The Beginning of Any Healthy Skin Care Routine Starts with 3 Steps
The first thing that any dermatologist will tell you about a healthy skin care routine, is that it should remain fairly flexible and depends on a variety of variables. Seasonal changes, hormonal changes, and changes can happen when visiting different parts of the world, as environmental changes will inevitably be experienced.
With all of that being said, “listening to our skin” is the key to coordinating the best skin care routine for the time period we’re in. From time to time, it’s a good idea to access what your needs are.
All skin care routines start with a foundation of 3 steps: cleanse, treat, moisturize. The middle step is where it can get complicated and/or involve a few different products. Treatments include a wide range of actions, like correcting puffy eyes and dark circles, or lack of hydration, and alleviating the signs of aging or discoloration. As one treatment might be designed for the face, another might be strategically formulated for the delicate eye area. Treatments can be simple or they can be complex in their purpose.
It’s a great idea to give each step and/or layer a minute or two to absorb and to allow actives to react, before moving onto the next step. I use these time increments to do other things, like brush my teeth, put my shoes on, etc.
Cleanser / Step 1:
Cleansing is the first step of any healthy skincare routine. The type of cleanser you use matters more than you think it does. If you are going to use a variety of treatments, a gentle cleanser is the way to go. If your skin is fairly normal and isn’t breaking out with acne, cleansing only once during the day is best recommendation. Too many people cleanse too much or too often or with a cleanser that's too harsh, and it will actually break down your skin barrier.
Treatment / Step 2:
Here is where you can address a multitude of issues with a variety of products. This category can involve toners, serums, eye creams, and products with specific active ingredients to correct any issues you’re having. Some of my favorite active ingredients? Vitamin c / magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, niacinamide, and peptides. Let’s touch on a few treatment options you might want to consider.
Toner is an optional step, but if you have a toner you like, you should absolutely use it. A toner can be a great way to add nutrients to your skin. It can also be an important step in balancing skin and controlling breakouts – depending on the ingredients. If you have acne-prone skin, look for a toner with ingredients like salicylic acid to keep skin exfoliated and calm breakouts. If you have dry or sensitive skin, opt for a hydrating toner to soothe, like calendula, chamomile, or licorice root.
I personally love a toner as a spray, as it can double for a cosmetic setter or refresher during the day.
Almost everyone needs an eye treatment, regardless of your age or where you live. Well rested, hydrated eyes can make a person look and feel so much more radiant and healthy. All good eye treatments will hydrate and strengthen the skin barrier, while correcting issues that exist. Some good strengthening or repairing ingredients might be hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamin c / magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, rosehip, GABA or glucosamine. Some good hydrating ingredients would be glycerin, hyaluronic acid (an all around excellent ingredient to have), almond oil, sea kelp, vitamin e, avocado oil, etc.
Serums and Other Miscellaneous Treatments
When it comes to skin care treatments, I do highly recommend something with vitamin c / magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Everybody should use a product with vitamin C (a stable derivative of vitamin c), regardless of your age, even starting in your 20’s. It can help reverse a lot of the damage that we get from the sun and pollution.
A treatment with other quality antioxidants is also highly recommended. Some antioxidants to look for? Vitamin e, pomegranate, rosehip, green tea, coenzyme q10, elderberry, cranberry seed, or sea buckthorn berry – just to name a few.
Another specific kind of treatment might be something geared toward acne control (salicylic acid or willow bark), or some ingredients geared toward correcting discoloration (niacinamide, arbutin, or kojic acid).
And finally, with treatments, this is a good phase to incorporate some peptides or other anti aging actives, like resveratrol, kinetin, etc.
Moisturizer / Step 3:
After you've treated your skin, it's time to moisturize. Moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated and helps strengthen your skin barrier. For daytime use, opt for a lighter moisturizer that will soak in quickly and won't cause pilling under makeup.
Yes, everyone needs a moisturizer, even if you have oily skin. Even though your body has its own natural lubricating system consisting of glands that secrete oil (or sebum) to maintain a protective coating against harsh outside conditions and infections, most of us do need extra hydration after the havoc that sun, weather and harsh chemicals wreak on our skin.
Most experts recommend that the best time to apply a moisturizer is while the skin is still damp, so the sooner you go through applying your serum and treatment, the sooner you’re able to lock in much-needed hydration with your moisturizer.
If you’re using an acne treatment, you may want to skip those areas when applying your moisturizer or save the moisturizer for later on in the day or hold off until it’s time for your nighttime skin care routine.
Nighttime Skin Care Routine
Your evening healthy skin care routine may be quite similar to your daytime routine, with a tweak or two along the way. You will not want to repeat some of the ingredients in the evening, to prevent irritation or agitated skin, like a glycolic acid product might bring.
Along the same lines as for daytime, stick with cleanse, treatment, and moisturize – in versions that can most beneficial when you’re home and have time to relax.
If you wear cosmetics during the day, it’s a good recommendation to use an oil based cleanser to help insure makeup removal is done optimally. A cleansing oil will work very well in this case. If that’s not a concern for you, your other two options would be a gentle cleanser again, or a cleanser that might contain some specialty active to help progress your skin care goals, like anti aging, acne control, or discoloration issues.
Evening is the perfect time to use an exfoliating ingredient or a product with retinol, since you won’t be exposed to sunlight and can reap the benefits in the comfort of your own home. Note to self: If you are going to use exfoliating ingredients and retinol, you might want to use them on separate nights, to prevent any mild irritation, unless you’re quite sure you won’t have that issue.
I particularly love this time to use ultra rich and hydrating products, like balms or oil based products, to do their magic throughout the night. If you have a couple of products you’d prefer not to use during the day because of the feel or texture, nighttime is the right time to try them out.
Moisturizer, particularly the heavier ones used at night, create a protective coating on the skin to prevent water evaporation while you sleep. Maintaining a high water content in the skin is key for healing and maintaining healthy skin. If you are using the right moisturizer, it should be your last step because nothing is going to get through it. If your skin is on the dry side, you may want to add a face oil as your very last step.
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Have any questions about how to plan your skin care routine? Reach out directly at any time: email@example.com