The Ongoing Quest

There’s no understating the importance of your skin, which protects and holds together all the other parts of the body. That means you need to take care of it. More than that, in the modern world, there’s also a pressure to make sure it looks nice. That’s where it gets a bit more challenging.

I’m not the only person offering you advice on skincare, and there are so many conflicting guides around that you can’t be blamed for wondering whether any of it is actually helpful. That’s especially true if you have sensitive skin that is more prone to wear and tear in your daily life and less tolerant of the many products available that are supposed to help it. You don’t want to try applying some supposedly magic cream only to end up with a rash.

Skincare isn’t all about what you do or don’t put on your skin, either. As with most aspects of health, factors like diet, hydration and sleep can all affect how your skin looks and feels. Too much stress can also cause damage. If you can’t remove the source of the stress – and let’s be honest, quite often we can’t – you can still take steps to look after yourself, including paying attention to your skincare regimen.

Start simply. You need to keep your skin clean and hydrated, which generally means a twice-a-day cleansing to remove dirt, impurities and cosmetics. Moisturizer is good for dry skin, while toner can help if your skin is oily. You can get rid of dead skin by exfoliating, either mechanically (such as with a brush or scrub) or chemically (such as with a mud mask). While you’re doing this, you can also keep an eye on any new marks or blemishes that may be an early sign of more serious health problems.

That brings us to how what you avoid can be as important as what you use. Exposure to the sun or tanning beds can increase the risk of skin cancer as well as causing leathery skin, wrinkles and sunburn. Some chemicals (such as those in tobacco as well as in some beauty products) can cause discoloration or allergic reactions. If there is anything strange going on with your skin, talk to a doctor or dermatologist.

Popular products for skin care often include vitamin supplements. Other ingredients can include aloe vera, which is considered to have a soothing impact, and tea tree oil. If you know you have sensitive skin, you want the mildest products with as few ingredients as possible. These days, there is an increasing focus on natural and ethically sourced products.

Many beauty products are unregulated, which means you can’t know for sure what’s in them. This is especially true when shopping online. Always check the ingredients list. You should do a patch test or try it on just a small area of skin before you spread it all over your body. If something sounds too good to be true, there’s probably a catch. When in doubt, simpler is better.

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