The focus of skin care has shifted from correction to protection. Now the emphasis is on sunscreens, treatment products and proper nutrition, all aimed at promoting a more healthy skin. Skin is constantly regenerating and producing new cells. And so, once you start taking diligent, correct care of your skin, it will improve almost immediately.
Whatever your skin type, and whatever age you are, skin doctors agree that you have to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays which destroy skin cells. To prevent wrinkles and sagging and skin cancer, you have to routinely cover up and use sunscreen with a high protection factor (15 or more).
Healthy skin starts with a diagnosis of your skin type because each type of skin has to be treated according to its nature, if problems are to be avoided.
Dry skin feels and looks dry, has little natural glow, finely textured, often lined, feels "tight"and itchy after washing, coarse to touch, skin has little flexibility, tolerates soap poorly, chaps easily, reacts quickly to cold or too-dry air, becoming rough or flaky.
Oily skin looks shiny, greasy to touch, has enlarged pores and a tendency to acne, whiteheads and blackheads, an oil spot will appear when blotted with a tissue, even a few minutes after washing it develops a thin film of oil.
Normal Skin is soft, supple, firm with a smooth velvety feel, it is clear with a fine-grained, even texture, with no areas of excess oiliness or dryness, no blackheads or other blemishes, no shine or excess oil when blotted, comes back readily when stretched and is reasonably thick if pinched up. Normal skin is rare except in the very young.
Combination skin is oily in some spots, dry in others; usually with a T area of oiliness (forehead, nose and chin) the rest of the face being dry or normal.
As dry skin is usually the problem of fair skinned women, and normal skin is almost perfect, we will concentrate on the care of oily and combination skin.
Sloughing (to slough is to separate dead tissue from living structure, any outer covering that is shed or cast off as dead skin ) is more important now simply because our air is more polluted than ever. Blemishes are not only the problems of teenagers unlike in the past. The accumulation of dirt causes the top layer of our skin to develop a thin, fine callusing that traps complexion problems underneath. You can't eliminate that with just a washcloth and cleanser. It's usually not enough. Men don't need sloughing as much as women do because they remove dead cells as they shave every morning. If you look at the areas of their faces that are shaved, you'll notice that these areas don't appear to be lined.
Abrasive sloughing is essential for those with oily skin because it lifts impurities, such as blackheads and whiteheads, to the surface so that they can easily be treated or removed. Sloughing is important also as a preventive measure because as we get older our skin doesn't heal as quickly so we can't treat a pimple overnight. Better to prevent it by exfoliating and cleaning.
The perfect way to exfoliate or rub away the dead cells is with a natural oatmeal cleansing scrub. This can be done once or twice a week or once a month as needed.
- 1/2 cup oatmeal (uncooked), ground in a blender until it becomes a fine powder
- Splash your face with warm water to wet it thoroughly
- Pick up oatmeal powder with your moist fingers
- Rub skin with the powder, be gentle, but rub all of your facial skin
- Rinse with plenty of warm water
- Repeat the procedure
- Give skin a final rinse of 15 splashes of warm water
- The warm water is to dissolve the greasy accumulations of cellular matter.
After cleansing, it is also important to restore the natural acid state of your skin which is its protective covering so that micro-organisms will be killed and/or inhibited in its growth. So after scrubbing, apply with this recipe of Vinegar Rinse:
- 1/8 cup vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Combine, then store in a bottle with a tight fitting cap.
After each cleansing, smooth about 1 tbs. Of the rinse over your face. Allow to air dry. Dilute the mixture with additional water if you find that it is too drying.
For your daily care, you can also use the oatmeal scrub without repeating the procedure or you can wash your face 3 to 4 times a day with water and a greaseless soap or cleanser. Follow up with an alcohol-based astringent or toning lotion. For cleansing, I use Cetaphil on the recommendation of Me-ann Lee, a dermatologist. It's oil free and it's gentle on the skin. For an astringent, I sometimes use Bonne Belle's Ten-O-Six or our local Eskinol, it doesn't seem to matter. Just make sure that you use fresh cotton as needed and apply until it stays clean.
Use a mineral oil complex (1 cup baby oil with 1 tsp. Olive oil added) to clean the area around your eyes, upper lip and neck if they are dry and not subject to clogged, large pores and blemishes as in combination skin. This is also what you use to remove eye makeup and lipstick. After this, lather your face with anti-acne, anti-bacterial soap. Rinse your face using 15 splashes of water to derive the full treatment benefits of the soap and water aeration.
Apply moisturizer to your face weekly. Even if your skin is oily, it needs moisturizer to protect it from the extreme drying effects of our modern environment and from the harmful chemical pollutants in the air. Moisturizers do not replenish skin oils- their purpose is to slow down the evaporation of water from the skin by formimg an invisible film which literally "seals" in moisture. If you find that using a moisturizer causes your skin to erupt then discontinue immediately. Apply petroleum jelly to your lips as needed.
For your weekly or monthly care, you can do any of these depending on what you have in your kitchen.
- Steam skin for ten minutes by boiling rosemary in a pot and use the vapors that rise from it for steaming the face. Cover your head with a towel to keep the steam in. This will dissolve oil clogging pores and provide skin with moisture. For best results, follow up with a facial mask.
- Remove blackheads by mashing a tomato and applying it directly on the blemished area. Remove with a piece of cotton and astringent.
- One of the nicest ways to pamper yourself is with a facial mask. There are so may ways to do it. You can buy it ready made or you can whip something up in your kitchen. Mash and strain one tomato, and mix the pulp with enough oatmeal to make a paste. Leave this on the face for 20 minutes. The oatmeal will exfoliate, the acid in the tomato will cleanse. Other masks you can make: oatmeal and milk, crushed peanuts and oatmeal, egg white and oatmeal, pineapple pulp (the natural enzymes in the pineapple help remove dead surface cells and clarify the complexion), egg whites and crushed mint leaves, honey and egg whites
You may think, what a lot of bother, or it's too complicated. But when you take time to bother about your face and skin and hair, you will feel better, you will be more relaxed, energized, you will appreciate yourself and that will be good for the people around you. You will also be more confident in your everyday life. There will be a spring to your step. A sparkle in your eye- all because you feel good about yourself. And that will reflect in the work you do in the office, your service in your community, it will reflect in your family relationships, in your relationships with the single men you know, with your sisters. If you feel good about yourself, people will naturally gravitate towards you.
Don't start with thinking you can't do this all. Think you can try maybe just the oatmeal scrub at first, then if that has made a difference, try other things as well. Little by little. Be result-oriented. Obviously, having the best possible complexion makes it easier to enhance your facial features with makeup.
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