A radiant, blemish-free look begins with the right regimen. Here, your essential, expert-approved daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly plan.
Female Skin Care
This is the year you finally make a commitment to be good to the most important person in your life: you. And more specifically, your skin. You’ve heard all the facts, but bad habits (like going to bed with your makeup on and running out the door without sunscreen) are still hard to break. By replacing them with new positive habits—daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly—you can can make a huge difference in your complexion. With the help of top skincare pros, we’ve created the easiest, most effective plan for your most radiant skin ever.
- Develop a regimen. Wash your face twice daily: once in the morning, and once at night. There’s a reason for this, says cosmetologist Dr. Hema Malini Rajinikant, Dr Aesthetix International Cosmetic Clinic, Nungambakkam, Chennai. In the morning, you’re prepping your skin to receive topical products like antioxidants, moisturizers, and sunscreens. In the evening, you’re washing away all the impurities that built up through the day, like dirt and environmental toxins.
This means cleaning off your makeup every night. No exceptions! Makeup not only clogs your pores, but also traps dirt and pollution on your skin, blocking it from essential repair while you sleep, says plastic surgeon Dr Rajinikanth, FIA Academy.
When your face is clean, apply a hyaluronic acid-based moisturizer. You’ll wake up looking even more refreshed than you feel.
- Turn down the heat. There’s temptation in the colder months to soak under a hot stream every chance you get, but according to Dr Aesthetix International Cosmetic Clinic, your skin will be healthier and less dry when you keep the water temperature warm rather than hot. In addition, limiting the length of your shower and patting the moisture from your skin with a soft towel instead of rubbing it.
- In addition to using moisturizer on your face, pay special attention to your eyes, which have the thinnest skin on your body. Treat the area with an eye cream that contains growth factors, retinols, and Vitamin C to boost collagen production and skin thickness. Other vulnerable areas include the neck, decolletage, hands, and arms, which all show signs of sun damage and age before other parts of the body. The best time to apply moisturizer is right after your shower when your skin is most primed to absorb it. A body oil will lock in moisture all over without leaving you greasy.
- Always wear sunscreen. If you only follow one piece of advice, apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, whether or not the sun is shining. Sunscreens not only protect against skin cancer, but also decrease the development of wrinkles, keep pigment even and help your skin barrier stay healthy. Look for a broad-spectrum formula — that means UVA and UVB blockers — that has a physical ingredient such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
- Give your body what it needs. You know the drill. Drink water, get plenty of sleep (ideally eight hours) and eat clean to avoid breakouts.
- Exfoliate with an at-home peel. You’re probably already using an exfoliating cleanser two-to-three times per week to slough away dead skin cells, but to take your skin to the next level, gentle exfoliation with a mixed beta-and-alpha hydroxy acid peel, which removes dead skin cells to reveal the taut, glowing skin underneath.
- Unwind under a soothing sheet mask. Nourish your skin with a soothing sheet mask to improve tone and encourage collagen production. Pick a day each week to unwind for the 10 to 15 minutes it takes for the mask to work its magic. Not only will you be infusing your face with skin-healthy ingredients, but taking a break from your busy life will reward you with a decrease in blemishes. Studies show that lowering stress leads to clearer skin.
You can take it one step further by tailoring the mask to your skin type. For acne-prone or oily skin, ingredients like sulfur or charcoal, while those with parched skin should look for a more hydrating mask with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or thermal spring water.
- Stay active. You might not think your workout has anything to do with your skin, but hitting the gym at least three times a week tightens skin and reduces stress, which in turn minimizes breakouts. Also, fuel up once a week with a protein rich in omega 3 fatty acids, like salmon, and snack on almonds and walnuts, both of which prevent inflammation.
- Don’t neglect your tools. You could have a world-class skin care regimen, but if you aren’t paying attention to the surfaces that you come in contact with daily, you could be undoing all that TLC. Clean all makeup brushes, cell phones, and pillow cases weekly. Not sure how to clean your makeup brushes without damaging them? Here’s our quick and easy guide.
- Get a full body sugar scrub. Overusing a physical exfoliator can be drying, so stick to a scrub in the shower just once a month. Lightly massage a gentle sugar scrub into the skin using circular motions over your entire body, paying particular attention to dry areas like knees and elbows. You should feel your skin tingling, which is a good sign that the scrub is activating your circulation. Rinse it off, and then, after you’ve dabbed yourself dry, slather on a thick, decadent body cream.
- Go for an in-office facial or chemical peel. If you’re able, set aside time every month for an in-office treatment like a facial or other physician-strength procedure. Chemical peels, which exfoliate and minimize dark spots to brighten skin. Yes, it’s an indulgence, but much less intensive (and expensive!) than trying to repair damage down the road.
- Take stock of your routine. Even a routine that’s worked reliably for you may require tweaking from time to time, so check in at start of each season. Evaluate everything from your diet to the products you use. “Dry winters require slightly thicker moisturizers, while hot summers are a good time to boost the use of pore de-clogging hydroxy acids. If you’re experiencing breakouts, or your body stops responding to a product the way it once did, for example, consider seeing a cosmetologist or dermatologist to help you figure out the best course of action.
- Set yourself up for success. Even if you can’t make it to the cosmetologist’s office every month, there are plenty of things you can still do at home. Dr. Hema Malini recommends checking the expiration dates on your makeup and creams monthly to make sure the products you’re using are still good. And most importantly, doctor’s encourages a self-skin examination: check yourself once a month from head to toe with your eyes peeled for suspicious moles. Any new or changing moles should prompt a call to your cosmetologist.
- Go for an annual skin screening. Doctors can’t stress this enough: A yearly skin cancer screening from a board-certified clinical cosmetologist is one of the most important things you should do. Don’t wait until something unusual crops up — skin cancer can occur at any age and routine checks are important for your overall health. Paying particular attention to the calves and back, which are areas prone to the development of melanoma in women.
- Communicate with your cosmetologist. This is also a great opportunity to check in with your derm to come up with a game plan for your overall skin health. If you’re considering cosmetic treatments like laser, fillers, or tightening procedures, your doctor can help you decide on the best fit.
Stick to this schedule and let’s check back in a year — we’re betting you’ll be amazed by the transformation you’ll see.
Dr Aesthetix International Cosmetic Clinic
Kadher Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai.