Dermatologists get paid the big bucks because they have the education, training and science behind every skin treatment that they perform. But there are some things that you can be doing at home to make your dermatologist appointments less frequent and save some money in the process. You don’t need to see a skincare specialist every year.
One key aspect of home skin care is proper nutrition. For example, berries are a type of food rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that can help improve hydration and prevent sun damage. Foods rich in vitamin C are also helpful for skin because this vitamin helps your body produce collagen.
Let’s take a look at some other often neglected ways of caring for your skin at home that will improve skin hydration, even skin tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without breaking the bank.
The Benefits of Drinking Water
We start with water because hydration is the foundation of healthy skin. Drinking enough water each day is critical for general health since water helps with digestion, absorption, circulation and elimination. But should you drink lots of water each day to enhance the health and appearance of your skin?
You may be surprised to learn that your skin is actually your body’s largest organ. It just happens to be spread out and located on the outside. Like any other body part, your skin consists of cells. And these cells are mostly water. Without water, none of your organs, including skin will function properly.
Without enough water, a lack of hydration will make your skin tight, dry and flaky. Dry skin is not as resilient and is more susceptible to wrinkling. Think of a dry riverbed and how parched and cracked its surface is. You don’t want that happening to your skin.
In addition to basic hydration, drinking water has an additional benefit: eliminating toxins. Toxins that cannot be broken down by the body must be eliminated. Much of this work is done by your kidneys, which require adequate water to dilute and flush substances that can harm your overall health and irritate your skin when they find their way into sweat glands.
How much water should you be drinking? The minimum is eight glasses a day to ensure that your skin remains hydrated. Many women find that increasing their intake of water leads to skin that has an inner radiance. Sufferers from acne have similar experiences. Don’t expect overnight changes, but a few weeks of drinking adequate water should produce some nice changes in your skin.
Now that you have been drinking plenty of water, you will want it to keep working its magic on your skin. This is where a good moisturizer comes in. Women sometimes overdo it in this area with fancy moisturizers. Sometimes, simple is better. Something as simple as petroleum jelly can serve as a powerful moisturizer to protect the resilience of your skin and help stave off the early development of lines and wrinkles. Plus, the more the ingredient list grows, the greater the odds that one of those ingredients will not work well with your skin.
Another increasingly popular skin moisturizer is coconut oil. This tropical oil is extremely anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin. It also kills bacteria, viruses and eliminates fungal infections. Coconut oil is finding its way into many other products as well, like shampoo.
One thing about coconut oil is that, as a tropical oil, it is solid at room temperature. But applying it directly to your skin will help melt it. One caveat when it comes to coconut oil as a moisturizer: Use it sparingly and not as an everyday moisturizer, since it can lead to breakouts in some people when overused.
The absolute best time to moisturize is right after your bath or shower. This is when your skin is already at its most hydrated. Now is the time to lock in all of that good moisture so that it stays with you throughout the day. Making proper moisturization a regular part of your beauty routine is half the battle when it comes to DIY skincare.
Speaking of bathing and showering, it is also important to limit your time with them. Although hot water opens skin pores that allows your body to rid itself of toxins, if your skin remains too long in contact with it, you can strip protective oils from your skin, causing it to appear tired and dull. Try to avoid exposure to extremely hot water for long periods of time.
It can also help to turn the temperature down in your water in the final part of your shower to enhance circulation. This can help your face appear more toned, rested and youthful. Cool water also has been found to boost the immune system.
As skin cells mature, they rise up to the surface layers of your skin to replace old, worn-out cells. But sometimes these cells can cling to the skin and build up there. This dead skin cell accumulation can block the natural radiance of fresher skin hidden underneath. Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells, oils and cellular debris that can dull your complexion.
There are a number of ways that you can exfoliate, including:
- Exfoliation brush. This is normally a type of brush containing bristles that can be used on the face to remove dead skin cells that have accumulated there. Some are used for dry brushing, while others are meant to be used with a facial cleanser.
- Exfoliating sponge. This is a very gentle way to exfoliate your skin. You can create a lather to apply to your sponge using soap and warm water.
- Exfoliating scrub. You can apply this type of scrub right onto your skin using a careful, circular motion. To wrap things up, rinse your skin using warm water.
The UV radiation produced by sunlight can subtly and gradually harm your skin in a number of ways. For one, sunlight can excessively dry your skin and leave it more susceptible to the formation of lines and wrinkles. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can also cause skin blemishes and age spots.
We have all heard it said many times, but wearing a good sunscreen is a must. Use one with an SPF of 15 or over to help prevent damage from UV radiation and prevent skin cancer. Sunscreen also protects you from rapid photoaging that can lead to hyperpigmentation and blemishes.
Try Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of the best things that you can put on your skin for a number of reasons. This powerfully healing plant contains vitamins A and C, enzymes and powerful antioxidants. It is strongly anti-inflammatory and can treat acne, burns and dry skin.
Another key substance found in aloe vera is known as allantoin. This is a powerful cell proliferator that speeds up the maturation of skin cells. The presence of allantoin in aloe vera is one reason for its powerful healing effects such as wound healing.
Benefits of Allantoin
- Enhances skin smoothness
- Promotes wound healing
- Speeds up cell proliferation and skin cell longevity
As effective as aloe vera is in moisturizing your skin, it can also dry your skin out when used too much. The enzymes found in the plant work like an exfoliator. You would be removing some of the outer protective layer of your skin more quickly than it can be replaced. So use aloe vera a few times a week, rather than on a daily basis.
One of the best ways to use aloe vera for skincare is to carefully slice a thick leaf and remove the gel contained within it. Apply this to your skin. You can even mix it with your favorite moisturizer or skin mask. If you prefer to not keep an aloe vera plant at home, you can also purchase aloe vera gel.
Oatmeal Facial Cleanser
Have you noticed that your skin is becoming somewhat sensitive and irritated lately? Sometimes this is because you are using an overly strong cleanser. You might want to occasionally swap out your regular cleanser for a gentle oatmeal and honey scrub. Both honey and oatmeal are strongly anti-inflammatory, and honey has additional antiseptic properties to help eliminate bacteria and other pathogens from your skin.
Yogurt for Dry Skin
Is your skin become dry and irritated because you were overdoing it with retinoids, or it has been exposed to strong winds or UV radiation? Enter the milk mask that utilizes lactic acid contained in milk and yogurt as a gentle moisturizer and exfoliator. The milk itself contains proteins that will stick to your skin a bit, like having a “milk mustache” for the entire face. You can even spice things up by adding a bit of honey for a soothing mixture. Leave this on your face for about 15 minutes and rinse it off with water.
The Role of Hyaluronic Acid
By the time you have reached your thirties, your body will have stopped making as much hyaluronic acid (HA) as it did when you were younger. This incredible substance has powerful hydration abilities. It can actually absorb many times its own weight in water molecules. As you grow older and lose hyaluronic acid in your skin, your skin becomes drier and more susceptible to premature wrinkles.
Fortunately, we can correct this natural deficiency in a couple of ways: topical products or supplementation. There are quite a few creams, gels, lotions and serums available containing hyaluronic acid – see bottom of article. This is a good way to get some HA directly on your skin to immediately begin drawing in moisture as a way of developing supple, dewey skin.
If you are a bit older, you may also want to try supplementing with hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is present in all soft tissues, as well as in the cartilage found between your joints. If you have noticed some aches and pains in your joints lately, hyaluronic acid can help act as a sort of internal shock absorber and reduce any pain or discomfort due to the wearing away of cartilage over the years. Of course, some of this hyaluronic acid will also find its way into your skin to help hydrate it and prevent the early development of lines and wrinkles.
Switch Things Up
Another factor that can wreak havoc on your skin is the weather. For example, during wintertime, the combination of cold, dry air and lower temperatures can really dry out your skin. Not to mention the increased need for indoor heating. On the other hand, during the summer you may be dealing with sun exposure and high humidity, resulting in dark spots, oily skin and sun damage. So you need to use different formulas and skin care ingredients throughout the year to combat opposing temperatures and different environmental conditions.
Don’t Forget the Patch Test
Sooner or later, you will want to try out that hot new product to breathe fresh life into your skin. But you don’t always know how your skin will react. When trying a new skincare product, always do a patch test to avoid the risk of an allergic reaction or skin irritation. Simply apply a tiny amount of the topical product to your inner arm to make sure that it is safe for you and your individual skin type.
There have been incredible advancements in skincare products recently, with many of them offering a mixture of skin-boosting ingredients. Some of these ingredients work synergistically, while providing a convenient treatment so that you do not have to buy each ingredient separately.
One such product is a serum containing Vitamin C, hydraulic acid, and ferulic acid made by Seoulceuticals, this product has virtually the same list of ingredients as the popular Skinceuticals CE Ferulic serum, except that it costs almost $150 less.
The serum’s hyaluronic acid plumps and hydrates your skin, while the vitamin C helps fade sunspots and brightens your complexion, even as it promotes the formation of fresh collagen. As it turns out, vitamin C is somewhat unstable when applied to the skin. The included ferulic acid is a genius move that extends the life and effectiveness of the vitamin C.
Used regularly, the serum helps clear acne, prevent breakouts, shrink pores, and reduce the appearance of acne scars. It has a pleasant citrus scent and dries quickly without leaving behind an oily residue.