Establishing a Skincare Routine

Some of us love our skincare routine, some of us dread it, and some of us are stuck scratching our heads in the Target aisle as we scan shelves and shelves full of products. At its most basic level, healthy skin comes from a healthy body, and our skin is literally a map of our bodies’ health, from head to toe. Skincare isn’t just for our faces, either, and by selecting products and building a routine for our entire body, we’re able to correct problem areas while continuing to bring out the best in areas where our skin is happy and healthy.

It’s vital to select quality products with nourishing ingredients to build the best version of our skin that we can.

The key to building an impactful skincare routine is basing it on your personal skin type – there is no such thing as “one size fits all!” Let’s take a quick look into the four basic types of skin: oily, dry, combination, and “sensitive,” and the types of products most beneficial for each:

Oily skin is naturally more alkaline than average skin, which usually has a pH level of 5.5. The higher the alkaline level in your skin, the drier it tends to be, which leads to the body producing more natural oil to hydrate itself. Choosing cleansers without soap or cleansers that are more on the acidic side can help balance out the pH levels of the skin, causing the body to tone down its oil production and bring your skin closer to the average pH level. For those with oily skin, toners are essential to assist in the cleansing process and help prepare your skin for moisturizers and serums. Be sure to look for products that include ingredients such as salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy that reduces inflammation), lactic acid for hydration, and glycolic acid (highly recommended for acne that is Grade 3 or higher). Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C serums are the preferred products to incorporate into your skincare routine when tackling oily skin is the task at hand, and the final step is always properly moisturizing! It may seem counterproductive, but the goal of skincare when it comes to oily skin is to hydrate so it does not have to over-produce the oils itself. Those of us with oily skin may also benefit from exfoliating twice a week, instead of just one time.

On the other end of the spectrum of skin types is dry skin, which is more acidic than average skin. Products that will focus on “repairing” the acid mantle in the skin should be the main focus of the dry skincare routine. In order to avoid excessively drying out our skin, those of us with dry skin should wash our faces once a day. When it comes to choosing a cleanser, finding an oil-based product is recommended, as traditional soaps can be extremely drying to the skin. The toners that are most effective in combating dry skin will include ingredients such as: aloe vera, vitamin E, rose water, and glycerin. Paired with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, or a niacinamide serum, you’ll be able to rein in the acid level in your skin and bring it closer to that desired average pH level of 5.5.

Skin that is oily in some areas, while dry in others is known as combination skin, and building a routine for this type may need varied care for each area. The key for effectively caring for combination skin is finding balance. It’s important to find products that will provide extra hydration to the areas that need it, without increasing oil production in areas that don’t. Those of us with combination skin may also greatly benefit from regular exfoliation with the proper products.

Our final type of skin is what people commonly call “sensitive” skin, but this concept isn’t technically a real skin type. Our skin can become over sensitized for a multitude of reasons: misuse of products, certain medications, or skin diseases such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, or allergies. When people say they have “sensitive skin,” they’re usually referring to the irritation they are experiencing as a result of an exterior influence. No-soap cleansers, such as Cetaphil, and moisturizing elements, such as aloe vera, chamomile extract, squalene, oatmeal, and jojoba oil are beneficial to those of us with over sensitized skin.

Another pervasive misconception regarding skincare is the drive to be “chemical-free.” Chemical, as it relates to skincare, is not a negative concept – all products and treatments contain chemicals and choosing products with chemicals that are beneficial to us greatly aid in the improvement of our skin.

Now that we have some basic knowledge on the types of skin and which products will work best for each, we can begin to build our actual routine. Success in skincare comes from consistency, so carving out time in our days to make our skincare routines a priority will yield the best results.

Sample Morning Routine

  • Begin with a “wash,” which is meant to treat the skin, not just wash it. Washing alone clears bacteria from your skin with no regard if it’s good bacteria or bad.
  • Apply your toner of choice to balance out your pH, cleanse the pores, and remove any traces of dirt/debris that the wash may have missed.
  • Lightly apply your selected serum, working it over your cheeks, forehead, nose, chin, and even extending it down your neck.
  • Follow with a moisturizer that will best benefit your skin type
  • Always end with sunscreen!

Sample Evening Routine

  • Begin your nighttime routine with a pre-wash, focusing on cleaning off the dirt and debris from the day’s adventures. Wash with your cleanser of choice to treat the skin.
  • Apply toner – remember, it balances out your pH and sets you up for success in applying serums and moisturizers
  • Apply your serum
  • Finish with moisturizer

In addition to a daily routine, most people will also benefit from a weekly exfoliation (either chemical or physical) to rid the skin of dead cells and unclog pores.

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