Skincare is three-pronged.
- Internal – what you eat and drink to keep skin healthy and glowing.
- External – topical – what you apply on skin’s surface.
- Mechanical – how you use your fingers and palms when you handle your skin.
While the first two are sacrosanct to effective skincare, the third arm of treating your skin gently is in fact the art of upping your skincare routine and this blog is all about that. It is about anti-ageing at your fingertips! But before that, a look at the skin changes that come with age.
As we grow older, changes like these naturally occur:
- Skin becomes rougher.
- Skin becomes slack when it loses elastic tissue (elastin) in the skin and tends to hang loosely.
- Skin becomes more transparent due to the thinning of the epidermis (surface layer of the skin).
- Skin becomes more fragile when the area between the dermis and epidermis gets flattened
- Skin becomes more easily bruised because with age blood vessel walls become thinner.
Face care has never been as important as it is today. The stress of life (blessed if anyone can escape that), pollution, lifestyle habits (read smoking, alcohol, late nights), processed food, harsher sun (depleted ozone levels) and exposure to blue light from electronic gadgets damage our skin every moment of the day.
Another aspect that has fast caught up with all ages and genders is makeup which is loaded with chemicals. Peeps, can’t do without it……..guilty as charged ! Now this is where the subject of my blog becomes so relevant. As I got more and more into makeup, I realised how much more I was handling skin. From a mere CTM (cleansing, toning, moisturising) regime twice a day, the number of times my fingers moved over my skin went up ten fold !! And then comes the ‘makeup removal’ part where most of the damage happens, because makeup is stubborn and we have been told to take every iota of it off.
So, the daily cleansing, toning moisturising routine coupled with makeup application and removal can take a toll on the skin if not done properly. I have put together quite a few donts that we all should keep in mind so that we do not abuse our skin.
Do not try to move the skin
Skin ages everyday as a natural process and tends to lose elasticity. Elastin fibres become slack and skin tends to hang loose. As a thumb rule, do not attempt to move skin, for you will only be adding to the damage. Instead, massage gently after applying a layer of lotion, cream or oil on the skin. Do not rub on dry skin, EVER !
Pat your skin dry, do not rub
After cleansing or just plain washing your face with water, avoid rubbing or wiping hard with a towel. Rubbing can irritate the skin. Years of tugging at the skin can add to skin losing its elasticity. Use a soft towel and gently dab it all over your face for the water to get absorbed. It is good to let your face remain damp in order for your serums and moisturizers to sink in better.
And while we are on the subject of towels, use a separate towel or napkin for your face. If that is not possible, begin by wiping face first and then go on to the rest of the body. Different micro-organisms live in different areas of your body and you certainly do not want facial skin to catch on any infection.
Do not rub your cleanser or moisturizer in
Skin has its own capacity to absorb moisture in its own time. Rubbing it in is not going to accelerate the process, you are only letting much of the product get wasted all over your palms. Instead, dab the product on to your face first and then use a tapping motion all over. You could also gently press your palms across your face and give it gentle care.
If you are using cleansing oils or balms like the Clinique Cleansing Balm (for makeup removal), apply and gently spread the across face and neck without applying pressure. Then move wet cotton pads in upward and outward strokes to wipe away the disintegrated makeup.
Stop frowning so often
Repeated facial movements like frowning and smiling are inevitable, however they do cause fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead, around the eyes and mouth. Skin cells get squeezed repeatedly due to facial expressions and as skin loses its firmness, wrinkles form where it has been squeezed. While smiling and laughing are healthy, frowning is not, both to your skin and to your mood. Likewise avoid squinting your eyes too often.
How to avoid sleep creases
Sleep creases are also unavoidable, they creep in by the way we position our head on the pillow. And as skin loses its elasticity, the creases become more prominent. But what you can do is to cultivate the habit of changing sides and not sleeping on one side most of the night, or all night long. Sleeping on your back is a solution, but how many of us can do it ? I can’t, myself !
Do not apply pressure on eye area
Skin is at its thinnest around the eye area and it needs extra care while handling it. Its one of the first regions of the face to show signs of ageing. Loss of fat around the eye area is a natural part of ageing and results in loose skin. Tugging and pulling at it can accentuate fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes. Always employ movements and strokes that lift the skin, never drag it down.
Pulling on the skin aggressively while wearing contacts, applying or removing makeup can stress out collagen and elastin fibers, thereby causing visible lines and wrinkles.
Be gentle with your eye area whatever you do. Always apply eye serums and creams in a dabbing motion with your ring finger
if possible (must).
Take extra care of your neck
The above principle of not tugging and pulling at the skin applies equally when it comes to the neck region.
Do not touch your face skin unnecessarily
The only time you should touch your face is when you are giving it gentle skincare or during and after makeup. At all other times, just let it be.
Most of us are in the habit of cupping our face in our palms when we are either sad, worried or stressed or even when we have to concentrate. Cupping soon turns to dragging it. We do that inadvertently and end up stressing our skin (even when you are smiling).
Remember what you read earlier on in the blog on the ill effects of pulling and tugging at the skin.
Do not forget to wear sunscreen, EVER
Sun damage, damage control and sun protection is my pet topic, but that probably needs a separate blog by itself. Till then, suffice it to say that rain, sun or shine, indoors or outdoors wear an appropriate sunscreen and stay safe. In fact, sun protection should be the number one anti-aging tip !!
Friends, while prevent, repair and reverse need some understanding of the dynamics and mechanics of face care, it is never too late to start. The idea is to preserve for as long as possible what nature has gifted us with. When the inevitable happens, that of ageing coupled with gravity, the best we can do is to offer nature a helping hand.
Share in the comments if you all have more suggestions on this subject.