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The Skin Care Trifecta

We've all been there -- as we've grown up, the pubescent acne phase, and now, as we age, a new wrinkle here or a new freckle there.  While we may never be able to eliminate the effects of aging on our skin, we can certainly delay them.  In this issue we're going to talk about three simple daily rituals to keep your skin (all of it, not just your face) looking healthy and youthful.  A little of each one will go a long way to help keep your skin looking its best.  Simply put, you should cleanse, moisturize, and protect.  That's it.  Seriously.

To start, first we must cleanse our skin.  For the face, use a gentle cleanser recommended for facial use, preferably a noncomedegenic type (one that doesn't clog the pores), and for the rest of the body, a light body wash  to remove excess oil, dirt and debris from the skin.  You can even use baby shampoo or a sulfate-free shampoo.  Cleansing is an important step for improved skin condition since it provides an opportunity for your skin to breathe.  If you've ever had a cut or scrape, you know it's important to take the bandage off periodically to let it "get some air."  When cleansing your skin (especially your face), do not use an abrasive scrubber!  Use your fingers to gently massage and clean your skin.

Next on the list is moisturizing.  Many people fear this step since it involves the use of some `type of lotion.  My husband detests using moisturizers for the simple fact that most of the time they leave his skin feeling greasy.  Moisturizers are as unique as you are.  The key is to find the right moisturizer for you.  Next time you're at the grocery, don't just skim over the label looking for the "sensitive-skin" or "dry skin" variants of moisturizers.  Take the opportunity to really read the label and see what makes up the moisturizer

These first two steps are better done before bed, and the next step is more appropriate after you wake up, before you start your day and go outside.

And step three is the final trifecta -- protecting your skin.  Of the three, I'd say this is the single most important, and usually the most overlooked.  It may very well even be the simplest!  Before you go out in the morning, apply sunscreen.  Make it 15 SPF at the very least.  Find yourself one that doesn't have that signature at-the-beach-sunscreen aroma, otherwise the day you walk in late to work your boss may think you were actually catching some rays!  I find the NO-AD brand is a good cross between value, size, and low-aroma.

Real quick, let's go back over all this.  Before bedtime, cleanse your skin using the appropriate type for either your face or body, and make sure it's gentle.  When moisturizing, read the labels.  Find something suitable for your skin type and likes (e.g. oil free).  Finally, apply sunscreen.  Whether it's just your face, or all over, your skin, the largest organ of the body, will thank you