By Joe Cloyes
We do a lot for our skin. Some days require more or less care than others thanks to environmental or other external factors, and we should always remember to stay hydrated (filling your reusable water bottles, of course), aim for a healthful diet (key healthy fats like omega 3s and reducing dairy and refined sugars will make a great difference in your skin,) and stay active. But when it comes down to it, there are five topical essential steps that support optimal skin health: a pH balanced cleanser, antioxidants, formulas that support skin cell turnover, strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier, and of course, sun protection.
Start with a pH-balanced cleanser
Our skin has a delicate yet protective acid mantle that has a pH of about 5.5. Using a cleanser that is pH balanced and formulated free of drying surfactants, like sulfates, will help keep the skin’s acid mantle functioning healthily. Think of it this way: you have to remove the debris that’s accumulated on your face from a day out in the world. A non-stripping, sulfate-free cleanser will provide the cleanse you want without stripping or drying out the skin.
The right antioxidants
Let’s start with antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and K. These ingredients can be useful in combating inflammation, helping to firm skin, and fending off free radicals which are known to cause premature aging, cell damage, wrinkles, and dark spots. They can even help repair sun damage. We’ve formulated our products so that each has the optimal amount of the antioxidant in question to protect your skin.
Skin cell regeneration slows as we age, and dead skin cells, if left on your skin, can make skin appear dry and dull, clog pores, and also prevent your other skincare from working as hard as possible (see more about that here). It’s why exfoliation—the right amount—is essential. Skin cell turnover through chemical and physical exfoliants removes those dead skin cells to reveal a more radiant, healthy complexion.
A strong moisture barrier
The skin barrier—the outermost layers of the skin—keeps moisture in and potentially harmful external aggressors out. A healthy moisture barrier, meaning a healthy balance of water and oil, means skin will appear plump and hydrated. Apply hydration first (meaning hyaluronic acid, reishi, squalane for example) and follow up with emollients like jojoba oil to lock it all in. You can improve barrier health with skincare that provides a balance of water and oil.
If there’s daylight, then the skin is susceptible to the damage of UVA and UVB rays, no matter your age or skin tone, even if it’s cloudy. Sun exposure is the cause of most visible signs of premature aging, cell damage, and even skin cancer. I can’t stress this enough: SPF is your essential last step in daytime skincare. Remember to reapply throughout the day!