It is definitely vital to watch your diet and what you put in your body, as what you eat translates onto your face. But it is also important not to neglect the state of your skin. By building a solid skincare routine and maintaining it throughout your 20s and beyond, is a good step towards preserving the youthful quality of the skin.
What should my beauty routine be?
Your beauty routine should first suit your skin type. There are different sorts of skin types: mature; oily; dry; combination; normal; sensitive; acne-prone. If you have oily skin, then you should focus on skincare products that are intended to control sebum production (i.e. salicylic acid). If you have dry skin, then extremely moisturising and hydrating ingredients should be the main focus of your beauty routine (i.e. shea butter; hyaluronic acid). Those with acne-prone skin must build a routine based on inhibiting further acne development, such as chemical exfoliators (i.e. lactic acid).
If you are unaware of your skin type, there is an easy method to do so. Simply wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry with a towel. Leave your skin bare of any skincare products and wait for 15-30 minutes. After the allotted time, examine your skin. If your T-zone is oily but your cheeks remain dry, then you have combination skin. If your entire face barely produces any oil, then you have dry skin. But if there is an excess of sebum production, then you have oily skin.
How to start a skincare routine?
For those who are looking to start a skincare routine, it is best to start out with the basic essentials, such as a cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. Use these three steps as a daily ritual to first, cleanse and remove the dirt and oil which has been collecting on the surface of your skin the entire day. It is important to moisturise so as to maintain the moisture barriers of your skin to prevent trans-epidermal water loss and the early formation of wrinkles. Sunscreen should be worn every day—ranging from SPF 30 to 50 strength—in order to prevent sun spots and the premature characteristic signs of ageing.
How do I know which skincare do I need?
This goes back to your skin type, as what may work for oily skin types may be a different story to drier skin types. Furthermore, it depends on whether or not you wear heavy makeup or not. For the latter, it is best to incorporate a double cleansing routine—popularised by Korean skincare trends—which consist of an oil-based cleanser as a first step, followed by a water-based cleanser. It is better to do a double cleanse in order to take off makeup completely in comparison to using a makeup wipe—as the latter only moves makeup around the surface of your skin and not remove it.
Looking for, as well as knowing, what skincare ingredients are good for your skin type could be quite taxing. But to start out, oily and acne-prone skin types should look out for beta hydroxy acids (i.e. salicylic acid) and hyaluronic acid. Dry skin types are suited for alpha hydroxy acids (i.e. lactic acid) when looking to do chemical exfoliation, as well as ceramides. Those with sensitive skin should look for ingredients such as centella asiatica or aloe vera.
What order should I do skincare?
Anyone who wears makeup or waterproof sunscreen should do a double cleanse. Using an oil-based cleanser (cleansing oils/balms) such as Indeed Labs’ Watermelon Melting Balm is a good, gentle option. For water-based cleansers, it is best to avoid ones that contain sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), as it has the potential to dry your skin out. People with oily skin are better suited for cleansing gels, whilst dry skin types should use cream cleansers. PCA Skin’s Creamy Cleanser is ideal for dry and sensitive skin types.
The next step after cleansing is toning, ranging from hydrating to exfoliating toners. Yet it entirely depends on the individual, as toners are not seen as a necessary step for some. Toners are initially created to restore the skin’s pH due to harsh soaps stripping the skin. Today’s advanced skincare formulations make it now no longer the case. However, if you find that you need toners as an additional layer due to having dry skin, then, by all means, continue using them.
Serums typically follow after toners and are small bottles (usually 30ml) filled with potent blends of ingredients. This step intended to target specific skin conditions, from hyperpigmentation to acne. For instance, Osmosis’ Clarify Blemish Retinal Serum is meant for oily and acne-prone skin, as it assists in minimising acne breakouts and managing the skin’s sebum production.
Moisturisers are used to lock in all the hydration and the beneficial ingredients applied in the steps prior. Here, moisturisers of varying richness are available to suit different skin types. A combination of oily skin types is suited for gel moisturisers, while dry and mature skin types benefit from richer cream moisturisers. Osmosis’ Quench Nourishing Moisturiser is a good example of a moisturiser that suits dry and mature skin types, as it contains shea butter and hyaluronic acid.
Sunscreen is a must in the mornings, and to be used daily. They are a great age prevention method, as the sun’s UVA rays penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and result in premature ageing of the skin. Exposure to UVB rays inevitably result in sunburn, and prolonged exposure without sun protection could lead to developing skin cancers (i.e. melanoma). Heliocare’s Mineral Tolerance Fluid SPF 50+ is a physical sunscreen that works efficiently in protecting the skin against UVA and UVB rays, without leaving a white cast.
How often should I do my skincare routine?
In your skincare routine, there are some products that must definitely be used daily, whilst others could be relegated to weekly use. For instance, cleansers should be used at least once a day, preferably in the evening to remove all the dirt and oil off your skin. Moisturisers should also be used daily in order to keep the skin hydrated and supple. Sunscreens, as mentioned before, are a definite must to preserve skin youth. Reapplying sunscreen every two hours when you’re outside is necessary to maintain sun protection throughout the day. Using sunscreen inside is necessary if you keep the blinds on your windows open during the day.
Facial masks and exfoliation products are meant for weekly use. Exfoliating your skin once or twice a week is preferable to doing it daily, as it can lead to over-exfoliation, which leads to redness and irritation.
When to exfoliate in a skincare routine?
Exfoliation comes in the form of chemical exfoliators (AHAs & BHAs) and physical exfoliators (i.e. scrubs, gommages). Exfoliation should be done once or twice a week to slough off dead skin cells and cleanse the pores. Do not exfoliate daily in order to avoid over-exfoliating and irritating the skin. It is best to use chemical exfoliators to exfoliate rather than use physical scrubs. This is because scrubs have the potential to cause micro-tears in the skin if you are not careful, which could cause the skin to become vulnerable to redness, dry patches, and increased sensitivity. Furthermore, if you’ve used an exfoliating toner, then there’s no need to use a serum that contains an exfoliating acid, as this could also potentially lead to over-exfoliating.
How many skincare products should I use?
The 10-step Korean skincare routine has become popular in the last few years. However, not everyone can afford a 10-step routine, nor does it work for everyone. Going back to the basic essentials are becoming a trend now, ranging from three to four products in a routine. In fact, having too many steps can be detrimental instead of beneficial, as layering too many products can expose the skin to sensitising ingredients. In short, the risk of inflammation rises when you add more products. However, if your skin benefits from a 10-step routine, then it is best to continue. But if you find that your skin reacts badly to a 10-step routine, then it is recommended to strip down your routine to the bare essentials: cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen.
Author: Charlene M Teressa