Today, we understand how confusing it can be to create a minimalist skin care routine. A harmless online search will return with endless advice, sometimes conflicting. Don’t forget all the times we become distracted by viral beauty trends that make us doubt our skin care routines. You can easily lose track or become overwhelmed. It is understandable why this information overload is unhelpful.
Here, we cut to the chase to help you understand the Five Essential Steps of Skin Care and How to Build Your Best Minimalism Skin Care Routine.
Let’s Cut to the Chase About Skin Care
Five Skin Care Essentials
In the past, the marketing of skin care was targeted to women and very focused on how to make them more alluring for marriage. In many ways, consumers began to think it was synonymous with make-up. Think about it, why do some men today continue to think skin care is a “woman’s concern”, you know, make-up?
Skin care is literally “how to take care of you skin”. Yes, we know, that sounds snarky. However, for many, we did not grow up being told how to take care of our skin for its health. Instead, we were just told that using certain products would make us more pretty. The focus was less on self-care, less on routine building. So, how to take care of our skin is not so obvious.
To contrast, young adults today were raised on skin self-care awareness for about half their lives. So, it is understandable why they are much more clear on how to take care of their skin.
There are Five Essential Skin Care Steps you should know about before you start building your Minimalism Skin Care Routine. You would be surprised to see how your skin health can be noticeably improved if you first address these Five Essentials.
Essential Precursor Step 1: Antioxidants
Antioxidants are your first prevention. It helps reduce skin damage before it happens. So, you can say, they are the precursor to skin care health. How?
The sun, pollution, smoke, alcohol, stress (all things we can’t completely escape from) create free radicals. These free radicals are unstable molecular species which are highly reactive with our cellular structures. You see, free radicals contain unpaired electrons (ie they are missing an electron) and molecules don’t like to be unpaired. So, they hunt for cells (like collagen) in order to steal an electron from them in a process called oxidation which causes damage to parts of the cells. When a vital part of a cell is oxidized, the cell can stop functioning properly or die. To further add salt to the wound, when stealing this electron, free radicals can also turn a healthy cell into a free radical. So, like the zombie apocalypse, they continue on hunting for new cells to steal from and turn.
Now, our bodies have natural Antioxidant defence systems to fight free radicals. However, there are times when our bodies are outnumbered by free radicals and our Antioxidant defence systems are overwhelmed – like a party gone out of control. This is called Oxidative Stress. When this stress is prolonged, damage (or Oxidative Damage), can occur (think wrinkling, spots, sagging).
Antioxidants in skin care can help the skin neutralize free radicals. Think of it as adding additional troops to your front line. How?
Antioxidants scavenge for free radicals and neutralize them. You see, Antioxidants are stable enough to donate their electrons. So, Antioxidants not only reduce free radicals, they also help to reduce their formation in the first place. Add Antioxidants to help reduce and delay damage.
Yet, with even with this powerful solution, we need to take care to avoid overwhelming our bodies with free radicals. While we can’t totally avoid public smoke and pollution, we can use a broad-spectrum sunscreen and protect our eight hours of sleep.
Essential Step 2: Hydration
On average, the human skin is 64% water. So, the first essential thing to know about skin care health is hydration. Your primary mission is to keep your skin well-hydrated. A well-hydrated skin looks even, is smooth and soft, and it absorbs products (think of all the expensive products your skin may be only partially absorbing). A well-hydrated skin is plump, so lines appear softer. Have you ever noticed a dear friend with very dehydrated skin, how their lines appear more “sharply defined”?
Your skin naturally has the mechanism to attract and keep water. It produces humectants, compounds that attract and retain water. Dehydration can occur when the body chronically loses more water than its ability to rehydrate itself. You can help replenish water using a Hydrator. Hydrators are formulated with, you got it, humectants. Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid (HA), Propanediol, and Betaine (TMG) are a few of the efficacious humectants used in skin care.
To be certain, water passively evaporates from all skin. This is scientifically known as Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL). TEWL is unavoidable. What you don’t want is accelerated TEWL.
Accelerated TEWL is commonly caused by dry weather, indoor heating, diet, and makeup.
NOTE: Dehydrated skin means your skin lacks water. It is a skin condition which means that it can happen to anyone. A skin condition describes what happens to the skin (acne is another example of a skin condition).
Essential Step 3: Moisturize
The second essential thing to know about skin care health is to moisturize. Hydrators help to hydrate, Moisturizers are multi-functional and help to hydrate, retain hydration, and restore dryness. Moisturizers contain a blend of humectants, emollients, and lipids. Your second mission is to keep your skin moisturized.
A good question you might be asking yourself is, why would you need a hydrator if a moisturizer can do both? A hydrator is a solution for those who need extra hydration because they have very dehydrated skin. It is also a solution for those with oily/combination skin where moisturizers are just too oily or rich for them. This could also describe Asian skin and darker skin tones who have both dehydrated and oily skin.
Lastly, moisturizers can do more than just this – some moisturizers are also formulated to soften and soothe the skin.
NOTE: Dry skin means your skin lacks oil. It is a skin type which means it is genetic (the four basic skin types are dry, normal, combination, and oily).
Essential Step 4: UV Protection
The third essential thing to know about skin care health is UV protection. However, we could say it is perhaps the most important thing. UV damage is the leading cause of skin damage. So, your third mission is to use a broad spectrum sunscreen. Hydrating and moisturizing without using sunscreen is like wearing a beautiful Italian cashmere sweater in a downpour. It can be the finest gauge sweater, with the perfect fit, and just the right shade of off-white – the rain will ruin everything.
Essential Step 5: Less is More
Today, we are sometimes responsible for our skin issues. We overconsume, misdiagnose, misuse, and overuse. In many ways, this has complicated our skin health. For example, we all have, at one point or another, become impatient and pre-maturely switched to a stronger chemical exfoliant or retinol to disastrous results. While the skin is resilient, it is delicate and can be easily disrupted, at best, and damaged, at worst.
We believe that today, now more than in the past, less is more.
To illustrate, did you know that when your skin is dehydrated, in self defence, it can start overproducing oil to compensate? What happens? We start to think we have oily skin and in our haste, begin buying “oil control” products. Which in turn can make us even more oiler. All along, we misdiagnosed ourselves in a downward spiral, rather than addressing the original skin condition: dehydration.
Skin minimalism is not just about reducing the number of products we use. It’s also choosing products which are “safety by design”. A well-studied formula tests how ingredients work together, not against each other. A great formula is designed to be gentle. An outstanding formula is one you will not grow tired of – remember, efficacy requires patience and consistency.
We believe in taking several steps back, focus on the Essentials, and then reassessing what our skin really needs.
How to Build Your Best Minimalism Skin Care Routine
Now that you understand the Five Essential Skin Care Steps let’s explain how you can build your best Minimalism Skin Care. You should plan to commit to a minimum of three months to see actual results. Focus on Antioxidants, Hydration, Moisturizing, and UV Protection during these first three months. Thereafter, you can properly assess if you require specific treatments to add to your routine (eg a retinol, chemical exfoliants).
Before we begin, some users are looking to build a Minimalism Skin Care Routine because they have skin sensitivity. You should consult with your dermatologist for guidance pertaining to your specific skin concerns. Ordinarily, you may want to avoid products containing fragrance and essential oils as they can be irritating.
Cleansing. How you cleanse is very important. Select a gentle cleanser and always cleanse with tepid water. Hot water is stripping and can create unnecessary dryness – you don’t want to create a new skin condition! Cleanse with your hands and palms (cleansing tools are tempting, but your hands are gentler and quite enough) and massage until you feel the cleanser move more fluidly (usually 20-30 seconds). Rinse well to remove all residue.
Allow your face to air dry, so it remains moist (not wet).
NOTE: If you live in any area with hard municipal water, pat dry with a clean towel to remove all water (don’t rub). Follow with a misting of a hydrating toner, just enough to moisten the skin (again, not wet).
Morning. As a general rule, you want to use your Antioxidant moisturizing serum in the morning as they will help neutralize free radicals and reduce damage. Apply after cleansing/misting and gently massage until the very moment it stops feeling “slippery”. This is your signal to stop.
Finally, it is well-known that Antioxidants and Broad-spectrum Sunscreens make a powerful duo. So, use both daily, all year-round.
Evening. Now, if you don’t have any dehydration concerns, you can continue to use your Antioxidant moisturizing serum in the evening. Again, gently massage until the very moment it stops feeling “slippery”. Finish with a face oil to seal in hydration and actives.
If you do have dehydration concerns, you will apply your Hydrator in the evening to restore any water loss during the day (TEWL). Gently massage until the very moment it stops feeling “slippery”. Finish with a face oil to seal in hydration and actives.
Face oils. Face oils are always applied last to seal everything in. In the morning, you will apply it just before your Sunscreen.
You may be asking yourself, “can I layer my Hydrators with my Antioxidant moisturizing serum?” We believe that you should not apply these Essentials together. If you select well-formulated products, it is best to dedicate separate times for each to do its job properly.
And that’s it. After years of being “sold” to by enticing beauty marketing, we are led to believe that a skin routine requires more products and with many steps.
At Beauty Thinkers, we have purposely kept our range tight and focused on the Essentials. We are designed by safety and formulated by following the philosophy that less is more.
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