We have all struggled with finding the right skin care routine. Up until recently, I didn’t even know I needed to have a routine! I used to just wash my face (if I didn’t fall asleep first) and slather on some pimple cream if needed. In the morning, I’m pretty diligent about putting on sunscreen but that’s about it. I still have acne and plenty of scarring, but I’m also starting to get fine lines on my forehead. So what kind of routine should I have?
First, you need to identify what kind of skin type you have (oily, dry, combination, acne, aging, sensitive), then you need to decide which products will work to address your individual needs. I think the difficult part of finding a routine is that it is completely individualized. I always like hearing other people’s skincare routines or what products they use, but it may not be the best for my skin. You need to do your own research and you may need to do trial and error until you find what works for you.
After doing a lot of research, I’ve decided on a routine that consists of a cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer (with SPF during the day). The products I’m using are gentle and hydrating because my skin has been dry and flaky with the colder weather. However, because I have acne and acne scars, I need to be careful not to use anything too heavy that may clog my pores. I need to take into consideration that I’m starting to get fine lines and I definitely want to address that before it gets worse. So what are the type of products that I need?
Cleanser: A good cleanser is essential! If you wear makeup and sunscreen then you want to get all of that off your skin. Even you don’t wear anything on your face, you still want to wash away oil, dirt, and just the environmental grime that can get on your face daily. Some people recommend double cleansing, which makes sense to break down the SPF and heavy makeup. I use micellar water on a cotton pad before I wash my face, just to get off my makeup, but I think I am going to switch to using a cleansing oil because I feel that will do a better job. When I wash my face, I used to use harsh cleansers with salicylic acid but they left my face feeling tight and dry. The best cleanser for me is one that is gentle, which usually means it’s creamy (not foaming) and not abrasive (no scrubs). This makes me feel like my skin is still clean but not stripped of all the natural oils on my face. I wash with lukewarm water to prevent further irritation and dryness.
Toner: I never used a toner until recently. I didn’t see the point. Isn’t washing my face enough? But toner can help get rid of any remaining residue on your face. Toner also helps prepare your skin for your serum and/or moisturizer. Toners have all kinds of ingredients in them, some can help calm your skin and some contain exfoliants (such as glycolic acid). You want to avoid any toners that have alcohol because it can irritate your skin.
Serum: I first got introduced to the idea of a serum when I heard about layering your skin care products. I didn’t know there was anything to layer! But serums are nice because they are a smoother consistency than a moisturizer and can contain a high level of antioxidants to keep your skin healthy. Serums can be specific to your skin type and needs, so be sure and read the labels and find what works best for you.
Moisturizer: Do you need a serum and a moisturizer? There is some debate on this, but I use both because my skin tends to get very dry and I feel like the moisturizer helps to keep my skin soft. You may not find it necessary to use both, but if you do, the moisturizer should be the last step in your routine. During the night, you can use a thicker moisturizer to help repair your skin while you sleep. During the day, always use a moisturizer with SPF. Even if it’s not sunny, you still need to protect your skin from harmful sun rays. If you tend to get shiny through the day, try using a moisturizer with oil-control.
Whatever skin care routine you decide upon, make sure you are consistent in order to see the best results.