Patients come to our Calgary clinic on a daily basis, asking this important question: What is the best routine for MY skin, Marie?
With hundreds of skin care lines available these days on multiple distribution channels, it can be confusing to figure out on our own what the best skin care routine is. With millions of potential options, how do you make sure you have a good skin care routine that will work for you?
THE BASIC LEVEL // Cleanse, Hydrate, Protect
The bare essentials when it comes to taking care of your skin can be resumed in 3 steps: cleansing, hydrating and protecting. Let’s look at each of them in further details to be clear on the importance of each step to achieve and maintain healthy skin.
STEP 1 ~ CLEANSING
The process of cleansing the skin helps to remove sweat, pollen, dust, smoke, bacteria, dead skin, dirt, fine particles in the air that land on your skin throughout the day/night, excess oil and makeup. At the basic level, it is important to cleanse the skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser. This will give your complexion a chance to refresh and renew itself, and prepare it for the next step – hydration.
The choice of a gentle cleanser is often based on your specific skin type (dry, normal, combination, oily) and preference for options such as foaming vs. non foaming, fragranced vs. unscented/fragrance-free and textures such as cream, lotion, gel, micellar water and mousse.
Here are a few examples of our favorite gentle cleansers HERE.
STEP 2 ~ HYDRATE
The importance of balanced skin hydration and moisture cannot be stressed enough. It is essential for a healthy skin barrier and proper physiological functions. In other words, the skin barrier needs to have (and retain) an optimal balance of naturally-occuring oils (ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids) and water in order for the cells to do their job properly and for the skin to remain healthy and vibrant.
A few tips to keep your skin hydrated and glowing:
- Drink 2L of water per day. Extra points for adding a little fresh lemon juice that will infuse important vitamins and minerals into your body.
- If you have normal to dry skin, look for a blend of ingredients that contain natural oils (ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol) and water-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and snow mushroom extract.
- If you have combination to oily skin, you might not need more oils added onto your skin. You will need more moisture (water) to help your skin barrier function. Look for “water magnets” such as hyaluronic acid, NMF and snow mushroom.
- Avoid harsh exfoliants and scrubs
- Use a weekly hydrating at-home treatment such as the Aliquote Skin DermaQuench Masque – a fragrance-free gel cream masque with soothing cucumber, aloe, chamomile and arnica.
The choice of a hydrating product is based on your skin type, and preference for scent.
- Dry skin ==> look for creams and heavier textures
- Normal skin ==> light creams, lotions, serums
- Combination skin ==> gels, serums
- Oily skin ==> light serums, essences
Here are a few examples of our favorite hydrators and moisturizers HERE.
STEP 3 ~ PROTECT
Protecting your skin against the deleterious effects of damaging UV rays, free radicals and blue light is so much more than slapping on that thick, white, gooey sunscreen and looking like an oil slick all day. Sunscreen technology has tremendously evolved in the past 10-15 years. We can now enjoy light, sheer, cosmetically pleasing sun protection on a daily basis without the downsides of the older SPF formulas.
Ask dermatologists and they will tell you: “The best sun protection is the sunscreen you will use”. Well, that’s partially true, but there is so much more to sun protection than that. ~Marie Bertrand
I always say – sun protection starts with CLOTHING. Bonus points for wearing a hat, sunglasses and staying out of the sun in peak times of 10am-2pm. Whatever is left exposed to the sun (no matter the time of day) needs to be protected against the sun, but not all sunscreens are created equal.
Non Negotiables for Healthy Sun Protection:
- A sun protection that is BROAD SPECTRUM + MINERAL, and contains the ingredient zinc oxide, or a blend of [zinc oxide and titanium dioxide]. Bonus points for added iron oxides in the formula (that’s usually what will give your sunscreen a bit of a tint).
- Choose a product with a SPF 30+.
- Go for water-resistant options if you will be going ON the water, IN the water or if you are doing extensive outdoor activity and/or sweating.
- Apply enough – 2 fingers for the face and neck (don’t forget the ears), a shot glass for the whole body (less if you are wearing clothing as sun protection)
- Reapply every 90 minutes (no exceptions).
- If you want an easy and convenient way to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day, look for options like powder mineral sunscreens. Sheer, easy to apply on bare (protected) skin or on top of makeup, they are the best for a quick reapplication. Also, they are easy to carry around in your purse or pocket.
The choice of a daily sun protection is based on skin type (and whether you are acne-prone or not), product texture, scent, water resistance and lifestyle/choice of outdoor activities.
For a few examples of our favorite, healthy sun protection products for daily use, CLICK HERE.
Understanding that skin care can be confusing for a lot of people, having your basis covered with a simple 3-step skin program will to set you up for success. As you start being consistent with your AM and PM routines, you might want to take it to the next level, and go to an intermediate, advanced or expert level where you can further customize your approach. Start working on specific concerns, such as exfoliation, aging, sun damage, redness and acne, to name a few.
Ready to take it to the next step? Take a look at the articles below to fine tune your skin health approach! Gain a better understanding of what to look for based on your concerns, budget and lifestyle.
THE INTERMEDIATE LEVEL (coming soon)
THE ADVANCED LEVEL (coming soon)
THE EXPERT LEVEL (coming soon)
Got questions? We are there for you and offering complementary consultations that are customized, thorough and educational. Give us a call and let’s take the guesswork out of skin care!