BHA as the main active ingredient will work best.

5. Change your skincare with the seasons.

Finally, keep in mind that you should switch skincare products and routines as the seasons change. Our skin tends to be drier in the winter and more oily in the summer, so adjust your products accordingly. 

You may also want to skip using your cleanser in the mornings when it’s winter. Your skin shouldn’t need it, and that extra cleanse can be extra drying.

As you can see, most people don’t need fancy serums, expensive injections, and special lights to have a strong, solid skincare routine. What it’s really all about is a few simple products, consistency, and trial and error when necessary. Whether you’re new to the world of skincare or just want to get back to the basics, use these fundamentals to build a skincare routine you can feel good about.

Ways to Beat Sunburn No Matter How Much Sun You Get

You need to get outside and spend time in the sun to be healthy. All the doctors say it. But, if you get too much sun, that’s also bad.

 

After all, no one wants a sunburn. Even worse, skin cancer is a real threat, and it turns out that getting sunburns dramatically increases cancer risks. What is a person to do?

 

With a little knowledge, you can spend a lot of time in the sun while mitigating burns and cancer risks. Here are four bits of knowledge that will help.

 

Radiation Safety

 

Sunburns come from the UV light in sunlight, and UV is ionizing radiation. It’s dangerous for the exact same reasons as x-rays, so radiation safety rules apply. Here are the three rules of radiation safety:

 

  1. Maximize distance
  2. Use shielding
  3. Minimize exposure time

 

We’re assuming you’re on earth, so you can’t really change your distance from the sun. That means you need to focus on shielding and exposure time. Shielding comes down to the stuff you already know: sunscreen, hats, clothing, and sunglasses. 

 

So, the real lesson here is exposure time. The longer you are in the sun, the more you burn, but there’s a trick. If you can break up sun exposure with periods of rest, your skin can recover from minor sun damage and reduce the risk of sunburn. If you’re working in the yard, take cover in the shade every 10 minutes or so until your skin no longer feels like you’re glowing.

 

If you’re hiking, bring an umbrella or other good source of shade. Every time you stop for rest, get in the shade. 

 

Polarization

 

You’ve probably heard of polarized sunglasses, but do you know what they do?

 

They actually employ a principle of quantum optics. Light travels in waves, but those waves can be oriented in any different direction. Polarized filters basically block any light that isn’t oriented correctly.

 

In effect, polarized filters block about half of all light (including UV). When they are combined with additional protection (like the tint in your sunglasses), then they’re adding a powerful layer of sun protection.

 

This is why polarized sunglasses are much better for your eyes, but there’s another trick. Did you know that polarized clothing exists? You can get polarized clothes that offer enhanced sun protection if you’re sensitive. Or, you can get clothes that let a little more UV through, allowing you to gently take in sunlight for natural vitamin D and melanin production.

 

Food and Drugs

 

Things you imbibe or put on your skin can change your UV sensitivity. Obviously, a higher sensitivity will lead to faster and more severe sunburns, so let’s look at what you might need to avoid.

 

There are more than a few foods and supplements that can increase UV risks:

 

  • St. John’s wort
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Topical vitamin C
  • Scented soaps and perfumes
  • Glycolic acid
  • Retinols, benzoyl peroxide
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Dill

 

This is not an exhaustive list, but those are some of the most common troublemakers. 

 

There are also medications that can increase solar sensitivity:

 

  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Antifungal medications
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Hormonal treatments

 

Again, this doesn’t cover absolutely everything. The simple lesson is if you’re having trouble with sunburns, talk to your doctor to see if a change to diet, supplements, or medications can help.

 

Optics

 

Lastly, you need to know a little bit about how sunlight works if you really want to beat it. First, not all sunlight is equal. You can make great use of the UV index to figure out what days and times put you at the highest risk.

 

Beyond that, it helps to know that UV is more intense near the equator and at higher elevations. That’s because in either case, there’s less atmosphere absorbing UV photons before they can get to you.

 

Also remember that sunlight reflects off of surfaces. Even in the winter, skiers often get bad sunburns because so much UV bounces off of the snow (and they’re on top of mountains). Lakes, metal surfaces, and even light-colored sand are all highly reflective.

 

How Many Ingredients Are Actually Scientifically Proven To Help Your Skin?

There are so many skincare products on the market that it can be hard to choose between them. Did you know that very few skincare components are scientifically proven to benefit your skin? Most products sell promises instead of dermatologically-tested ingredients. Here are ten science-backed skincare ingredients to look for. 

1. Retinol 

Retinol is a concentrated derivative of Vitamin A that helps to promote cell turnover and renewal. It works like an antioxidant to reduce free-radical cell damage. Retinol is best used once or twice a week at night. 

2. Alpha-Hydroxy Acids 

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are naturally occurring acids in fruits, vegetables, and milk. In particular, glycolic acid and lactic acid are proven to help moisturize the skin by acting as a humectant. These acids draw moisture from the environment to your skin, which helps to prevent dryness. 

3. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is often considered the "holy grail" of skincare ingredients. It’s a naturally produced substance in the body and helps the skin to retain moisture. This powerful ingredient can hold as much as a thousand times its weight in water! It also works for both dry and oily skin. 

4. Vitamin E 

Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble antioxidants and is inexpensive and plentiful. This makes it a popular ingredient for many skincare products. Vitamin E works as a powerful anti-inflammatory to reduce redness and puffiness in the facial area. However, it shouldn’t be used for people with heavy acne or very oily skin as it may exacerbate these issues. 

5. Vitamin C 

Ascorbic acid is a type of Vitamin C that is commonly found in skincare products. It has been scientifically proven to help the body generate more of its own natural collagen, making it an extremely popular ingredient for anti-aging products. When used in conjunction with Vitamin E, both vitamins become significantly more effective. 

6. Algae 

Algae are found in many high-end skincare formulas due to their powerful antioxidants. Red algae specifically work to boost the skin’s moisture by more than 100%! Green and blue algae work to brighten and cleanse the skin. Astaxanthin is a type of red microalgae that works similarly to Vitamins E and C to improve the elasticity of the skin. 

7.  Ceramides 

Ceramides are a type of long-chain lipids that works as a barrier to help protect cells from bacteria and other foreign matter outside cell walls. Ceramides are components that occur naturally in the body but deteriorate over time. Skincare products that contain ceramides can help replace these lost lipids, resulting in a 100% or greater boost in moisture retention.

8. Vitamin B3 

Vitamin B3 has been shown to help reduce inflammation and even skin tone, creating a smoother and more consistent appearance. It’s also an effective acne-fighting ingredient that works by preventing outbreaks in the first stage of development before blemishes even arise. Studies show that this ingredient markedly reduces the appearance of sun spots, age spots, and other forms of hyperpigmentation after just four weeks of consistent use.