5 THINGS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER BEFORE STARTING A SKIN-CARE ROUTINE
Credits: Farah Siddique
Depending on who you ask, having skin care could mean million different things. Is it putting on the occasional acne-fighting sheet mask? Lining up all 18 of your expensive serums for the perfect #shelfie? Reading and somehow understanding the textbook of an ingredients list on every product? Or is it carefully applying just the right amount of prescription cream to calm down a patch of psoriasis without feeling too greasy?
The truth is, of course, that it can be all of the above—and each skin-care routine is necessarily as unique and individual as the person following it (or attempting to, anyway). But as skin care has become trendier and its definition has become wider in scope, it’s also gotten a little more intimidating and confusing for a beginner to get started.
The truth is, of course, that it can be all of the above and each skin-care routine is necessarily as unique and individual as the person following it (or attempting to, anyway). But as skin care has become trendier and its definition has become wider in scope, it’s also gotten a little more intimidating and confusing for a beginner to get started. The following things should be considered when we talk about starting your skin care routine.
What do they mean when they say skin care?
We mean the basic care and keeping of your largest organ—your skin! It plays an important role in protecting you from outside pathogens and, you know, holds all your internal organs in place. When we talk about skin care we’re talking about science-backed ways to improve both the look and function of your skin to address and manage both cosmetic and medical concerns.
Why should I care about skincare?
Yes, caring about skin care might be quite trendy these days, but no matter what, giving your skin some love has both cosmetic and medical benefits. For instance, although you can’t slow down the passage of time, with a finely tuned skin-care regimen you can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and sun damage. You can also quite effectively manage some more minor skin concerns, such as dryness or oiliness. For one, treating a specific skin condition often means you need to employ a particular skin-care regimen, and for another, your condition may make your skin more sensitive to ingredients and products in general. Finding a skin-care routine that works can offer a vital way for someone to manage and treat their condition.
I am ready to start a skin care routine. What do I need to know before I begin?
Before figuring out what to include in your skin-care routine, it’s important to know your skin type and if you have any major concerns you want to address. It’s also good to remember that everyone’s regimen is individual—what works for your friends or family or others online may not be best for you. To figure out your skin type, think about how your skin acts without any makeup or products on it a few hours after taking a shower. If it gets a little greasy or shiny, you probably have oily skin. If it feels dry or flaky, you have dry skin. If you have dry skin in some places and oily skin in others (usually on the T-zone), you have combination skin. If you have none of those things, you’re considered to have “normal” skin. Knowing your skin type will help steer you toward products that will manage dryness and oiliness while effectively taking care of any other skin concerns you have. You don’t necessarily need to see a dermatologist before starting a skin-care routine. But if you have sensitive skin (or aren’t sure if your skin qualifies as sensitive), if you have a skin condition, or if you’re trying to address any major concerns (such as stubborn or severe acne or hyperpigmentation), it’simportant to check in with the dermatologist.
Okay, got it. So what are the basic steps of a skin-care routine?
Skin care doesn’t have to be complicated if you don’t want it to be. The three basic steps of a skin-care routine are cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen (at least SPF 30 and broad spectrum). You should cleanse then moisturize every morning and night. You should also apply sunscreen every morning, but you can use a moisturizer that has at least 30 SPF and broad-spectrum protection to combine those two steps. You can use a daytime moisturizer with SPF at night too, although you may find that a thicker product is more moisturizing and better suited to nighttime use because you don’t need to worry about being able to put makeup over it plus, you don’t need to worry about SPF while you’re sleeping.Serums, toners, exfoliants, and prescription treatments should be applied after cleansing but before moisturizing.
What about ‘Clean Beauty’? How do I make sure everything in my skin care routine is safe?
Today words like clean and natural are more buzzwords than anything else. It’s also important to remember that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. In fact, natural herbal and botanical ingredients are frequently irritants and allergens for those with sensitive skin. And our health concerns about certain chemicals in makeup and skin-care products are often overblown. Again, we recommend opting for products that contain ingredients we know the most about. And if you’re not sure if something is right for your skin, talk to a dermatologist.