The skin care industry is packed with a plethora of products and professionals who all seem to conflictingly claim that such-and-such or so-and-so is the best. It can be a challenge to sort through all of the marketing promises and biased reports, but there are some general principles when it comes to skin care routine that almost everyone agrees on.
Regardless of what brands you love and what specific products you feel you can’t live without, here’s a basic overview of the steps involved when it comes to taking care of your skin. If you’re having serious problems that you feel can’t be solved on your own, don’t hesitate to talk to a dermatologist about what techniques and solutions might be able to help you in your specific circumstances.
Remove face & eye makeup
Just like the scientific mantra of “what goes up, must come down,” remember the unbreakable rule for cosmetics: what goes on, must come off!
If you put makeup on, then at the end of the day, you have to take it off. Leaving on products like foundations, concealers, eye shadows and mascara can block your pores, irritate your skin and end up trapping bacteria in between all the add-ons.
If you’re taking off mascara or other eye products, make sure to use an eye makeup remover for that gentle portion of the skin. If you’re taking off face powder and blush, you can use a less-targeted wipe or product to eliminate the makeup remnants.
Cleanse the skin
Use a face wash
After you have removed your makeup, use a gentle face wash treatment to cleanse the skin.
You likely want to stick with an oil-free option that’s made of natural ingredients that won’t dry out your face. Avoid products that contain harsh alcohols or that come from brands with non-transparent practices.
Watch your frequency
We should probably all get into the habit of washing our face every night, but those with dry and relatively-unblemished skin may find an additional morning wash is unnecessary. We know the downside of underwashing but we often don’t consider the negative effects that overcleansing has on people without oily or combination skin. For some, an extra wash in the morning is not only needless but is actually harmful and the cause for creating a dry and unhealthy imbalance.
If you suspect some of these side effects, go ahead and wash your face like normal at night, but in the morning, just splash your face with plain, lukewarm water for a few days instead of using any cleansing product. See how your skin responds to the change in your routine and adjust your process accordingly.
Apply toner to oily skin
If you have oily skin and still feel a tad on the shiny side even after you’ve used a face wash and rinsed off, you can apply a toner to any parts of the face that could use some extra help like your nose, forehead and chin.
Treat troubled spots
For specific blemishes and breakout spots, you may be interested in using a medicated spot treatment to provide that particular area with a needed dose of an acne fighter like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. You can find over-the-counter solutions that contain such ingredients or you can visit a dermatologist for a stronger, prescription-strength alternative.
Moisturize the face and neck
After your skin is freshly washed and dry, apply a quality moisturizer onto your face and don’t forget to give your neck the attention it deserves as well.
Applying a light moisturizer in the morning and at night may suit you or picking out a special night cream for before bed might be optimal. Especially for those with dry skin, using a deep cream at night with time-release effects can help you finally get ahead when it comes to fighting dryness.
Exfoliate as needed
Perhaps on a weekly or as needed basis, your skin care routine should include an exfoliating treatment.
You may be inclined to pick up a special scrub or simply use a homemade recipe like lemon juice and sugar for gently rubbing your skin in circular motions to help remove the dead skin cells that are still lingering around.
Protect against the sun
No skin care routine is complete without the addition of sunscreen. If you’re serious about having healthy skin, make sure you’re using products with sun protection in them.
If you’re not going to the beach but will just be going to and from work or running errands, having a moisturizer or foundation with SPF 15 or SPF 30 may be enough coverage for your face. If you need a sunscreen with more protection, opt for an oil-free and non-comedogenic kind that won’t block your pores or cause breakouts.
When out in the sun, remember to reapply sunscreen as directed by your particular bottle, which may be as often as every two hours. Also keep in mind that wearing sunglasses, a hat, long sleeves and pants can help in keeping your skin safe, protected and healthy.
Protect against yourself
As silly as it seems, sometimes we have to remind ourselves to not be our own worst enemy when it comes to skin care. You may have the cleansing and moisturizing steps down pat, but you forget that picking at your blemishes, especially with unwashed hands, can be extremely detrimental for your skin.
We can spread the existing bacteria, introduce new dirt and oil, disrupt the healing phase and leave our face scarred and irritated by doing so. Other times, it’s our negligence to wash our pillowcase weekly or to disinfect our cell phone regularly that keeps placing dirt and oil right next to our skin, preventing us from having the healthy and blemish-free look we so utterly desire.
Maybe our problem right now is not taking in enough water and necessary nutrients to allow the body’s natural skin cell processes to flourish, leaving behind dry and flaky results. Implement good habits so that you can approach skin care routine in a holistic and effective way.