The new year always brings new beginnings and new habits. Get a fresh start with your skin by incorporating my ten tried-and-true tips to get a beautiful glow all year long.
1. ALWAYS WASH YOUR FACE IN THE MORNING.
I’m sure you all know the importance of washing your skin before bed, but many skip the step in the morning thinking their skin is already clean and free of makeup from the night before. The reason why it’s important to wash your skin in the morning is because while you sleep at night, your skin is in repair mode and will secrete toxins and sebum (oil), which can prevent your daytime products from working most effectively. When you wash your skin in the morning, you’re removing toxins and sebum and you’re also removing your nighttime products so that your daytime products (particularly SPF moisturizer) can get into the skin better, since it will have a clean slate.
Also, the nighttime products that are on your skin often times contain ingredients that are suitable for the night, not the day, such as acids and retinol. These should be cleansed from the skin to avoid any reactions or potential irritation. While washing your face in the morning may seem like just another tedious task in your daily routine, know that it is a key step in ensuring healthy, beautiful skin.
2. HANG YOUR HEAD UPSIDE DOWN FOR THREE MINUTES A DAY TO INCREASE CIRCULATION IN YOUR FACE.
We all want glowing skin and getting asked how to get it is a common question I hear often from my clients. “How do I get my skin to glow?” While the definition of glowing skin can differ for everyone, I tend to think of glowing skin as one that has good blood flow, which brings out an inner radiance. Did you know that when the skin ages, less oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to the skin? For example, by the time you reach 75 years old, you have about 50% less blood vessels in your face. Less vessels means less nutrient-rich blood and oxygen is being brought to the cells of the skin. The result is dull, tired-looking skin.
If your skin doesn’t already have a natural pinkness, a long-term strategy is to hang your head upside down for three minutes per day. You can do this up against a wall or during a Downward Dog in yoga, or simply hanging your head over the side of your bed. You should notice that after three minutes, a slight redness will appear on the skin, and in the long run, it can make a big difference in getting and keeping an inner glow, to appear ‘lit from within.’
3. AVOID USING CLEANSING WIPES.
In the past few years, cleansing wipes have become popular with people as a way to quickly and easily wipe makeup off their skin without having to deal with water or washcloths. You simply wipe and go. While they are convenient to use, are they good to use on your face? No. I believe they are not the best choice for healthy skin. Why? Cleansing wipes don’t effectively clean the skin. Instead they just smear dirt, bacteria, oil and makeup across it. Essentially it is like applying cleanser to your face with soap and then not washing it off. The cleansing agents are designed to break down debris, but it’s the rinsing action from water that actually removes it. Instead, I recommend using a gentle, sulfate-free, low-foaming cleansing gel or a lightweight cleansing lotion to wash the face. See my cleanser recommendations. Then follow the cleanser by wiping the skin with a baby washcloth or facial sponge.
Clean skin is healthy skin. Be very meticulous about cleaning a day’s worth of makeup, dirt, and bacteria from your skin so you’ll get the best results from serums and moisturizers applied afterwards. If you really must use a wipe, limit their use to rare occasions. No wipe will ever be as effective as a proper cleanse.
Note: For removing eye makeup, like eye shadow and mascara, wipes are okay to use. Since you should wash your face using water after you take eye makeup off, this will rinse off any residue. And remember, as with any eye makeup remover, leave it on the eyes for 20 seconds to dissolve the makeup. This avoids any unnecessary rubbing and tugging that can irritate they eyes and put wear and tear on the skin’s elasticity.
4. DON’T SKIP USING MOISTURIZER AT NIGHT TO LET YOUR SKIN “BREATHE.”
A common misconception is that you should (occasionally) avoid using a nighttime cream to let your skin breathe, but it is in fact a myth and not a good habit to get into for two reasons.
* Your skin doesn’t perform the function of respiration, so the concept of your skin breathing is actually false.
* Skin cells are like fish and need water to live. Without it, your cells dehydrate and the health of the skin is compromised. (Not to mention, oil production increases and causes breakouts.)
Your skin is in its reparative state at night because, while you sleep, your skin is at rest and not being exposed to the environmental stressors that age the skin. Performing your nighttime specific routine with the use of moisturizer can really help repair your skin and help to control how quickly your skin ages. At bedtime after cleansing and toning, apply a moisturizer, 365 nights a year.
5. CHANGE UP YOUR SKIN CARE PRODUCTS IN THE MORNING AND AT NIGHT.
It is imperative your skin care routine be different in the morning than at night — with at least for a few differing products. The reason why you have to use a different routine in the morning than at night is because your skin has different needs during the day than when you are asleep at night.
During the day, your skin is in a high level of stress. It’s exposed to makeup, excessive oil production, dirt, bacteria (from touching your skin all day with or without realizing it), UV exposure, pollutants, and other environmental elements. Because of this stress, harmful free radicals are damaging your skin cells and causing wear and tear to your skin’s collagen and the cells’ DNA. In the morning, use products that will provide proper defense for your skin to control the stress and help prevent damage, such as a potent antioxidant serum with vitamins C and E. You also need a good sunscreen moisturizer to protect your skin from damaging UV rays.
In the evening, your skin is not exposed to the environment so the focus should be on providing hydration, repair and nourishment to the skin cells. This will help keep your skin’s moisture barrier intact for retaining proper moisture levels in the skin. Your skin cells are like fish—they need water to live. When they do not have the hydration they so desperately need to maintain health, your skin will not look or act its best. Also be sure to use serums with retinol, peptides or glycolic acid to repair and smooth the skin and encourage healthy collagen production.
6. BE CAUTIOUS WHEN USING A DAILY SONIC CLEANSING BRUSH, LIKE CLARISONIC.
Clarisonic is a skin care tool sold at specialty beauty stores that uses a soft, gentle brush that oscillates back and forth over the skin. It is promoted as a tool that “removes six times more makeup than cleansing by hand.” Yet to me, the Clarisonic brush is really just an exfoliating tool to physically lift off dry skin cells and, in the process, remove dirt and makeup. Exfoliation is the action that the bristles create when rubbed over the skin.
My problem with Clarisonic is not the brush itself, because the exfoliating benefits are very important, but I have a serious concern with how often they recommend using it. They say it’s gentle enough to use twice daily, but it is my belief that this is way too much when combining with other exfoliating products you are probably already using. While it may feel gentle enough to use twice a day, you have to understand how exfoliation affects the skin. The Clarisonic brush, facial scrubs, acids, enzymes, peels or whatever form you exfoliate with can cause skin damage and may lead to aging if used too frequently. I have seen so many people with irritated, dry, pigmented or broken out skin from using a sonic brush twice daily. I recommend to most of my sensitive skin clients to use it in place of a facial scrub and only three times a week.
7. USE A SKIN OIL TO TREAT DRY SKIN FROM CLIMATE AND AIRPLANE TRAVEL.
It’s a fact that dry, dull and flaky skin can be caused from airplane travel, retinoid use, rosacea, eczema, sunburn, windburn, winter, dry climate, Accutane and excessive exfoliation. Why does dry skin occur? Your skin has a moisture barrier made of natural lipids that keep moisture in the skin and irritants out. When this barrier is damaged, it creates tiny, invisible cracks in the skin that allow moisture to escape causing dry, dull and flaky skin. Additionally, irritants can enter more easily making skin get red and act more sensitive than usual. Adding a skin oil to your routine will effectively repair your skin’s moisture barrier to get the skin moist and healthy-looking, especially during the winter.
When choosing a skin oil, look for these ingredients.
Bois De Rose Oil
Evening Primrose Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Sesame Seed Oil
I recommend Pro Remedy Oil to my clients who are in need of serious skin repair. It’s incredibly effective and uses 12 carefully selected oils.
8. USE A RETINOID OR RETINOL PRODUCT AT NIGHT.
Aside from sunscreen, the best scientifically proven ingredient for smoothing the texture of the skin and making lines and wrinkles less noticeable is retinol, or a prescription retinoid like Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Differin, Renova or Avita. Trust me, it works and you need to be using this. If you have sensitive skin, then use my personal favorite, Advanced Resurfacing Serum. It will not cause redness or dryness, which is typically associated with the prescription versions, but it will give the wrinkle-reducing results, with continued use. I use it five nights a week–faithfully. It’s never too late to get started on a retinol product, so get going so you dramatically transform your skin’s texture with continued use.
9. WEAR A SUNSCREEN IN YOUR MOISTURIZER DAILY, 365 DAYS A YEAR, RAIN OR SHINE.
Studies indicate that 78% of the sun exposure you get in a lifetime is incidental exposure. You may say, “I’m not out at all during the day.” However, just walking to your car, driving in your car, and sitting in your house next to windows will give you unnecessary sun damage from the wrinkle-causing UVA rays. And we know that sun exposure is the #1 cause of aging! If you’re wanting to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, a minimum of SPF 30 should be used every day, winter and summer.
10. ALWAYS CHOOSE PRODUCTS RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR SKIN TYPE.
Your friend will tell you about some fabulous product that she loves or you’ll read in a magazine about a product that a celebrity uses, but that doesn’t mean it will work for your skin. The main reason why you may not show improved results with your skin care products could be they aren’t suited for your skin’s specific needs. If you’re still buying products based on the basic dry, normal and oily skin types, and your skin is anything but that, then take my Skin Type Quiz and learn what your skin really requires.
Renée Rouleau (pronounced Roo-LOW) is a trusted and sought-after skin care expert and esthetician loved by celebrities, editors and facial obsessives everywhere. Her proprietary classification system for her exclusive skin care line addresses nine distinct skin types and contains more than 70 products that blend the best of nature and science—and are not tested on animals. Her website and blog have become incredible resources for those seeking real solutions for getting healthy, glowing beautiful skin. She has two exclusive skin care spas in Dallas and offers a pop-up spa in Los Angeles and New York several times a year. Celebrity clients include Demi Lovato, Anna Faris and Melissa Joan Hart.
Photo Credits: FAMEFLYNET PICTURES