September is Skin Care Awareness Month!

Great skin is not simply a matter of genes — daily habits and the products you use do, in fact, have a big impact on what you see.

There is a dizzying number of options for everything from how to moisturize to how to protect yourself from UV rays but in the end, caring for your skin is simply personal but essentially a skin-care routine has  four main steps with one goal: to tune up skin so it’s functioning at its best, and troubleshoot or target areas in need of extra help you want to work on.

Cleansing is the most basic and essential step of any routine twice a day, morning and night, to avoid clogged pores and dullness. To remove environmental pollutants, dirt and other factors, the right formula for cleansing should do the job thoroughly without stripping essential, healthy oils and upsetting the pH balance. Choose the right one and a toner is unnecessary. Take it easy with scrubs (use once a week) and add an AHA exfoliator to round out the process.

Treating is one of skin’s most powerful  allies. Filled with concentrated doses of active ingredients, serums can mitigate a number of issues but even if you don’t have any specific issues, everyone still needs a general antioxidant and DNA repair serum in the morning to protect from daily aggression.

While there are “limitless options”, great places to start are with

  • Hyaluronic acid to seal in hydration and strengthen the barrier function (the top layer of your skin) to prevent moisture loss.
  • Retinol and peptides to encourage natural protein production
  • Accelerators to amp up benefits and expand the range of benefits

Moisturizing and its most basic function of hydration will soften and prevent water loss through the outer layers of skin. Best of all, they can complement the naturally found protective oils and other building blocks within the skin.

There is a difference between day and night formulas. Day creams are built to protect  skin from the environmental aggressors and often contain antioxidants to minimize pollution-based free radicals and sunscreen to shield you from ultraviolet radiation. They typically have a lightweight consistency. Night creams, alternately focus on repairing any damage picked up with ingredients like retinol to speed cellular turnover and counteract barrier weakening.  They also replenish moisture levels, which naturally dip in the evening, with emollients that often create a richer texture.

Protecting is unanimously agreed upon: sunscreen is, hands down, the most crucial skin-care product. It’s of utmost importance in any year-round regimen because daily and consistent sunscreen use helps to prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles, textural imperfections, and changes in the appearance of pores over time. More importantly, daily sunscreen use can help to prevent the formation of certain skin cancers. Built-in repairing agents with broad spectrum SPF of at least 30 is the minimum number for incidental sun.

A Bit of Time

The science behind skin-care products has come a long way but there’s still no such thing as an instant fix but with patience and consistent use results will be noticeable over four-to- six weeks, when used once or twice a day.