Let’s talk about skin care. But before we do that, let’s talk about skin.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It serves many different functions, but most importantly it serves as a protective barrier. Your skin can protect you from: variations in temperature, mechanical impact and pressure, and microorganisms (germs). Needless to say, your skin is something you should take great care of (if not for health reasons, at least to prolong youth and beauty).
I didn’t start taking care of my skin until after college when I noticed some hyper-pigmentation on my face. Prior to that, I only used sunscreen in the summer when I went to the beach or pool. However, my day to day skin care routine was lacking in SPF. If I wasn’t going to be in the sun for that long, I would be okay right? WRONG. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause significant damage to your skin in a short amount of time. UV rays can even reach the earth on a cloudy day and can penetrate barriers like windows and certain clothing. Damage to your skin from these UV rays can lead to hyper-pigmentation (dark spots), wrinkles, and skin cancer. Thanks, but no thanks.
After researching these harmful effects of sun exposure, I knew I had to start taking better care of my skin (and am BAFFLED that tanning salons are still in business). Here are my favorite products I use to care for my skin:
This is my holy grail cleanser. I used to use really harsh facial cleansers formulated for acne prone skin because I thought that they’d help my combo/oily skin. Instead, they completely stripped my face of any moisture and made it feel dry and tight. In response, my skin had to overcompensate by producing even more oil which just made the problem worse. This Cetaphil cleanser is gentle and cleans my face without drying it out. I use this first thing in the morning with warm water and at night in the shower.
This is my day to day moisturizer. It’s infused with 100% argan oil so it’s very moisturizing and great to use in the winter. If you have extremely oily skin, I would stay away from this one. It has a little bit of coverage, but not enough to feel like I have a heavy face of makeup on. I usually wear this by itself, but I’m sure it would work under foundation as well. I have combination skin and find that it does make my face a bit oily towards the end of the day, but it’s nothing a little powder and blotting can’t fix. The high SPF is a huge plus. I wouldn’t use anything under SPF 30 on my face.
On days that I wear makeup, I prefer to use this Eucerin moisturizer underneath. It’s lightweight, non-greasy, and contains SPF 30. I’ve tried similar products from other brands at the drugstore, but this one feels the best on my skin.
Witch hazel is natural plant extract that can be used as an astringent (substance that constricts body tissues) and anti-inflammatory agent. It’s a great toner to use on all skin types. On my combo/oily skin, it gets rid of any excess oil without over drying. After cleansing at night, I pour some on a cotton pad and wipe it on my face. I also keep some in a travel bottle to use at the gym when I don’t have time to wash my face after working out. It’s pretty gross/satisfying to see all the dirt and grime that comes off on the cotton pad afterwards. You can use other brands of witch hazel, but try to find one that has a lower % of alcohol which can be very drying. The Dickinson’s brand has 14% alcohol content.
I recently started using a Vitamin C serum to combat sun damage and prevent aging. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. This means that it has the ability to shield skin from damaging free radicals that come from the sun and pollution in the air. Other benefits of Vitamin C include fading sun spots and hyper-pigmentation, boosting collagen production, reducing inflammation, and preventing wrinkles. I use this serum at night immediately after toning.
I like to use a heavier lotion on my face at night, but not one that will make my face feel like a grease ball. This lotion is the perfect balance of lightweight moisture that allows my face to re-hydrate throughout the night. In the summer I use this alone, and in the winter I use this with a few drops of oil mixed in.
I can’t rave about this product enough. I used to be scared of putting oil on my face because I thought it would make my skin even more oily and/or break me out. Instead, this oil has had the total opposite effect. My using this oil on my skin, it feels hydrated enough and does not produce any additional oil keeping my face slick-free. I use this at night by mixing 2-3 drops with my moisturizer. I also dab 1 drop between my ring fingers and then pat it around my eye area like an eye cream. When I wake up in the morning, my skin looks plump and youthful. For dryer skin, try using 5-7 drops as a moisturizer on its own. I’ve also heard of people adding a drop to foundation for smoother application and more hydrating effects.
Andrew calls this “Magic Tree Oil.” One time he came home from playing basketball with a HUGE blister on his ankle. The skin had already broken and there was some serious redness going on. I soaked a cotton ball with tea tree oil and applied it to the blister, holding it in place with a band-aid. I kid you not the blister had completely healed the next morning. The skin somehow reattached to his ankle and was completely smooth. Other than a little discoloration, you wouldn’t even have been able to tell it was a blister. Seriously, magic. Tea tree oil is a natural plant extract with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In my case, I mainly use tea tree oil as a spot treatment on any blemishes or pimples that decide to show up on my face. When I wake up the next morning, my blemishes appear smaller with greatly reduced redness. I also find that popped pimples (Don’t pop your pimples!!!) heal much faster when I apply tea tree oil to them.
I have a few more products in my skin care arsenal that I’ll write about at a later date (scrubs, masks, etc.), but these are the basics. Most are tried and true, and a few are a bit newer, but nonetheless I love them all. Using these products, I’ve seen a huge improvement in my skin’s appearance (radiant not dull), texture (smoother than a baby’s bottom!), and tone (still some hyper-pigmentation, but definitely more even and no new dark spots). Please comment below if you’ve tried these products or have any skin care suggestions!