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Mastering Skin Care Basics

By: Deborah Meza

Finding a skin care regimen that can become a daily routine may seem like an ongoing journey

Remember that your skin is unique; what works for your friends and family may not work for you. Be open to new products for every season of the year and every season of your life. Skin enhancement and repair takes time and consistency, so be patient. Basic skin care is so important and, if its done regularly and properly, beautiful, healthy skin will result.

How do you begin?

Step 1: Cleanse the Skin

Cleansing removes sweat, oil, dirt and pollutants that collect on the surface. You should be cleansing every morning and before you retire for bed. Steer clear of harsh, body bar soaps on facial skin. Facial cleansers are available and should be chosen based on skin type.

Step 2: Tone

I can not stress enough how important toner is for your skin. It adjusts the pH level and prepares the skin to absorb moisturizers, serums and other products properly. Avoid harsh alcohol or citrus-based toner, as they can irritate your skin. Consultation with an experienced skin care expert can guide you on all products, including toner.

Step 3: Exfoliate

Your skin is shedding millions of cells every day. Exfoliating removes dead cells that have accumulated. Most dermatologists agree you should exfoliate one to three times each week. Both chemical and granule exfoliators can be effective, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHAs and BHAs often are more effective in getting deep into the pores to remove buildup. Exfoliation will help skin look younger, promote blood flow and collagen production and improve overall skin health. AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) products are preferred for sun-damaged, dry and aging skin. BHA (beta hydroxy acid) products are oil-loving and preferred for acne-prone skin. BHAs are anti-inflammatory and have antibacterial properties. On days you exfoliate, follow these steps: cleanse, exfoliate, tone.

Step 4: Serums, Eye Creams and Moisturizers

Traditional skincare products focus on the visible signs of unhealthy skin without addressing the underlying causes at a cellular level. Medical lines, however go deeper to obtain the collagen stimulation your skin needs to rejuvenate. Topical vitamin C is good to protect, brighten and stimu­late collagen. Eye creams depend on your need to brighten, firm or address puffiness. Many have a mild retinol to address fine lines without irritation. Moisturizers should be based on skin type so they properly hydrate without causing the skin to overproduce oil. I highly recommend consulting with a skin professional to help with the choice of proper products needed to meet your goals.

Step 4: Proper SPF Sun Protection

Sunscreen with a minimum protec­tion factor of SPF 30 is recommended in most skin care lines. I have seen skin of all types maintain clarity and reduce sun damage after SPF SO was incorporated into a daily routine. Formulas are available to match all skin types and tones. Always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen for the best protection. Sunscreen costs pennies per day and is the number-one anti-aging product that can benefit everyone. Remember to apply SPF protection to your lips, eyelids, ears, neck and décolletage prior to applying foundation makeup. Apply full-body sunscreen 20 minutes (or as directed) prior to spending time outside. On the days you wear makeup and are not able to reapply as directed, mineral powder sunscreens are available – just brush and go! Also invest in a great broad-brim hat and sunglasses for you and the children.

A daily a.m. and p.m. skin routine is so important and easily followed with the right products tailored to YOU. A skin care professional, aesthetician, dermatologist or plastic surgeon will be happy to consult with you and help you reach your skin care goals. Above all, consistency is the key to progressing toward naturally beautiful skin.

Deborah Meza is a licensed aesthetician, as well as a massage therapist, medical skin care and laser technician and Ideal Protein coach with the Woman’s Clinic P.A. in Gulfport. Reach her at (228) 341-7879.