Getting under your skin
If you've been following my ReJuvenate with Jan posts on Facebook recently, you'll know that this month I've been talking about skin. Specifically an ideal skin care routine, the composition of our skin and things that can affect it.
Most people know that there are three types of skin types. Normal, Oily & Dry. Normal skin just means that your skin is neither particularly dry nor over oily. Most skin types, however, fall into the combination category & and usually mean that you have a "T" zone on the forehead, nose & chin which is slightly oilier than your cheeks. Cheeks are not necessarily "dry" but most of the sebum produced (that's your natural oil) occurs in the centre of your face.
If you are lucky enough to have oily skin (you can check by running your hands over your shoulders and back - if this feels greasy then your skin type runs to oily), your skin can be prone to blocked pores and blackheads. The one blessing though with this skin type is that you will look younger for longer, so it's definitely not all doom and gloom especially as you age! This skin type can be prone to sensitivity and to dehydration oddly enough. It's definitely important to avoid products that are heavily oily or waxy, as they may cause breakouts which can lead to problematic acne. Choosing products that are lighter, such as jojoba, is better as coconut oil and butters, like shea and cocoa, can block pores. This is my skin type and I've very much had a love-hate relationship with it over the years!
Dry skin is problematic, as you have to try and get moisture through a water-proof barrier. The top layer of your skin is dead and this is what flakes off, making dust. Skins that do not produce enough sebum need a little extra help to stay looking smooth and supple. Adding richer oils and butters (mentioned above) helps not only trap water into the skin but also smooths out the rough edges of the cells in the epidermis (top layer). I always recommend double cleansing at night and using moisturisers in winter and in air-conditioned environments is really important as they tend to make dry skin worse.
Look out on my page this week for a summary of the idea skin care routine. Cleansing is important for all skin types as sebum is sticky and attracts dirt and debris from the environment, which needs to be removed! Using soap or detergent-based cleansers can upset the balance of your skin, making it feel dehydrated and uncomfortable. Try a cleansing oil, lotion or balm instead (essential oils and carrier oils are great for your skin - you would think putting oil on your skin would be the last thing you should do, but no, it's one of the very best things you can use as long as it's the right type of oil...)
The three most important things you can do to protect your skin are 1. to layer your products - as they form a basis for getting moisture in properly. 2. to keep your skin moist and 3. to protect it from water-loss. Ingredients that contain emolients (moisturising treatments applied directly to the skin to soothe and hydrate it) help slow down the evaporation process (this is natural) whilst keeping the top layer supple and smooth. Carrier oils on their own won't moisturise your skin, as the molecules are so large, they take hours and hours to soak through - this is why using essential oils is so good - they are really clever at pulling through moisture quickly. But do note that if you keep adding moisturisers to skin that you haven't cleansed, all you do is make the skin thicker - yikes!
Finally (for this blog), facial skin problems can be debilitating. If a problem is showing on your skin, something is generally out of balance in your body. Conventional medicine and topical treatments very much concentrate on fixing the symptoms and what you can see, rather than finding the cause. And we are all guilty of wanting a "quick fix" to sort out that blemish; however, if the cause isn't addressed, very often the blemish will come back!
It's important therefore to understand what's normal for your body. I am at an age now where I only get the odd spot and this is 99% of the time hormonal. I know that drinking enough water and the right kind of diet and exercise is important for my skin; stress levels can play havoc with it. So if I start getting spotty outside of my normal hormonal cycle, I know that something is out of balance and I need to look at what's causing this and at what I need to do to re-dress it.
Once you have worked out what's normal for you, it's becomes easy to spot when you need a little more self-care. Isn't it amazing that you skin is "talking" to you, even when you don't realise it?
Stay safe, as always