If you followed most of the skincare tips you’ve read in magazines and media over the years, you’d end up with little free time, even less money and a bathroom cabinet stuffed full of products.
But according to Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon from the Australasian College of Dermatologists, there are just six steps women need to follow throughout their lives for healthy, glowing skin.
And hallelujah, they can all happen on a budget.
Skin care tip 1: Apply sunscreen to your face. Every day.
Yes, you’ve heard it before and that’s because it’s critical to maintaining healthy skin.
Sun exposure not only puts you at risk of carcinoma and melanoma but also causes premature ageing. As the World Health Organisation points out, “Up to 90% of the visible changes commonly attributed to ageing may be caused by sun exposure.” This includes premature wrinkling, sagging skin and easy bruising.
You can wear sunscreen under your makeup or moisturiser, but here’s Professor Nixon’s best budget skin care tip: “Most likely, the sunscreen will do the job of a moisturiser, so you only need one product, not two.”
Skin care tip 2: Know your enemy.
It's important, Professor Nixon argues, to understand how the UV index works, so that you can protect yourself appropriately. She recommends downloading a smartphone app, such as the Cancer Council's Sunsmart to keep up to date on the day's conditions.
"Protect the skin of your body (by keeping out of the sun, using clothing, hats, sunscreen etc) when the UV index is 3 or more," she says. "Do not sunburn: this is dangerous for your skin. Do not tan: a tan is a sign of skin damage."
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Skin care tip 3: Don't forget your hands.
"Remember to protect the exposed skin on the backs of your hands, ears and front and back neck areas as well," Professor Nixon says.
"Many elderly folks complain about the unsightly sun damage on the backs of their hands and wish they had protected them. They are a common site for skin cancers to develop."
Skin care tip 4: Eat lots of natural, colourful food.
"A healthy diet high in vegetables and fruits is great for the skin!" Professor Nixon says.
Look for beta-Carotene-rich foods like pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as those containing lutein - think kale, paw paw and spinach. These potent antioxidants are important for normal skin cell development and maintaining healthy skin tone.
As are foods bursting with Vitamin C, like blueberries, broccoli, kiwifruit, oranges and strawberries. These foods help boost collagen and some studies even suggest they may help prevent and treat sun damaged skin.
Nuts and avocados are also a great source of healthy fats and Vitamin E, which help prevent free-radical damage and keep skin supple.
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Skin care tip 5: Wash your face at the beginning and end of each day.
Keep it clean, Professor Nixon argues, and be sure to moisturise according to your skin type.
"Don't use products that are too greasy for your skin, or you will get pimples," she says. "Similarly, use of toners may dry out the skin and cause over-moisturising."
Skin care tip 6: Adapt your routine as you get older.
"As women age, their skin may become drier, so they may need to use a moisturising cream at night. Such creams may have additional substances such as nicotinamide, anti-oxidants, peptides, glycolic acids and retinoids which may be beneficial for the skin," Professor Nixon says.
But more important than this is still sunscreen. In the end, it's the best skin care product out there, no matter what your age or budget.
What are your skin care tips? Tell us in the comments below.