The Scientific Guide to Skin Care
If you spend enough time searching for skincare tips online, you’ll be sure to come across a wide array of advice; some of it good, and some of it not so good. It can be frustrating to see so many different sources contradict each other. How do you decide which tips to try and which ones to ignore?
Like any other kind of health regimen and self-care, the best tips are based on science. Let’s look into the research so you can build your perfect skincare routine.
Skincare Products to Consider
Cleansers are very useful for removing makeup, oil, dead skin cells, and pollutants from your face. When looking for the ideal cleanser, skin pH is something important to consider. The skin’s pH plays a role in the development and prevention of various skin diseases. Findings state that you want to stay away from acidic cleansers and look for one with a pH of about 5.5, which is optimal for skin health.
Toner has been a subject on which dermatologists have made cases for and against throughout the years. This is specifically because some contain alcohol, which gets rid of bacteria but also strips the skin of moisture. Toner can be a beneficial product for nurturing and purifying the skin, but only if it doesn’t contain alcohol and astringent ingredients. If you are looking for a toner, it would be worth considering products that use alternative ingredients like propolis or chamomile, which work against bacteria and are safer to use than alcohol.
Using a face serum in conjunction with moisturizer can greatly benefit how you nourish, hydrate, and protect your skin. There are many different kinds of serums you can use; the key is understanding your skin and which ones have the ingredients or benefits that best suit it. Different types of serum include:
- Anti-aging serums
- Skin-brightening serums
- Hydrating serums
- Free-radical fighting serums
- Acne-prone and sensitive skin serums
- Reparative or texture-improvement serums
After applying the serum is when dermatologists would recommend using a good moisturizer. As with serum, there are several different kinds suitable for different skin types. Determining your skin type can maximize the benefits of your moisturizer. Skin types include:
- Dry, which would benefit from a heavier, oil-based moisturizer
- Oily, which would benefit from lighter, water-based moisturizers
- Mature, which would benefit from oil-based moisturizers to preserve moisture
- Sensitive, which would benefit from soothing ingredients, like aloe, that won’t be harsh on the skin
- Normal/Combination, which would benefit from a lighter, water-based moisturizer
If you don’t know your skin type, there are relatively simple ways to find out. By pressing sections of tissue paper to different areas of your face, you can determine your skin type based on how much oil the paper picks up.
Ingredients to Use and Ones to Avoid
There are countless ingredients out there that are used in skincare and hygiene products. Some are helpful and promote healthy processes in your skin and body. Others are not. Here are some ingredients you should use and some you should avoid.
Use: Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that occurs naturally in our bodies and has proven to be very useful in retaining moisture. It’s also a substance that works on both dry and oily skin types.
Avoid: Aluminum, which is found in many personal care products (especially antiperspirant deodorants), has been known to disrupt healthy functioning of the endocrine system.
Use: Vitamin C and Vitamin E have been known to work quite well when used together. Their combined benefits include anti-aging, repairing UV damage, reducing hyperpigmentation, hydrating and healing, and acting as an anti-inflammatory.
Avoid: Mineral oil, found in creams, lotions, ointments, and cosmetics, coats the skin and clogs pores. This can inhibit your skin’s ability to eliminate toxins.
Use: Vitamin B3 increases elasticity, strengthens the skin barrier, evens skin tone, and reduces inflammation. It can also be used to reduce acne.
Avoid: Parabens (methyl, butyl, ethyl, and propyl) are found in many products, such as moisturizers and deodorants, and have been known to cause hormonal imbalances.
Use: Green tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties when applied to the skin. Early studies suggest that it can reduce sun damage, protect against skin cancer, and decrease collagen breakdown.
Avoid: Triclosan has been shown to interfere with thyroid function. It can also degrade into a type of dioxin, which is known to be linked to several toxicities, including cancer. Triclosan can be found in soap, mouthwash, shaving cream, deodorants, toothpaste, and other products.
Drop These Five Habits to Help Your Skin
There are daily mistakes many people make that are affecting their skin’s health. Here are some habits that can negatively impact your skin.
1. Overwashing Your Face
Believe it or not, there’s such a thing as washing your face too much. Washing your skin more than twice per day can strip it of its natural oils and leave it more vulnerable to aggressors and pollutants.
2. Neglecting Sunscreen
As you already know, exposure to UV rays can damage your skin, develop signs of aging, and even cause cancer. Applying SPF 30 sunscreen every day can make a huge difference in your skin’s health.
3. Forgetting to Disinfect Your Cell Phone
Your phone is known to have a lot of bacteria, making it way too dirty to be placing against your face on a daily basis. Do yourself a favor and clean it regularly.
4. Skipping Sleep
Sleep is when your skin undergoes self-repair. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason, so take advantage of it! Losing too much sleep will result in signs of aging, bags under the eyes, and dull and tired-looking skin.
By now, it’s no secret that smoking can cause a variety of complications to your health. For your skin, smoking can lead to accelerated aging, sagging, dryness, and a dull complexion.
For more information about how you can take better care of your skin — or to book your yearly skin screening — schedule an appointment with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. They can help you find the root of any skin issue and seamlessly refer you to the right specialist if necessary.
Healthline | Using a Toner Will Totally Change Your Skin
Healthline | What Are the Benefits of Using a Face Serum?
Healthline | Choosing a Healthy Facial Moisturizer
NCBI | Hyaluronic acid: A Key Molecule in Skin Aging
NCBI | How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?
Karger | The pH of the Skin Surface and Its Impact on the Barrier Function
Healthline | A Guide to Taking Care of Your Skin