The Paradox of Perfect Skin
A lack of TLC is the worst mistake in skin care. A gentle touch and pure nutrition form the foundation for genuinely beautiful skin. So let me launch a new skin care method known as gentle efficiency.
Our skin is like a mirror that reflects what’s going on inside. A balanced lifestyle, healthy mind and body and a nourishing, clean diet all have an instant effect on the skin, just as the changing seasons, climate, and environment do. Beautiful skin isn’t the sole property of those blessed with the right genes or who can afford the most exclusive cosmetics. Regular skin care routines and the right products make an enormous difference.
The foundation of skin care always begins by identifying your skin type and its particular needs to help choose the right products. It’s important to understand the role of each step in the skin care regime to get a clearer picture of what we are actually doing.
Women often set their sights on perfect skin, but what exactly is perfect skin? What may come to mind is smooth, even-colored, radiant, supple, firm, blemish-free skin with unnoticeable pores that is neither dry or oily – and stays that way for the rest of one’s life.
Our body type affects the structure of the skin and actual skin type, while our lifestyle, inner wellbeing, environmental factors and the seasons affect its condition. Getting through life without a single skin problem simply doesn’t happen.
My advice is to actively monitor your skin’s condition and changes but don’t go overboard in analyzing each spot or wrinkle – change is the name of the game. The key is to learn to understand your own skin type and to take care of your skin in the right way on a regular basis.
Above all, perfect skin and beauty go far deeper than what meets the eye. Those who are happy, balanced and have an open, positive attitude radiate an unexplainable beauty and charisma that comes from deep within.
In my work, I’ve come across a few myths related to common skin problems. Lacking a gentle touch is the biggest no-no: cleansing, drying, and scrubbing harshly and using the wrong (ineffective or too powerful) products.
Learn the six common skin care mistakes people make:
1. Cleanser that's too strong
Sometimes I want to blurt out that skin isn’t a dirty floor which you need to scrub with strong chemicals to remove dirt and grease, washing away beneficial bacteria at the same time! Many with shiny daytime skin, coupled with bouts of blackheads and clogged pores, define their skin type as oil-prone and think a strong cleanser that removes excess oiliness and impurities is what’s needed. However, a strong product doesn’t mean skin gets any cleaner and that impurities go away. Harsh cleansing routines foster all sorts of skin problems, which are evident in different people in different ways, depending on a number of physical and psychological factors. Oily skin attempts to compensate for the oil that has been washed away by secreting even more sebum. Strongly foaming cleaning agents, such as soap and cleansers that contain sulfates, not only wash away dirt and makeup, but also the skin’s own oil-in-water emulsion, the acid mantle. This leads to dehydration, skin feeling tight, flakiness, clogged pores, milia, a pallid color and a whole lot of other skin issues. Laziness is one of the most bizarre reasons for using foaming and gel cleansers! Many want to quickly wash their face in the shower and rinse the ingredients down the drain. Why not time how long gentle cleansing actually takes? Surely you can redistribute five minutes, say from browsing through your Facebook feed, and spend those moments really looking after yourself instead?
2. Lack of moisture, especially by skipping on toner
This is the myth I encounter the most. Many think of toners as cleansing products that dry out the skin, while other misconceptions are that it “doesn’t do anything” as it doesn’t leave the same sensation as a cream, and, “After all, you can get water from the tap”. Toner is actually the cornerstone of skin care – in fact “care liquid” would be a more fitting name. It is not a cleanser, but a vital source of hydration, which boosts the hydrolipidic film on the surface of the skin after cleansing. When the skin’s moisture balance is in check and the acid mantle’s pH is balanced, i.e. a little alkaline, the skin is able to absorb active, caring ingredients deep into the skin’s layers. Dehydrated skin is like a shield that doesn’t let anything in or out. In natural cosmetics, toners are extremely nourishing as they contain different types of floral waters and plant extracts. So splash on the toner!
3. Lack of active, intensive ingredients and skipping on serum
Serum is often thought of as an expensive product that doesn’t make much of a difference, as, compared to a rich moisturizer, it doesn’t leave much of a sensation on the skin. But serum contains a concentration of active, skin-repairing, nourishing intensive ingredients which have a significant effect on the appearance and condition of the skin and different skin problems. Active ingredients in a serum penetrate deeper into the skin than a moisturizer can. I recommend including serum in your skincare routine by your 25th birthday. To activate the ingredients, warm the serum up between the palms of your hands before applying it onto the skin.
4. Cutting to the chase with a moisturizer that’s too rich
Often people want to cut to the chase with the ritual of washing the skin with a cleanser that creates as much foam as possible in order to quickly and efficiently remove impurities and oil from the skin, followed by a rich moisturizer, as the skin is left feeling tight and dry from the foamy cleanser. Sound familiar? This results in dull skin and clogged pores, as creams aren’t absorbed properly into moisture-depleted skin. In fact, the surface of the skin repels them, which leads to impurities and dehydration. This in turn makes people think “cosmetics just don’t work” even if they’ve gone and bought an expensive cream. To illustrate my point, think of a parched flowerpot; when you pour water, a puddle forms on top of the soil before the water is absorbed, whereas when you pour water onto moist soil, it is immediately absorbed deeper down. And you definitely need to add some plant food to damp soil. To summarize, a “cut to the chase” method has a direct link to the results you get.
5. Strong mechanical exfoliation
Many skip using a mask at home, but do exfoliate mechanically with granule-containing products they think will combat impurities. Strong mechanical treatments damage the surface of the skin and its’ natural defense mechanisms, and if skin care routines are inadequate in the first place, this type of exfoliation can cause more harm than good. Never opt for mechanical exfoliation if you have infected, atopic, couperose, rosacea or acne-prone skin. Granule-free enzyme and fruit acid exfoliators are the best option. Exfoliants that include granules but are extremely gentle can be used alongside regular cleansing a few times a week, but enzyme and fruit acid exfoliants should be the number one choice for your weekly routine, as they also target impurities and many other skin problems.
6. Over-treating skin
One of the most common causes of skin care problems is bombarding already confused skin with too many different types of products. Skin reacts to changes in the climate, seasons, hormones and a whole host of other factors, what to say of this new onslaught of information? Of course it’s good to have products in stock for different situations, but the main thing is to stay consistent and think about what your skin really needs. You can over-treat skin with natural and synthetic products alike. Ingredients in natural cosmetics can be so activating and powerful that some combinations or products unsuitable for your skin type can disturb the skin’s own protective mechanism, which in turn can kick-start a problem. You can over-treat skin by washing it too often: using a foaming cleanser with washing ingredients in the morning, after exercise and at night, causing irritation each time. A gentle cleanser once a night is all you need. After exercise, rinse your face with water, or wipe with a toner – no need for a cleansing product after working up a sweat. I’m far from perfect in my skin care routines myself – being a cosmetics junkie and working in the industry has its downsides, as I simply can’t resist trying out all those new, enticing products. That’s why I need to strike a balance and consider what’s too much. Although I love those latest goodies on offer, I try to focus on one sensible range of my faves, rather than piling on a whole load of different products in the course of a single week.