Today, we'll go through the basics of skin-care. It's actually pretty simple! If you don't have a skin-care routine or don't know where to start, this blog is for you!
The Rule of Three
The most basic skin-care routine includes three products: a cleanser, a moisturizer, and sunscreen. Now, if you live in the desert, like me, putting on sunscreen is a must. But cleansers and moisturizers aren't a part of most people's daily routine. It may seem surprising, but all you truly need are these simple products! Of course, using several types of products isn't inherently bad-- unless they irritate your skin-- but I'm sure most of you reading this don't feel like spending more than you need to on products you don't need.
How do they work?
Cleanser - Cleaners wash off things like dirt, makeup, excess oil, and dead skin cells that end up on your face throughout the day. Typically used in the morning, cleansers are a great way to wake yourself up before heading off to work or school.
Moisturizer - Using a moisturizer will help keep your skin smooth and soft while also making sure your skin's protective barrier is working properly.
Sunscreen - Using sunscreen might be the most important of the three. It helps prevent skin cancer as well as cosmetic sun damage. That doesn't mean I want you to lay out on the beach 24/7! Vitamin D is great for your immune system, but too much of it can be a bad thing.
When should I use each product?
The easiest way to get in the groove of your daily face-washing is to follow these simple steps. First thing in the morning, wash with your cleanser and follow it up with your moisturizer and sunscreen. Then, after a long day of doing whatever you were doing, wash with your cleanser again and apply moisturizer as the finishing touch! Note: This is just a basic guide you can follow. Do what fits best within your schedule!
Listen to your skin!
I just gave you a basic summary of skincare products and your suggested daily routine. No skincare system is "one size fits all"! Whatever brand you buy, pay attention to the way it reacts to your skin. Tightness, greasiness, redness, and breakouts are good indicators that the product your using is: damaging your skin OR being used in excess.
If your skin is on the oily side, try moisturizing less often (if it's stronger), or use a lighter formula. If your skin is very oily--or you wear heavy makeup-- you may find it useful to cleanse more often, or even cleanse twice before bed.
If it's on the dry side, you may want to use a heavier moisturizer. If your skin is especially dry or sensitive, you may only need to wash your face with a cleanser once a day in the evening and rinse with water in the morning-- unless you're one of those people that takes 5 showers a day, in which case, maybe tone it down a bit. Too many showers can actually be very harmful to your skin.
When to bring in a dermatologist
If your skin is sensitive, and you're beginning to notice some irritation, it may be time to call for backup. Sometimes your skin will react to certain ingredients in a particular product. Your dermatologist can help determine what those ingredients are, and help you pick out some different brands and avoid others. For some products, getting a bit of irritation is normal when you first start with them, but your daily cleanser, moisturizer, and/or sunscreen should not be causing burning, itching, stinging, or any other forms of irritation.
Also, it may seem obvious, but if something is irritating your skin, stop using it! I don't care what it is! When someone tells you to "feel the burn", don't apply it to your skin! Believe it or not, this is one of the most common skin-care mistakes.