It's been a long winter and your skin needs plenty of TLC to recover from the cold. But not all skin is created equal, which can make proper skin care hard to master. Never fear! Here is your guide to keeping your skin in tip-top shape from head to toe.
The most important thing to know about skin care is: Don't cut corners! Good skin is the difference between aging like a disheveled raisin and aging like Meryl Streep. Invest in quality products and tailor your regimen to your different body parts. The skin on your face is not equal to the skin on your legs.
For full-body skin maintenance, Dr. Monica Bonakdar, an experienced cosmetic physician, tells us that hydration and protection are the most important factors. What does that mean for you? Don't leave the house without applying a good moisturizer and sunscreen (drinking lots of water won't hurt, either).
You already know that if you don't take good care of your face you'll wrinkle, but facial skin can be really, really sensitive, so it's important to have an effective routine in place. The best course of action is to moisturize your face daily and use sunscreen. My favorite thing in the world is SPF moisturizer, which saves time and money with a two-for-one protective punch.
Certain parts of your face may require extra care. The skin around your eyes, for example, is thinner and more prone to visible aging. For dark circles under the eyes, Dr. Bonakdar recommends eye creams that contain caffeine, which minimizes the appearance of darkness by constricting the blood vessels. Washing your face nightly is also key. Yes, that means no more falling asleep with your makeup still on! Use a gentle cleanser to clean your face.
Your neck is about as sensitive to the signs of aging as your face. To avoid the dreaded "chicken neck" when you get older, always apply sunscreen. Neck creams are sometimes stronger than those designated for the face, but to streamline your routine you may treat the neck with any facial cream that contains retinol. Retinoic acids "are the most studied group of active ingredients for the skin to increase cell turnover, shrink pores, brighten skin and correct acne," said Bonakdar.
Here's a not-so-fun fact for you: The ears are one of the top three areas most often affected by skin cancer, according to Kelley Pagliai Redbord, MD, and C. William Hanke, MD, of the Skin Cancer Foundation. Why such a high-risk area? Because you're probably not taking good care of them! Always use sunscreen on your ears.
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Arms and legs
Your arms and legs are the parts of your body most likely to suffer from dry skin. When it comes to arms and legs, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! For dry skin on the elbows and feet, Dr. Bonakdar suggests you look for "creams containing uric acid, which help with exfoliation of the top dead layer of the skin," for a softening effect.
Hair care and scalp care go hand in hand. Most people don't give much thought to the scalp unless they have a noticeable issue (e.g., super visible dandruff), but it happens to be a fairly common area to develop skin cancer. Unfortunately, we can't exactly lather our hair with sunscreen. Wear a hat when you'll be out in the sun all day to protect the skin on the top of your head.
To prevent dryness on your scalp, only wash your hair with lukewarm water. We all love a good scalding hot rinse to wake us up in the morning, but blistering temps aren't so great for keeping your skin moisturized.
Back acne is one of life's great annoyances. If you suffer from it, your perspiration may be partially to blame. Dried perspiration clogs pores and aids in the formation of bacne (sorry, I had to!), so never let the sweat dry on your body after a workout. To clear bacne, SoFeminine recommends a homemade exfoliant of lime juice and sugar applied to your back and removed with a gentle cotton ball.
We abuse our hands on a daily basis, whether we're typing, washing dishes, or waving them around while trying to make a salient point. The skin on your hands is very thin, making them sensitive. Wear rubber gloves when you use harsh cleaning products (duh!) and pamper your hands with a nightly massage. After applying moisturizer, massage for at least five minutes. If you have very rough hands, StyleCraze suggests mixing some Vaseline in with your lotion for extra moisture.
This post was sponsored by Burt's Bees.