by Mira Herman
With the new year upon us, many have made resolutions to improve their health, usually through exercise. I would like to point out that having healthy skin is equally important, though I do not wish to add to the list of what people feel they “should” do. So rather than talk about resolutions, let’s talk about intentions—more specifically, the intention to have healthy, balanced, glowing skin this year.
Although most women would admit to wanting beautiful skin, some may shy away from the process needed because the ‘regimen’ seems too complicated, or because they don’t know what to do, or because having many skin care products seems very expensive. Some women think that they need to do a lot to take care of their skin; others think that they don’t need to do anything. The truth of course is somewhere in the middle. And while I don’t want to offer a strict regimen that “should” be followed, I would like to offer some guidance as to the simplest way to take care of the various types of skin.
A few things I would recommend for all skin types:
- Avoid using foundation. When the skin is balanced and healthy there is no need to cover it up, as it glows from the inside out.
- If you do use makeup, take it off as soon as you get home and let your skin breathe.
- Stay away from products that have added fragrances—these are ingredients that have been added just for the scent and can create an imbalance as they are artificially produced. Products that use pure essential oils often have a beautiful fragrance, but they are balanced as the scent is the result of the entire oil.
- Stay away from toners that have alcohol and strip the skin of its oils. A good toner will have hydrosols which moisturize the skin.
- Treat any food allergies you may have, as skin care products alone cannot help if there is something more serious going on with the body. The skin is one of the most complicated systems, involving all the systems in the body: lungs, liver, blood, etc. Imbalances in any of these systems may manifest in the skin, and indicate the need for healing at a deeper level. Beauty is more than skin deep.
People with dry skin need to drink a lot of water, but they don’t need to put a lot of water on their face. Washing the face too often and using a foaming cleanser can be drying; glycolic peels can be drying as well.
Here’s what I would recommend.
- Use a cleansing milk, rather than a foaming cleaner, to wash the face. Foaming cleansers may be used once in a while to create movement, when exfoliating is needed.
- Follow up with an alcohol-free toner. Again, I cannot stress the importance of using toners that have hydrosols which moisturize the skin, rather than alcohol which dries it out. My Roses in Bloom toner would be a good one to use.
- Use a creamy moisturizer.
- Apply serum on certain target areas: around the mouth, forehead, eyes, where ever it is needed.
- Use a cleanser/moisturizer that takes off makeup and moisturizes the skin at the same time.
- Use a serum on target areas or an eye cream if you feel the need. You don’t need to use both.
Once a week:
Exfoliate or use a mask to create some movement.
Oily skin is the other extreme to dry skin. Products with citrus essential oils are more appropriate than products that use rose essential oils. A foaming cleanser can be used at night, for those who are attached to foaming cleansers and want to feel squeaky clean.
- Use a cleansing milk. Since the skin is fairly clean in the morning, there is no need for a heavy-duty foaming cleanser.
- Follow up with a toner that has hydrosols—my citrus toner is a good one.
- Apply a thin layer of a light moisturizer, while the skin is still wet from the toner.
- A foaming cleanser can be used to remove makeup and dirt.
- Follow up with toner.
- Apply a little more moisturizer than in the morning.
- Might need a little serum in certain target areas—such as around the mouth—to nourish the skin.
Three or four times a week:
At least in the beginning, use a good clay mask 3-4 times a week, at night, after cleansing and before toner. If there are severe breakouts then use a clay mask both morning and night. A clay mask opens the pores without enlarging them, pulls out toxins, and increases circulation. It’s drying, balancing, cleansing, and exfoliating without being harsh on the skin.
Combination skin is more complicated that oily or dry skin. The oily parts need to be treated as oily skin, while the dry parts need to be treated as dry skin.
Morning and Night:
- Use a cleansing milk. Stay away from foaming cleansers unless the skin becomes really oily.
- Follow up with an alcohol-free toner that has hydrosols—my Spring Flowers toner with properties between rose and citrus is a good one.
- Apply a light moisturizer on the oily areas and a serum on the dry areas.
Apply a clay mask at the times of the month when the skin is more oily. At other times you can apply a clay mask topically on oily areas that look sluggish.
Sensitive skin that tends to get irritated requires products with very pure ingredients, and toners and moisturizers that do not contain alcohol. If makeup is worn it should be clean, possibly mineral based. While this is true for all skin types, it is imperative for sensitive skin.
Morning and Night:
- Use a cleansing milk. Stay away from foaming cleansers!
- Follow up with an alcohol-free toner that has hydrosols—my Roses in Bloom toner is a good one.
- A pure serum which nourishes the skin is important.
Can apply a gentle mask—not heavy or drying.
Again, I would like to stress that these steps are not carved in stone. If a product doesn’t work for you, you can change it. Even if products do work for a while, they may need to change, just as you wouldn’t eat the same food over and over again.
Skin care is a very individual process. Not everyone needs to use a five-step process; not everyone needs eye cream or serum. Nor do you need to cleanse in a circular motion using a special brush. Rather than a militaristic approach to skin care, these days there is much more freedom. Try a product and see how your skin responds. You are the expert on your own skin!