By Bamidele Dipo-Ajayi
"Your makeup is only as good as your skin care," is a saying you might have heard many times. It simply means that the better your skin looks, the better your makeup will look. The purpose of makeup is to enhance your natural beauty and features.
Proper, good skin care, (not limited to women) will keep your skin healthy and glowing for years to come and will also help prevent skin problems. It is important to know your skin type; normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive, to determine the best products to use. We will take a look at those skin types shortly, but in the meantime, here are four basic steps to help attain that youthful look.
1. Cleanse– This is the first step to make sure that your skin is looking fresh. It helps to prevent clogged pores which cause blemishes and skin irritation. Simplicity is the key here: once you have found a good cleanser that your skin responds well to, it is advisable that you stick with it. It is not just enough to splash some water on your face; cleansers act as emulsifiers that breakdown and remove dirt, bacteria, and excess natural skin oils.
Choose a creamy cleanser if you have dry skin or a clear cleanser if you have oily skin. Also, avoid bar soaps, they tend to be too drying as they strip the skin of its natural oils.
You should cleanse at most 2 times a day (and more, only if you are wearing heavy makeup) and at least once a day (preferably at night).
We’ve all heard that we shouldn’t sleep with makeup on, a difficult recommendation to follow at times, especially after long nights of partying. However, it is important to get rid of the dirt, grime and oils that are trapped onto the surface of the skin. Before going to bed, remove every last trace of makeup with a good makeup remover. Once cleansed, pat your face gently to dry.
2. Exfoliate– A step that is often forgotten in most people’s regimen, exfoliating is like rubbing an apple till it shines. Exfoliating helps to remove the top dead layer of skin that tends to dull one’s complexion. It should be done once or twice a week; once you include this step, you will notice the difference almost immediately.
Scrubs, microdermabrasion kits, chemical peels, and retinoids (such as Retin-A) are different things to use to exfoliate. Scrubs are economical and the most readily available. Ensure that you use a gentle scrub with tiny grains, as big grains can tear the skin and cause more harm than good. You can also use the sugar and honey in your pantry for a good scrub; just add a tablespoon of sugar and some honey until the mixture is gooey. Massage into skin and rinse with a warm washcloth.
3. Moisturize– A basic law of beauty is that everyone, no matter your skin type, should moisturize. Even oily skin benefits from moisturizing. Why moisturize? It helps to seal in moisture into the skin. It is possible to over moisturize, so be careful not to as it can clog pores. I generally moisturize after I have cleansed (and exfoliated) my face or when my skin feels tight and looks dry. How your skin feels is a good measuring stick to help determine when to moisturize.
4. Protect- Apply sunscreen! Even dark skinned people need it. An abundance of melanin is not the only protection one needs from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Many dark skinned individuals believe that just because they don’t get sun burned, they don’t need to wear sunscreen but skin cancer is not a respecter of persons. People with dark skin, hair and eyes can and do get skin cancer.
It is imperative that you protect yourself no matter your complexion. Sunscreen not only helps protect the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it also helps to prevent premature skin aging (wrinkles and uneven skin pigment) due to excessive exposure to the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends routine use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater for all people — regardless of skin color. Thankfully, many of the facial moisturizers out on the shelves have SPF included in them; therefore, this doesn’t have to be a separate step.
Once you get in the habit of cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and protecting your face, your makeup application and results will only get better with time.