When was the last time you took a good look at your skin without any product on it? In all its natural glory, in natural light? The horror! Have you touched it? Squeezed it? Poked it with a finger? A clean finger mind! Well, that took a weird turn…
How are you supposed to know if you are overloading or under nourishing your skin if you’re not checking in regularly? We have a habit of purposely NOT looking too closely until the moisturisers, foundation and concealer are on. Why do we go straight to the cover-up phase when we should be starting with the basics?
If you can find Chizu Saeki’s book: The Japanese Skincare Revolution – How to have the most beautiful skin of your life at any age, give it a read. It’s a back to basics look at skincare from an old-school beauty consultant. I used it as part of my research for this post.
Here are a few good habits that you can develop to get to know your skin.
Know your type
A lot goes into having good skin…a lot of what? Care and attention, that’s what. You have to KNOW your skin. Take the time to find out what your skin type is and which issues you are prone to. This will help you choose the products that suit you best.
Your skin won’t stay the same all your life so you can’t rely on the same products to keep it looking good year in and year out. According to Eucerin’s website, the basic skin types are as follows:
Normal Skin: You generally have well-balanced skin that isn’t too dry or too oily. Your pores are relatively small and you are not prone to blemishes. The skin is smooth and even without redness or discolouration.
Dry Skin: Your skin doesn’t produce as much sebum which means that its moisture barrier is compromised and it loses moisture more easily. The skin can be dull, tight or rough and in severe cases develop chapping and itching.
Oily Skin: Your skin produces more sebum than necessary or even excessive amounts in some cases. The skin can be shiny and thick looking with enlarged pores. It is also prone to breakouts and acne as well as blackheads.
Combination Skin: You have a difference in skin type between your t-zone and your cheeks. Generally an oilier t-zone and dryer cheeks. You may have enlarged pores and breakouts in your t-zone.
Check in with your face
Where to start? It’s good to check your skin over and find out where the problem areas are. Switch on that ring light that you use to help you conceal every spot and wrinkle when applying makeup. Take note of breakouts, pigmentation, sagging or wrinkles you hadn’t noticed before.
When you sleep, your body repairs and rejuvenates the skin. If you get enough sleep your skin should look pretty good in the morning. Maybe a little puffy because of water retention but if there are specific issues like dry patches or breakouts, it may need some external help from you.
Here are a few things to check for:
- Do I have visible dry patches?
- Am I very oily/shiny?
- Did I break out during the night?
- Does my skin look dull or tired even after a night’s sleep?
- Do I have dark circles under my eyes?
- Do I have dry or reddened skin around my eyes?
- Do I have red or blotchy patches anywhere?
- Is the one side of my face sagging or wrinkling more than the other?
- Do I have dark patches or pigmentation anywhere?
Touch and inspect:
Wash your hands and touch your skin:
- Is it springy and well hydrated? When you press your clean hands to your skin, do they stick a little and does the skin bounce back if you pinch it lightly?
- Does it feel warm or cold? Press your hands on your cheeks close to your ears and then on either side of your nose? Are you warm and rosy all over or cool and a bit pale?
- Is it dry or oily? Lightly sweep your fingertips all over your face. Does your skin feel dry or tight? Do you see exaggerated lines and wrinkles when you gently stretch the skin? Is there excess oil in your t-zone. Do you have a lot of bumps and open pores?
- Does it sting? Do you have redness, raw areas or broken skin anywhere? Do you have acne that is very painful to the touch?
- Is it puffy or swollen? Gently press around your eye area with your fingertips. Are your under eyes puffy? Are your eyelids swollen and irritated? Is your whole face puffy?
- Are there rough patches? Sweep your fingertips over your skin. Do you feel healing scars or rough, dry patches? Are there areas where the skin is flaky?
Check the corners: There are three sets of corners on your face according to Chuzi Saeki in her book The Japanese Skincare Revolution. The ends of your eyebrows, outer corners of your eyes and the corners of your mouth. These are the first to show signs of sagging and wrinkling. If you keep an eye on these areas you can tell if your eyes or mouth begin to droop or wrinkle.
Our faces are NOT symmetrical. There are differences in height and shape between the facial features. You are looking for sagging, wrinkling or significant differences in shape due to environmental factors or habits. Don’t go dissecting your natural features!
Take your mirror to the window and have a look at the three corners in natural light:
- Is one eyebrow significantly lower than the other?
- Does one eye droop more than the other or is one side more wrinkled?
- Are there wrinkles at the corners of your mouth or are the corners starting to turn down?
By checking in every day you decide which areas need a little more moisture, a deeper cleanse or some exfoliation. There are solutions for every skin problem but it’s best to treat them early. In saying that, the best time to apply treatment products to your skin is before bed so they have all night to work without interference from pollution or pore suffocating makeup.
Inspect away! In part two we’ll take a look at some simple solutions for everyday skin issues that you may spot when you take a closer look.