Elevate Your Skin Health: Let’s Talk Skincare
I’m sure over the last few years you’ve been bombarded with all things self-care on social media. ‘That girl’ trends have taken over leaving everyone questioning their routines and lifestyle habits. As more and more individuals understand the importance of self-care, finding new ways to take care of the body and mind is key. So, what is it about skin care that is so enthralling? Why have so many people integrated skincare into their everyday routine?
The thing about skincare is that besides the skin health benefits, the act of taking some time out of your day to take care of you is therapeutic and restorative. It’s a loving way to show yourself appreciation and gratitude. I guess you could say, it’s a mindful practice too; a sort of meditative experience. Elevating your skincare game can be a little intimidating with the endless options and countless opinions roaming around. Let me give you real talk and explain skincare do’s and don’ts.
The Skin Types
Before delving into it all, it’s important to figure out what your skin type is. There are 4 main skin types, but there are more subtypes as well. The main ones are dry, combination, oily, and normal. To figure out what your type is, wash your face with a gentle cleanser, pat dry, and don’t add anything else to your skin afterwards. Wait 20-30 minutes and then go to the mirror and see what your skin looks like. Are you already noticing oil on your T-zone or tightness on your cheeks? Maybe your skin looks the same and nothing has changed. Be sure to inspect it well to pick one of the types.
Products and Ingredients to Avoid
There are many products on the market that can ruin your skin barrier and make things worse and there are many that make overpromising claims leaving you with an ineffective and expensive product.
Ingredients to avoid
Denatured alcohol (commonly written as alcohol denat)
Sodium laureth sulfate & sodium lauryl sulfate (strips the skin of moisture)
Natural & synthetic fragrance (can be extremely sensitizing, but if you don’t have sensitive skin, it’s not a big problem/commonly written as parfum, geraniol, limonene, and linalool)
Nut shells or pumice granules
Coconut oil (highly comedogenic increasing risk of breakouts and blemishes, other oils are better)
Products to Avoid
One-time use masks
You don’t need 10 steps in your skincare routine for it to be effective. In fact, contrary to popular belief, less is more with skincare and your skin will thank you for simplicity. Many people are scared off in the skincare world because they delve into everything quickly with too many products which can sensitize your skin and leave you worse off than when you started out.
There are 4 products I consider absolutely essential for skincare
The skin on our face is more delicate and sensitive than the skin on the rest of our bodies. If you’re using a bar of soap or shower gel to cleanse your face, stop right there. Your skin thrives when you use products that support its balance, but harsh soaps can strip the skin of oil signaling it to produce more oil to compensate. A tip for cleansers: gel and foaming cleansers are best for oily and combination skin while cream and milk cleansers are best for normal and dry skin.
The same goes for moisturizers: thicker balms and creams are best for drier skin while gel moisturizers are best for oilier skin. Changing moisturizers is also a good idea if you’re located somewhere where seasonal changes are drastic. Oftentimes, fine lines and wrinkles are signs of dehydration and not aging. The lines are smoothed when the skin is hydrated and plumped with moisturizing ingredients. Even if your skin is oily, use a moisturizer. People think that extra moisture will lead to extra oil, but this is a myth. If your skin is properly hydrated, sebum production will decrease promoting skin balance.
Retinol is a type of retinoid derived from Vitamin A. It is the only proven ingredient to reverse signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and other sun damage. Other than SPF which helps protect the skin and prevent premature aging, retinol is super effective for restoring and protecting the skin. Retinol works by increasing cell turnover in the skin. Usually, our skin renews every few weeks (this varies per person), but retinol enables the skin to renew quicker to reveal baby smooth fresh skin. Retinol is excellent for evening the complexion, removing dark spots, eliminating acne/blemishes, and decreasing fine lines and wrinkles. It also protects the skin from environmental stressors. This is the holy grail of skincare! Because this ingredient reveals our baby skin, it needs extra protection with SPF. You should be wearing SPF on your face everyday regardless, but even more so when using chemical exfoliants and retinols. Keep in mind that starting slow and steady is best with retinol. Start with using it once a week and work your way up slowly. Results are guaranteed with retinol and that’s the best part.
This gets me to the absolute most important and critical step in skincare: SPF. Sun protection is key in skin health. It helps protect you from developing skin cancer while also reducing risk of sun damage and premature aging from the sun. If you aren’t going to use SPF or you don’t use it at the moment, your other skincare products are being used in vain because sun damage basically cancels out all of the benefits from the other ingredients and products. SPF enables your skin and the products you use to work their magic while protecting it too. I know finding a nice SPF is tricky, but I’ve tried and tested many of them. Most leave a white cast, chemical sunscreens burn my eyes, and others are way too oily making me look like a grease ball. My top two favorites ever: Colorescience broad spectrum SPF 50 and Murad City Skin broad spectrum SPF 50. Your sunscreens should always have an SPF of 30 or greater, be broad spectrum, and be a stand alone product. Some products like serums, moisturizers, and oils claim to have SPF, but when sun protection is mixed with other ingredients, it can decrease the efficacy of the SPF, so make sure the one you find is simply a sunscreen. For best results, find an SPF powder makeup or spray you can reapply throughout the day. I know it’s difficult and a pain, but it’s well worth it.
Skincare is an art. To master the art, it’s best to follow the steps I am about to share with you to ensure that everything is absorbed effectively and you’re making the most use of your products. A good rule of thumb is to apply your products from thinnest to thickest in consistency, but to be sure, always follow these steps below. I have included all the steps should you want to have all products, but if you don’t have one of them skip the step. Like I said, there are 4 products that I consider essential and the rest are extras that help boost your skin health even more.
I believe exfoliants are crucial to helping you remove dead skin cells to reveal smoother skin while also reducing breakouts. One of my favorites is the BHA exfoliant from Paula’s Choice. If you have sensitive skin, PHAs are perfect for you, don’t be afraid of them. The ‘chemical’ in the name may sound scary, but they’re completely safe and remember, the thing we consume and use the most is a chemical (water).
On another note, I want to educate you as best I can. I want to make sure you can advocate for yourself and make informed decisions without the influence of brands and their tactics to make more money. One of the biggest marketing ploys in history is that of the eye cream. Eye creams have been made to seem like the be-all-end-all, but in reality, they’re overhyped and expensive moisturizers. Remember, if it doesn’t have retinol, it really isn’t reversing any signs of aging or preventing it either. Many people use them in hopes of reducing dark circles and eye bags. However, dark circles have to do with skin pigment and most of the time, genetics. Nothing will get rid of the dark circles fully if it’s genetic, so being aware helps to avoid disappointment and save you some money. Some eye creams are nice because they’re made for the sensitive eye area and certain ingredients like peptides and more might also make a difference. My two favorites are eye gels: Biossance peptide eye gel and Dr. Loretta tightening eye gel.
First cleanser (oil based to get the SPF & makeup off properly)
Second cleanser (water based)
Toner (daily) or Chemical Exfoliant (1-3 times weekly)
A Moment for You
One of my favorite times of the day is when I finally get to unwind and do my skincare routine. Take 10-15 minutes a day to show yourself some love and carefully massage the products into your skin. Maybe surround yourself with crystals while you’re at it, play some healing frequencies, and vibe in the moment of self care. If you find yourself running around and not making time to be present, this is a beautiful way to slow down and focus on you.
My Favorite Brands (All Cruelty-Free, Safe, and Effective)
Should you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @emilyvolovitz. Wishing you happy skincare days ahead and healthy glowing skin!
This piece was written and contributed by:
Emily Volovitz is a reiki practitioner, intuitive guide, life mentor, and energy worker. Having gone through body image issues, and family/childhood trauma, she found that there wasn’t a unique space to hone it all in. She created a space where individuals can connect with every part of themselves.
She was born and raised in Miami, FL with a Colombian background. At 18, she moved to London and later to Amsterdam where she currently resides.
Emily's mission is to help individuals get closer to who they truly are, combining all the various methods that have helped her find her own alignment, in order to assist and propel the collective into a space of greater love and light. Tough life experiences disconnect human beings from their natural state of being, one that is aligned and vivacious. She believes that it is not a matter of healing, but a matter of getting closer to our essence.