Starting off the skincare blog series, let's go with something basic - your skincare routine. We cannot argue how important a good skincare routine is. A good skin more or less defines the first impressions we leave on others.
However, not many are adopting the dermatologist recommended skincare routine, unfortunately. This either leads to your skin being oily or extremely dry because of the wrong steps taken before another. There is a significance in the order of steps you take to protect your skin or to ensure your skin healthy. Below are some skincare routines which are recommended by a professional dermatologist, Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine.
Always, always remove your make-up and wash your face thoroughly before using other products. “For ingredients to properly absorb, you need clean skin that’s totally free of oil and grime,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara
If makeup wipes are too troublesome and irritating for you because they leave a gunky residue behind, use a cleansing oil instead. A cleansing oil dissolves all makeup without stripping your skin. Then follow up with a gentle, creamy cleanser (especially if you have acne-prone skin).
Back in the days, toners were these alcohol-based liquids that left you stinging. But today’s toners are filled with either gentle, hydrating ingredients to coddle dry skin or chemical exfoliants to treat acne. “They’re not meant to be something that sits around on your skin and feels heavy,” says Dr. Gohara. “They’re essentially just priming your face for ingredients to be better absorbed later on”
For people who are easily acne-prone, Look for a toner filled with either BHA (beta hydroxy acid, like salicylic acid) or AHA (alpha hydroxy acid, like glycolic acid or lactic acid), which work to unclog pores, prevent breakouts, and dissolve blackheads over time.
If you got dry skin, try water-soluble AHAs or a rich moisturizer
If you’ve got oily skin, stick with oil-soluble BHAs.
After cleansing, tap them over clean, dry skin every other night (or every other morning, if you plan to use a retinol at night), then wait a full five minutes or, at the very least, until they dry before applying anything else or you’ll accidentally neutralize the acids before they work their magic.
You may have seen them, but you probably are not totally sure what to do with them.You’re not alone. “Serums are essentially just shots of extremely concentrated nutrients, hydrators, and antioxidants that really amp up your skin health as soon as you apply them,” says Dr. Gohara. “People often skip out on using them, but they’re honestly the heavy lifters of your skincare routine.” Basically, think of toners like a sip of beer, and serums like a straight shot of tequila.
Dr. Gohara (and every other derm in existence) swears by vitamin C serum, which protects your skin from the inflammation and damage caused by free radicals during the day while also brightening skin and lightening dark spots over time. It’s really the MVP of skincare ingredients, buuut it’s also a little strong. So if your skin is sensitive, use it every other morning instead of daily.
At night, Opt for a serum filled with hyaluronic acid, which pulls water from the air into your skin to plump it up and keep it hydrated while you sleep. “If you’re using acne treatments or anti-aging products, which can be drying and irritating, you want to prep your skin with as much moisture as possible first,” says Shereene Idriss, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in NYC.
Eye creams tend to be lighter and thinner than face moisturizers, so make sure to apply them before you slather on your creams and oils. “The rule of thumb when applying skincare is to apply the lightest first and the heaviest last, since thinner products can’t penetrate thicker products,” says Dr. Idriss.
For morning use, Look for an eye cream that has a rollerball applicator. “The cold steel ball helps a bit with fluid retention (under-eye bags) especially if you keep the cream in the fridge between uses,” says Dr. Gohara.
For night use, tap on a simple, hydrating eye cream that’ll protect your under-eyes and repair your skin barrier overnight” Use a retinol around your eyes, but “it’s better to apply retinoids to your whole face rather than to just spot-treat parts of it,” she says.
Ideally, you’d apply your spot treatments (whether they’re for zits, scars, or dark spots) at night because that’s when your body’s working hardest to repair itself. But if you’ve already used an acne-fighting toner and/or you’re planning to layer on a retinol, try spot-treating in the morning instead so you don’t irritate your skin. Regardless of when you apply them, make sure to tap them on before your moisturizer so they can really penetrate your skin and do their thang without having another barrier to penetrate.
For dark spots and acne: Dr. Idriss recommends using a spot treatment with either (a skin-bleaching ingred hydroquinone that works fast but can be irritating on anyone with even slightly sensitive skin) or niacinamide (aka vitamin B3), which gently brightens marks and scars over time. Niacinamide can be used daily—most formulas won’t cause irritation—but hydroquinone should be used every other day (or every three days) until you know how your skin responds to it.
Benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria (use it for classic whiteheads) and salicylic acid dissolves oil and skin cells (use it for little clogged pores and inflamed bumps).
Regardless of which you choose, the application is the same: Dab a thin layer over your spot or zit, then wait at least a full minute for it to dry. Then, to prevent the treatment from getting wiped around your face, apply your moisturizer around the spots first. When your face is covered, tap a layer of moisturizer directly over the spot treatment to seal it in without sliding it around.
(These are the simple 5 initial steps which you can adapt or adjust to your skincare routine. There are still 4 more essential steps to complete the whole routine so stay tuned to the next blog!)