Regimens & Routines, What Makes Skin Care Go ‘Round – Part 4

Welcome back! In my last venture I provided an overview on the crucial component of treatments and serums and how incorporating them can really boost results and improvements in a regimen. Today I’m back to shine a light on what comes next after your skin has been treated…

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Moisturizing is the step that wraps up and finalizes a daily regimen, even if skin is oily or problematic, moisturizing is still crucial as it gives skin a regulated dose of hydration so skin’s own functions won’t have to work extra hard to overcompensate for the lack of moisture. Moisturizers come in various forms, from gels, lotions, creams, to oils. Texture-wise, choose one that feels comfortable on your skin and has a formula that takes care of your needs, here’s a bit more detail on formula types you’ll find on the market:

  • Lotion – One of the more traditional formulas that the general public is familiar with, the texture and consistency of a lotion can be light-weight to moderate and absorbs into skin without too much work or difficulty while typically is opaque. Lotions also tend to cater to a wider array of skin types as they are a good, middle-of-the-road formula to gauge if one may then need something thinner or richer.
  • Cream – Another traditional formula that is pretty well known, texture and consistency-wise these are heavier than a lotion, making them immediately cater best to those with drier skin. The richness of the texture and formula also lends itself to providing elevated moisturizing properties as well as being a bit more protective and nurturing for skin. The term “butter” in the use of a formula description (not an ingredient listing such as Shea butter) often relies to an even heavier-weight cream that is meant for extremely dry skin, this isn’t applied too often in the facial skin care world and may be more often seen to describe body care products and moisturizers.
  • Oil – Oils have made a big impact in the skin-care world as of late and moisturizing oils used to hydrate skin may be thin in their fluid-like consistency, but they pack a punch due to being fortified with essential fatty acids. While they may feel measly versus a traditional moisturizer formula, oils can provide more intense hydration and composition-wise are heaviest. If one were to use oil as a layering step, applying it after a traditional moisturizer will ensure it won’t “lock out” or cause any delay in absorption from that lotion or cream.  Since skin naturally produces oil, the composition of a moisturizing oil is easily recognized and tends to be accepted rather immediately when applied to the skin’s surface. The incorporation of an oil even for oily or combination skin types can assist with regulating self-produced oil.
  • Gel – This formula type has recently gained more steam as well like oils, but they vary drastically from one another and all the other moisturizer types. Gels may have a mildly opaque and even slightly translucent appearance (almost like hair gel) and work well to provide instant hydration that even feels refreshing on skin (think of how aloe vera gel applied to a sun burn instantly soothes). Its formulation makes it the most light-weight of the formula types and it caters well to those with oily skin types or someone who may feel the other formulas leave a “barrier” on their skin as gels absorb quickly.

Considering skin can be quite vulnerable if left as-is after the application of a treatment, a sure fire way to help lock in and seal in those benefits that pack a punch is through applying a moisturizer and sunscreen. Think of your skin care steps as how you would address a cut or scrape, you’d start by cleansing the area first of any dirt or debris (this being your facial cleanser and even toning/essence steps), then you’d follow up with an anti-bacterial ointment or cream that promotes quicker healing (AKA your treatment or serum), but in order to protect the area and ensure that ointment stays put, you’d apply a bandage (this is essentially the role the moisturizer and sunscreen would play). Without a moisturizer and sunscreen/bandage, you’d be leaving that treated skin open to the elements and it may take longer for the area to heal up or improve.

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Day-time moisturizers often include some sort of SPF protection. Even though cosmetics have come a long way and now tend to incorporate some level of SPF, still obtain your sun protection via skin care means (such as a moisturizer with SPF or a sunscreen layered over a non-SPF moisturizer) as it’s rare that anyone would apply enough of a cosmetic item to merit the level of protection marked. It takes about a nickel-sized amount of moisturizer with SPF or sunscreen for the face alone to get the level stated on packaging.

Night-time moisturizers can be without SPF and may contain a more intensive blend of hydrating ingredients to allow for more repair and support skin’s regenerative functions while you rest and sleep, again, choose a formula that works with your skin type and one that feels comfortable.

Now, for the great debate…..Eye creams, and whether or not you may need one!

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Eye creams and even eye treatments are targeted products applied to the under eye and orbital bone region that can tackle issues like puffiness, dark circles, fine lines, loss in volume, deep wrinkles, or dryness in this delicate area.

The cause for debate is that some question if they’re using a facial treatment or serum as well as a moisturizer along this region, do they still need a separate product for the eye area? Frankly, this may ultimately boil down to personal preference. While facial items may be applied to the surrounding eye area, if a product is too potent and causes any irritation, it may be better suited to find a dedicated eye care product as these formulas may also undergo more testing and trials to ensure they minimize that irritation. Also, depending on your eye concerns, a dedicated product may really provided added benefit. For example, if puffiness is front and center as an issue you’d like to address, the rest of your face may not be experiencing that concern, so a product like a cooling eye gel or a soothing eye treatment in a sleek roller ball applicator may be an excellent product to add to your regimen.

Do keep in mind that the skin around the eyes is very thin and can suffer damage easily so always be kind when applying product, don’t tug or use harsh pressure when cleansing or removing makeup, applying makeup, or applying skin care items. Be sure not to get too close to the lash line as well as the inner and outer corners (tear ducts) as you want to avoid irritation and keep in mind that not all eye products are designed to be lid-safe, definitely check with a product or brand to see if it is deemed safe for use on that specific area before taking a gamble.

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With the bulk of results obtained via treatments and moisturizers being the final step, in my eyes, sunscreen or SPF use is just utterly a non-negotiable piece in skin care. The use of sunscreen constitutes as a form of protection for skin, whether it’s being treated, problematic, or facing zero visible issues. Wearing sunscreen is one of the most simple and effective ways to combat signs of pre-mature aging and skin damage and serves to maintain the integrity of the benefits offered up by skin care products used in conjunction with it. The metaphor above of a skin care regimen being like tending and dressing a wound echos here as well. Take for example a treatment or serum with retinol or alpha hydroxy acids are used, as these cause chemical exfoliation, fresh  and new skin cells are produced and exposed. If one were to then jump outside into the sun without that moisturizer/SPF element, the skin would be first prone to drying out (without that moisturizer step) and then quicker to burn due to becoming photo-sensitive to the UV rays (without the incorporation of SPF). This means that new, healthy skin that was the end goal, is now damaged and stressed, putting it back at square one to try to treat and improve it all over again. Without taking protective measures, a skin care regimen can be very counterproductive, as the “care” in skin care doesn’t just end at the treatment phase.

Broad spectrum sunscreens when worn properly shield skin effectively from UVB rays (the shorter wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation emitted that are essentially responsible for the more “immediate” damages, such as sunburn and tanning) and UVA rays (the longer, and deeper penetrating wavelengths that are associated with damages that may take a bit more time to develop and showcase, such as skin becoming leathery in appearance and texture, fine lines and wrinkles, the loss of elasticity and volume, and pigmentation damage rays from the sun). Something to keep in mind is both of contribute to causing skin cancer. ChicDabbler actually put together a very informative post earlier this year covering sun safety, check it out here.

Aright, I know that was a lot of information to process and I know I mentioned moisturizing and sunscreen being the final steps in a regimen; however, that doesn’t mean a regimen may be complete! Stay tuned for the final and bonus segment of my guest blog series where I will cover those extra special segments in skin care such as masks, peels, and scrubs!

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