I’ve received a lot of questions about how to effectively organize a skincare routine. Definitely not an easy question! Every skin has its own specifics, that demand a personalized approach to skincare routine organization, so there’s no easy answer. Nevertheless, I believe that some ground rules and basic guidelines can be laid out that can turn on the light at the end of the overwhelming skincare information tunnel.
First, some ground rules I believe in.
- Less is more
I’m certain your heard of xy steps skin changing routines. Do you need that? Most definitely not. That does not mean that these routines don’t work, but I think the same results can be achieved with less. Keep in mind that each product contains preservatives and with layering goodies you can also layer preservatives, which has to be avoided if possible. If you have sensitive skin, it is paramount to be conservative with the number of cosmetic products you use, because the more the merrier could become the more the angrier. More different ingredients equals more potential irritants. Believe me, been there, done that.
- Be gentle and patient, always
don’t pull or rub your skin and never ever pick your pimples. Don’t ever use harsh mechanical exfoliants, always opt out for products that are effective yet gentle and safe. An important part of being gentle is again »less is more«. Don’t overkill with actives, exfoliation, peelings etc. in a hurry to achieve results faster. You’ll most likely just damage your skin barrier and sensitize your skin which will result in a major set back. Be patient and gentle, test how your skin reacts to one active at the time, add new products in your routine wisely, give your skin time to heal if you experience and irritations etc.
- Never skip cleansing and protection:
I think of cleansing as the most important step in an effective skincare routine. You can put a ton of goodies on your skin, but nothing will change for better, if you have a layer of dead skin cells and dirt on the surface. Clogged pores look bigger, dead skin cells look, well, dead, makeup residues and sebum obstruct absorption, everything combined – hello acne breakouts and dull complexion. I can go on forever. If you don’t know where to start with your routine, start with a good cleanser, and you’re already half way way there. The other extra mile toward healthy and beautiful skin is protection against UV rays as photo-aging is one of the main culprits of skin aging. I guess you already heard a gazillion of times how important is to protect your skin from sun damage, so I won’t deep dive into it at this point – just do it.
I’m also laying out out some skincare routine elements that are applicable to all skin types and also for all age groups. Maybe not in the form of same products or concentrations but in terms of ingredients, I believe in the ABC combination topped with enough moisture and periodical exfoliation. Each member of the ABC familiy most definitely deserves it’s own blog post but for now, I’ll keep the long story short for the big picture.
A: as vitamin A in ingredients we know as retinoids. Retinoids are the most popular and widely researched chemical compounds used in skincare. They improve skin texture, pigmentation, tone, wrinkles and acne. The most effective for anti-aging purposes is Retinoic acid (prescription drugs as Retin-A, Airol) and in terms of evidence most likely followed by Retinol (OTC products). Keep in mind that the last two are big guns that demand precaution, especially Retinoic acid. Which retinoind is right for you depends on your age, your skin condition and – your skincare goals.
B: as niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3. Niacinamide is my personal wonder boy in terms of improving my skin barrier and thus improving my skin’s capability of moisture retention visibily, which is just one of the benefits it has. Maybe it is mostly known for improving the apearance of enlarged pores due to sebum levels control but it also reduces the appearance of skin blemishes. It has overall positive effects on skin texture and smoothness. It is gentle, suitable for all ages and skin conditions and it super compatible with other ingredients. All that befefits and no side effects? Does it sound to good to be true? Maybe! I’m the first to raise the sceptic brow and I’m sure there’some over blowing, but so far so good – I still very much recommend it.
C: as vitamin C, the antioxidant king. Vitamin C is the most praised antioxidants, but actually there are not so many studies to back up its effectiveness when applied topically. So far it looks a little bit shady to me (please feel free to share any knowledge regarding topical Vitamin C research). Nevertheless, I still believe, it has many benefits for the skin, the one I like most is protection from photodamage. It is also known for many anti-aging properties (collagen production), for evening the skin tone, brightening properties, protection from free radicals, etc. it is a never ending list. The type it is most researched and effective for topical application is ascorbic acid in a 20% concentration. In general is well tolerated, but sensitive skin might get angry. In this cases there are other gentler versions or even other gentler antioxidants, that can take the Vitamin C spot in your routine (but most likely not as powerful or researched).
The only basic thing left now is H2O. Very simply put, you need a good moisturizer to top all this up. A well hydrated skin is as paramount as cleansing and protection. You can skip ABC if is too much fuss, but don’t skip cleansing, moisturizing and protection.
Now that you thought it was the end, I can mention exfoliation. While regular cleaning gets also rid of some portion of dead skin cells, I believe that when you hit a certain age, more or less regular exfoliation is necessary for smooth, glowing skin. There is a wide range of products with acids and enzymes for basically every age, skin and budget.
At work I deal with numbers and It seems I just can’t leave that where it belongs – at work. Let me present you the skincare formula:
C (leanse) + ABC + M (oisturize) + P (rotect) + E (xfoliate)
This got a lot longer than I expected! So ti has to be continued…In the next blog post I will try to assemble a basic AM and PM skincare routine chart, with some product suggestion.
I hope you found this useful! Let me know what you think!