There are four basic steps that must be taken when caring for your skin: cleansing, toning, moisturizing and protecting. It is important to address each step so that your skin is cared for properly and so that it looks and feels as healthy as possible. There are other specialty steps that you can take if you have specific concerns like crow's feet or age spots, but those will be discussed in another article.
The first step is cleansing your skin. This is an important foundation step because if your skin is not clean, your pores can become clogged, which can lead to pimples. Choose a gentle cleanser made for your skin type that won't strip your skin and leave it dry. You can use cream based cleansers, liquid soaps, handmade bar soap (which is much more gentle than store-bought 'detergent bars'. You can even use oil to clean your face. Yes, oil! As strange as that might sound, many people use oils like rice bran or olive oil to clean their face.
Cleaning helps to dissolve makeup, remove dirt, oil and grime that can build up on your face throughout the day. Be sure to clean your face at night before bed, so you don't have all that dirt sitting on your skin and clogging pores during the night. Some people, especially those with oily skin may opt to also clean their face in the morning.
To clean your face, gently massage the skin in small, circular and upward motions. Cleanse both your face and your neck. Do not rub too hard, and do not tug on your skin. Rinse with warm, not hot water, and gently pat your skin dry. Remember that the skin on your face is much thinner than the skin on the rest of your body, so be sure to treat it gently.
The second step is toning. Toner helps to balance the pH of your skin and remove any last traces of makeup and dirt. Put a little toner onto a cotton ball and gently swipe across your face, avoiding the eyes.
The next step is moisturizing. A moisturizer helps to soften and soothe your skin and replace natural oils that are removed from the cleansing step. They also help to lock moisture into your skin.
I have a wonderful moisturizer which uses shea butter, meadowfoam seed oil, and essential oils of Helichrysum, Lavender, and Rosemary verbenone. Shea butter stimulates collagen production and increases circulation. Meadowfoam seed oil is a wonderful oil with moisturizing and rejuvenating benefits for the skin. Helichrysum calms the skin and assists with collagen production. Lavender is relaxing and has antiseptic properties and Rosemary is stimulating and an effective disinfectant. Rosemary should be avoided in pregnancy, high blood pressure, and in seizure disorders.
Meadowfoam lavender cream
½ oz. shea butter
¼ oz. Meadowfoam seed oil
½ tsp. of vitamin E
6 drops of Helichrysum essential oil
12 drops of Lavender essential oil
12 drops of Rosemary verbenone
Heat the shea butter until almost melted; stir well. Add Meadowfoam seed oil, vitamin E and the essential oils. Refrigerate immediately until solid.
To apply moisturizer, take a small amount and gently massage into skin using gentle, upward strokes. Never pull down on your skin, and don't forget to also moisturize your neck. We’ve all seen ladies with firm facial skin but the dreaded ‘turkey neck’ – saggy, wrinkly skin from the chin down. Using a moisturizer regularly can help prevent this from happening.
Finally, the last step is protecting your skin. Not following this step can leave your face unprotected against the elements like sun and wind. Excessive sun exposure can damage your skin and cause your skin to age prematurely, leading to a dry, wrinkly and leathery look. Sometimes moisturizers will include SPF (Sun Protection Factor) so these two steps will sometimes be combined. Protecting also includes using lip balm with SPF to protect against the wind and sun.
The four steps of cleansing, toning, moisturizing and protecting aren't difficult at all. They’re quick to do and provide such beneficial results that they should become a part of your daily beauty routine.
Essential Body Pleasures is introducing our All Natural Facial Scrub this month. This scrub contains Kaolin clay, oats, cornmeal, goat’s milk, flax seed, and Geranium essential oil. Kaolin clay draws impurities from the skin without removing natural oils while also stimulating circulation. The goat’s milk powder has lactic acid, which exfoliates while moisturizing. Geranium essential oil has antiseptic and astringent properties, and flax seed is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are critical to healthy skin.
Pat White MSN PMh NP-BC