WHY SKINCARE MATTERS
Healthy, radiant skin does more than look good. Not only is it the first line of defense against infection, healthy skin portrays a sense of wellness that people respond to. People like healthy people; People that take care of themselves. You’re more than just attractive, you’re disciplined. You’re intelligent. You take good care of your body. You’re the kind of person people want to be around.
Think of Skincare as an investment in yourself, the benefits of which you will enjoy for years to come. Decades later, you can be the person that people point to and say “ I wish I had those genetics.” Or “They’ve aged well!” The truth about ageing well, and great genetics, is that it often has more to do with how well you took care of yourself in your youth, when everyone has smooth, supple skin. Even if it means treating certain skin issues to bring back the natural balance. It is one thousand percent easier to maintain the skin you have, than create the skin you don’t. So start now, just a few minutes a day will pay dividends in terms of health and beauty later on.
But what is good, well-executed skincare? Is it just dabbing on a moisturizer every night before you go to bed? Staying indoors and out of the sun? The truth is, skincare — like an investment — gives you back however much you put in.
But, we’ll make it simple for you.
In the following step-by-step guide, you will learn everything you need to know to keep your skin looking young and healthy for years to come.
HOW TO TAKE COMPLETE CARE OF YOUR SKIN
While everybody’s skin is different, it’s not exactly apples and oranges either. There are definite, clearcut commonalities between people of all skin types and while we will get into the differences in caring for oily vs dry skin later on, first we will go over a skincare routine everyone should follow, based on a set of proven, tried and tested skin care principles.
The first thing you need to establish is a set routine to make your skincare run like clockwork.
YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
The first step in your morning routine involves a good Cleanser to get rid of the dirt, grime, and dead skin cells (excess sebum) that build up on your face at night. A good cleanser gently removes the icky stuff and opens up your pores and prepares your face for the next step.
The next step is a good toner to wash away remnants of the cleanser and any remaining traces of makeup or grime. The toner’s primary job is to minimize the visibility of your pores, leaving your skin more radiant, while treating the delicate pH balance of your skin. The kind of toner you should use depends on your skin type — oily skin types should look for a stronger, Astringent Toner with a decent proportion of alcohol in it to break down those excess lipids on the skin; while those with dryer skin would want a gentle toner with water, a humectant, and little to no alcohol in it (<10%) to prevent dehydration.
Next up is the stage most of us are familiar with, and probably something you use already: Moisturizer. But are you using it properly? Moisturizers, apart from working as the name suggests, act as a barrier between your skin and the environment; keeping things out, and keeping things in. any dirt, oil, or grime left on your skin becomes sealed alongside the moisture, leading to acne, infections and irritated skin. That’s why the cleanser and toner combo is absolutely critical before applying your moisturizer!
Finally, the last step — and the one most often overlooked — is a good quality sunscreen. A lot of people think they only need sunscreen at the beach, or for a summer day at the park. Wrong. Oh so very wrong.
Photodamage is primarily caused by two components of sunlight: UVA and UVB rays. The former UVA, is nicknamed the Aging rays, is responsible for dark spots, wrinkles and dryness that dulls and withers your skin, making you look older faster. UVB or the ‘Burning’ Rays, are named for their ability to tan and cause sunburns.
Glass filters out 97% of UVB rays, but only a third of UVA rays, meaning it’s pretty hard to get a tan just by choosing the window seat, but you’re still awash in the UVA-rich light permeating your home, accelerating your skin aging. That’s why it’s important for everyone, everywhere, to use a decent sunscreen at the end of their morning skincare regime.
Apply high quality, SPF 50 sunscreen after you’ve cleansed, toned, and moisturized and your skin will be clean, enriched, and fully protected for the rest of the day.
YOUR EVENING ROUTINE
Your evening routine will be similar to your morning routine. Start with a cleanser to remove the environmental pollutants, makeup and other damages of the day, use a toner to refresh your skin and release the pores, and finish up with a moisturizer to soften and hydrate. You don’t need sunscreen at night — shocking, right? Right before bed happens to be the best time to apply an under-eye cream to combat fine lines and wrinkles like crow’s feet. This is also the right time for a nice Vitamin C serum or cream. Vitamin C is a wonderful ingredient to reverse photo damage and dark spots which cause premature ageing. However, another thing to note is that Vitamin C is innately photosensitive and breaks down quickly in sunlight, so any products you apply with higher vitamin C content should come in a dark bottle with a pump lid to minimise exposure.
YOUR TWICE WEEKLY EXFOLIATION
Aside from your daily routine, we recommend a weekly, or twice-weekly exfoliation regime to keep your skin renewed and enhance the effectiveness of your daily regime. Read on to find out how exfoliation works, and what kind of exfoliation is suitable for your skin type.
What is Exfoliation?
Unlike diamonds, skin cells don’t last forever. They die, get used up and need to be shed away to make place for new layers of skin. Exfoliation is the process of using either a mildly abrasive substance or chemicals to completely remove this layer of dead skin cells so your skin is lighter, more radiant, and more receptive to topical treatments.. This improves the efficacy of your daily routine, keeps your pores unclogged and your skin’s collagen production up so you have that radiant ‘glow’ everyone wants.
How do you exfoliate?
There are two ways to exfoliate your skin. Physical Exfoliation, which relies on the mildly abrasive properties of granular scrubs to sort of “brush away” dead skin cells, open up your pores, and prevent acne. Chemical exfoliants on the other hand, as their name suggests, use a variety of specific chemicals such as AHAs and BHAs in the form of cleansers, toners, serums etc remove dead skin cells and reveal fresh and soft clear skin.
You can make your own natural, high quality facial scrub at home with any mildly abrasive substance suspended in a milky medium. Grab some almonds, oatmeal, walnut, or dried orange peels, stick them in a grinder, mix it with any kind of milk you prefer, and voilah! You have a beautiful and effective facial exfoliant without any harmful or synthetic additives.
Once you have your exfoliant, apply it on your skin with a gentle — and we mean GENTLE — circular motion. You’re not scrubbing away a bathroom floor. You’re treating your delicate facial skin with tender love and care. Over-exfoliation damages the skin, leaving micro tears that lead to skin dehydration and defeating the entire purpose of the exfoliation. Avoid overly abrasive scrub particles like salts and sugars — these are great for the rest of your body, where the skin is tougher, but with the face, stick with something more mild.
Chemical Exfoliants are excellent for evening out skin tone and reducing inflammation — key components of acne, discoloration, and wrinkles.
The ones to look out for are AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) such as Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid or Malic Acid and BHA’s (Beta Hydroxy Acids) such as Salicylic Acid. Derived from fruits and vegetables, AHA’s are water-soluble acids excellent at improving the texture of your skin and its evenness of tone by peeling away the outermost layer, sometimes in its entirety. AHA is considered a primary anti-aging exfoliant for its comprehensive ability to reduce wrinkles, improve tone and texture.
An important thing to note while using AHA’s is that by peeling away layers of dead skin, the fresh new skin is temporarily exposed and more susceptible to sunlight and photodamage — which can cause heightened irritability so make sure you’re using that sunscreen we told you about!
While AHA may carry the laurels as the best anti-aging exfoliant, BHA is excellent for reducing inflammation, making it an excellent treatment for specific issues like acne or oily skin. BHA’s are oil-soluble, which allows them to penetrate deeper layers of the skin compared to AHA’s. This makes them extremely effective for people with oily skin, for it allows the BHA to reduce inflammation and hydrate deeper layers of the skin. The most common BHA is salicylic acid which is found in a number of anti-acne products.
Remember, Holistic Health is Key
To take care of your skin through winter, summer and the seasons in between, the best thing you can do is simply stay healthy. A good skincare regime is half the battle — the other half is treating your body with the respect and attention it deserves. This means taking care of yourself year-round; Drinking water to stay hydrated; Exercising to promote healthy blood flow to your tissues and encouraging shedding of skin cells; Eating healthy, whole foods to give your body the nutrients it needs to repair itself. A diet rich in antioxidants and the vitamins you need will do wonders for your overall health and beauty, as will avoid smoking and excess alcohol. Get a full night’s sleep. And, perhaps most importantly, practice stress management. Learning how to deal with stress and anxiety, whether through meditation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or regular gratitude exercises can take years off your body, mind, and soul.
What is your Skin’s Microbiome?
Living on the surface of your skin is a complex community of bacteria and other microorganisms. Now, that might sound gross, but don’t go dousing your face in rubbing alcohol and bar soap. In fact, that’s just about the worst thing you can do.
While we normally associate bacteria with germs and infections, there is an important difference between good and bad bacteria. Around 500 different species of microflora are present on the microbiome of your skin, many of which serve important functions that protect us and keep our skin healthy. This is why we have antibiotics, designed to kill harmful bacteria, and probiotics which encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. The interactions of the ‘good guy’ bacteria going about their daily lives on your skin are what keeps it healthy, like a small town of microflora working hand in hand to care for the land. They break down vitamins and produce acid compounds like lactic acid that lower the pH and help prevent the growth of more harmful bacteria.
How to Keep your Skin’s Microbiome Healthy
That friendly little town of microbes living on your skin are quite sensitive to their surroundings, and it's your job to help them help you. Using things like bar soap, or going overboard with exfoliating, or letting your diet get out of control can disrupt the delicate balance those microbes depend on. It doesn’t matter if your face is caked with makeup or you’ve been sweaty and grimy all day, more isn’t always better when it comes to facial skincare. In fact, quite often it's the opposite.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
Why Organic Skincare Products are Better for Your Skin
Organic skincare products are more effective because they contain less synthetic ingredients and other unwanted byproducts that damage your skin. Synthetic ingredients are cheaper to produce,, which helps businesses lower costs, but does nothing to improve the quality or safety of the products themselves.
Chemicals like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are ubiquitous across our shelves today because they create a ton of foam and lather, making it seem like a powerful and effective cleaning product. In reality, SLS and SLES can damage the skin, eyes and even irritate the lungs when used over long periods of time. SLS and SLES are derived from petroleum and products that use them contribute to pollution, climate change, and global warming. SLS and SLES products are also used on animals to test the level of irritation to the eyes and lungs — and studies have found they contain carcinogenic chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer in said lab animals.
Also keep an eye out for Parabens, preservatives that extend the shelf life of products for years and years but which also penetrate your skin and remain there for just as long. Parabens are considered harmful for their ability to mimic oestrogen, resulting in hormonal imbalances that may even be responsible for encouraging breast cancer.
Amazingly, formaldehyde — a group of chemicals with a variety of uses, including the preservation of dead bodies — is another harmful, known carcinogen present in a wide variety of cosmetics. Shampoo, especially infant shampoo, nail polish, and liquid soaps are especially common sources of formaldehyde in its many forms.
All in all, it can be hard to keep track of which chemicals are in what products, especially since each chemical can go by numerous names. Formaldehyde can go by glyoxal, quaternium 15, hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, hydroxymethylglycinate, polyoxymethylene urea, and many more nasty names. Thus, it is important to pay attention to the ethos of the brand you subscribe to.
At Nesara by Nicky, we use none of these additives in any of our products. We use only natural, unadulterated goodness from sustainable sources because we believe in the power of nature; that anything you use on your body should be made with the stuff of the Earth from which we came.