Your skin is a bellwether to your overall health. If you're not healthy, it will be reflected in your complexion. But that doesn't mean you should neglect your skin even if you're feeling fine.
In this article, we cover a wide range of skin-care topics -- such as hands and nails, makeup, perfumes and colognes, blemishes, and even homemade skin-care aids. We'll start with the basics.
Basic Skin Care
- Always wear a moisturized sunscreen when outdoors, winter and summer. The sun's rays can burn you even if the air feels cool, and sunlight reflected off water or snow can be particularly powerful.
- No matter what your skin type is, use a protective sunscreen when you are in the sun; don't expose your skin for more than 15 minutes. Don't forget to use sunscreen on your face and the back of your hands because these are constantly exposed to the sun's rays.
- Always remove your makeup before going to bed.
- If you usually wear makeup, give your skin a chance to breathe one day a week by going without.
- If your face tends to be puffy in the mornings, keep skin freshener, astringent, and cotton pads for your eyelids in the refrigerator for a quick pick-me-up.
- Rub moisturizing lotion on your legs before applying shaving cream for a smoother, softer finish when removing leg hair. Men who have normal to dry skin can also benefit from this technique.
- Use a humidifier to lessen the drying effects of indoor heat on your skin in the winter.
- Take baths in the evening to avoid exposing your skin immediately to outdoor air.
In the next section, we'll shift from the basics to something more specific: caring for your hands and nails.
Your hands and nails say a lot about you. If you care for them properly, you'll feel healthier. Consider these suggestions:
- When nails chip excessively, it may be caused by the use of nail polish remover. Leave your nails unpainted for a few days to see if the condition improves.
- When you're preparing anything with lemon and vegetable juices, which contain acids that are hard on your fingernails, rinse your hands often under cool running water.
- To break the habit of nail biting or cuticle chewing, carry a tube of cuticle cream with you. Whenever you start to nibble, put the cream on your cuticles instead. You'll promote healthy nails and possibly break yourself of a bad habit.
- To rescue nail polish that has become hardened or gummy, place the bottle into a pan of boiling water for a few seconds to get the polish flowing smoothly again.
- To soften cuticles, soak hands in a solution of 1 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon of dish-washing liquid.
- For an emergency treatment for dry, chapped hands, soak your hands in a bath of baby oil mixed with sesame oil.
- Apply hand cream before putting on rubber gloves to prevent your hands from drying.
While hands and nails are important, the face is of greatest concern for many people. In the following section, we'll provide several helpful makeup hints.
Your face won't look good if your eyes don't. Here's how to make your eyes sparkle:
Makeup can be a messy issue if it isn't used correctly. These no-nonsense tips should help you avoid problems with your makeup:
- In the winter, use oil-base makeup to protect your skin against dry, cold air. In the summer, switch to a water-base foundation to help moisturize your skin.
- When your mascara begins to dry out, run hot water over the tube for a minute to soften the remaining mascara inside.
- After applying mascara, dip a cotton swab in a little baby powder and sweep it over your lashes. Then apply a second coat of mascara. Lashes will appear longer and fuller.
- Dry milk can be used as a makeup remover. Mix 1 teaspoon milk powder with warm water and apply to your face using a cotton ball. Rinse clean.
Perfumes and colognes -- the topic of our next section -- are a key part of skin care. After all, they're what make you smell good.
Baths can be a great way to make your skin smell fresh. Try one of these ideas for your next bath:
Perfumes and colognes are a vital part of many people's beauty arsenal, but they need to be used wisely. Here are some details:
- Apply perfume and cologne to your skin rather than your clothes. Chemicals in the perfume may weaken fabric or change its color.
- A dab of petroleum jelly rubbed over your wrist or neck where you've put perfume or cologne will help the scent last longer.
- Apply perfumes and colognes before putting on your jewelry. The alcohol and oils in your favorite scent can cause a cloudy film on jewelry.
Blemishes are enemy No. 1 when it comes to skin care. In the next section, we'll examine how to treat and prevent them.
Blemishes are a reality for most people at some point in their lives. But they can be treated and, to some extent, prevented. Follow these tips:
- After your facial-cleansing routine, apply milk of magnesia with a cotton ball or pad to any acne blemishes. Let dry, then rinse off using cool water.
- To treat pimples and discourage blemishes, apply a mixture of calamine lotion and 1 percent phenol (available at a drugstore).
- Apply lemon juice to blackheads using a cotton ball. Leave the juice on overnight. In the morning, rinse your face with cool water. Repeat every night for 1 week.
- For acne outbreaks, apply lemon juice on a cotton pad several times a day to dry up pimples.
- Spread mayonnaise over your face, and let it dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water, then follow with a cold water splash. This treatment will help tighten pores.
- Honey speeds healing by killing bacteria. For an overnight blemish remedy, dab honey on the spot and cover with a bandage.
To make your own herb-scented skin toner, use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, and add the following flower or herb petals of your choice. Spray on the skin as desired to freshen.
For dry skin: violet, rose, borage, or jasmine
For oily skin: peppermint, marigold, rosemary, or lavender
For sensitive skin: violet, salt burnet, parsley, or borage
For normal skin: lemon balm, rose, spearmint, or chamomile
Many natural products in your home can do wonders for your skin. Check out these homemade skin-care ideas:
- For an easy weekly facial sauna that unclogs pores, add a few tablespoons of your favorite herbs to water and boil for several minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and use a bath towel as a tent while you let the steam rise to your face for 3 to 5 minutes. Then rinse your face with very cold water to close the pores.
- This treatment works well for normal to dry skin: Mash 1/2 of a banana in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon honey and 2 tablespoons sour cream; mix well. Apply to your face, leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
- For a toning and cleansing mask for normal to oily skin, add 3 tablespoons finely ground oatmeal to 3 tablespoons witch hazel to form a paste. Apply to your face and allow to dry for 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
- To make a toning mask, combine half of a small papaya, 1 egg white, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and mix in the blender until creamy. Leave the mask on your face for 20 minutes and then rinse with cold water.
- For a cleansing mask for dry skin, mix the yolk of an egg with 2 teaspoons mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. Apply to your face and allow to dry for 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water.
- For a skin-tightening mask for normal and oily skin, whip an egg white, apply to the face, and allow to dry. Rinse off after 20 minutes. Avoid this treatment on dry skin, where it may be too harsh.
- Remove flaky skin by dipping a cotton ball or pad in milk and applying it to the flaky patch. Rinse with cool water.
- For a softener for rough areas, such as your feet, knees, and elbows, mix a paste of 1 tablespoon finely ground oatmeal and cold cream. Apply it several times a week, and rub gently as you wash off the paste with warm water.
- For another softener for rough areas, mix 1/4 cup table salt, 1/4 cup Epsom salts, and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Stir constantly as you mix the ingredients. Massage the paste into rough skin for several minutes. Remove by bathing or showering.
- Repair cracked and chapped feet or hands by covering them with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, then wearing cotton socks or gloves while you sleep.