A less-is-more approach to a luminous complexion
When it comes to skincare, the title “game-changer” is often reserved for in-office treatments, new-fangled fillers and expensive serums and moisturizers, but a recent article in Self magazine claims that changing the skincare game can be as simple as changing your own routine.
A “clear, luminous complexion” may be best achieved by a less-is-more approach, with some dermatologists suggesting that any skincare regimen with more than four steps can actually hurt more than help. The key to radiant skin is in the commitment. Being regimented and consistent about strictly following a pared down skincare routine (same products, same order) gives the active ingredients in your potions more of a chance to show results.
The sun and your skin
During the warmer months, simplifying your routine may include giving your skin its own vacation from that gold standard in anti-aging: retinoids. While it’s hard to believe that taking a break from your retinoid's ability to build collagen, smooth wrinkles, improve texture, lighten pigmentation and unclog pores could be of any value at all, the damage a retinoid can cause in tandem with the summer sun is intense.
Since retinoids thin the outer layer of skin, you’re more at risk to the damage caused by the sun’s dangerous rays. Some doctors even suggest stopping your retinoid use all together if you spend a lot of time outdoors, or if you’re planning a sun-filled vacation. Instead turn to an antioxidant serum to help repair and ward off sun spots and wrinkles without risking the side effects. Don’t worry; your retinoid will be there for you when you’re ready to pick it up again.
Lay off the exfoliant
A less-is-more approach can also mean laying off the excessive exfoliation that’s so easily achieved by the influx of at-home microdermabrasion kits, gels, scrubs and home peels available on the market today. Dead surface cells do cause a drier, duller-looking complexion, but they also help to seal in moisture and protect against sun damage, so continually scrubbing them all into oblivion won’t allow your skin to replenish the extra layers of protection it needs.
For oily skin, reeling your exfoliation fixation back to twice a week is a good compromise, but for those struggling with dry skin, Self recommends that you lay off exfoliation altogether. Instead, turn on a bedroom humidifier (your skin loses most of its essential moisture at night —eek!) and try an at-home steam treatment twice a week to soften the top layer of your skin and help moisture penetrate. Switching from a moisturizer to one of the wide array of antioxidant rich skin oils will also help stave off a dry, dull complexion. Since oils mimic the effects of what your own skin secretes to lubricate the skin (a little something called human sebum), they can actually hydrate better than lotion.
Extend your coverage
While you’re dialing down on those products, you can refocus your energy below the face to your neck and chest. Neglecting to treat these age-prone areas along with your face is a great way to advertise your true age regardless of your kid-glove approach to your complexion. The skin on your chest and neck does tend to be thicker than on your face, but it also scars more easily and doesn’t heal as well. Prioritizing those areas in tandem with your daily facial slathering of SPF is likely the number one way to keep your face and the rest of you in the same age-defying ballpark.