24 October 2012

I Feel Pretty

I feel pretty, and witty, and gay!

I am, by no means, an expert on skincare but what I am about to impart upon y'all are the tips and advice given to me by friends who have amazing skin and their regular routine to achieving a healthy, beautiful face. I started a new regimen this morning with some of my favorite products and will hopefully have clearer skin by this Halloweekend, but if not I'll just cover my damn face with paint and be done with it. A big contributor to my constant breakouts is my consistently high stress levels which is why I, like many of you should be doing as well, am learning to breathe. It not only keeps us alive but also lowers our stress levels and increases our oxygen intake for a much healthier, happier you. So breathe, dammit!

After that preliminary step, the most important thing of which to take note is your individual skin type. Knowing this as well as the issues your skin has, such as acne, will allow you to determine the appropriate products to use on your skin. There are five types of skin: normal, dry, oily, combination, or sensitive. Let's break it down, shall we?
Normal Skin is smooth, firm, and is neither too oily nor is it too dry, with the occasional blemish. A simple cleanse, moisturize, and spot treatment gets the job done.
Dry Skin is tight, looks rough or bumpy, and is flakey in certain areas. This skin type is often caused by malnutrition and/or insufficient hydration. Second to breathing is keeping up your water intake so drink your fluids! Moisturizing is the key to treating dry skin; using a deep moisturizer, spot treatment, and moisturizing night solution works wonders.
Oily Skin is prone to blemishes, feels slightly wet, and looks visibly shiny. The best thing to do for this skin type is to exfoliate, use a toner, spot treatment, and moisturize.
Combination Skin brings together all of the different skin types and their annoying features, and is also the most common skin type. The t zone (nose and forehead) is often oily dryness around the cheeks. As the rest of the skin is pretty normal using an exfoliator, cleanser, spot treatment, and moisturizer is the way to go.
Sensitive Skin is the most difficult to treat because you have to thoroughly test products before committing to purchase and use them. This skin type easily burns, becomes irritated upon a dramatic weather change, reacts to certain cosmetics, and makes it difficult to treat blemishes. Using a moisturizer, cleanser, and spot treatment that are tailored to work with sensitive skin is the best way to go about treating this skin type.
Two very important, but often overlooked, things when handling ones skin on a daily basis are touching your face and picking at or popping pimples. Unnecessarily touching your face transfers dirt and bacteria to the area which can lead to the growth of pimples. Always wash your hand with soap and warm water before touching your face, or use a face towel or oil-absorbant paper. Squeezing pimples is not only painful but also makes the affected area look worse and leaves behind a scar. This does absolutely nothing to make your skin better, it only worsens it.

Upon walking to the health and beauty isle you will notice the cornucopia of different products one can use on their skin to make it smoother, tighter, younger-looking, etc. You really don't need all that crap. This is really where quality over quantity matters. Investing in the proper regimen is essential to promoting and maintaining healthy skin. The key things you'll need are a facial cleanser, toner, moisturizer, cotton pads, and a facial mask.

Unless you are acne prone and constantly have bumps, marks, or spots on your face opt for the more natural and gentle products as they are far less harsh than the chemicals used in brands such as Clean & Clear or Oxy which may strip your skin of the natural oils it needs. My favorite brand to treat my skin type is Neutrogena. I'm currently using Neutrogena's Rapid Clear Oil Controlling Foaming Cleanser, Foaming Scrub, and 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Toner, as well as their Oil Free Moisturizer and Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask.

If there's one thing you should take away from this article it should be this main lesson: cleanse, tone, and moisturize twice a day - once in the morning and once at night before going to bed. Repeating these steps daily allows your skin to breathe throughout the day and overnight without being clogged by dirt and other impurities.

The basic steps to performing this routine include, first and foremost, washing your hands with soap and warm water so as not to transfer any bacteria to your face, wetting your face with warm water to open up your pores and applying the cleanser in an upward, circular motion to get it deep into your skin. Be sure to remove all the cleanser from your face with a damp cotton pads, a sponge, or water, and following through by rinsing your face with cold water to close up the pores to prevent dirt from getting back in them and preventing the start of any blemishes, and finally dry your face gently with a clean towel.

Toners are used to restore the skin's natural pH levels which were probably altered during the cleansing. Doing this also helps your skin become more resistant against bacteria and other micro-organisms. Toners are especially useful when combatting oily skin but other skin types also benefit from a more gentle and sensitive brand. Apply a small amount of toner to a cotton pad a few minutes after cleansing and swipe it across your face, making sure to avoid sensitive areas like your eyes, and leaving it on to dry.

It is of the utmost importance to remember to moisturize after having cleansed and toned your face, even if you have oily skin. Doing so rehydrates your skin and allows it to heal itself over time. Apply a small amount to your skin after the toner has dried and gently massage it onto your face in a circular motion. It could be beneficial to also use an exfoliator once or twice a week to help remove dead skin cells which can clog up your pores. If you wear it, remove any makeup first before using an exfoliator, gently applying it outward circular motions and making sure to get into the creases of your nose where blackheads can develop.

Face masks are a great way to treat all skin types from blemish-prone complexions to dry skin. It's also a good time to relax and pamper yourself. Use a gentle, and preferably natural, facial mask once a week (or as instructed by the product details) on clean, warm skin and rinse it through with cool water. Another fun option if you're trying to save money or try a completely all natural approach is by making your own face mask!
There are several ways to create a homemade face mask, but one of my favorite recipes is is an oatmeal, yogurt, honey, and egg whites formula my mother taught me as a young gay. The preparation time takes less than five minutes and the all natural ingredients cleanse, soothe, and refresh your face.
Combine a tablespoon of finely ground oatmeal, tablespoon of yogurt, and 2 egg whites in a bowl an mix them together. Warm a tablespoon under hot water, add a few drops of honey to the warmed spoon, and stir it into the mixture. Apply the mask to your face and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off with warm water, rinsing your face with cool water to close your pores, and then finally applying a moisturizer.
That's it for my public service announcement on clean, healthy skin! Enjoy and don't forget to moisturize!

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