5 Important Steps You Should Include in Your Skin Care Routine

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it serves a wide variety of functions. Most importantly, it’s the first line of defense between the inside of your body and the outside world. It protects you from invading bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, and it helps block out pollution and chemical substances present in the environment.

In addition, skin regulates our body’s temperature and helps maintain the correct fluid balance, controlling the loss of critical moisture. Skin also processes pain sensations that alert us to danger and protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Many factors, both internal and external, can take a toll on your skin. Genetics, aging, hormones, and diseases such as diabetes all affect the skin from the inside. These internal factors are difficult to control.

There are a number of external influences that you can control. These include unprotected exposure to the sun, an unhealthy diet, stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, and — yes — washing too frequently or with water that’s too hot. 

Here at Columbia Internal Medicine in Castleton, New York, Dr. Padma Sripada is an internal medicine physician and aesthetic specialist who can help you take great care of your skin. From skin care products to treatments such as HydraFacialⓇ, skin rejuvenation, and BotoxⓇ, she’s well-equipped to help you meet your medical and aesthetic goals.

What 5 steps should I include in my skin care routine?

There are many things you can do to help preserve your skin health, but here are the five steps that Dr. Sripada considers the most important.

1. Know your skin type

You can’t take proper care of your skin if you don’t know what type you have, because the type determines what skin care products you’ll use. The different types of skin include:

2. Choose a good cleanser and toner

After you know which type of skin you have, you can choose either a foaming cleanser to clean away dirt, oil, and makeup, or a cream, which helps moisturize dry or combination skin as well as remove dirt, makeup, and bacteria. A toner helps you remove any remaining makeup or debris after cleansing. Use only warm water, as hot water will strip your skin of moisture.

3. Moisturize your skin

Moisturizers are designed to hydrate the top layer of skin cells (the epidermis) and seal in moisture. They usually contain humectants that attract moisture, occlusive compounds to help the skin retain moisture, and emollients that smooth the rough spaces between skin cells.

4. Wear sunscreen

Sunscreens protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun by preventing sunburn and the signs of premature aging such as wrinkles and leathery skin. They also help decrease the risk of skin cancer. The active ingredients in sunscreens work in one of two ways: either by absorbing the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, thereby preventing them from reaching the skin’s deeper layers, or by reflecting the incoming radiation.

A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 is the most commonly recommended for all skin types. It blocks about 97% of UVB rays. It’s important to note that no sunscreen can block all UV rays, so extending your time in the sun beyond a reasonable period is not advisable.

5. Eat a nutritious diet and get adequate sleep

As with any healthy diet, your skin will appreciate if you eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken, fish, beans, and eggs. Stay away from foods high in trans fats, salt, and sugar.

In addition, eating a well-balanced diet ensures that your body gets all the vitamins healthy skin requires. Drinking enough water keeps your whole body hydrated, which is important for skin health, too.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. They found that people who slept poorly showed increased signs of premature skin aging, and their skin had decreased ability to heal from environmental stressors such as the sun’s rays.

That actually makes sense, since during the deep sleep phase, your body enters “repair mode,” regenerating many tissues, such as skin, muscles, blood cells, and brain cells. Without enough sleep, your body doesn’t have as much time to make new collagen, a structural protein that gives your skin strength.

Want to learn more about how to take good care of your skin? Call us at 518-223-9630 or book an appointment online today.

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