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Creating the Perfect Skincare Routine

December 2, 2022

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Why is a Skincare Regimen Important? 

The skin is the largest organ you have, yet it tends to be one of the most overlooked areas of your body. Healthy skin is a big part of looking your best and can help you look and feel healthier overall.  The skin is exposed to harmful chemicals, the sun, and other environmental pollutants on a daily basis, and once the damage is done, it can be difficult to reverse it. This is why a good skincare routine is essential. The younger you are when you begin your skincare journey, the better, but there is always time to establish healthy skin habits. 

 

Know Your Skin Type 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there are five primary types of skin: oily, dry, normal, combination, and sensitive. Each skin type has its own set of unique characteristics and needs that can affect the look and feel of your complexion. Once you know and understand your skin type, you can begin to make informed decisions about what your skin needs and how to protect it for years to come. Your skin type is based on the amount of sebum (oil) your skin produces. Your skin’s oiliness can change over time and can also be influenced by external and internal factors such as stress, genetics, hormones, humidity, and the natural aging process. 

Oily Skin Characteristics

Oily skin produces an excess amount of sebum that causes the skin to appear shiny and feel greasy – especially throughout the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). It is important to remember that just because oily skin produces more natural oils, it does not mean that it requires less moisture than other skin types. 

Dry Skin Characteristics 

Dry skin generally produces fewer natural oils than other types of skin. This may cause your skin to appear dull and even have a rough or flaky texture. Dry skin can often feel tight or less elastic, as well as noticeably dehydrated.

Normal Skin Characteristics 

Normal skin is balanced, it feels neither too dry nor too oily. It is not prone to breakouts, flakiness, or feeling too greasy or tight. People with normal skin typically have small pores, and a smooth skin texture, and are less prone to sensitivity or blemishes. However, despite the fact that normal skin does not have any specific issues or concerns, it still requires proper skincare to look and feel its best. 

Combination Skin Characteristics 

Combination skin includes areas that are dry as well as oily – with the T-zone commonly being oily, and the cheeks being either dry or normal. This skin type can vary depending on the seasons and weather, as well as other factors such as stress or hormone fluctuations. 

Sensitive Skin Characteristics 

Sensitive skin is often referred to as a skin type, but it is possible to have oily sensitive skin, dry sensitive skin, or normal sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, it may appear red and has a burning, itching, or dry sensation. These symptoms may be related to having skin that is more vulnerable to external irritants and may be triggered by certain ingredients, such as dyes or fragrances, as well as environmental factors. 

 

A.M. vs P.M. Skincare 

Your morning and evening skincare routines serve different purposes. A morning skincare routine aims to protect your skin whereas an evening skincare routine focuses on repairing and rejuvenating your skin. Daytime is when you are most active, which means your morning skincare routine should focus on hydration and protection. Nighttime is when your skincare routine should work on repairing the skin from any damage you may have been exposed to throughout the day as well as target any skin conditions you are concerned about. These skin conditions can include wrinkles, pigmentation, texture, acne, rosacea, etc.  Morning and evening skincare routines are similar in the steps: (1) cleanser, (2) toner, (3) serums, (4) eye cream, and (5) moisturizer. In the morning you would add an SPF after moisturizer and in the evening you would add a retinoid after serums if you choose to do so. 

Step 1: Cleanser 

A cleanser is vital in the morning to get rid of any dead skin, pollutants, oils, dirt, and bacteria you may have accumulated overnight. Cleansing your face helps prep your skin to absorb the active ingredients in the other products in your morning skincare routine. The best cleanser for you will depend on your skin type. For normal or dry skin, you should favor a hydrating cleanser with peptides. For oily skin, use a mild exfoliating cleanser with salicylic acid. In the evening, it is essential to cleanse your skin after removing any makeup you may have applied throughout the day. An evening cleanse also allows for skincare products to penetrate and work more effectively while you sleep. 

When cleansing your face, morning or night, it is important to only use warm or cool water. Hot water tends to remove the natural oils in your skin which can lead to dryness. Using lukewarm or cool water helps keep your skin hydrated and does not remove the natural oils your body needs to maintain its health. It is also important to use gentle, circular motions when cleansing the face. This helps decrease the chance of irritating or pulling at the skin. 

Shop SkinDC’s Favorite Cleansers 

Step 2: Toner

Toners were originally created to help return the skin’s pH after it became too basic from harsh soaps, however facial cleansers are now much more balanced now and toners are not a required step in your skincare process. However, there are many benefits that can be derived from using a toner on a daily basis. Toners can act as a delivery system for antioxidants, vitamin-B derivatives, and toning acids. If you have lived without using a toner and your skin looks healthy, there is no reason to start using one and you can skip this step in your skincare routine. The most commonly used toner, which can also be used as a makeup remover, is micellar water. To apply toner, simply soak a cotton pad with the formula of your choice, then swipe it over your face, neck, and decolletage. You should allow the toner to dry before continuing with your skincare routine. Avoid any alcohol-based toners to prevent over drying and irritating your skin.

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Step 3: Serums 

Serums are concentrated, nutrient-dense treatments that address specific skin concerns. Most serums can be used in the morning, as long as adequate sun protection is used. During the day, most individuals tend to choose serums with antioxidants that can protect their skin from daytime stressors such as UV rays and pollutants. The most popular daytime serum ingredient is vitamin C, which can help slow early signs of skin aging, prevent sun damage, and improve the overall appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, and acne. Serums that boost collagen and hydration are great for both morning and evening. Serums contain hyaluronic acid, squalene, and ceramides.  Using your fingertips, apply a pea-sized amount of the serums to your skin and pat the formulation gently on your skin. Resist the temptation to massage the serum into your skin and allow for the product to absorb on its own. 

Shop SkinDC’s Favorite Antioxidant Serums 

Shop SkinDC’s Favorite Anti-Aging Serums 

Shop SkinDC’s Favorite Hyperpigmentation Serums 

Evening Only: Retinoid 

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A with many uses in skincare. It is used to treat acne and can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is a topical treatment that can be found in many forms, including creams and gels. Retinol increases skin cell production and helps unclog pores. It also exfoliates your skin and increased collagen production, which is how it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and can give your skin a fresher, plumper appearance. Retinol can also help the appearance of acne, stretch marks, and hyperpigmentation. While retinol will begin to work immediately after introducing the product into your routine, it can take several weeks before you may see a noticeable improvement in your skin. It is common that individuals may see redness and irritation in their skin before it adjusts and improves. When introducing retinol to your skincare routine it is important to not get discouraged. Start slowly and increase your use of retinol gradually. If you have sensitive skin or notice irritation from using retinol, begin to sandwich the product between two layers of moisturizer or look for sensitive skin retinol options. 

Shop SkinDC’s Favorite Retinol for Sensitive Skin 

Step 4: Eye Cream 

As you age, it is most likely that you will first notice wrinkles around your eye area. The skin around your eyes is much thinner, has very few oil glands to hydrate it, and is subject to hours of micro-movements and facial expressions every day. Therefore, the sensitive area requires special maintenance to keep its youthful appearance. Unlike typical moisturizers, eye creams have special ingredients and formulations that help the unique needs of the eye area. Eye creams can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. To apply eye cream use the tips of your fingers, pat underneath your eyes and across the top of the brow, and gently dab your eyelids. 

Shop SkinDC’s Favorite Eye Products 

Step 5: Moisturizer 

Whether you have dry, oil, or combination skin, moisturizer is an essential part of your morning and evening skincare routine. Moisturizers can help keep your skin hydrated and refreshed. As we age, the oil glands that keep skin healthy begin to decrease their production, which can lead to chronic dry skin and more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles. Not only can moisturizers hydrate your skin, but they can also deliver other ingredients such as antioxidants for anti-aging and skin protection, anti-inflammatories to calm and soothe the skin, and anti-microbial to prevent inflection, as well as other nourishing ingredients. You can use the same moisturizer morning and evening, though many opt for a thicker, more hydrating moisturizer as a part of their evening skincare routine. To apply moisturizer glide and smooth the product onto your skin, gently massage it into the surface with firmer pressure than you use to apply your serums. 

Shop SkinDC’s Favorite Moisturizer 

Morning Only: SPF

The number one way to prevent signs of aging and protect your skin is to apply sunscreen each morning and reapply throughout the day. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, when you use sunscreen as directed, you can decrease your risk of skin cancers and precancers. Regular daily use of sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent. It is important to look for SPF products that protect against UVB and UVA rays. UVB are the rays that cause sunburns and UVA rays cause tanning and premature aging. You should apply sunscreen every day, even if it looks cloudy outside. A good rule to follow is that if it is bright enough to read by a window, then you need to be wearing sunscreen. Throughout the day, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours. SkinDC recommends your sunscreen should be a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF greater or equal to 30. You can find powder sunscreens that help reapply throughout the day simple and easily! 

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