It’s the new year and you’ve added a new year’s resolution for your self-care goal this year - to start a skincare routine for yourself. You’ve figured out your skin type and the next question is, where do you start? Like most people, you’ve probably Googled your way through the internet and found a whole lot of articles on how to start a skincare routine. You’ve gone onto facebook groups and found posts after posts on product recommendations and with all the bombardment of information, you’re starting to feel like the entire weight of the beauty world caving in on you. If this is what you’re going through, let me tell you that you’re not alone on this journey.
The truth is, building a skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated. While you may see that your fellow community members who are expertly including multiple serums and exfoliants and beauty devices into their skincare routine, let me remind you that not everyone’s routine is going to be the same. Although two people may have the same skin types, their skin may react differently towards the same products. Your skincare journey is unique to you and only you, therefore, take the time to discover everything about your skin and find the products that your skin loves.
The three most basic types of skincare products that you will need to start a skincare routine are a cleanser, a moisturizer and a sunscreen. Now, you may be wondering how on earth can only three products be sufficient enough for your skin. Let’s dive into each product type and learn about practical ways to choose the product for your skin.
Step One: Cleanser
What are cleansers?
Cleansers are products that you use on your skin to remove makeup, sunscreen, oil or dirt. Our skin is exposed to different types of pollutants from the environment and our pores naturally produce oil to protect our skin throughout the day. By the end of your day, all of these things are sitting on the surface of our skin and can end up clogging your pores if not removed on a regular basis. While water is good for cleaning the skin, do keep in mind that not everything dissolves in water. We need surfactants which are compounds that lift up these gunk from the surface of our skin and wash it away. This is the first step of your skincare routine to create a “clean canvas” for you to work on.
How to choose a cleanser for my skin?
It is important to choose a cleanser that does not leave your skin feeling tight or dry after you cleanse. If you are experiencing dry patches or having the squeaky clean sensation, you are most likely using an inappropriate cleanser for your skin. Prolonged use of an inappropriate cleanser that strips off your skin’s natural oils can lead to a compromised skin barrier. A skin barrier is the outermost layer of the epidermis that protects and defends the skin from environmental threats such as pollutants. Oh, another reminder is that you don’t need a cleanser that is filled with amazing ingredients like antioxidants because a cleanser won’t stay on your skin long enough to reap the benefits of the antioxidants. Sometimes, simplicity is the best way to go.
If you have sensitive skin, a cleanser like the Scinic Avocado Cleansing Foam that contains avocado extract and glycerine can help keep the skin feeling soft and hydrated after cleansing. If you have dry skin, milky or cream-based cleansers are great options because they don’t foam and do not usually contain ingredients with stripping elements.
Step Two: Moisturizer
What are moisturizers?
Moisturizers are applied after you cleanse or apply treatments such as serums or ampoules to your skin. It functions to hydrate and keep the moisture in the skin. All skin types can benefit from the use of a moisturizer. Depending on the type of skin you have, you may opt for one of the following types of moisturizers in your skincare routine.
How to choose a moisturizer for my skin?
There are three different types of moisturizers and I’m going to break it down for you here:
Occlusives are moisturizers that create a protective layer on the surface of the skin to seal in the moisture. They tend to be better suited for those with extremely dry skin because the skin does not produce enough oil on its own. However, do keep in mind that occlusives have a large tendency to clog pores and cause breakouts if too much is applied to the skin. Some of the most common occlusive ingredients are: petrolatum, mineral oil and paraffin.
Emollients are moisturizers that soften and soothe the skin. When the top layer of your skin is dehydrated, it tends to crack and flake off, leaving open spaces in between the cells in your skin. Emollients function to fill these spaces with fatty substances known as lipids that make your skin feel smoother and softer. Emollients are great for those with dry skin or if you are seeking for a moisturizer for the cooler, winter months. Some of the most common emollient ingredients are: shea butter, cocoa butter, fatty acids, squalene and plant oils. The RNW Der. Special Ceramide Cream is a great emollient type moisturizer to help with dry skin.
Humectants are moisturizers that hold onto water molecules and draw that moisture into your skin to keep it hydrated. They are suitable for those with oily and combination skin, or used during the warm summer months. Some notable humectant ingredients include glycerine, hyaluronic acid, urea and honey. The 9wishes Hydra Ampule Cream which is a lightweight gel-like moisturizer with key ingredients such as coconut water and hyaluronic acid is a great starter moisturizer for those looking into starting a basic skincare routine.
Step 3: Sunscreen
Lastly, the final step in a basic skincare routine, which also happens to be the most important step of this three-step skincare routine, is sunscreen. We all know the benefits of sunlight for our bones and mental health. However, direct exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun also causes the skin to age faster. The older you are, the more your skin is exposed to UV radiations. It is important to make it a habit to apply sunscreen to your face and body daily, and not just when going to the beach or running under the sun.
There are two types of UV radiation that is emitted from the sun.
This is the UV radiation that causes sunburn and is strongly linked to cancer. It is reflected on the SPF label of the sunscreen. The higher the SPF, the better ability the sunscreen has to protect your skin from UVB rays.
This is the UV radiation that is associated with tanning and aging. UVA rays are able to penetrate deeper into the skin layers when compared to UVB rays and are a common cause of photoaging. UVA is usually reflected on the broad-spectrum rating on the sunscreen.
How to choose a sunscreen for my skin?
There are two types of sunscreen - chemical (organic) and physical (inorganic) sunscreen.
Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and convert them into tiny amounts of heat. These are also sunscreens with long, complicated alphabets in its ingredient names. But, rest be assured that they are safe and do protect your skin. Chemical sunscreens also tend to feel lighter on the skin and generally have less of a white cast when applied on darker skin. However, chemical sunscreen ingredients can cause skin reactions if you are sensitive or allergic to them.
Physical sunscreens on the other hand have minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals do give a bit of a white cast when applied on darker skin tone and tend to be thicker in consistency because of the tiny particles that have to be suspended.
Choosing the right sunscreen for yourself is based on personal preference. The most important thing is to choose a sunscreen that you will use everyday and apply enough of. The recommended amount of sunscreen to apply is 1 teaspoon for the face, next and ears and this converts to about ¼ teaspoon for the face, excluding your ears. When it comes to the entire body, it is recommended that you apply about 1 shot glass (30ml) of sunscreen. A quick tip you can use to apply sunscreen is to apply it in layers to ensure that you are applying sufficient amounts to protect your skin from harmful rays.
Now that you have learned about the three most basic steps of a skincare routine, are you ready to put together a routine of your own? Let us know what products you are including in your skincare routine in the comments below.
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