The Science Behind a Great Skincare Routine

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It rejuvenates itself with new skin cells all the time. That alone is amazing, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore your outer layer. You still need to take care of it and pamper it as much as possible.

So, stop for a second and think about your skincare routine. Does it consist of simply washing your face with regular soap and water? If so, then it might be time to rethink your strategy. These days, a great skincare regimen is rooted in a lot of science. Keep reading to find out more.

1. Address Your Fine Lines

It’s nearly impossible to avoid fine lines and wrinkles as you age. Sun exposure, wind damage, and stress can all make those tiny creases appear. They may not bother you. If they do, though, don’t stress. Science has a great tool to help you fight back.

Tretinoin is one of the most effective products available to battle the lines that make you look older. This synthetic form of vitamin A comes in cream form and offers several benefits. It triggers new cell growth. It also removes dead skin cells and prevents them from clogging your pores.

Using this cream once daily can reduce skin discoloration, prompt collagen production, and reverse sun damage. Keep in mind that it can cause photosensitivity. So, be careful about spending time outside.

2. Add Some Vitamin C

You’ve likely heard vitamin C is great for your eyes and good for combatting the common cold. Would you be surprised to know science also says it’s great for your skin? Well, the chemically active form L-ascorbic acid is, anyway.

L-ascorbic acid attacks free radicals — volatile atoms caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays and pollution. These particles float in the air and cause wrinkles and skin pigmentation problems. L-ascorbic acid is also unstable, so it grabs onto the free radicals, keeping them off your face.

3. Choose Your Moisturizer

There’s no question that a good moisturizer is the foundation of a skincare routine that gets results. The question is, is any old lotion OK? The simple answer is no. There are many ingredients and characteristics that your specific skin needs in a moisturizer.

How do you choose one that has good ingredients, though? If you’re confused, that’s understandable. Here’s what you need to know about the various types of moisturizing ingredients:

  • Humectants: Think of humectants, such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin, as sponges. They attract and soak up moisture from the air and push it into your skin to keep it hydrated. Humectants work best after you’ve washed and patted your face dry. Apply it to your damp face, and let it soak up all the water. With the extra hydration, your skin will quickly look fuller.
  • Occlusives: This type of moisturizer ingredient, such as petroleum or beeswax, functions almost like a mask. Once applied, it forms a protective layer on top of your skin. When it’s on your face, it prevents any moisture from evaporating from your skin. So, if you have really dry skin, an occlusive may be a good option.
  • Emollients: Emollients work by finding the creases and cracks in your skin and filling them in. The result is a smoother appearance. In addition, these products, including shea butter, coconut oil, and mineral oil, can help control redness and inflammation. Avoid using super thick emollients, however, because they can clog your pores.

4. Use an Exfoliant

Remember that mention of skin rejuvenation earlier? The cycle of shedding old skin cells is called desquamation. It happens roughly every two-to-three weeks. By sloughing off the dead layer, your skin maintains its bright, fresh appearance. As you get older, though, your skin has a harder time with desquamation.

That’s where desmolytics — chemical exfoliants like Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids— come in. They break down the proteins that hold cells together. Consequently, it’s easier for your skin to kiss the old top layer goodbye. The short-term result is a less flaky appearance. Over time, though, you could see less acne and a smoother skin tone.

5. Remember Your Sun Protection

You’ve definitely heard about the importance of sun protection before. What you might not realize, though, is that using an effective sunscreen isn’t only a summer thing. It’s vital to protect your skin in the winter months, too. So, don’t forget it now that the cooler weather is here.

When choosing a sunscreen, be sure you select one that’s broad-spectrum. These products block both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. That’s critical because UVA and UVB affect the skin differently. UVA sinks deeper into your skin causing it to age. UVB rays target the surface of your skin, leading to sunburn. Both increase your risk for skin cancer and melanoma.

In addition to products with broad spectrum protection, you should look for a sun protection factor of at least 30, too. Then, wear them every day. It’s a habit your skin will thank you for when you’re older.

First and foremost, it’s important to keep your skin clean. If you want to maximize your skincare routine, though, you’ll need to do more. Fortunately, science has figured out much of what you need to keep your outer layer healthy. Put these scientific lessons to good use, and your skin may hold onto its youthful appearance for years to come.

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