The comprehensive guide to caring for your skin

All sorts of factors can affect your skin—diet, sleep and exercise as well as hormonal imbalances and environmental hazards, such as air pollution. Though you can’t control all these influences, you can at least eat well, exercise regularly and make sure that your skincare regimen is safe.

What type of skin do you have?

skin care woman

Most people have oily skin, dry skin or a combination of both. Take this quick test to find out what type of skin you have:

  • First, cut three strips from a sheet of plain, thin tissue
  • In the morning, before you wash your face, press one strip on your nose and chin, one on your forehead and one on a cheek
  • If any one of the strips becomes translucent and sticks to your skin, this indicates oily skin
  • If all the tissue strips are unmarked, you have dry skin
  • If the strips over your forehead, nose and chin (the ‘T-zone’) are translucent and the other one is unmarked, you have what is known as ‘combination’ skin
  • If you have combination skin, follow the tips for oily or dry skin below, as appropriate—you’ll need to mix and match the treatments to find out what works best for you. Try different products on the different areas of your face. You may find that light, oil-free products are best overall

Read more: Fantastic home remedies for your skin

 

If you have dry skin…

avocado dry skin
Avocado is very good for dry skin

Dry skin can be caused by underactive sebaceous glands, drying weather conditions, air conditioning and a poor diet. 

  • Ensure that you get enough essential fatty acids in your diet by using olive or flaxseed oil in your salad dressings
  • Try to cut down, or even cut out, your intake of fast foods
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and avoid eating processed foods as much as you can
  • Take vitamins A and D in the form of fish liver oil, fresh carrot juice and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in supplement form
  • Look after your skin by using the following natural ingredients in masks, washes, poultices or steam treatments: avocado (revitalises), carrot (moisturises; a good source of the ‘skin vitamins’ A and E), grapes (encourage cell renewal and brighten the complexion) and peach (soothing and anti-inflammatory)
  • Use a rich cream on your face night and day. Look for ingredients that are particularly nourishing and soothing, such as vitamin E and evening primrose oil
  • After a hot bath or shower, apply moisturiser all over your body
  • Avoid any skin products that contain alcohol, because it has a very drying effect
  • Try applying aromatherapy oils such as geranium, chamomile, rose and sandalwood.They can help soothe overly dry skin

 

If you have oily skin…

cucumber on faces
Cucumber has a cooling and toning effect on the skin

Oily skin may be the result of a high-fat diet, overstimulation of the sebaceous glands as a result of heat, or hormonal imbalances.

  • Eat more raw vegetables and fruit and take B-group vitamins
  • Use mildly astringent and toning skincare products, with ingredients such as lavender and witch hazel
  • Use toners or fresheners that do not contain alcohol. Stripping the skin of its natural oil (sebum) will only cause it to produce more
  • If you also have pimples, use herbs with mildly antibacterial and antiseptic properties, such as calendula, in skin washes and masks
  • To help rebalance oily skin, use these ingredients in skin treatments: cucumber (soothing, toning; helps bleach freckles), lemon (mild bleach, disinfectant with antiseptic properties) and tomato (soothes inflamed skin, rebalances skin acidity)

 

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