Your skin is exposed to many challenges during the day and, when functioning properly, resists most of these. However, the buildup of UV light, extreme temperatures, water loss, and superficial wounds can result in wrinkles and lost elasticity. A good skincare routine supports the natural behavior of your skin.
Everyone’s skin, and therefore skincare, is different. You may have oily, dry, or sensitive skin; you may have a unique combination of these. However, there are several steps that apply to most people. One of the first things you learn about how to start a skincare routine is to apply products in the right order. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the proper routine begins with washing, then adding skin-specific treatments and moisturizer. Finish with sunscreen. Some products are more impactful in the morning than later in the day, such as moisturizing SPF creams, and heavier products may block the absorption of lighter products.
Step 1: Cleanse and Rinse
Complete this step in the morning and evening to remove oils, dirt, sweat, and pollutants. Begin by rinsing with clean water and then applying a gentle cleanser, such as micellar water or cleansing oil, using just a little bit of pressure. Look for products without fragrances and with minimal ingredients. After massaging the cleanser in, use clean water to thoroughly rinse. If you wore makeup, your evening wash may need multiple passes.
Step 2: Exfoliate, Tighten, and Beautify as Needed
It’s up to you to decide whether these products will enhance your beauty. Exfoliants are available in physical and chemical formulas that remove oil and buildup. If you have sensitive skin, look for products that don’t irritate your skin.
There are many options when it comes to toner; these include hydrating formulas and exfoliators. The type of toner you choose determines when and how you use it. For example, hydrating toners can be used in your morning and evening routine. An exfoliating formula should only be used at night. Avoid mixing types of toners. You only need a few drops to cover your face.
As with toners, there’s a wide variety of serums with various results. Vitamin C serums add antioxidants and beautify skin affected by free radicals. Hyaluronic acid provides moisturizing benefits, and alpha-hydroxy or lactic acids offer exfoliation. However, it’s the carrier in the serums that determines how it is used. Use water-based serums before you moisturize and apply oil-based serums after your moisturizer.
Face masks are valuable from time to time but no more than once or twice a week. These hydrate, calm, and brighten skin.
If you apply eye cream, use it before your moisturizer. Use a chilled roller-ball applicator to neutralize puffiness in the morning and choose a hydrating cream for use at night. This may reduce the chances of fluid retention.
Step 3: Moisturize and Apply SPF
Whether you use a light lotion or apply a creamier product, choose something with a minimum SPF of 30. With this product, consider using a product without oils or fragrances for a moisturizer that is appropriate for many skin types. Some beneficial ingredients include hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and vitamin C. Consider your skin type to determine the right option.
Step 4: Top It All With Sunscreen
Even though some of your other products contain SPF ingredients, sun protection is one of the most important ingredients in an effective skincare routine. Apply sunscreen last and wait at least 20 minutes before venturing outside, even on days when you can’t see the sun.
Your routine doesn’t need to be complex or overwhelming, although walking down the skincare aisle can make it feel that way. Stick to cleansing, moisturizing, and adding sunscreen if that is all you have time for initially. For lasting results, be patient and consistent. Dermatologists recommend at least four to six weeks before you notice results. As you care for your skin each morning and evening, you’ll maintain the beauty that comes naturally to your skin.