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Skincare Routine: Why Should I Have One And Where Do I Start?

By: Jaclyn Kotora, Contributing Writer

In society, many people strive for “flawless” skin: smooth, firm, hydrated, even tone, blemish-free. In reality, wrinkles, blemishes, and discolorations are perfectly normal and inevitable; however, there are more benefits of proper skincare than just one’s appearance. As the largest organ in the body, the skin serves many functions, and proper care of it can benefit your body in many different ways.

Dermatologist Steven Nwe, DO, says, “Investing early in the health of your skin, with regular skincare, will not only better protect it from the harsh effects… but also keep you feeling your best throughout the year... The key to skin resiliency is knowing your skin and treating it well.”

The skin has many different roles, one of which is the defense for our bodies, protecting the body from viruses, bacteria, pollution, and UV rays. On top of that, skin helps regulate your temperature, maintain a fluid and moisture balance, and recognizes pain. With so many important functions, it is important to maintain the health and quality of your skin, as it may have long-term impacts in your future.

While some skin factors can not be controlled, like genetics, aging, hormones, and health conditions, you can protect it from harmful external factors by living a healthy, balanced lifestyle and having a daily skincare routine.

The question many people ask is: what skincare routine should I be following? While skincare routines are relatively individualistic depending on the different conditions of the skin, a good, basic routine to follow is to cleanse, moisturize, treat, and protect.

Washing your face daily is a beneficial practice to get into your routine to remove dirt, oils, and dead skin, which can prevent skin conditions like acne. It is important to use products intended to be used on the face, not just a random soap bar or body wash in your house. Wash your face with the cleanser, scrubbing gently, rinsing with warm water to remove oils.

Moisturizer should be used daily as well, best applied when the skin is slightly damp after cleaners. They hydrate the skin, preventing the skin from drying out, leaving a smooth finish. Self-explanatorily, don’t use any moisturizer products that irritate the skin or do not work with your complexion.

Perhaps the most essential step is to protect your skin from UV rays. Using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher may prevent skin cancer and premature aging. Sunscreen should be applied daily, whether you get sunburns or not. The Skin Cancer Foundation states, “Sunscreen is proven to decrease your risk of skin cancers and skin precancers. Regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent, and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.”

For many, people need to treat conditions such as acne. WebMD describes this condition as “when pores on the surface of the skin become clogged. This happens when oil glands produce too much oil and pores get blocked with dirt, bacteria, and debris.” While conditions and intensity vary, a general guideline is to manage acne with products that are hydrating and cause little to no irritation to the skin, and are ideally non-comedogenic (not likely to cause pore blockages), oil-free, and either contain zinc oxide or avobenzone.

Finding the right products and specific routines for each individual can be trial and error in the beginning. To find an individual routine for yourself, identify the primary complexion concern, whether it be acne, sensitivity, sun damage, wrinkles, oiliness, or just general health. You may also buy combined products, like a moisturizer that is also composed of sunscreen. You can ask a dermatologist about your specific skin care needs, or you can also refer to PRS Global Open's suggestions or WebMD's tips for general guidance for each type of skin.

As for when to wash and treat the skin, it is generally said to protect your skin in the morning and cleanse and repair at night. Also as a general rule, remember to wash your face after working up a sweat to prevent pore clog-up, and to also remove makeup before bed.

Although it may seem futile, especially in one’s youth, a daily skincare routine can have the most significant long-term impacts on the quality of your skin. While there are cosmetic procedures that may conceal certain aspects of aging, they do not pertain to the overall quality and health of your skin. The skin serves the body many functions, so remember to take care of it as it takes care of you.

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