Healthy skin from head to toe

Whether you have an existing skincare regimen or not, now is the time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to preserve the longevity of your skin’s health.

You may not even be aware of it, but your skin is under constant threat from outside forces – the harsh sun, dryness and cold winter air. In addition, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause serious, long-term health concerns.

But you can claim victory over these skin foes in a few easy steps! Your skincare regimen should focus on keeping your pores from clogging, which causes blemishes and other imperfections. It should also address dryness, irritation, redness and even shedding or cracking of the outer skin layer.

Andrew Newman, DO, a dermatologist and independent member of the HonorHealth medical staff, shares a few tips to help you develop a skincare regimen to keep your skin healthy.

Determine your skin type

The first step is knowing your what type of skin you have -- dry, oily or combination. This will help you choose the right products. If you have oily skin, consider using a foaming cleanser designed to remove excess oil. For dry skin, consider using a creamy cleanser and a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid that will hold moisture in your skin.

Cleanse and exfoliate

Use a gentle cleanser in the morning and at night to clear your pores and remove dirt, oil and sweat. Water temperature is important when cleansing – use lukewarm water instead of hot or cold. Although hot water may feel relaxing, it can irritate and dry your skin. Cold water is not as effective at removing dirt and can be uncomfortable.

Exfoliation is a vital part of your skincare regimen. Incorporating this process gradually can remove dead skin cells, while increasing radiance and blood circulation. Try to exfoliate at night, which will allow the products you apply to absorb more effectively into your skin. Taking the time to scrub old skin away two to three times a week will make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin.

Be careful not to over-exfoliate as you can damage your skin. If you are exfoliating with acids such as kojic and lactic acid, over-exfoliation can cause burns and dark spots.

Toners

A toner is a great addition to your skincare regimen if you aren’t using one already. It is a solution that goes on after washing your face to remove any lasting dirt your cleanser missed and help your face easily absorb the products you use afterward. Toners are usually water-based and can be easily applied to your entire face using a cotton ball. Toners do contain alcohol, however, so keep that in mind if you are prone to dry skin. If you have dry skin and still decide to use a toner, make sure you monitor how it affects your skin. 

Toners can be used to deliver certain active ingredients depending on what skin problems you have and even your skin type. Salicylic acid toners are great for acne-prone skin while glycerin and hyaluronic acid toners are best for dry skin.

Moisturizer and sunscreen

Finish off your routine by moisturizing and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 on all exposed areas of your face and body when in the sun.

Moisturizers are extremely important as they lock in water and keep your skin hydrated. No matter what skin type you have, make sure you incorporate a moisturizer into your routine. If you have oily skin and are worried about slathering moisturizer on your face, consider using an oil-free moisturizer.

Hands, feet and body

The skin on your body, hands and feet is often overlooked. It is tougher and thicker, which calls for a different approach than you would use for your face.  Common problems in these areas include cracking, peeling and dryness. To prevent these issues, moisturize daily and use a lotion on your body. There are foot and hand creams that moisturize and gently exfoliate to treat roughness and cracking. A gentle exfoliator such as lactic acid is also helpful to treat rough skin on the hands, feet and body.

When you are gardening, cleaning, handling drying chemicals or in colder climates, use gloves to help keep your hands safe and prevent drying. Also, keep your toenails trimmed and wear properly fitting shoes to prevent blisters and calluses from forming on your feet.

Healthy skin from the inside out

Your skincare regimen doesn’t end once you’ve left the bathroom! Make sure that you are consistently drinking a substantial amount of water. There are several benefits of drinking water that promote healthy living as well as healthy skin. Your complexion will glow from hydrated skin and can prevent it from drying out. Dehydration can make you more vulnerable to accelerated skin aging that will lead to wrinkles. Regardless of what time of year it is, drink water as much as possible and avoid consuming excess amounts of alcohol and smoking tobacco products, as these dehydrate you.

Along with drinking water, adopting a healthy diet is also beneficial to your skin. Foods packed with vitamins and antioxidants such as dark, leafy greens; citrus fruits; and nuts can protect you from UV damage, photoaging, as well as enhance collagen production.

Consistency is key

The perfect skin regimen is possible, and with time and dedication, your complexion can be picture perfect. Make it a priority to treat and gently cleanse your skin both morning and night. Keep up to date with new skincare methods and products that may be better suited for you. Personalize this process to make it a fun and exciting part of your day. And most importantly, always feel comfortable in your skin.
 

Find a dermatologist

If you notice anything suspicious on your skin or have questions about skin care, see a board-certified dermatologist.

Find a dermatologist