Developing an effective and sustainable skin care regimen will ensure that your "protective" layer does what it does best. Protect! As our body's largest organ, our skin is directly responsible for pro
tecting us from the day to day risks we come in contact with. From environmental factors (think sun and wind) to germs and viruses, the threats are numerous and we need to do our part to make sure our skin is ready to take on these potential problems. Proper cleaning, exfoliating and moisturizing are all keys to beautiful, healthy skin.
This one is really quiet simple, however varies depending on each individual's life style and circumstances. We all know the importance of washing our hands properly, especially with the global focus on the prevention of spreading viruses, however it is equally important to be "whole body clean". Choose soaps free of chemicals, dyes and parabens (your skin absorbs these remember!) and whenever possible go for ones containing natural moisturizers such as glycerin, goat's milk or oats. There are a wide range of natural, organic soaps becoming available in recent years. It has also been suggested that bathing/showering in warm water is better then hot, especially if you are already prone to dry skin as the heat tends to further dry out our skin.
Our skin renews its millions of cells frequently (approximately every 28 days) and needs our help whisking away with the old. Proper washing alone may not be enough, but adding a gentle exfoliating step to your routine will have you buffed and feeling refreshed. Any natural exfoliant such as oatmeal, milk or even sea salts added to your bath will do the trick. No time for a bath? Include these exfoliating items in you initial cleansing products and the results are the same. Improving on this step is easy when using bath sponges, bamboo loofahs and brushes (consider the benefits of dry-brushing if you are truly committed to exfoliation!). The point is to remove as much of the dead skin cells as possible and show your glow! Each person's skin is unique, so be careful not to use too abrasive of an exfoliant for your type. Your skin will let you know. Another thing to keep in mind is that various body parts have different skin 'thickness' and thusly have different exfoliating needs (think face vs. feet). Be sure to experiment with options until you find what works for you.
Admittedly, this is my favorite part of my cleansing routine. What could possibly be better then lathering up with a luscious, scented body butter or massaging in a healing foot salve? Moisturizing within minutes of exiting your warm bath/shower will guarantee you lock in all the extra moisture. Use a high quality moisturizer (at the risk of repeating myself...your skin absorbs these too!) containing moisture rich ingredients such as Coconut Oil or Shea Butter. Coconut Oil is easily absorbed and been found to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, while Shea Butter restores our skin's natural protective barrier and is full of impressive amounts of Vitamins A and E. Avoid the same things in a moisturizer as you would in your soaps. Your skin will thank you!
While these steps can be elaborated on and certainly gone over in more depth, they are the bare minimum you should strive for in the goal of healthy skin. Plump, moist skin cells don't crack, leave 'openings' for dirt and germs to get in, or cause itchiness (followed usually by scratching). Moisturizers with sunscreen are dual purpose in the fight to protect your outer layer. The options are endless and I encourage you all to remember. "Be kind to the skin your in" because for better or worse, it's yours for life.