In part 1, we covered the initial 5 steps of a recommended skincare routine by a dermatologist. The remaining 4 steps are as follow:
Step 6: Moisturiser
A moisturizer is always an essential, no matter your skin condition. Simply because it’s the only thing that’ll keep your skin barrier healthy. Plus, “a moisturizer not only infuses your skin with hydration but also helps trap in all the products underneath it to make the ingredients even more effective,” says Dr. Idriss.
In the morning, look for a light, gentle, moisturizer, which will keep skin hydrated without feeling heavy or greasy. And ideally, get a formula with a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 in it, especially if you’re not planning to slather on a separate sunscreen later. Whichever you choose, let it sink in for at least a full five minutes before applying makeup (if this is the end of your skincare routine, and makeup is your next step).
At night, “Your skin goes into repair mode at night, working extra hard to fix damage and boost regeneration,” says Dr. Gohara. “So your night moisturizer should be filled with all of the things your body naturally produces and can use more of, like hyaluronic acid, lipids, and proteins.” You can also tiptoe into the retinol game by using an anti-aging night cream, which has a “watered-down” dose of retinoids that tend to be gentler, especially on sensitive skin.
Step 7: Retinol
“Retinoids—the general term for vitamin A derivatives, like retinol and adapalene—sink into your skin to speed up cell turnover, causing your body to churn out fresher, smoother, less wrinkled skin over time,” says Dr. Gohara, noting that you’ll see results within four to six months of consistent use.
But just because it might take half a year to see your wrinkles smooth out doesn’t mean you won’t see more immediate results in other ways. “Retinoids trigger collagen production and cellular exfoliation, which means they’ll also fade dark spots, smooth scars, clear pores, prevent breakouts, and brighten skin,” she says. Basically, retinoids are the closest thing to magic that dermatologists have.
How to use them? If you’re new to retinoids, make sure to start slowly to mitigate the initial adjustment period of flakes and sensitivity. Use them in your nighttime skincare routine. “Apply a pea-size drop to your entire face one night a week for one week, then two nights a week for two weeks, then three nights a week for three weeks, and then every other night indefinitely,” says Dr. Gohara.
However you can skip this step if you are already using (or planning to use) a night cream with retinoids, since doubling up won’t make the anti-aging results more effective—it’ll just cause inflammation. And if you do have extra-sensitive skin, apply a layer of moisturizer both 10 minutes before and after applying your retinol to reduce irritation without totally diluting the treatment.
Step 8: Oils
“Face oils are occlusive, meaning they seal in all the ingredients and moisture you just applied to your face to keep them from evaporating as quickly,” says Dr. Idriss. On their own, oils aren’t actually that moisturizing, but when you layer them over products, they help increase your routine’s efficacy while also leaving skin soft and smooth. Just make sure to always, always, apply them last.
“Oils can easily penetrate moisturizers, serums, and treatments, but no products can penetrate an oil, which means they need to be applied last,” says Dr. Gohara. And don’t think that oils are just for dry skin—certain oils, like rose-hip and jojoba, can decrease excess oil in acne-prone skin, while marula and aloe oils can soothe sensitive, easily irritated skin.
You can use face oils in your daytime and/or nighttime routine.
Step 9: Sunscreen
Wait, isn't oil the last step? Well technically, sunscreen is the absolute last step. Why? “Oils are still working to penetrate and treat your skin, which is why they would go last in your skincare routine, but sunscreen isn’t trying to penetrate anything—it’s there to protect your face and act as armor against the outside world,” says Dr. Gohara. “Basically, it’s not additive like oils are. It’s protective.”
But before you tell yourself that the SPF 15 in your foundation or moisturizer is good enough, know this: “The absolute bare minimum SPF you need on your face is SPF 30,” says Dr. Gohara.
After all the 9 steps, all you have to do now is to follow your routine consistently and sit back for the results. Should you need a moisturiser or sunscreen, you can try our entry level THEO10 Moisturiser and THEO10 SPF 50 Sunscreen.