Perfect skin has always felt like the carrot dangled in front of me—so close, yet so far away. If there’s been a blog or magazine article professing the secret to perfect skin, chances are I’ve read it and attempted to follow its advice. (Never fall asleep in makeup: check. Stay out of the sun: check. Drink plenty of water: check.) Yet I’ve struggled to find a skincare routine that really works for me. (And I still suffer from breakouts, skin sensitivity, dryness, and more.) So this year, I’ve made it my goal to kick my complexion up a notch with 10 skincare resolutions courtesy of the one and only Kate Somerville. Whether it’s acne, a dull complexion, or premature aging you’re worried about, Kate’s advice will truly take your skincare routine to the next level.
Follow these 10 tips and you’ll be well on your way to better skin…
1. Apply sunscreen everyday.
According to Kate, sun protection is the single most important element for healthy skin. When clients come to her with something they don’t like about their skin, it’s most often an effect of sun damage. Sun degrades the skin’s collagen and elastin, and affects our body’s ability to create healthy new cells. So make it a resolution to never leave the house without applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30—even in the winter and on cloudy days. Look for a broad spectrum SPF (which means protection from all UV rays) like Kate Somerville Daily Deflector SPF 50.
2. Make sure you’re using the right products for your skin.
Know your skin! Taking the time to get to know your skin will really help you navigate through the aisles and aisles of products in-store. Is your skin type oily, combination, or dry? If you’re not sure, enlist a dermatologist or aesthetician to help you assess your skin and your concerns. Also, keep in mind that different areas of your face may have different characteristics and concerns. As Kate explains, one common skincare mistake is using the same product all over your face. And no matter what your skin is like, hydration is key. If your skin is really oily, just look for an oil-free product with Hyaluronic Acid in it.
Exfoliation should be a part of every skin care regimen. Kate recommends exfoliating twice per week if you’re in your 20s, three times a week if you’re in your 30s, and up to four times a week if you’re in your 40s. Exfoliation is really important because it lifts dry, dull skin and allows products to penetrate and work more effectively. Look for exfoliating formulas with fruit enzymes like ExfoliKate (or ExfoliKate Gentle). They gently dissolve dead skin. Stay away from products containing sharp nuts or seeds, because they can actually damage skin. Always exfoliate with steam (in the shower for example). Steaming not only warms the skin, it also adds moisture and hydration to soften skin.
4. Don’t neglect your neck!
Our necks can show our age more than our faces, so it’s incredibly important to take care of that skin. Kate recommends bringing any products you’re using on your face down to your neck, and massaging them in an upward motion to create a lifting effect. Like your face, the most important step is to wear SPF daily. Also, moisturize morning and night.
5. Purify your water.
The simplest thing you can do to ensure that your skin is properly hydrated is drinking more water. We all know that by now. But in addition to drinking plenty of water, Kate recommends looking into what’s in your local water supply. Your locate Department of Water should provide you with specific data on chemicals and impurities in your water. You can then decide whether you want to use a home filtration system or a purifier. Certain metals and impurities can be filtered out, but other chemicals, drugs and toxic materials cannot.
6. Watch your dairy, coffee, and alcohol intake.
What we put into our body is every bit as important as what we put onto our face, says Kate. Be wary of dairy. Studies have shown that milk contains steroid hormones and other compounds that may contribute to clogged pores, inflammation, and yes, acne. Coffee dehydrates the skin, so you should try to limit your intake to no more than two cups a day. Also, try drinking an eight-ounce glass of lemon water beforehand to help neutralize the coffee’s acid. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one to two drinks per day. If you want to enjoy a drink, opt for red wine, which contains the protective anti-aging compound called resveratrol. Note: One serving of wine is just 5 oz., which is not the average pour when you’re dining out!
7. Supplement your skincare.
There are so many supplements that benefit skin health. These are a few that Kate recommends:
- Vitamin A is your skin’s “maintenance man” in that it helps keep skin operating properly. This vitamin repairs and reinforces the mucous membranes and tissues that protect against bacteria and viruses from entering your body. It keeps your skin from becoming dry, flaky and wrinkled, and also helps prevent acne.
- Calcium is a major player when it comes to skin health. Low levels of calcium in our skin can make us more likely to experience premature aging and have a higher risk for skin cancer.
- Vitamin C is vitally important to our bodies and our skin in particular. It is instrumental in forming collagen, helps heal wounds, and fights free radicals.
- Fish oil and flaxseed oil (with essential omega-3 fatty acids) work to hydrate and lock moisture into cells. Hyaluronic-acid supplements are also incredibly effective in attracting more water to the skin cells and then locking it in by preventing evaporation.
(Before adding any supplements to your routine, make sure you consult with your physician of course!)
8. Do the double cleanse.
It’s so important to fully remove ALL of the makeup, dirt, debris and other junk that’s gathered on your skin. Kate promotes the ‘double cleanse’ with her clients. First, use a makeup wipe to remove impurities on the surface. Use both the front and backside of the wipe. Then, apply a cleanser (suited for your skin type) to penetrate deeper and fully cleanse the skin. You can also use a cleanser twice if you prefer.
9. Pop properly.
Let’s face it… sometimes it’s impossible to resist popping that pimple (even if you know you shouldn’t!). So if you’re going to do an at-home extraction, it’s important that you at least know how to do it correctly. According to Kate, there are a few main principles to follow when you you’re extracting: only extract if the blemish is ready, use the proper supplies, cleanse and steam skin thoroughly, and give the blemish a canal. Begin by gathering your supplies: a lancet, your cleanser and exfoliator, a clean washcloth, some tissue or cotton swabs, witch hazel and Neosporin. Cleanse and exfoliate skin, and apply a warm compress to steam skin. Wrap your fingers in tissues or use cotton swabs. Start with blackheads by gently squeezing with 2 cotton swabs or your tissue-wrapped fingers. Do the whiteheads next, but only if they’re ready. Carefully pierce the center of the blemish by pushing the lancet straight in and straight out. This provides the canal. If you don’t give the blemish a canal, you’re actually breaking the skin and creating an injury, which can leave a scar. The blemish can also erupt under the skin, which can lead to an infection. That’s why it’s important to use lancets. (Do not reuse lancets! Discard them after using.) Gently release the infection by squeezing at the base of the blemish.
10. Get regular facials.
Even the best at-home skincare routine isn’t a true replacement for regular facials. If you can afford to set aside a facial fund, stop in to see your aesthetician regularly. Exactly how often you need a facial depends on your skin type. Kate recommends getting a facial every 3-6 weeks if you have oily/acne-prone skin, every 4 weeks if you have dry skin, every 4-6 weeks if you have combination skin, every 6-8 weeks if you have normal skin, and every 8 weeks if you have sensitive skin. And be sure to discuss any issues you’re having before you begin so you’re your aesthetician can choose a treatment that is targeted for your skin type.
Are you going to follow these 10 skincare resolutions?
Cheers to 2015: the year of perfect skin!