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Getting started with a skincare routine can be overwhelming. There are so many different products on the market, it’s hard to know where to start – which products do you really need, which are best for your skin in particular, and what’s the best way to use them?

With so many options (and some of them complicated or expensive), some people give up before ever getting into a routine. It can be tempting to throw up your hands and say, “How important is skincare, really?” 

But the answer is, “Actually pretty important.” Let’s take a look at why skincare matters and some basic skin and skincare facts you should know.

Here’s Why Skincare Is So Important

The short answer:

  • Your skin protects your body
  • Maintaining healthy skin is part of long-term preventative care
  • Your skin is part of how you present yourself to the world
  • The health of your skin and microbiome affects how you feel

The long answer:

Your skin is your body’s first line of defense against the dirt, germs, and bacteria we encounter just by going about our days. The better you take care of it, the better it can do its job, and the better it (and you) can prevent long-term health issues. That means using sunscreen, keeping your skin hydrated, and treating infections and blemishes, including acne. Knowing your skin means knowing when something’s not right – which can help you jump on problems before they become something more serious. 

Besides, whether we like it or not, our skin is one of the first things other people see. The confidence boost you get from looking in the mirror and seeing smooth, clear skin can radiate into the rest of your life. You can feel the effects of good skincare both inside and out. 

Let’s take a closer look at skincare’s impact on your overall health, as well as the right combinations of good products, a nutritious diet, and healthy habits that can make your skin—and the rest of you—the best they can be. 

How Does Skin Protect the Body?  

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it helps to understand how it works and why we need it.  

Your skin acts as a barrier between your body and the outside world, protecting you from any harmful pollutants and bacteria. Keeping it healthy both affects your complexion and benefits everything below the surface. 

Let’s get a little scientific: The outermost layer of the skin is called the stratum corneum. It contains specialized proteins and lipids (think healthy fats and vitamins) that seal in moisture, protect us from UV rays, and ward off bacteria.  

The stratum corneum thrives on cleanliness and hydration, which ensure the skin is not only looking youthful and clean but also doing its best job protecting the body. 

Ok, Skincare Matters. But Which Skincare Products Are Best?  

Great question! The trouble is that everyone’s skin is so unique, it’s hard to answer directly in a way that makes sense for everyone. As a first step, you should figure out what type of skin you have. That way, you’ll be able to narrow down which products you should use. 

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recognizes four basic skin types

  • Oily Skin: Your sebaceous glands produce more sebum, or oil, than your skin needs to stay hydrated, giving it that shiny, greasy feel. 
  • Dry Skin: Just the opposite. Your sebaceous glands don’t produce enough oil, so your skin looks dry and has tight, flakey areas. 
  • Sensitive Skin: Your skin gets irritated easily. It turns red when exposed to the wind and the sun, or when you introduce new products. 
  • Combination Skin: Your skin has both oily and dry areas. 

Searching for the right combination of products? Once you know which type of skin you have, check out Dermala’s Skin Quiz, which can help you find the right products like moisturizers and cleansers for your unique skin. 

Skincare Starts With A Skin-Friendly Diet  

Just like the rest of the body, skin requires the proper nutrition to function at its best. A diet high in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats—and low in processed sugars—will have the same positive impact on your skin as it does everywhere else. Studies have shown that your diet can make a real difference in fighting acne and slowing signs of aging

Everyone’s dietary needs are different, but a good place to start is to introduce pre- and probiotic foods that give your body an extra dose of good bacteria. Probiotic foods are fermented, like kimchi and yogurt, and prebiotic foods include the following: 

  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Root vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • And many more!

These foods help feed the good bacteria in your gut that help reduce inflammation throughout your body, helping prevent acne and keeping you feeling your best (just don’t eat anything that you’re allergic to!).  

3 Easy Habits For Getting Started With Skincare 

Here are a few easy behaviors that can make a big difference in your skin’s overall health:  

  1. Wear Sunscreen: The sun’s UV rays can cause premature signs of aging. A broad-spectrum, high-SPF sunscreen will block out those rays and keep your skin looking youthful. 
  2. Wash Your Face Daily: Washing your face removes all the dirt, debris, and excess oil that accumulate on your skin throughout the day (and often lead to breakouts). A gentle cleanser with microbiome-boosting probiotics will get the job done no matter what skin type you have. 
  3. Get Some Sleep: “Beauty sleep” is no myth. Studies have begun to link chronic poor sleep with increased signs of aging and diminished skin barrier function. 

And That’s Why Skincare Is Important – And How To Get Started

So, there you have it! A combination of finding the right products, introducing some new foods to your diet, and making a few new habits can do a world of good for your skin. 

Plus, as we’ve seen, your skin is connected to so many of the body’s systems that keeping it healthy often has benefits elsewhere too. 

However, it’s important to remember that not everyone’s skincare and dietary needs are the same. A conversation with your doctor will help determine what specific steps you can take to get your skin looking happy and healthy in the new year. 

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