Tag Archive for: skin care

As your body’s largest organ, your skin is your first line of defense against toxins and external threats. And it’s also the first thing people see, so we take care of it to look our best. Luckily, your skin’s function and appearance are connected.

Dry, cracked skin is more vulnerable to environmental effects. On the other hand, plump and hydrated skin functions how it should, sealing out irritants and locking in moisture.

And though you may not have heard of them, ceramides are one of the most important components of your skin. They’re masters at protecting and helping retain moisture. Recently, ceramides have even become a key ingredient in many skincare products. These creams and moisturizers fortify your natural ceramide levels to help support your skin’s health.

What Are Ceramides?

Ceramides are lipids that make up about 50% of your skin’s composition and play a primary role in the function and appearance of your skin barrier. The rest of your skin consists of layers of cells that are constantly dying out and refreshing themselves with new cells. You’re likely familiar with the epidermis and dermis skin layers, but it may surprise you that these layers of tightly packed cells rely on a biochemical “seal” for the skin to function properly. This makes ceramides every bit as important to your epidermis as your skin cells themselves. Think of ceramides as the glue that holds your skin cells together to form a functional barrier. The healthier this barrier is the more it protects, even keeping your skin better hydrated.

When applied topically, ceramides can support moisture levels and keep the skin barrier healthy. Ceramides can be synthetic (man-made) or natural, like the ones found in your outer layers of skin. To really understand what they are, let’s dip into the biochemistry. Don’t worry—we’ll make it quick and easy.

All ceramides are made up of a compound called sphingosine—a chain of carbon atoms with an amino acid bonded to it. When sphingosine binds to other fatty acids, it forms ceramides. There are 12 distinct types of ceramides, named ceramide 1-12, based on the type of sphingosine it is and the kind of fatty acid that binds to it.

Why do Ceramides Matter?

Skin problems may emerge if your ceramides are not functioning properly. Age and sun damage can reduce the effectiveness of your natural ceramides. Eventually, as ceramide levels are depleted, a weakened skin barrier can lead to drier, more problematic skin. The metric that cosmetic scientists use to measure skin hydration is called transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Dry or irritated skin has higher TEWL, and reduced water-binding capacity.

Ceramide-rich skincare products help to support and balance your skin, and reduce TEWL, even after ceramide levels have diminished.

The skin-nurturing benefits of ceramides can:

  • Fortify your skin’s protective barrier
  • Help your skin retain moisture
  • Rejuvenate your skin’s appearance
  • Support plumper, smoother-looking skin with fewer visible fine lines and wrinkles

The Right Ceramide Products for You

Proper packaging keeps your ceramide products performing at their best. As you look for quality ceramide products, avoid glass jars or clear packaging. Many of the most popular “antiaging” skincare ingredients are sensitive to oxidation and can lose their effectiveness when exposed to light and air. So, look for tubes or opaque bottles with pumps and airtight dispensers.

If a product contains ceramides it will be listed in the ingredients. Also look for ceramide-related ingredients like phytosphingosine and sphingosine. All of these support your skin’s natural production of ceramides when applied topically. And it may be even easier—with such sought-after benefits, many products display these ingredients front and center on the package.

Ceramides are beneficial for all types of skin, even sensitive skin, because they are a natural component of your epidermis. If you’re looking to upgrade your skincare routine or are still a novice in the world of skincare, try a product with ceramides and experience the benefits of moisturized, healthy-looking skin!

beautiful skin in the snow

beautiful skin in the snow

For many, winter conjures images of beautiful, frozen landscapes: snow covered trees, icicles, all that good stuff. For others, the associations are less pleasant: cracked skin, chapped lips, and endless applications of moisturizer.

Love it or hate it, winter can wreak havoc on your skin. And the same is true of summer, though its effects on skin are of a different variety.

If you already have a skincare regimen in place, these seasonal changes can be frustrating. Who wants healthy, hydrated skin three seasons a year, only to have dry skin all winter? No one does. Fortunately, most of these seasonal skincare fiascos can be avoided. All it takes is a little foresight and some slight adjustments to your existing skincare routine.

Skincare and the Seasons: How the Weather Affects Your Skin

Your skin is your body’s first line of defense against the elements. And so it’s only natural that your skin changes as the weather shifts. Most of these changes have to do with the amount of moisture in the air.

During the winter, the air is cool and, for the most part, dry. Because the air is less humid than in the summer, your skin dries out much faster. This can lead to chapped and cracked skin, both of which you probably want to avoid altogether. The good news is that these effects can usually be mitigated with a slight adjustment to the moisturizing step of your skincare routine—but more on that later!

The summer typically has the opposite effect on skin. In the warmer months, the air is far more humid than it is during the rest of the year. High humidity can cause your sebaceous glands—which produce the oil on your skin—to overproduce oil. This often results in excessively oily and shiny skin.

Your seasonal skin care needs will also depend on your skin type. If you have oily skin, for example, you may find that the winter doesn’t dry your skin out too much. Summer, on the other hand, might compound and increase your skin’s natural oily tendencies. Similarly, if you have naturally dry skin, it may be perfectly hydrated during the summer, but cracked and dry during the winter.

Knowing your skin and the way it’s affected by the weather is the first step in maintaining healthy skin year-round. The second step is adjusting your skincare regimen accordingly—which we’ll dive into in the next section.

Seasonal Skincare Regimen for Oily Skin

If you have oily type skin, your usual skincare regimen should have you covered three seasons a year. That is, during winter, spring, and fall, you shouldn’t have to stray from your usual cleanser, toner, moisturizer, or SPF protection. It’s the summer weather—heat and humidity—that could throw off your skin’s balance.

As you probably know—either from research or personal experience—oily skin doesn’t do well with heavy cream and lotions. Though they cleanse and moisturize just fine, these types of products tend to exacerbate the oiliness of already oily skin. And so your skincare routine for oily skin probably includes lighter, thinner products: gels, liquid cleansers, etc.

During the summer months, you may have to make some adjustments to the moisturizing and protecting steps of your routine. If you find your skin becoming excessively oily and shiny in the heat of the summer, start by adjusting your moisturizer. Are you using a moisturizing lotion? If so, you might try switching to a gel moisturizer for the summer. Or if you are using a moisturizer and a separate product for SPF protection, consider consolidating the steps and using a moisturizer that also provides sun protection.

Remember, you’re not reinventing the wheel. These adjustments to your skincare routine don’t have to be huge. Give yourself a week to see results and then check back in. If you’re still struggling to control oily skin, make some more adjustments.

Seasonal Skincare Regimen for Dry Skin

If your skin is naturally on the dry side, you likely have what’s known as dry type skin. For most of the year, your skincare routine should stay pretty consistent: a cream cleanser, your toner of choice, a cream or lotion moisturizer, and a layer of moisturizing SPF protection. During the winter, however, you may need to take the moisturizing step of your skincare regimen to another level.

Typically, this means using a heavier cleanser. And in the world of skincare products, heavier means thicker. If you usually use a moisturizing lotion, but find it insufficient during the winter months, try a cream moisturizer.

A facial oil is another approach you can try to help tackle dull and dry skin. It can be applied after your normal moisturizer to help lock in hydration and condition the skin.

More Sun Means More Protection

The final step of a well-rounded skincare routine is applying protection. This comes in the form of products with an SPF—or sun protection factor—rating. Typically, this is sunscreen, but these days many moisturizers and even makeup products provide some sun protection.

Now this might seem like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said: the more sun you are getting, the more you need to protect your skin.

If you spend hours on end in the sun during the summer months, ramp up your UV protection. This could mean using a stronger sunscreen (you should be using at least SPF 30) or reapplying more frequently throughout the day. And ideally you should be doing both.

Skincare Changes to Avoid

Adjusting your skincare routine can be scary, even when it’s necessary. Finding the perfect combination of products takes time and consistency—and changes often seem to threaten that delicate balance. So how can you adjust your skincare routine with the seasons without throwing off the balance you’ve worked so hard to maintain?

It’s not as hard as it sounds. You just have to focus on small changes. If you make multiple changes to your current routine, it will be difficult to determine which product is the problem if the new routine doesn’t work for your skin type.

Any new moisturizers or other products that you try, should only be added one at a time. If the individual change to your skincare routine gives you healthy, vibrant skin, it’s a good sign that you’re giving your skin the nutrients and care it needs.

Consistency is Key

If you have a regular skincare routine, you know that consistency is key. The same is true for your seasonal skincare adjustments. Any change you make is only as good as the consistency with which you implement it. Sure, sunscreen one day a week is better than no sunscreen at all, but only just. So buckle down and commit to your changes. If something works, stick with it. If you don’t see the results you want, try something else. And if all else fails, consult a dermatologist.

skincare application

skincare application

Skincare is often approached from an aesthetic standpoint. After all, most people want to feel good about the way they look. And healthy-looking skin is a great place to start.

But skin does so much more than simply dictate the way we look. Skin is the largest organ in—or on—your body. It protects you from bacteria, environmental factors, and the sun’s UV rays. It gets cut and scraped and stands up to the wear-and-tear of daily life. Needless to say, skin plays a pretty important role in your day-to-day health.

Here’s the good news: there are countless skincare products on the market. For those of us new to the skincare world, however, this can be a little intimidating. If you’re looking to start caring for your skin but don’t know where to start, look no further. This crash course in skincare will have you crafting a personalized skincare routine in no time.

The 4 Basic Skin Types

Before selecting products to improve your skin’s appearance, it’s important to know what you’re working with. Everyone’s skin is a little bit different, but it usually falls into one of four general categories: normal, oily, dry, or combination.

  • Normal Skin Type: As the name suggests, the normal skin type is, well, pretty normal. It’s not too dry, not too oily, and doesn’t have many noticeable imperfections. Additionally, normal type skin doesn’t have any particular sensitivities.
  • Oily Skin Type: If your skin is shiny or has a dull sheen to it, there’s a good chance you’ve got oily skin. Other hallmark features of the oily skin type are enlarged pores and blackheads. There’s also a good chance your face will feel slightly oily to the touch.
  • Dry Skin Type: As opposed to oily skin, dry skin has small pores and almost no shine to it. It may feel rough to the touch, have more wrinkles and creases in it, or be slightly less elastic than other skin types.
  • Combination Skin Type: As you read through the skin types above, did more than one seem like it described your skin? If so, you’ve probably got combination skin. This skin type refers to any combination of the skin types listed above. It’s very common to have an oily T-zone (the forehead, nose, and chin), for example, while the rest of your face is normal or even dry.

Once you’ve identified your skin type, it’s time to start thinking about your skincare goals. But more on that in the next section.

Identifying Your Skincare Goals

You wouldn’t take cough syrup to treat a broken foot—it’s not the right tool for the job. Similarly, your skincare products should align with both your skin’s needs and your personal skincare goals. Are you trying to clear reduce the appearance of wrinkles? Or simply keep your skin clean and hydrated? Whatever your end goal is, it will determine how you build your skincare routine.

Finding the right products can be tricky, but most skincare routines should follow the same four basic steps: clean, tone, moisturize, and protect (in that order). Within each of those four steps, there are countless products to choose from. As you select products for your skincare routine, pay attention to the active ingredients in each item you select. Different ingredients will have different effects—and you will want to choose ingredients that have the effect you want.

So what does this look like in practice? If you are creating a skincare routine for dry skin, you will want to choose a cleanser that’s gentle and can clean without removing all the oils on your skin. Similarly, you would want to stick to non-comedogenic products, which are specifically designed to avoid clogging pores. After all, using a pore-clogging skincare product would be a little counterintuitive, wouldn’t it?

How to Build a Skincare Routine: A Step-By-Step Guide

You’ve got the basics down, now let’s put it all together. How do you take all of this information—your skin type, your skincare goals, etc.—and create a personalized skincare routine? Just like anything else in life, take it one step at a time.

Step 1: Cleanse

Cleansing is the process of removing dirt, grime, and other impurities from your skin. Some cleansers are gentler than others, meaning they dry out the skin less and are less likely to cause skin irritation. If you have sensitive or dry skin, you will probably want to stick to a gentle cleanser, such as the Celvive Gentle Milk Cleanser.

A quick rule of thumb for cleansers: if you have dry and sensitive skin, use a cleanser that comes as a lotion or cream; if you have oily skin, use a foaming cleanser. As mentioned above, the active ingredients in cleansers vary from product to product, so be sure to review the active ingredients before purchasing cleanser.

Step 2: Tone

Toning is a loosely defined step in skincare routines. It is sometimes described as the process of “balancing” the skin—that is, giving your skin any nutrients it is missing. Some toners include active ingredients that act as additional cleansers, helping to remove debris and unclog pores. Because the cleansing process can be a bit abrasive for your skin, many toners include botanical ingredients that help soothe the skin.

Step 3: Moisturize

Just like staying hydrated is an important part of staying healthy, keeping your skin hydrated is an important aspect of skin care. And the best way to keep your skin hydrated is by including a good moisturizer in your daily skincare routine.

The most effective skin moisturizers tend to use plant-based oils to hydrate the skin. Different skin types do best with different types of moisturizers. If your skin is oily, you should use gel moisturizer. These tend to be mostly water-based, as opposed to oil-based. If you have dry or combination skin, opt for a moisturizer that comes as a lotion or cream.

Step 4: Protect

When it comes to skin damage, one culprit is usually responsible: the sun’s UV rays. Even on cloudy days, your skin is exposed to UV rays that can dry it out and damage it. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: sunscreen or other SPF rated products.

Most experts recommend wearing a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF daily. This will help keep your skin protected throughout the day, reduce visible wrinkling, and help keep in moisture. (For your nightly skincare routine, you can skip the SPF.)

Consistency is Key

Like most health-related processes, skin care requires consistency. You can’t slap some cleanser and lotion on your face one night and expect to see immediate results—it takes time. As you build your skincare routine, be sure to implement it daily. If you aren’t seeing the results you want, give it a couple of weeks. (There is an exception: if a product irritates your skin, don’t hesitate to swap it for something else.)

Once you have practiced your skincare routine consistently for two to three weeks, evaluate the results. If you aren’t seeing progress towards your goals, it might be time to re-evaluate the products you are using. And remember, be gentle with yourself. If you miss a day, there is always tomorrow to start again!

You’re a bright, shining star. It shows in every aspect of your life. Now illuminate your inner beauty even more with brightening skincare. Glowing skin you can see—achieved by using proven brightening ingredients—is a trend that stands the test of time. After all, healthy-looking skin never goes out of style.

The goal of brightening skincare is to put the emphasis on a healthy-looking, radiant complexion—rather than seeking ways to cover up blemishes. Focus your skincare efforts on ways to highlight your natural beauty. You can do that by incorporating brightening and refining ingredients into your skincare routine.

So look deeper into ways to upgrade your skincare game to match your inner glow. Below you’ll find a breakdown of some of the best ingredients and approaches to give your skin a glow-up. Now you can start your search for skincare products to brighten and illuminate your complexion armed with the information you need.

Niacinamide is Your Brightening Skincare Superstar

Say hello to the real powerhouse of visible skin brightening. Niacinamide is a tough act to follow—because it is so effective in visibly transforming dull, patchy, uneven skin, into a gorgeous-, glowing-, radiant-looking complexion.

Niacinamide is a B vitamin (a form of vitamin B3 to be exact) and is one of the most effective skincare ingredients at visibly reducing the apparent contrast of dark spots or hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide can shrink the appearance of pores and reduce visible oil production. Not to mention improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, all while visibly evening out skin tone.

Beauty gurus and skincare aficionados alike love this active ingredient. That’s why so many skincare products—like the Celavive Dark Spot Corrector—rely on niacinamide to deliver visually dramatic results.

Another reason to love niacinamide is its compatibility with other antioxidants, specifically vitamin C. When niacinamide and vitamin C are combined, their antioxidant activity is amplified. Antioxidants help protect the skin for a beautiful complexion. With antioxidants like niacinamide and vitamin C working together, dark spots visibly fade to reveal fresh, younger-looking skin.

Shine with Vitamin C Derivatives

Bright-looking skin needs vitamin C—just like the vitamin is essential for the rest of your body. Vitamin C and its derivatives (ascorbic acid, ascorbyl glucoside, ascorbyl palmitate) are powerful antioxidants that provide help to keep your skin looking beautifully radiant. It is also important for a visibly bright, even-looking skin tone. Redness from dry skin can make your complexion appear splotchy. But vitamin C is a soothing agent that can help your skin look calm.

Collagen (the protein that gives skin its bounce) relies on vitamin C, too. Skincare products with vitamin C target the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and the visibly uneven texture of aging skin. Vitamin C helps skin look uniform, soft, and supple. And through collagen’s impact on skin hydration, vitamin C aids in the appearance of a plump and smooth complexion.

Adding skincare products with vitamin C to your skincare routine is a must. Serums like the Celavive Light Complexion Serum use vitamin C along with niacinamide and other brightening ingredients to transform the appearance of dull skin into a radiant, glowing complexion.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate for Glowing Skin

The best way to keep your glowing skin going is plenty of hydration. Hydrated skin stays visibly plump and smooth. And smooth skin gleams because light reflects well off of hydrated skin. This gives you that bouncy, beautiful glow you’re looking for.

The best hydrating ingredients lock water inside the skin. That’s because your skin is like a sponge. It absorbs and retains moisture and skincare treatments. So look for skincare products that seal moisture in and keep your skin looking hydrated and happy.

Ingredients like shea butter and jojoba-seed oil are just the ticket to brighter, more youthful-looking skin. These are potent moisturizers that help maintain hydration, without clogging up pores or causing blemishes.

Sheet masks are a real treat for your skin. These masks—including the Celavive Vivid White Sheet Mask, which is loaded with shea butter and jojoba-seed oil—are great for intense hydrating. These luxurious skin treatments are even better if they’re blended with brightening agents. Look for:

  • niacinamide
  • licorice extract
  • red algae
  • sugars that bind to water and flood your skin with moisture.

Try a brightening sheet mask a few nights a week to lock in that glow and moisture.

For daily brightening and hydration, find a cream that does double duty. An ingredient list that includes niacinamide, red algae, and added vitamin C can help you achieve a gorgeous glow—plus, the necessary moisture your skin depends on. Find a cream—like USANA’s Celavive Luminous Moisture Cream—that can be used twice daily to achieve a gorgeous glow. This will help you illuminate your inner beauty on a daily basis.

Get Your Glow On

Do your research to find what kind of skincare treatments will work best for you—and for your skin type. Look for hydrating and brightening benefits, as well as ingredients that support visibly healthy skin for a beautiful look.

You can check brighter-looking skin off your beauty bucket list. Add brightening skincare to your daily routine—with effective active ingredients like niacinamide and vitamin C—to put a visibly luminous, radiant complexion within reach.

Look in the mirror and you see dead skin. Don’t be shocked. Your body needs it to be that way. All the skin cells that interact with the world are dead by design. This layer protects you. But if it doesn’t move over for more freshly deceased cells to pop to the top, it could be time to exfoliate.

What is Exfoliation?

The simple definition for exfoliation is clearing away excess dead cells on the surface of your skin.

“Out with the old and in with the new” is the principle behind exfoliating. Remove the older cells to make room for newer, fresher skin.

Why You Should Exfoliate

You might want to understand more about exfoliating before you start scrubbing, peeling, or otherwise expelling the top layer of your skin. The practice of exfoliation comes from the knowledge of how your skin cells grow and replenish.

Cells are born deep in your skin, and they’re pushed to the surface by the growth of new cells. By the time they reach the surface, your skin cells have died. But they shingle together to help create a protective barrier before eventually being shed completely.

Exfoliation speeds up the shedding. And it helps you avoid buildup of stubborn dead skin cells that can impact your skin’s appearance. If you’re seeing dry patches or dealing with flaky areas, exfoliating could be for you.

Additional benefits of exfoliation include:

  • helping skin appear brighter
  • aiding in the absorption of your skincare products so they work better
  • assisting in keeping breakouts at bay by clearing pores of dead-skin buildup
  • supporting production of a key skin protein—collagen

Discover the Different Varieties of Exfoliation

Picking a way to expunge the outermost layer of your skin may sound like choosing your preferred version of torture. But exfoliation shouldn’t be painful. Whether you choose a mechanical or chemical means—the two main types of exfoliating—you’ll have plenty of pain-free options.

Mechanical exfoliation (sometimes also called physical exfoliation) isn’t the most comforting term. But it just means using the force of friction to remove dead skin. That encompasses a lot of options:

  • light buffing with a washcloth
  • grainy sugar polish or other gentle scrub
  • homemade coffee scrub
  • wet pumice stone (never use a dry one on your skin)
  • exfoliating glove
  • brushes
  • microdermabrasion

Even though you may have guessed how chemical exfoliation works, it’s not quite as harsh as it sounds. Yes, chemicals are involved. Typically, they are enzymes, retinoids, and gentle, natural acids. These compounds loosen the bonds holding skin cells together so they’re more easily removed.

Those choosing to chemically exfoliate often opt for alpha or beta hydroxy acids. Popular alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble and similar to the acid found in citrus fruit, apples, grapes, and yogurt. Beta hydroxy acids are often used as treatments for skin issues. But these oil-soluble acids (like salicylic acid) are also exfoliant options.

Enzymes provide a more ancient approach that started with putting fruit on the skin. Even today, the enzymes used in chemical exfoliation also come from fruits and vegetables. These enzymes work on skin proteins, breaking them down to eliminate dead-skin buildup.

Retinoids (commonly found in plant pigments) are more modern, and they’re commonly used as medication. These compounds come from the antioxidant vitamin A.

You have your choice of over-the-counter options for chemical exfoliation. Choose wisely, with your skin type and goals in mind. You should consult your dermatologist or healthcare provider before starting a new exfoliation practice. 

How to Exfoliate for Your Skin Type

Just like your cleanser, moisturizer, and other skincare products, the exfoliation tactic you choose depends on skin type. If you don’t know it, take this skin type quiz to find out where you fall on the spectrum.

Removing your outside layer of skin is an inherently irritating process. So, your skin type should guide the form and frequency of your exfoliation experience. Sensitive, dry, oily, and combination skin all tolerate exfoliating differently.

Here’s what you need to know before you choose an exfoliating method:

  • Sensitive Skin Type: Exfoliate gently and less frequently to minimize the redness and stinging that comes easily for this type. A very mild scrub or a simple washcloth may be all the mechanical exfoliating your skin can tolerate. And mild hydroxy acids and enzymes are your best bet for chemical exfoliating.
  • Dry Skin Type: Like those with sensitive skin, care should be taken to minimize over-exfoliating. Gentle is also the standard for mechanical or chemical exfoliant methods. But the flakes and rough buildup of dry skin does require regular exfoliating to keep those issues at bay and maximize your skincare products’ effectiveness.
  • Oily Skin Type: Exfoliate away. This type tolerates more robust approaches to chemical and mechanical exfoliation. Tools like brushes and pumice stones, along with rougher scrubs, are great for oily skin. Stronger chemical peels are also options for this skin type. And exfoliating more frequently isn’t off the table like those with dry or sensitive skin.
  • Combination Skin Type: You have two skin types to deal with, so exfoliate them separately. Be gentle with the dry sections and stronger on the oily parts.

Your skin will tell you if you’re exfoliating too often or taking an approach that’s too harsh. Pay attention to what the color and feel of your skin is telling you. Exfoliating improperly or too often can cause problems for your skin. Watch for redness, small breakouts, and unusual sensitivity to your normal skincare products.

Help Reveal a New Shine for Your Skin

Taking care of your skin sometimes means shedding some of it. Properly exfoliating one to three times per week (depending on skin type) is the best way to scrub or peel away the buildup of dead skin to help you shine. Just remember to consider the proper approach for your skin and always follow-up with an appropriate moisturizer. And like with your overall health, listen to what your body is telling you. The good news is that the results of your exfoliating efforts should be obvious—and written all over your face.

washing face

washing face

As you go about your everyday life, you are not alone. No need to be paranoid. You aren’t being haunted by ghosts or followed by anyone. But there is a community of nearly 1,000 different species of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and mites you constantly tote around with you—on your skin. It’s known as the skin microbiome, and it’s important for the health of your largest organ.

That’s right—what you can’t see in the mirror might be having a huge impact on your skin.

What is the Skin Microbiome?

woman washing face

The billions of microbes living on you are called your skin microbiome. These microorganisms (sometimes called skin flora) are harmless or even beneficial—playing a vital role in your immune system and skin appearance. Evolved over thousands of years, the human microbiome consists of many distinct types of colonies, depending on the location and condition of the microenvironment.

The microbiota survive off of the salt, water, and oil (sebum) your skin releases to keep itself cool and lubricated. And several factors determine the habitat of the various microbiota, like:

  • body temperature
  • skin thickness
  • amount and size of folds
  • skin pH
  • the density of hair follicles and glands

In other words—and not all too surprisingly—the microbiota on your face looks different from the microbiota on your armpits. Areas with higher density of oil glands, like your face, back, and chest, thrive off of the lipids (fats) in your sebum. Warm, humid areas, such as the groin and between the toes, host microorganisms that love a danker environment. Meanwhile, dry, cool patches—like your arms and legs—have far fewer micro-colonies than the rest of your body. In all, the average person carries around two pounds of microbes on their body at all times.

The sheer amount and diversity of skin flora may sound scary. But it’s actually a good and healthy thing. Having a bountiful, well-balanced microbiome plays an important role in your overall health, and the appearance of your skin. The microorganisms help produce vitamins, hormones, and chemicals that affect everything from your mood to metabolism to immune system.

What Skin Flora Do for You

skin microbiome

Most people know the skin is the body’s first line of defense against injury or potential pathogens. But it’s not actually your skin’s cells that act as the front lines of the cavalry. It’s the skin’s microbiome.

Your skin’s inherent environment is rather unfriendly to bad bacteria. It’s cool and dry. The pH is acidic. Even sebum, your skin’s lubricant, is antimicrobial. And, ideally, your skin has a bountiful amount of microbiota to combat all the bad bacteria you come into contact with.

A healthy skin microbiome, which prefers the acidic environment your skin provides, helps your immune system out. This likely starts by skin flora overcrowding pathogen overgrowth. Also, your skin’s immune system and microbiome communicate and respond to one another’s needs.

But your skin could be left vulnerable if your skin’s microbiome has been damaged in one of many ways:

  • soaps
  • incorrect or overuse of antibiotics
  • harsh skincare products
  • environmental factors

Unfortunately, the diversity in many modern societies’ microbiomes is as much as half as diverse as it once was. The culprits of the dwindling number of microbiota? Modern hygiene practices—such as daily showers or baths and the use of aggressive soaps and detergents—along with less healthful diets. Also a lack of interactions with plants, soil, and the microbiomes of livestock and other wildlife, may have an impact.

On the individual level, many factors can shape the diversity of your skin flora. Your job, age, lifestyle, clothing, hygiene habits, and even how much time you spend in the sunlight can all affect the types and amount of microorganisms inhabiting your microbiome.

The lack of diversity can become obvious, even to the naked eye. It can lead to dryness, overproduction of sebum, breakouts, redness, or other afflictions. Therefore, keeping the proper balance of microbiota, and maintaining proper pH, can help protect your skin and microbiota from undesirable conditions.

The relationship between your skin’s appearance and microbiome isn’t completely clear. That’s partially because the vast majority of skin flora haven’t been cultured or extensively studied yet. But more research and information is likely coming. That’s because the subject of the skin microbiome has caught the attention of many large beauty and skincare brands. It has even inspired the creation of some startup cosmetic brands who are experimenting with adding microbes to their products.

5 Tips for a Flourishing, Healthy Skin Microbiome

drinking water

Many of the factors that control the makeup of your skin microbiome are out of your control. But there are some things you can do to protect the delicate communities of skin flora. To keep your skin’s microbiome happy, healthy, and thriving, implement these five tips:

Cleanse—and dry—correctly.

There’s a fine balance between having good hygiene and overdoing it. Avoid over-washing or using harsh cleansers. And don’t go crazy with the scrubbing. Too much friction can strip your skin of its healthy microbes, and create micro-tears in the skin at the same time. These tiny tears can be a breeding ground for unhealthy pathogens. When it comes time to dry off, gently pat your skin dry instead of vigorously rubbing yourself with the towel.

Eat well and hydrate.

As with most aspects of your health, your diet plays a vital role in keeping your skin healthy. Eating a diet rich in healthy fats, vegetables, protein, and fiber helps your gut bacteria, which may in turn help your skin microbiome. Also, be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Being chronically dehydrated can negatively impact your microbiome. Finally, try to work up a sweat regularly to help feed your skin’s microbiome.

Avoid synthetic fabrics.

Choose natural fibers like cotton over synthetics whenever possible. Man-made fabrics, especially those that are tight or worn closely to the skin, can cause an imbalance in your microbiome. Remember that microbiota thrive on different areas of the body because of their unique environments. If you often wear items that cause your temperature, sebum or sweat  production, or otherwise affect the normal skin conditions, you could create an environment in which good skin flora cannot thrive.

Choose products wisely.

Avoid antibacterial soaps and step away from hand sanitizer. In many cases, they kill the beneficial microbes along with the bad ones. Beyond the antibacterial type, soaps in general are alkaline, which can upset the balance of your acidic skin and actually make you more vulnerable to alkaline-loving potential pathogens. If you want to go the extra mile to ensure your hygiene isn’t damaging your microbiota, try one of the microbiome soaps that are now on the market. When it comes time to moisturize, be aware that many lotions have ingredients that are not microbiome-friendly. Use gentle, water-attracting moisturizers with ingredients like hyaluronic acid.

Embrace Your Skin Microbiome.

While it may go against everything you’ve been taught for decades, not all bacteria or other microbes should be killed or avoided. And, in reality, it would be a futile endeavor. So, instead of being grossed out by the billions of life forms with which you share your body, embrace the little guys that make up your skin microbiome and do your best to protect them as well as they try to protect you.

Life is busy enough. Add a trip—even if it’s a vacation you need—or the scramble to get kids ready for back-to-school, and the busy-ness of life leaves you short on time. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on one of the most important habits for your well-being: proper skincare.

You always hear about the many, many steps of a skincare routine—like it’s a race to add more complexity. That doesn’t always fit with your busy life. But believe it or not, there is such a thing as a simple skincare routine.

If you find yourself too hurried to make skincare a priority, try implementing these five tips to make a routine that can keep up with you.

1. Care for Your Skin from the Inside

The top skincare tip for busy people is to feed your glow from the inside. The better care you take of your hydration and nutrition, the fewer products you’ll need to use to make up for it later.

The golden rule for good-looking skin—especially if you’re traveling or spending a lot of time in the sun, heat, or on the go—is to keep yourself and your skin as hydrated as possible. Yes, this means drinking about 64 ounces (about two liters) of water a day.

But also avoid foods and drinks that dehydrate you or cause you to retain fluids: alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and salt. Beware: those cocktails from last night could have you waking up to dark circles and puffiness, and the salty take-out you had for dinner can leave you retaining fluids.

The easiest way to stay hydrated is to take a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. Look for one that holds at least 32 ounces (or about a liter), or you’ll be looking for places to fill up multiple times a day. BPA-free plastic bottles are easy to find and durable. Aluminum bottles are lightweight and tend to keep your water cooler than plastic. Either is a good option.

If you’re traveling by air, remember to empty out any water before trying to go through airport security. Otherwise, you may end up having to leave your bottle behind.

For good skin nutrition, cut down on sugars and other simple carbohydrates. And add more lean protein and produce. Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential to maintaining moisture in the skin. So, toss some flaxseeds or walnuts on your lunchtime salad to get a quick boost.*

If you’re traveling, pay close attention to your in-flight or road-trip nutrition, particularly the sugar and sodium levels. Whole fruit and unsalted nuts are better options than trail mix, chips, or airline peanuts. Ask the flight attendant for herbal tea or water instead of soda pop, coffee, or alcohol. That’s because it’s easier for your body to get dehydrated at 30,000 feet (10,000 meters).

2. Keep it Simple

Be honest with yourself. Even if you’re curious about the benefits of a complex, double-digit-step skincare routine, are you committed enough to implement it on a daily basis? If the answer is no, don’t set yourself up for failure. You can still get fantastic results from a simplified skincare routine. The trick is to be consistent with whatever routine you choose.

First off, clean out your shower, cabinets, and bathroom drawers. Any products that are expired, have started to separate (that’s a sign that the product has spoiled), or that you haven’t used in the past few months have to go.

Now, it’s time for your simplified skincare routine to start your day (Those in bold are what a dermatologist would view as essential):

  • Wash with a gentle cleanser.
  • Quickly pat a light antioxidant serum into your skin to keep the look of aging at bay. Allow your serum to absorb into your skin.
  • If you choose to add an eye cream, now would be the time to lightly tap it into the outer eye area with your ring finger.
  • Apply a moisturizer.
  • Top with a sunscreen that’s a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher.

And you’re done with your morning skincare routine in five minutes—even if you add in the two steps not seen by dermatologists as essential!

At night, remove any and all makeup before cleansing. Follow with a more powerful skincare routine to take advantage of your body’s recovery mode during sleep. Also, add a thicker moisturizer or night cream. If you need extra moisture while you sleep, place a humidifier near your bed. To minimize puffiness, elevate your head by sleeping on two pillows.

And remember—while the skin on your face is delicate and needs the most attention, the skin on the rest of your body also needs some tender care. After showering in the morning, use a quick-absorbing lotion and then layer on your preferred sunscreen. Do not skip this step, even if the weather is bad or you’re in a hurry. Preventing sun damage is much easier than trying to correct it after the fact.

3. Choose Your Products Wisely

Your skincare routine should multitask as much as you do. Look for products that do double or even triple duty to save time and space in your bathroom. Here are some common product combinations to try:

  • If you have oily or combination skin and would prefer to skip the moisturizer in the morning, use a creamy face wash with hydrating main ingredients.
  • Several cleansers double as exfoliators because they contain ingredients to gently polish the surface of your skin, helping to keep your glow going strong.
  • In a pinch, you can skip the serum if your moisturizer contains excellent anti-aging cosmetic ingredients to help combat the look of aging.
  • Lots of sunscreens double as moisturizers these days. As long as it has high enough broad spectrum protection, there’s no need to use them in separate steps. Or, if you have dry and/or aging skin and prefer face oils to the serum and moisturizer, snag one with sun protection built in.
  • If you’d like sheer-to-light foundation coverage, look for a tinted sunscreen. It’ll tackle three steps in one: moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup.

4. Let Skincare be Your Travel Companion

If you’re traveling or constantly on the go, let your skincare goodies tag along with you. This is where the travel aisle of your favorite store can be your best friend. Whether you take a carry-on through airport security or not, load up on travel-size bottles or containers (three ounces or fewer). Then you can fill them up with your regular skincare products that are too big for your carry-on.

Not surprisingly, your most important sidekick is sunscreen. It needs to be close since you should reapply every few hours—especially if you get sweaty or spend time in the water. If you have the space, bring a separate SPF for your face and body. Grab a travel-sized spray can or a roll-on stick of sunscreen for your body, and use a mineral powder for your face to leave makeup undisturbed. It’s especially important to sunscreen up prior to a flight, as you’re closer to the sun’s skin-damaging rays.

If you’re going to spend several hours on a flight or in the car, load up on all things to help you refresh and rehydrate. For a quick shower alternative on a really long trip, bring cleansing cloths to wipe down your face, arms, and hands. Facial oil and hand cream or lotion should be applied—and reapplied, depending on the length of the flight—to your face and hands. (They also can help tame frizzy tresses or flyaways.) Facial mists are also good options. And on those overnight or international flights, take the opportunity to pamper your skin by using a no-rinse, hydrating sheet mask. Cleanse your face, apply the sheet mask, relax, and hydrate for 20-30 minutes.

Other items that make great travel companions: hand sanitizer, lip balm (bonus points for using one with SPF), and blotting sheets to combat extra shine.

5. One Day a Week, Don’t be in a Hurry

A skincare routine may seem like a chore most days, but try to let it feel like a treat at least one day a week. Depending on your skin type and your skin’s needs, try some or all of these luxurious treatments this weekend.

  • Exfoliate. Regardless of your skin type, you need to slough off dead skin cells once or twice a week to help keep your pores clear. Choose a product with ingredients that gently polish your skin, like a sugar scrub. If you go for a different exfoliant, scan the label for alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, or hyaluronic acids. Fruit enzymes like papaya and pineapple work if you have sensitive skin. You can also use an exfoliating mask, a peel, or exfoliating pads. Just remember that a little goes a long way—be gentle!
  • Give yourself a facial massage. Get circulation flowing to your facial tissue and release wrinkle-causing facial tension by giving your face a good rub. After applying facial oil or moisturizer, slowly massage it into your face, neck, and décollé. You can also use a jade roller to help the product penetrate deeper and increase circulation.
  • Get your mask on. Give your skin some extra love by using a mask at least once a week. There are myriad options for masking, so choose your treatment by assessing your skin’s needs. Looking a little dull? Try a brightening sheet mask. Minor blemishes popping up? Try a thicker charcoal or clay mask. If you’re feeling dry, pick a hydrating mask you can wear overnight.
  • Don’t forget your eyes. Reduce puffiness, dark circles, and the appearance of fine lines by giving your eyes special attention on the weekend. Undereye silicone masks are effective options, but can be a bit pricey. For a do-it-yourself alternative, place steeped chamomile tea bags or cool cucumber slices over your eyes for 10-15 minutes.

Whatever your schedule or lifestyle, you can (and should!) make time to commit to a daily skincare routine. It’s an important healthy habit. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so taking care of it makes a big impact on your overall well-being. Keep a simple routine using multi-purpose products you’ll be on your way in no time flat. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The skin you see today isn’t exactly the same as the skin you’ll see tomorrow. Your largest organ is constantly refreshing itself with new skin cells. Every day, you shed over 30,000 skin cells. Every single day.

And they’re replaced with new ones. That’s a lot of cellular turnover. It takes a lot of cells to populate your largest organ. Each square inch of your skin is made up of about 19 million cells. All of them go through an interesting lifespan that’s unique to skin cells.

Lifespan of Skin Cells: Started at the Bottom

The life story of a skin cell is one of triumph. If it were a movie, it would be about a heroic climb from the depths all the way to the highest heights. But this isn’t an underdog story. The lifespan of your skin cells is the best way for your skin to do its job.

A skin cell’s life starts from humble beginnings at the bottom of the epidermis—your topmost of your skin’s three main layers. All your skin cells are born at the junction of the epidermis and the dermis. They all start out full of proteins—keratin and collagen—and shaped like a chubby square.

It’s an unassuming start to life for the cells that protect your body from the outside world. But things definitely get better—and harder.

The Climb

Over the next month, these fat, square cells, born at the bottom, will ascend to great heights within the epidermis. As new cells are born, they facilitate the climb, pushing existing skin cells towards the top layers. That flattens out your skin cells as they’re pushed upward.

This is a tough time in the lifespan of skin cells. The arduous journey hardens them and prepares skin cells to do the tough work of shielding the body from the outside world.

No skin cell survives the climb. Because that’s what they’re supposed to do—die.

No Rest for the Dead

All the skin you’re looking at right now is dead. You have to dig down about 20 layers from the outside of your skin to find a living skin cell.

They aren’t alive, but that doesn’t mean your skin cells are done working for your health. These flattened, hardened cells create layer upon layer of protection.

The top layers of dead skin cells act like the shingles on a roof. They overlap to form a water-tight barrier. That’s how the zombie skin cells keep out the unwanted parts of your environment.

Eventually, all skin cells are pushed out by the new cells making the climb. The never-ending procession of cells from below helps dead cells reach the very top layer. At the pinnacle, they flake off.

The End: Into Dust

Your noble, triumphant skin cells—the shields that protect you day and night—meet a fairly gross fate. They literally turn into dust.

A lot of the dust in your house is actually dead skin. In fact, you produce about eight pounds (3.6 kilograms) of skin-cell dust per year. You’re surrounded by the discarded parts of your skin.

So, next time you’re wiping off the counter or dusting your dresser, say thanks. And pay your respects to the tough, triumphant lives lived by your former skin cells.

6 Tips for Supporting Your Skin Throughout Its Lifespan

There’s nothing you can do to keep your skin cells from dying off. And you wouldn’t want to. Each dead skin cell is playing its role perfectly. But there are a few things you can do to support your skin as a whole and keep it looking healthy:

  • Provide proper sun protection. The sun is a huge threat to your skin. So, you need to practice safe sun exposure. That includes proper sunscreen usage (with frequent reapplication) and the use of hats and clothes to cover up.
  • Eat right. Your diet has a huge impact on your overall health. And there are nutrients and foods you can add to help your skin keep looking young.
  • Focus on a healthy lifestyle. Sleep, exercise, and healthy habits (like avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol) can all benefit your skin. It’s your largest organ, so your behavior has a big impact.
  • Find the right skincare for your skin type. Each skin type requires a different approach. Take the first step and find out what your skin type is so you can properly care for it.
  • Don’t fall victim to common skincare myths. You shouldn’t believe everything you read about skincare. The current skincare revolution creates a lot of misinformation. Investigate whether a hot tip could turn into a tricky situation for your skin.
  • Hydrate. Moisture is your skin’s friend. Dry skin doesn’t look as healthy young as well-hydrated skin does. Hydrate from within—by drinking enough water—and from the outside by using quality skincare that moisturizes.
Blonde woman with laptop forget something buy in online store, facepalm

Blonde woman with laptop forget something buy in online store, facepalm

If you’ve been paying attention to current beauty and health trends, you know we’re amid a skincare revolution. More brands, products, and tools are available to help you maintain your skin health than ever before.

Don’t chalk this trend up to mere vanity, though—taking good care of your skin is about more than just wanting to stay youthful-looking. As your body’s largest organ, the skin also plays a vital role in regulating body temperature, manufacturing vitamin D, and acting as your first line of defense against harmful germs. It only makes sense that you’d want to take the best possible care of it.

But sometimes you sabotage yourself with your best intentions. Believing some common skincare myths can cause (or worsen) the very skin problems you’re trying to correct or avoid. Learn fact from fiction as we bust five widely believed skincare fallacies and offer tips to making skin-friendly choices.

Myth 1: There is one right kind of skincare regimen.

Sure, most of the generic cleansers you can find at any supermarket or drugstore will remove dirt and oil from your skin. And any moisturizer will provide some boost in hydration. But to really see positive results and make your skin its happiest, you need to give it exactly what it needs.

The first step in adopting a bespoke (read: personalized) skincare regimen is to understand your skin type. Small pores with rough, flaky patches? You probably have dry skin. If you tend to get blackheads and need a blotting tissue every afternoon, you’re likely on the oily side of the spectrum. Or, you could be a combination of both if you see midday shine in your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) but are scaly around your cheeks. If you tend to be easily irritated, you could have sensitive skin. If you’re still unsure what category you fall into, take this skin type quiz to find out.

Whatever your skin type, choose a regimen that supports the health of your all-important skin barrier to help you look and feel your best. The protective outer layer of skin contains a lipid or moisture barrier that protects you from your environment and keeps natural moisture in. When your skin barrier is performing at its best, your skin looks firm and plump. It also has a natural dewy glow. Keeping your moisture barrier healthy is important to get the results you want to see in the mirror.

A bespoke skincare regimen can be as simple as cleansing and moisturizing or as robust as the Korean 13-step routine. However many steps you choose, make sure each product in your regimen is geared toward your skin type. In general, the following are common staple products of a skincare regimen:

  1. Cleanser: Look for a mild cleanser to use morning and night. If you wear makeup, it’s best to remove it in a separate step prior to washing—called the two-step cleaning process.
  2. Toner: It’s not just an important step only for those with combination or oily skin. Toning can also help moisturize dry skin. This category has boomed in recent years, and you can find toners that include a wide variety of ingredients, from rose water to kombucha. Toning right after cleansing helps lock in your natural hydration and prepares your skin for moisturizing, but this is the most optional step.
  3. Serum: Also known as an essence or ampoule, serums may contain a broad range of ingredients—including plant extracts, oils and nutrients—that focus on types of skin concern. You only need a few drops, as these products are highly concentrated.
  4. Eye cream: While your skin is absorbing the serum, use your ring finger to gently tap the eye cream or gel of your choice into the skin surrounding the eye socket. Don’t swipe or rub in the product, as that can cause pulling in an area with thin, delicate skin.
  5. Moisturize: Like serums, moisturizers are also often tailored to your skin needs. For your daytime moisturizer, look for one with a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30, or apply a sunscreen separately after your moisturizer.

Myth 2: You only need skincare for your face.

That skin barrier we discussed above? It covers and protects the skin all over your body. That means the rest of it needs just as much care and attention as the skin on your face.

To baby the delicate skin you’re in and pamper those often-neglected body parts:

  • Take cooler, shorter showers. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause damage to your moisture barrier, which can lead to dryness, redness, and irritation.
  • Pat, don’t rub, yourself dry with a towel. Excessive rubbing can tug at your skin, which can cause immediate irritation and a loss of elasticity in the skin over time.
  • Moisturize daily, at minimum, to lock in the hydration your moisture barrier needs. Use a quality body lotion after showering, and use a facial moisturizer after cleansing both day and night.
  • Gently exfoliate all over once to twice a week, especially concentrating on the rougher spots like elbows, knees, ankles, and heels. Use a loofah with a creamy, hydrating body wash or a moisturizing sugar scrub.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink the daily recommended 64 ounces of hydrating beverages such as unsweetened teas, coconut water, almond milk, and, of course, water. Dry skin can be an early sign that you’re dehydrated.
  • Avoid harsh, drying soaps, facial cleansers, and body washes. Read the product labels and steer clear from those with moisture-sapping sulfates or harsh alcohols.
  • Apply sunscreen every day. Protection from the sun’s harmful rays aren’t just for beach days and summer months. The sun can break down your skin’s moisture barrier year-round. See more on this topic below.
  • Bring the skincare products you use on your face all the way down to the neck. It needs a similar amount of attention as your face, but the skin on the neck is even thinner.
  • Use hand cream, especially with SPF, to keep the age spots at bay. Even if you lie about your age, your hands could betray you.
  • Don’t forget your feet! Get rid of calluses by using a pumice stone in the shower. For extra overnight hydration, slather your feet with lotion and wear cotton socks to bed.

Myth 3: The higher the SPF, the better the protection

It seems like the logic should be simple: the higher the SPF number in a sunscreen product, the better it protects against the sun’s harmful rays. The reality, however, is a bit more complicated.

Even though both UVA and UVB rays can damage the skin, SPF typically only measures the amount a product protects against UVB rays—the rays that cause the worst sunburns. If you used certain high-SPF sunscreens, you might not see skin redness or get a sunburn, but that doesn’t mean your skin hasn’t received a high dose of damaging UVA radiation.

Even the SPF numbers themselves can be deceiving. Most people believe that SPF 30 provides double the sun protection that SPF 15 does. In actuality, SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, while an SPF 30 product blocks 97 percent.

Further complicating matters, SPF is tested by applying two milligrams of sunscreen to one square centimeter of skin. Most people apply half— or less —that amount. If you skimp on applying sunscreen, you could be much less protected than you assume.

So what’s the sweet spot? Look for an SPF between 30 and 50 that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. This will often appear on product labels as “broad spectrum,” “multi spectrum,” or “UVA/UVB spectrum.”

For optimal sun protection, apply more sunscreen than you think you need. Be sure to reapply when exposed to direct sun for more than two hours or if you’ve been in the water or exercising. Also take other sun-avoiding measures like seeking shade, wearing loose, light-colored protective clothing, a hat, and limiting time spent in the sun.

Myth 4: Beauty sleep is real only in fairy tales.

Sleeping in until noon on Saturdays will not erase your crow’s feet or banish your smile lines. But a growing amount of research suggests consistently getting a good night’s sleep will do wonders for your skin long term. And, conversely, getting poor rest can have highly damaging effects on the skin.

A study of British women showed pretty conclusive results. All saw an increase of wrinkles, dark circles, and overall dull complexion after five consecutive days of getting only six hours of sleep per night—compared to after getting a night of eight hours of sleep.

The immediate effects of a rough night can be obvious in the form of dark circles under puffy eyes. But the damage sleep deprivation can cause the rest of your skin goes much further.

During sleep, your body goes into repair mode. It gets busy eliminating old, dead cells, making new ones, and cleaning your body of toxins. When you shortchange yourself of a full night’s sleep, you’re missing out on hours of collagen production, which can lead to your skin sagging and looking older sooner. You also won’t get the normal amount of blood flow to your face necessary to give you a healthy, rosy glow.

Lack of sleep also increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to breakouts. Imbalances in pH and loss of moisture are other common byproducts of sleep deprivation, and can wreak havoc on your complexion.

So go ahead and hit the sack a bit earlier to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep you need every night. And don’t forget the cardinal rule in skincare: never sleep without first removing your makeup.

Myth 5: Eating greasy foods will make you break out

You’ve probably heard this myth since you were a teenager: if you pig out on chocolate, French fries, or other junk foods, you’ll be promptly rewarded with an unsightly breakout. The old logic was that because oily skin tends to be more prone to imperfections, eating greasy foods will worsen your skin’s oil problems. In reality, oil in your diet doesn’t equate to higher production of sebum (your skin’s natural oil).

Don’t go throwing a parade through your nearest drive-thru just yet, though. What you eat still affects your skin. You are what you eat, and certain foods can trigger hormonal responses that may negatively affect how your skin looks. This is especially true for those that have food sensitivities or allergies. Research has shown that there are some foods that could aggravate problem-prone skin. If that describes you, try staying away from the foods and beverages listed below for a while to see if your skin troubles subside.

  • Refined sugars and processed grains. Simple carbohydrates are known to cause spikes in insulin, which messes with the hormones responsible for skin-cell growth and sebum production. More cell turnover combined with more oil can be a recipe for skin disaster.
  • Breakouts are typically connected to inflammation, and for people that have any level of sensitivity to it, dairy can really flare things up. While research is conflicted, milk, cream, and ice cream appear to have more negative impacts on the skin, while yogurt and hard cheeses tend to cause fewer issues.
  • You’re not going to want to toast to this: alcohol is a nightmare for the skin. Not only is it hard on the liver—the organ responsible for detoxifying your body—but it also dehydrates the body and the skin. Most cocktail mixers come with hefty added doses of sugar, which will cause the dreaded insulin spikes. And in case you thought red wine was exempt because of its noted health benefits, for a lot of people it can cause flushing of the face. If you’re going to imbibe, try not to go overboard, and drink plenty of water. Your skin will thank you the next morning—and in the long run.

It turns out that some of the advice your mother and grandmother gave you about skincare aren’t backed by science or reality. The good news is this golden age of skincare provides more options than ever to make the best choices possible for your unique skin.
















woman's face

woman's face

Your skin is unique. Nobody has the exact same skin as you. But you still fall into one of four major categories. And this skin type quiz will help you figure out how to characterize your unique skin so you can choose the proper skincare.

Before you take the skin type quiz, you probably want to know a little bit about your potential category. You could be:

  • Oily: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you have excess oil all over your skin, chances are you will come out of the skin type quiz with an oily designation.
  • Combination: Surprise, surprise. This is a combination of dry and oily skin. So, if your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) are oily and your cheeks are dry, your quiz result may say combination.
  • Dry: If your skin is flaky, rough and drinks up the moisturizer, you might take the skin type quiz and find you have dry skin.
  • Sensitive: Easily irritated skin—especially when you interact with new products or environments—is an indicator of sensitive skin.

You might feel like something’s missing—normal skin.

It’s true that a normal skin type is the most common. It could be described as having a balance of moisture, small pores, and few visible concerns. Basically, it’s what you imagine healthy skin looking like. It’s the kind of skin you’re either trying to achieve or trying to maintain with your skincare routine.

Normal skin isn’t included in the list or in the skin type quiz for a reason. Normal, healthy skin will still show some minor visible issues—the appearance of these expressions could increase with age. So, the quiz will help you tailor your skincare routine to your concerns or those you may face in the future.

Now you’ve read about the categories and you might have a guess about what your skin is. It’s time to answer the seven questions of the skin type quiz and find out for sure.