The health of your skin is an indication of your overall health. Your skin is the first and best defense from a whole host of outside invaders, but most potentially harmful viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms are stopped in their germy little tracks by its protective barrier. Additionally, rashes, blotchiness and even breakouts are often indicative of underlying issues from allergies to hormonal imbalances. That alone should be a good reason to take care of your skin. But, let’s be honest here, there are a ton of seemingly vain – though equally valid – reasons to do so as well. Because it’s flattering to get carded – especially in a well-lit room? Because Da Vinci couldn’t have painted the Mona Lisa on a dirty canvas so the same should apply for your makeup? Or because you want to live by the words of Beyoncé and “Wake up – Flawless”? Regardless of your reason, taking care of your skin is an important component of overall wellness – and establishing a skin care routine that works for you is an essential part of that. Know Your Skin There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to skin care. Before you start filling your online cart with the latest and greatest skin care products that the Internet has to offer, you should start with a good understanding of what your skin is in order to decide what it needs. For instance, what works for oily skin would just exacerbate problems with dry skin. Part of the Routine A skin care routine doesn’t need a whole bunch of steps to be effective. In fact, it can be as few as two: washing and moisturizing. “Usually, a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser followed by a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer is all one needs in a skin routine,” explains says Dr. J. Mark Jackson, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Louisville. “What’s most important is choosing products that make sense for your skin; if it tends to be more on the dry side, then use more of an emollient-based moisturizing cream.” Change with the Seasons You may find that your summertime staples just aren’t cutting it in the dead of winter. As seasons change, your skin care regimen may need to as well. “Some things don’t change seasonally, like the daily use of sunscreen,” says Dr. Jackson. “However, winter typically brings dryer air, so your routine will emphasize keeping your skin hydrated and reducing further drying. If you usually use lotions with retinol or alpha hydroxy – which can be drying – they may end up irritating or worsening dry skin during the winter months.” Just as no two people are the same, no two skin care regimens should be the same. The key is to find a routine that works with your biology, goals, and lifestyle. If trial and error isn’t your thing, you can always visit the skin care experts at Forefront Dermatology for some guidance. To find the Forefront physician nearest you, visit the Locations page today.