Skin is the largest organ in the human body; it also happens to be our canvas, and it is often the first thing we notice about another person. According to research conducted by Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov from Princeton University, the brain is extremely quick to form a first impression of those we look at, based on their facial features; it only takes a mere one tenth of a second (592). Therefore, it is important that we care for, and “listen to” our skin, so we can present it at it’s best state. Even if you don’t have time to put makeup on one morning, a fresh, healthy vibrant complexion can take over. Gentlemen take note: proper skin care is not just for women, it’s just as important for you as well!
There are a number of ways a healthy complexion can be achieved. Firstly, and probably most importantly, a healthy diet is required, which includes drinking lots of water and staying hydrated. Excessive sugar intake, for example, can lead to clogged pores, which can in turn lead to oily skin and breakouts. Secondly, an adequate amount of sleep (at least 6-8 hours a night, but this varies per individual) will do wonders for your complexion. It gives your body the opportunity to rebalance hydration. In addition, if you’re sleep-deprived, your body creates a stress hormone called cortisol which can lead to increased inflammation. Moreover, not enough sleep accelerates the aging process; sleeping literally fights wrinkles. If that’s not a good enough reason to get a good night’s sleep, I’m not sure what is. Thirdly, it’s imperative that you protect your skin from the elements (sun, pollution, makeup…). If someone has ever told you that it’s ok to wash your skin with hand soap, they were wrong; this can actually be extremely damaging and drying for your skin. There are a number of products you can, and should, use to help you care properly for your skin. Of course, everyone has a different complexion (dry, oily, combination, and everything in between), so it is imperative that you consult a skin care specialist to figure out exactly what kind of skin you have. However, there are a number of steps everyone should take when caring for their skin, for both men and women:
- A proper cleanser should be used every night before bed, to remove the detritus from the day (internal/external pollution, makeup, dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria from using your phone, etc.).
- A moisturizer should be used every morning (the right one for your skin is important, and a professional can help you choose the best kind for your skin). Despite your complexion, you should always look for one with an SPF built in, as the sun can seriously damage your skin over time. The type of moisturizer you use will also change throughout the seasons (a heavier one in the winter, and a lighter one in the summer).
- It is important to exfoliate 1-3 times a week depending on your complexion to remove dead skin cells. If you exfoliate too much, this will dehydrate your skin and will cause your oil glands to over-react.
As mentioned, consult with a skin care specialist or beautician to find out everything you need to know about the type of skin you have, but these three basic steps will help you put your best face forward.
Willis, Janine and Alexander Todorov. “First Impressions: Making Up Your Mind After a 100-Ms Exposure to a Face.” Psychological Science 17.7 (2006): 592-598. 11 Apr 2015.