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  5. Japanese Skincare: Secrets Behind Their Youthfulness

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you look at a Japanese woman? Youthful, glowing, glass-like skin?

While every woman is beautiful and unique, Japanese women are known to have younger looking skin well past their young age. So, what is the secret behind their fabulous skin? Well, it's a combination of layers of skin care and healthy diet.

If you want skin that takes years off your face, read on.

Why Should You Consider A Japanese Beauty Routine?

Often, it is very difficult to tell the age of a Japanese woman. That is because, their skin care rituals and diet achieve a common goal -- younger looking skin for longer.

Besides keeping wrinkles and fine lines at bay, Japanese skin care products are also quite mild and go easy on harsh chemicals. It is not a very difficult routine to follow and even if you practice their routine with local products, you can get there.

Japanese Skin Care Routine - Day & Night

Japanese women follow the concept of hydrating and layering the skin with moisture through various products. Some of them focus on anti-ageing ingredients such as collagen to give you younger looking skin.

Instead of gel and foam-based cleansers, Japanese women use cleansing oils to wash their faces. The Japanese skin care routine includes cleansing only once a day to prevent the skin from drying out.

Ideally, the best time is at night before you sleep so that you can remove all the remnants of dirt, make-up and pollution that gets collected on your skin during the day. And because they prefer to do the cleansing in the night, they don’t need a strong cleanser in the morning. The mildest cleanser you can find will do the trick.

1. Morning Skin Care Routine

A. Cleanse Gently

Avoid using a strong cleanser in the morning. Use a mild, pH balancing cleanser. Gentle cleansers don't strip your skin of its natural oils and prevent the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

B. Apply A Softener

Toners with alcohol content can dry out the skin, while a skin softener can seal in the moisture and provide additional nutrients to your skin.

Take the softener in the palm of your hand and gently apply it on your face and neck. Apply moisturiser after the softener is absorbed.

C. Lotion Or Essence

You can even use a lotion or essence instead of a softener. They are a cross between a serum and a toner and are known as liquid hydrators. They help the penetration of products into your skin. You can alternate between the two.

The essence will help smoothen your skin by removing blemishes and it will plump it up too. The lotion, which is gel-based, can tone and hydrate your skin making it firmer. Some lotions also contain antioxidants to hydrate and nourish the skin.

D. Sunscreen Is A Must

You can either use a moisturiser with in-built sunscreen or use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before you use a moisturiser, during the day. It will protect your skin from the sun's UV rays and prevent early aging.

E. Collagen Rich Moisturiser

The use of collagen [1] in skin care products is a major trend in Japan. They even have collagen based supplements and drinks, masks and gloves too. While there is no researched proof that collagen in your diet leads to younger looking skin, Japanese women swear by it.

Look for anti-ageing day creams that contain collagen which helps to keep your skin supple and firm as it is one of the building blocks of younger looking skin.

F. Don’t Forget Your Eyes

The skin around your eyes is thin and delicate and wrinkles faster than other parts of your face. It is important to use a good eye gel to keep lines at bay. Try and get a lymphatic eye massage done if you are using eye gels regularly as it can help nourish the under eye area.

Gently pat a tiny amount of eye gel along the under eye area with the ring finger. Then starting from the outer corner, press gently, moving inwards towards the inner eye, the nose, and finish at the end of the eyebrows. Press your thumb there for a few seconds.

2. Night Skin Care Routine

A. Clean With Cleansing Oil

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and warm water. Make sure the cleanser is the gentlest you can find. Pat your face dry with an upward motion of the towel. This improves blood circulation thereby getting more nutrients to the face.

Follow it up with a light cleansing oil which has ingredients such as antioxidants to give additional nutrition to the skin. It will also help your skin glow while removing all the bacteria, dirt and make-up. Choose products that are not high in alcohol content.

B. Serums Help

Once you have cleaned and hydrated the skin with a softener or hydrator, use a serum to nourish your skin. Some Japanese products are full of antioxidants [2] that penetrate deep into your skin and give it the nutrients it needs.

C. Moisturise Well

After cleansing, use a moisturiser to get maximum benefits of the products used. It is important to choose the right kind of moisturiser which has plant based and mild ingredients that help nourish your skin.

D. Give Your Face A Massage

Get yourself a face massager and use it to massage your face. It helps to bring more blood to your face, which then brings nutrients to the epidermis, tightens the skin and reduces lines and wrinkles. Use it regularly for best results. You can do this while watching TV too.

Japanese Skin Care Tips - DOs & DON'Ts

  • The trick to applying any product on your face is by pressing it into the skin very gently instead of spreading it over your face. If you pull and drag your skin while applying a product, you will end up creating wrinkles.
  • The premise of a good Japanese skin care routine is layering. From the cleansers to the last step of moisturising, they believe in applying layers of products that nourish the skin.
  • Occasionally, leave your skin bare so that it can breathe. Product build up can clog pores and may also lead to dull skin as absorption reduces. After you have cleaned your face, don’t apply anything on some nights. The next morning you can apply a softener or a mask.
  • Apply a hydrating face mask a couple of times a month to increase the moisture in your skin.
  • Always choose products that are low in alcohol content as alcohol dries out the skin.

Japanese Diet For Healthy Skin

The Japanese follow a diet that is very low on red meat, fried foods, sugar and salt, which can cause inflammation [3] leading to redness and puffy skin. With a focus on raw vegetables and fish, rice and green tea, they ensure the foods they eat also assist in creating younger looking skin.

Their diet has balance and includes protein and nutrient rich foods. Some of the ingredients used in Japanese cuisine which you can incorporate in your diet are:

1. Tofu

A protein-rich food, it can be used in soups, on its own with sauce or in stir-fries and noodles. Tofu [4] is derived from soybean, has no cholesterol and has a larger quantity of the good fats your body needs.

2. Salmon

This fish is rich in collagen, the protein your skin needs to keep it firm. Salmon [5] contains astaxanthin [6], which has anti-inflammatory qualities and contains antioxidants. A good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, salmon can give dry skin a healthy dose of natural oil and moisture.

3. Green Tea

Green tea contains the antioxidants Vitamins C and E which fight the signs of ageing and remove free radicals from the skin. It also helps to increase benzoic acid [7], which is an anti-inflammatory in your body. It helps to reduce sun damage and puffiness.

The Japanese consume a lot of green tea in various forms and its soothing effects can help your skin look younger, besides removing toxins from your body.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta carotene that gets converted to Vitamin A when consumed and in turn helps to smoothen the skin and provide it with nutrients. You can eat it boiled or cooked like a vegetable or add it to soups.

5. Spinach

The goodness of spinach is well known. It contains lutein [8] that is beneficial to the eyes, beta-carotene, Vitamins B and C, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium, fibre and iron. How can you not include this wonder food in your diet?

6. Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that is easily absorbed into the body once ingested and processed. It is also good for the heart, which makes the blood flow more efficient, sending nutrients to the skin.

7. Walnuts

Most supermarkets in Japan stock walnuts; they are rich in Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids. A good option to salmon for vegetarians and vegans, walnuts protect the skin from cell damage.

8. Dark Chocolate

A cuisine that supports eating dark chocolate ought to be popular. Japanese consume dark chocolate because it contains polyphenols [9] and prevents premature ageing. You can even eat it as an alternative to red wine if you are a teetotaller.

9. Blueberries

While they are not native to Japan, or India, you can find the frozen variety in supermarkets. They are loaded with antioxidants more than other fruits and consuming blueberries regularly can protect your skin’s cells from environmental stress and pollution.

10. Kiwifruit

This fruit is a good source of Vitamin C which is an antioxidant the skin needs to produce collagen and remove the free radicals from the skin.

11. Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant is very high in water content, almost 99.5% of it in fact, and it contains enzymes, minerals and vitamins. You can consume it by mixing it with water or your juice. It is a source of hydration and can be applied onto the skin as a gel.

It is a rich source of Vitamins E, A and C and can help smoothen skin and remove discolouration and blemishes. It also improves the water content of your skin by adding moisture to the dried out areas, preventing wrinkles.

12. Seaweed

This wonder food is mostly associated with Japanese cuisine. It is extensively used in making sushi, miso soup and other dishes in its fresh or dried form. Seaweed contains humectants [10] which help the skin retain moisture and is a natural moisturiser.

It is a rich source of amino acids and minerals like magnesium and zinc. The collagen naturally present in seaweed helps reduce symptoms of chronic skin conditions like rosacea [11] and acne.

Wrapping Up

If you wish to have younger looking skin even at the age when most of us start getting lines and wrinkles, you might want to try the Japanese skin care regimen. Japanese women have a detailed routine they follow for their skin which gives them youthful skin.

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