11 Skincare Secrets Every Woman Should Know

Every woman seems to have her own skincare secrets, whether they’ve been passed down for generations or she discovered them herself. (Personally, I’ve found my skin looks phenomenal when I start my days with some liquid chlorophyll.)

While every woman and her skincare is different, there are certain time-honored tips and tricks that every beauty needs in her arsenal.

Smooth Skin

Lather. Rinse. Moisturize.
Massaging a moisturizing lotion, cream or gel into skin right after showering will trap water to hydrate skin.

The Essence of Beauty
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Staying adequately hydrated helps your body function better and plumps and moisturizes your skin. You should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. (If you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water.)

Do a Dollop
Sensitive skin can be smoothed and touchy complexions nourished by applying a tablespoon of sour cream for 20 minutes, twice a week.

Protect & Refresh

Soy You Later
Resting a soy milk-soaked washcloth on your face for 10 minutes, once a week, will refresh your complexion by brightening skin, and will help prevent wrinkles with its natural estrogen.

Sky High
Always apply sunscreen before boarding an airplane, especially if you’re in a window seat. As your altitude increases, so will the levels of the sun’s UV rays.

Oat and About
Add a teaspoon of organic oatmeal to your cleanser, and smooth it onto skin for 10 minutes. The minerals in the oats are soothing and will help cleanse and hydrate your skin.

Calm Skin

Chill Out
For splotchiness and redness, drink a glass of ice water when it first occurs. The cold will constrict the blood vessels and cool you from the inside.

Cold in Here
Keeping your eye gel in the refrigerator overnight will work with the gel to reduce puffiness when you apply it in the morning.

Banish Blemishes

A Splash of Tea
Splashing your face (but not rinsing) with cool black tea controls oil and shine by acting as a natural astringent.

Time to Hang Up
A dirty cell phone can cause breakouts. Clean it at least once a week with antibacterial wipes.

Easy De-swell
Nasal decongestants are anti-inflammatories. Just as they reduce your nose’s inflammation, a small amount will reduce your pimples’ redness and inflammation.

 

What are your favorite skincare secrets?

 

Adapted from my July 29, 2016 blog post at conture.com.

3 Simple Ways to Prevent Acne

I’ve talked before about certain everyday items that can trigger breakouts, but, for most people, skincare and acne prevention go far beyond avoiding coffee or sterilizing your phone.

Though there are several things you can, and should, do regularly to prevent acne and breakouts, they all boil down to three basic principles: hygiene, health and products. Throughout your skincare routine, be sure to check the labels. You always want products that are hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and water-based (not oil) when possible. Avoid fragrances and irritants such as citric extracts, menthol and denatured alcohol.

Diet and Exercise

  • Protect your skin. You know you need to wear some kind of sunscreen daily. Do you do it? Probably not. But did you know wearing daily SPF not only helps protect against skin cancer, but can also prevent acne? Overexposure to the sun can exacerbate acne, redness and irritation.
  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Staying adequately hydrated throughout the day helps your body function better, increases your metabolism and clears up you skin. When you don’t get enough water, your body can build up toxins and excrete them through your skin. Drinking at least eight cups of water each day will help your body flush the toxins the way they’re supposed to. Think of it as a daily detox.
  • Eat healthy. Eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, zinc, vitamins and minerals helps prevent acne by keeping your skin healthy and functioning properly.
  • Avoid potential irritants. While modern scientists put much less stock in the idea that chocolate causes acne than scientists of the last century, certain foods can worsen your acne or cause breakouts. Every person is different, though. Try cutting out different potential risk foods—dairy, sugar, legumes, high-glycemic foods and wheat—from your diet to see what does and doesn’t work for your skin. Cut out each food (one at a time) for two weeks for the best analysis.
  • Get the patch. You know smoking and drinking are bad for your health, but they’re also bad for your complexion because the toxins in tobacco and alcohol can act as skin irritants or contribute to the unhealthy toxic excretion that happens when you’re not your healthiest you.
  • Lace up. Stress is a huge contributing factor to your acne. Putting on your sneakers and getting outside, up and moving can relieve stress and help acne. Even better, regular exercise will help your heart, overall health and mortality.
  • Catch your zzz’s. Just like exercise, proper sleep can help your body function better and reduce stress which, in turn, helps prevent acne. Each hour of sleep lost beyond your normal allotment can increase your stress level by up to 15%. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night (9-10 if you’re younger than 18).

Finding the Right Products

  • Benzoyl Peroxide is a common ingredient in acne medication because it kills the bacteria that causes acne. Look for products with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide concentration; less won’t be as effective, and more can irritate the skin. It also removes dead skin to reveal brighter, rejuvenated skin.
  • Salicylic Acid also helps kill acne-causing bacteria. It causes the skin to shed more rapidly and promotes the growth of new skin. Apply small amounts to affected areas after you wash your face at night.
  • Tea Tree Oil is a natural home remedy that acts as an anti-inflammatory, making pimples less noticeable in size and redness. The oil is often concentrated, so be sure to dilute it with water before applying to affected areas with a cotton swab.
  • Airbrush Makeup is one of the best and simplest ways to prevent acne. Using airbrush makeup on a daily basis keeps your skin hygienic (no dirty hands or brushes touch your face), moisturizes your face (it’s water-based and so hydrates your skin), covers current blemishes without being heavy and improves skin texture.

Keep it Clean

  • Wash your face. Dermatologists suggest washing your face in the morning and before bed. While you’ve likely always heard to wash your face with hot water to open your pores, exposing your skin to extremes can cause irritation, excess dryness and blood vessel ruptures. Always wash and rinse your face with lukewarm water. If your skin runs dry, take care to select a cleanser and products that have moisturizer. Contrastingly, if you have oily skin, be sure to avoid overly moisturizing products.
  • Wash your hands. It’s important to avoid touching your face as much as possible, but when you have to do it—such as when washing your face or applying sunscreen or moisturizer—wash your hands first. Dirty hands can transfer bacteria, causing breakouts, irritation and possibly infection.
  • Moisturize. Ensuring your skin is properly hydrated is as important as making sure it’s not oily. Apply moisturizer after every face wash to avoid dryness and irritation. If you have oily skin, choose a gel-based moisturizer, which will provide hydration without overdoing it. If you have dry skin, use a cream-based moisturizer that will, by nature, be heavier and longer-lasting.
  • Exfoliate. You may have read blogs from women who talk about exfoliating as part of their daily ritual (we’ve seen our fair share), but over-exfoliating can irritate your skin, cause excess dryness and make your breakouts worse. You should exfoliate, at most, once a week, to remove dead skin and unclog pores.
  • Take it off. Removing your makeup at the end of the day is one of the most important steps of your skincare regimen. Sleeping in your makeup can clog your pores and worsen your breakouts. Even sleeping in mascara can cause little infections in your eye area. It’s important to wash your face after removing your makeup to remove all traces of makeup.
  • No touchy. As we said earlier, touching your face—with your hands, brushes, sponges or anything that could potentially harbor dirt or bacteria—can cause breakouts and infection. This especially means no popping your pimples, as the dirt from your fingers can get in the open sore and worsen the blemish.
  • Sleep clean. While you sleep, oils transfer from your face to your pillowcase, causing dirt, grime and dead skin to spread night after night and cause acne. Try washing your pillowcases once a week. If that’s not enough, wash it more frequently and switch the side of the pillow you use every night. If you don’t have time to wash it frequently, keep several pillowcases you can alternate.

What are your tried-and-true methods to preventing acne?

 

Originally published on blog.luminessair.com

How I Keep My Skin Acne-free

Last week, I talked about the history of my complexion and how I’ve managed to avoid acne for most of my life. It wasn’t meant to be a humble brag, though I have been blessed to not have painful, embarrassing acne. But, I’ve mostly been able to avoid terrible breakouts with a few lifestyle changes.

Drink more.

Water, that is. Water is paramount to your skin’s health, as it refreshes and revitalizes your entire body and helps it perform its functions better. Staying properly hydrated helps your body process and clean out toxins. Often, when our kidneys are overloaded with toxins, they’ll expel them through our skin. Drinking plenty of water helps flush them out. Experts recommend drinking half an ounce of water for every pound of your body weight. So, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should be drinking 65 ounces of water every day for adequate hydration.

Take it off.

Always, always, always remove your makeup before bed. Sleeping in your makeup once in a while won’t necessarily cause a breakout, but it’s best to consistently be in the practice of taking it off first. Sleeping in your makeup can cause bacterial infections and clogged pores, making your acne worse. Wash your face after removing your makeup to ensure you get all of the concealer and foundation off. (If you’re in the market, these my absolute favorite makeup wipes are the Clean & Clear Night Relaxing Cleansing Wipes. They’re incredibly soothing and help me wind down for the evening, while getting all my makeup, including waterproof mascara.)

Baby your skin.

While acne can be exacerbated by a poor skincare regimen, it’s not caused by dirty skin. People who believe otherwise often end up over-washing their faces, or using harsh chemicals and treatments that only irritate the skin more. As important as it is to wash your face before bed and in the morning, it’s just as important to be gentle in your washing. Over-exfoliating can dry out your skin and cause “microcuts,” through which bacteria can enter and, again, worsen acne. For a gentler exfoliation than grainy scrubs, use a salicylic- or glycolic-acid cleanser. Start using one of these three times a week, alternating with your regular cleanser, and adjust depending on your skin’s reaction. Avoid getting a daily cleanser with fragrance or harsh soap. If you have dry skin, try a cleanser with shea or glycerin. If you have oily skin, try a foaming wash to help your skin feel cleaner. (For more info on how to take care of your skin, read my blog post, The Best Skincare for Your Skin Type.)


Clean your brushes.

Most women don’t clean their makeup brushes regularly or take any extra precautions to ensure their brushes and sponges are hygienic. They leave them in the bathroom, in the open air, etc. and never clean them. When you apply makeup with dirty hands, brushes or sponges, you’re transferring bacteria to your face which can clog pores and, sometimes, lead to infection. I admit it, I’m terribly about washing my brushes, too. I maybe do it once a month. I justify it in my head with the rationale that I rarely wear makeup and, when I do, I use an airbrush system. Using an airbrush system to apply your makeup means you never have to touch your face and make your acne worse. Just drop your makeup into the bowl of the stylus, pull the trigger, and let air do the application and blending work.

Check the label.

There are many chemicals and factors in the ingredients of your skincare products that can actually irritate your skin more. Check the labels of skincare products for known irritants like essential oils, citrus extracts, menthol, denatured alcohol and, obviously, anything you might be allergic to. These can cause daily irritation that only lengthens the amount of time before your skin can heal and your breakouts clear.

Check your makeup.

Oftentimes, the relationships we create between acne and makeup is a vicious cycle. We have a little breakout, so we cover it up with oily, pore-clogging (comedogenic) makeup. The makeup makes our breakout worse, so we cover it with more caked-on heavy makeup. And the cycle continues. So, break the cycle. Using a water-based, noncomdedogenic foundation provides a light (yet acne-concealing) coverage that allows your skin to breathe and, therefore, heal. Again, I use airbrush makeup, but you can find other solutions that work with your skin and lifestyle. Start by looking specifically for oil-free foundations, and go from there. You’ll want to look for “noncomedogenic” as a benefit.