What Should a Skincare Routine Include?
What categories of skincare products make up a good daily routine.
When tackling a question such as this, it is important to understand the basics, and the most basic question is, “what does skincare mean and why does it need protection?” Skincare is the basic care and keeping of your body's largest organ, your skin. It plays an important role in protecting you from outside pathogens and holds all your internal organs in place. And in the same way that you regularly brush your teeth, your skin requires at least minimal attention to keep it functioning at its best. It also requires protection from the sun, and subsequently UV Rays.
If you consult Doctor Google you are sure to be bombarded with a dizzying number of opinions, and even more options on what to buy. Articles from ‘How to Moisturize’ to ‘How to Protect Yourself from UV Rays’, will no doubt leave you with more questions than answers.
The biggest thing to remember is that the science behind skincare products has come a long way in the last decade. Although there is still no such thing as an instant fix - your skin needs time to reap the benefits - results will be seen through consistency in both use and products. Generally, you should aim to use a product over the course of at least six weeks, taking care to follow the directions carefully. Most products should be used twice daily to reap the maximum benefits.
As with any skincare product, always apply in the order of consistency (thinnest to thickest) for the best results. For example, cleanse your skin with a cleanser first, followed by a toner if you use one, a serum should be applied next, and then your moisturizer (or day/night cream).
Moisturizers should always be applied last unless of course you are not using any other products then it should be applied as soon as you finish cleansing your skin. Dermatologist Dr. Purvisha Patel put it best: “If you have never started a skincare routine, it is important to start out simple and effective. Use the fewest products necessary to get the maximum results.”
Moisture is the Essence of Wetness...
One of the most overlooked facets of skincare is hydration. Your water consumption says a lot about your skin. The more you drink the more refreshed, and awake your skin will look. If you are someone who doesn’t drink a lot of water your skin will appear dry. Caffeine also impacts the look and feel of your skin. Although there are a number of products on the market these days touting the benefits of caffeine and skin elasticity, you have to remember that this is being topically applied and not ingested. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and dehydrator for your system; so for every cup of coffee you consume in a day you should follow that up with 1-2 glasses of water. This will keep your skin looking hydrated and your internal system will also thank you.
Oftentimes when we talk about skin care we’re talking about science-based ways to improve both the look and function of your skin. Before figuring out what to include in your skin-care routine, it’s important to know your skin type and if you have any major concerns you want to address. It’s also good to remember that everyone’s regimen is individual—what works for your friends or family or randos online may not be best for you.
If your skin tends to get irritated when you use certain products, if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to a product, or if you have certain skin conditions on your face (eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc.) you may have sensitive skin.
You don’t necessarily need to see a dermatologist before starting a skin-care routine, but if you have sensitive skin (or aren’t sure if your skin qualifies as sensitive), if you have a skin condition, or if you’re trying to address any major concerns (such as stubborn or severe acne or hyperpigmentation), it’s important to check in with a registered dermatologist who can guide you through the process. Also investing in quality medical grade skin care products will save you money in the long run.
Of course we can’t have an article on skincare if we don’t mention the most important item in your medicine cabinet, Sunscreen. Celebrity dermatologist, Dr. Tabasum Mir says, “If you don’t protect your skin with SPF, it doesn’t matter how many anti-aging creams you use. If there is only one thing you do during the day, use sunblock.”
And as always remember - Less is More - when it comes to skincare products. You only need to use minimal amounts of each product in your arsenal in order to gain maximum reward.