STEP-BY-STEP HOME SKIN CARE ROUTINE
by Dr. Sunanda Chugh
After several weeks of shelter-in-place at home, you may be wondering why your skin is not glowing as usual, especially considering you are not exposed to harmful pollutants or wearing as much makeup. Whether it’s the stress from COVID-19, comfort eating or eating more processed foods than usual, lack of exercise, or lack of a regular sleep routine, your skin may be appearing and/or reacting a lot different then it did a month ago.
In addition to practicing other types of self-care during quarantine, DIY skin care can help you look and feel better between appointments. Below our my 7 tips for exceptional skin care at home to keep your skin looking healthy, glowing, and rejuvenated before we return to our “new normal”.
1) Wash Your Face:
Although your face may not be exposed to the regular environmental pollutants and makeup, your skin still produces oils throughout the day. An accumulation of debris, bacteria, and dead skin can cause breakouts. Continue to wash your face twice a day with a gentle OTC cleanser like Cetaphil. Avoid touching your face, especially if you leave the house, and make sure to wash your hands before washing your face.
2) Exfoliate Your Skin:
I recommend exfoliating at least once a week to remove dead skin cells, which can build up and lead to breakouts. Exfoliating gives you a brighter skin complexion and allows your skin care products to absorb more thoroughly. It’s important to know your skin type before choosing the exfoliation method that works best for your skin.
- Sensitive skin may easily get red or sting/burn after product use
- Normal skin is clear and not sensitive
- Dry skin is flaky, rough, and may occasionally feel itchy
- Oily skin is shiny, greasy, and may be prone to acne
- Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others
If you have sensitive skin, I would recommend exfoliating once per week initially with a gentle exfoliant. Try St. Ive’s Gentle Smoothing Oatmeal Scrub or Cetaphil Extra Gentle Facial Scrub.
If you have dry, flaky skin, I would recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week with St. Ive’s Avocado and Honey scrub or a chemical exfoliant such as The Ordinary Lactic 5% and HA. Both exfoliate as well as hydrate.
If you have normal to combination skin, you can exfoliate every 3 days using SkinMedica’s AHA/BHA Facial Cleanser. This cleanser contains a combination of gentle acids, including Lactic and Salicylic acid, to gently scrub away dead skin and improve the appearance of skin tone and texture.
If you have oily skin, you can wash and exfoliate your face daily with Skinmedica’s AHA/BHA Cleanser. Using this product often will keep your skin looking its best without overwhelming your skin. However, if you have active or cystic acne, or if your skin is damaged with breaks/cuts/sores, avoid exfoliating as it may cause damage.
Skip the Toner
I am not a big fan of toners and do not think they are necessary. They often cause skin to get irritated and dry. If you have very oily/acne prone skin and wear a lot of makeup, you may benefit from a toner such as Clean & Clear Deep Cleaning Astringent after washing your face. Otherwise, a toner is not an imperative step for many people, especially if you are staying at home and not wearing makeup.
3) Keep Your Skin Young with Anti-Aging Serum
No matter how old you are, you can benefit from an anti-aging serum! Whether you are young and want to practice prevention, or older and want to delay the progression of the aging process, adding a serum to your skin care regimen now can help you avoid pricey treatments later.
One of my all time favorite anti-aging products is Skinmedica’s TNS Serum, which is an excellent all-in-one rejuvenating product with a lot of research behind it. TNS Essential Serum contains not only seven antioxidants such as vitamin C/E, green tea leaf extract, and Coenzyme Q10 to protect your skin against harmful free radicals, but it also touts a robust blend of growth factors to stimulate collagen production, minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve overall skin tone and texture.
4) Stay Smooth with Moisturizer:
Daily moisturizing after washing your face is vital for healthy, youthful skin. However, using the right moisturizer for your skin is crucial to keep your skin balanced. I recommend the following three moisturizers for each skin type:
For sensitive, oily, or breakout-prone skin, use Skinmedica’s Ultrasheer Moisturizer. This lightweight moisturizer contains a derivative of hyaluronic acid to moisturize sensitive skin without clogging pores.
For dry skin, multiple options with different benefits work best for you. HA5 contains a special blend of 5 hyaluronic acids to provide long-lasting hydration and reduce the appearance of fine lines, which is particularly good for revitalizing young-looking skin. Use this with the Rejuvenative Moisturizer, which contains a derivative hyaluronic acid, retinol, and Vitamin C/E for optimal skin health.
5) Protect Delicate Skin with Eye Cream:
It is crucial to take care of the delicate undereye area, which is the first area of the face to show signs of aging. One of my favorite products is TNS Eye Repair, which is a great cream for hydration and crepiness. It has anti-aging properties that stimulate collagen production for keeping the skin around your eyes looking its best.
If you struggle with dark circles or puffiness, I would highly recommend Skinmedica’s Instant Bright Eye Cream, which instantly improves your eyes’ appearance while also helping with fine lines.
6) Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen:
Even if you are at home and sitting next to a window, your skin is still exposed to the harmful UV A/B rays. During time at home, it is still important to apply sunscreen every day. My favorite chemical-free, mineral based sunscreen is Skinmedica’s Essential Defense Mineral Based Sunscreen, which is very lightweight and gentle for people with sensitive skin. Also, if you are like me and hardly wear makeup when you step out, this sunscreen is available in a tinted version that blends well with most skin tones.
7) Take the Next Step with Skin Lifting and Tightening:
Follow us on Instagram for two of my at home favorite techniques to help keep your skin firm while you stay at home and other tips for beautiful skin!
Maintain a Healthy Diet for Great Skin
Your diet has a major impact on your skin, so maintaining a healthy diet during quarantine is crucial for optimal skin health. As difficult as it is to avoid tempting snacks and desserts while you are at home, processed foods can cause breakouts and dull skin.
Excess refined carbohydrates and sugars cause the formation of AGE (Advanced Glycation End Products) molecules, which can damage your skin’s collagen and cause you to AGE faster. Foods high in dairy are common food allergens and can be pro-inflammatory. Lastly, reduce foods high in trans-fats such as cakes, cookies, and chips. In addition to being linked to weight gain and heart disease, trans-fats can also cause skin inflammation.
Be mindful if you are actually hungry or substituting your emotions with your diet. Incorporate foods with healthy fats, antioxidants, and Vitamin C as mentioned in my previous newsletter to keep you feeling and looking healthy.
Minimizing Stress and Maximizing Sleep
As mentioned also in our last blog, excessive stress and lack of sleep can cause flare-ups of acne, rosacea, and eczema. Exercise, meditation, or even just 5 minutes of slow, deep breathing can trigger the parasympathetic response and have an overall relaxing effect on the mind and body. You can also choose to do other things which relax you to reduce stress. For example, I find cooking and organizing relaxing.
Staying Hydrated is Key
I recommend continuing to drink enough water to maintain beautiful skin. For best results, drink the equivalent of half your weight in pounds (e.g. if you weigh 120 lbs, then you should be getting 60 oz a day or about 8 cups in water). Additionally, minimize excess alcohol and caffeine from your daily life, which are both diuretics and dehydrate your skin. Dehydrated skin ages faster and leaves your skin more susceptible to flare ups.
Healthy skin is the culmination of many good habits, and many of those habits have become even more important during COVID-19 isolation. Now is a great time to step up your home skin care routine and take your healthy habits up a notch to keep your skin glowing. Maintaining an at-home skin care regimen helps you look your best between appointments, so get started with your elevated routine today! If you have questions, we are always available for virtual consultations to help determine the best skin care routine for you. Please call 646-630-8932 to book a consultation.
Stay tuned for my at-home DIY facial and masque in my next post!
Dr. Sunanda Chugh,CEO and Medical Director of Anand Medical Spa. She is a Board-Certified physician with a special interest in Aesthetic Medicine, the impact of the aging process on facial structure and the body, as well as how these changes affect one’s self-image. She member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, the American Medical Association, the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the American Academy of Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine.