What kind of beauty routine should you have to get the perfect skin? As it turns out, it depends on your skin type, but there are general skin care routines everyone should have to make their skin glow. And remember that perfect skin isn’t just about combating wrinkles and acne, but also preventing sunburn and skin disease. The good news? It’s not difficult to find out what skin type you are, or to establish some skin care and health regimens that will serve you well!
To stay happy and healthy, your skin needs all the vitamins, minerals, and building blocks that can be found in healthy foods. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that your skin regimen is only about what you put on your skin; it’s just as much what you put in your mouth!
Overall, a balanced diet high in vegetables is important for your beauty routine—and remember to include protein, as it’s a building block for collagen and elastin tissue. There are some other foods and nutrients that are particularly good for helping your skin stay happy and healthy as well: (1)
- Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis and can be found in all fruits and veg. Some particularly good sources are kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli, and kale (which also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help neutralize free radicals from UV exposure).
- Aglycone found in soy can further help prevent collagen from breaking down.
- Two teaspoons of olive oil a day can help combat aging, and a study where people consumed just less than a tablespoon a day combined with five tablespoons of tomato paste found that it also helped protect against sunburn.
- Dark chocolate may help make your skin smoother.
- Omega-3s found in fatty fish and vitamin E (found in sunflower seeds) may help prevent inflammation, which in turn can help prevent acne. The omegas found in walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, which helps combat eczema.
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene (which is converted into vitamin A by the body) are necessary for skin cell building and can be found in large amounts in yellow and orange fruits, such as pumpkins, carrots, and yellow and orange bell peppers.
- Vitamin B12, found in mackerel and nutritional yeast, can help fight both dark and white skin spots.
- Half a glass of red wine a day (and no more) may help prevent skin lesions caused by long-term sun exposure.
Hydrating your skin isn’t just about using a hydrating moisturizer but also drinking plenty of water. Consider drinking green tea, as the polyphenols help keep the skin smooth and protect against sunburn. Also, consuming four or more herbs regularly has been proven to help protect against melanoma, so consider herbal teas and basil water. Moreover, herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, cloves, and parsley have been proven to fight inflammation, though there is no direct proof they help acne, as little to no studies have been done on the subject. (1)
Miranda Kerr swears by starting the day with lemon water, followed by a green smoothie a little later—and she might be onto something. (3) Green smoothies containing kiwi, parsley, and kale as well as some orange fruit or vegetable are another skin winner, as you get your vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. You can also try some grated lemon zest or orange peel in your water. Grating will help bring out limonene, an oil found in the peel, which can help protect against squamous cell carcinoma—or just pop some peel in your smoothie. Bear in mind that you want unwaxed, preferably organic lemons and oranges so as to avoid toxins. (1) (11)
While not particularly hydrating (in fact, too much can dehydrate you), drinking a cup of coffee or more per day can help protect against non-melanoma skin cancer. (1)
Skin, apart from very dry and sensitive skin, benefits from exfoliation. Exfoliation removes dry skin cells and increases blood flow to the skin, which in turn means more nutrients are carried to the skin.
One way to exfoliate is dry skin brushing, which you can do all over your body before jumping into the shower. Bear in mind that the face needs a much gentler brush, and there are electronic ultrasonic exfoliators available as well—you can experiment to see what works for you.
Another way to exfoliate is using a loofah sponge or similar in the shower (just remember to disinfect it every so often, as it’s a real bacteria hoarder). Consider doing like they do in Moroccan hammams and soften your skin by applying an oil or oily soap that you allow to sink in and then scrub off. This will make it easier to remove the dead skin cells, and if you use oil, will help prevent dryness.
Lastly, you can use a natural scrub made of your choice of oil and either sugar, salt, ground coffee beans, or a combination of those. Make sure they are ground finely so as not to be too rough. The coffee beans contain an oil of their own, which may help combat dry skin, and the caffeine contained in them can stimulate the skin. Remember that you need to go gentle on the face; these kinds of scrubs may be too harsh for your face if you are sensitive.
To Steam or Not to Steam?
There are studies that show sweating, whether induced by saunas, exercise, or steams, etc., may help eliminate toxic elements from the body. (4) Of course, it also increases blood flow to the skin, which, as mentioned, may have positive benefits. Steams, particularly facial steams, are often recommended by dermatologists.
However, steams can also cause irritation to skin with eczema, acne, or simply sensitive skin. If you wish to carry out facial steams, keep them fairly short—don’t do them too often, and use products that will help calm your skin afterward. (5)
What Kind of Skin Type Are You?
Apart from basic skin care such as eating a diet that supports your skin, keeping hydrated, and exfoliating, you need to develop a skin regimen that supports your skin.
The first thing to figure out when deciding on a skin care routine that suits you is finding out what kind of skin type you have. Generally, skin is divided into four types: oily skin (mainly oily), dry skin (mainly dry), combination skin (oily and dry in patches), and normal skin (neither oily nor dry). (6)
Every day your facial skin needs cleansing and moisturizing. You can also add toning for extra benefits. Exfoliation is only needed once or twice a week, though some people use dry brushing for their body (not face) daily. (6) (7)
To cleanse your face, don’t use a harsh soap; rather, buy a natural face wash or make your own—there are plenty of recipes available online. You need to use a face wash that works for your skin type, so check the label or do your research if you make your own. Consider adding some honey to the face wash, as honey is great for the skin. (8)
After cleansing, apply a toner, after which you apply a moisturizer. Again, you need to find a toner and a moisturizer for your particular skin type. Always choose natural products that have been dermatologically tested.
You can also make your own toner using a variety of essential oils (such as lavender, rose, lemon balm, cloves, chamomile, rosemary, tea tree—read up on what might work for you, as some are particularly good for acne, etc.) blended with distilled water. You only need a few drops of essential oils to 50ml of water. A toner can also be made by boiling herbs, such as chamomile, and then straining the solution. (8) (10)
A moisturizer, should you wish to make your own, can be made with an oil suitable for your skin type and a few drops of essential oils. You may also want to add other ingredients, such as aloe vera.
Oils for Your Skin Type
There are many different oils, and many actually help oily skin, as opposed to making it more oily as many believe. If you have dry skin, you may want to try almond or apricot kernel oil, while jojoba and grapeseed oil may help oily skin. If you have very sensitive skin, on the other hand, try borage seed, avocado, or hemp seed oil. (9)
Applying a face mask once or twice a week can be great. There are different masks for different purposes—you can use clays, avocados, honey, etc.
The Rest of Your Body
As for cleaning your body, soap is only needed when you are actually dirty, and on a regular basis, for your hands, feet, and armpits to remove bacteria and odor. Always moisturize after washing using a natural body lotion that suits your skin type.
To create the best skin care routine for perfect skin, you need to eat healthily and remember to stay hydrated. A daily skincare routine for the face includes washing the face once a day with a gentle face wash, followed by using a toner and moisturizer suitable for your skin. For the rest of the body, water and a gentle soap for the feet, hands, and armpits, and when needed for the rest of the body followed by a moisturizer is perfect. Exfoliation and face masks are great additions to your routine once or a couple of times a week.