By Matilda Davies
You would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t want to improve the look and feel of their skin. Great and effective skin care requires mindfulness, commitment, and routine. While we can’t totally prevent exposure to damaging sunlight and the chemicals and bacteria that build up on our skin during the day, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate their effects—and the best skin care begins first thing in the morning before we expose our skin to the world.
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The good news is that the best morning routine for great skin is relatively simple. Here are the steps you should be taking every morning to achieve healthy, glowing skin all day long.
Great skincare begins the night before
Sleep has a profound effect on your skin, and lack of sleep can show up on your face in as little as one night. Research shows that getting a poor night’s sleep can lead to more wrinkles and fine lines, the appearance of dark circles under your eyes, puffy and swollen skin, paleness, and even unsightly drooping eyelids.
A great morning skincare routine absolutely begins the night before with a solid night’s sleep. You can improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep with mindfulness practices, like adding soothing fragrances to your room, using warm colors and soft fabrics, adding plants and soft music, and beginning a breathing and meditation practice.
In addition to making sure you’re getting the right quality of sleep, you should also make sure you’re getting enough: most adults will need between 7 and 9 hours each night.
Start with a glass of water
A warm cup of coffee is a part of most Americans’ daily morning routine, but there may be reason to opt for something else first thing in the morning. Staying well hydrated improves the health and look of your skin, so before you pour that cup of coffee in the morning, opt for a glass of water first.
Drinking water increases circulation, which means that your body is more easily able to flush toxins and impurities, especially from your skin. When your body gets dehydrated, your blood begins to pull water from your skin cells in order to keeps things flowing as they should. This means that your skin becomes dry, less elastic, and prone to wrinkling. By drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and especially in the morning, you can prevent breakouts, avoid dry patches and peeling skin, and even fight those unwanted wrinkles.
Maintain an overall routine to reduce stress
Stress is never beneficial to the health and appearance of your skin. Stress can cause breakouts, rashes, hives, and even fever blisters, and for those with psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea, stress can exacerbate those conditions.
By fostering and maintaining a regular morning routine, you can reduce stress that will not only benefit your skin health, but also your physical, mental, and emotional health as well.
Beginning your day with a routine that includes waking up slowly (without screens!), some rejuvenating exercise (even if that’s just a brisk walk around the block), meditation, and a healthful breakfast is a great way to practice morning skincare.
Use a gentle cleanser
While you’re sleeping, your skin produces repairing and valuable oils that keep your skin from being irritated and dry. Those oils are good, but you won’t need them during the day.
Wash your face in the morning with a gentle daily cleanser that’s dermatologist tested and does not strip your skin of valuable nutrients and does not include sulfates, parabens, comedogenic oils, soaps, and fragrances.
Take care, though, not to wash too frequently—your skin does need natural oils to stay moist, healthy, and glowing. If you have especially dry or sensitive skin, some dermatologists will recommend cleansing only once a day in the evening to remove the oils and impurities your skin has collected during the day.
Use a toner—but choose carefully
Toners get a bad rap, but a good toner is not an astringent that strips good oils from your face, it’s actually a hydrator that balances the pH level of your skin.
When applying toner, do so gently with clean fingers rather than with a washcloth or cotton ball or pad, whose fibers can actually act as an irritant for your skin.
Don’t forget sunscreen
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that everyone wear sunscreen on their face daily. The sun’s ultraviolet rays not only lead to fine lines and wrinkles, prolonged exposure can cause sunspots and can also lead to deadly skin cancers. The AAD recommends using a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays (these are called broad-spectrum sunscreens), has an SPF of 30 or higher, and is water resistant.
Because the skin on your face is more prone to clogged pores and dryness, be sure to use a sunscreen that is formulated for use on your face.
About the author:
Matilda Davies lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she writes about great homes, health, and wellness. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, and walking her dogs.