Many of us have developed a newfound respect for self-care during the pandemic. No longer should it be considered an indulgence. With skincare, however, it can feel totally overwhelming.
Whether you’re new to this or a savvy exfoliator, the key is keeping your routine simple. The more elaborate it becomes, the less likely you’ll be to stick to it.
To that end, while each of us has our own unique set of skin issues and goals, there are certain skincare rules that apply to everyone. Think of them as the foundation for your skincare routine. I’ll unpack them below. And in my next post, I’ll discuss how to go about building on them.
Your daily skincare routine should unfold in two parts. The first occurs soon after you wake in the morning. The second part should be the last thing you do before going to bed. In both instances, you need to reach for the facial cleanser before anything else.
Cleansing in the morning will help to remove any sweat or oil left from your pillow and hair. Cleansing at night is even more critical because it removes not only skincare products and makeup you applied earlier in the day but also excess oil, sweat, dead skin cells, pollutants, and other debris that collect on the skin during a typical day.
For beginners, opt for a gentle, hydrating facial cleanser. Every skin type will tolerate a hydrating cleanser. Also, the fewer the ingredients, the less likely it’ll be to cause any irritation.
Next, apply moisturizer. Ideally, one that’s oil- and fragrance-free because they’re tolerated by every skin type, from sensitive to acne-prone.
Let that be your baseline. Beyond that, if you have specific skin concerns, look for a moisturizer that’s formulated with additional ingredients that target your needs. A little Googling should point you in the right directions.
Among the ingredients that feature most prominently in moisturizers are:
- Ceramides: Play a central role in maintaining your skin barrier and the overall health of your skin
- Hyaluronic acid: Plumps skin and restores lost hydration
- Vitamin C: Provides antioxidant protection and brightens skin
If you’re thinking, But my skin is super-oily, moisturizing is still essential. That’s because skin becomes dry when it’s not consistently rehydrated, and dried-out skin is irritated skin. You should, however, seek out a noncomedogenic moisturizer. When you see that term on a product label, it means that the ingredients won’t block pores or cause further breakouts.
You can stop there at night. In the morning, the last step of your routine should always be applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Even on cold, cloudy days. Sunscreen is your first line of defense against skin cancer.
In other words, even if you were skip everything else on this screen, make sure you protect your skin from the sun.