No matter what your skincare needs are, building and adhering to a skincare routine can be daunting. If your bathroom drawers are filled with half-used products that are irritating, underwhelming or ineffective, it’s probably time for a skincare reboot. We’re here to help! Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:
STEP 1: CLEANSER
Properly cleansing your skin is an essential step as it removes impurities from makeup or the environment (yes, pollution affects your skin). This is the obvious first step in your skincare routine each evening. We like Papaya Enzyme (for normal to oily skin types) or Gentle Soothing (for those with dry, sensitive skin) by Skin Pharm. In the mornings, you can use a cleanser if you like, especially if you’re hitting a morning workout and want to freshen up before you apply makeup. If you worry that cleansing could irritate your skin, you can substitute micellar water or gentle towelettes. Also, a couple of times a week, add in an exfoliating step to your cleansing routine. We like Clarifying Brightening Polish by Skin Pharm.
STEP 2: TONER
Don’t fret if you’ve skipped this step in the past, or if you haven’t used a toner since you were a teenager. Most cleansers made today are pH balanced and do not require a toner immediately after. This step is more-so an opportunity to apply a solution to your skin that will target main concerns (i.e. appearance of pores, dull appearance). And don’t be afraid, because today’s toners are nothing like the stinging, harsh formulas you may recall from your adolescent years. We recommend the Clarifying Pads by Skin Pharm for every skin type. Sensitive skin types should use as a weekly micropeel, while oily skin types can tolerate once or twice daily.
STEP 3: SERUM
Serums help nourish your skin, promoting healing and fighting the visible signs of aging. These go on before moisturizers for maximum absorption. Be sure to pick a serum that can deliver the powerful punch of ingredients you need for your skin type and skincare concerns. If you have extremely damaged skin, you may want to use a serum both morning and evening. We’re partial to our Youth Serum and Antioxidant Boosting Serum by Skin Pharm. The hyaluronic acid and peptides in our Youth Serum provide intense hydration and noticeable plumping, while the vitamin complex in our Antioxidant Boosting Serum helps repair damaged collagen and build new collagen.
We recently launched one of our new favorite products, our Retinol Drops, a potent yet gentle treatment to refine pores, reduce the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles, and improve skin texture. This lightweight formula is the key to glowing skin, packed with retinol, Vitamins C and E, sea whip extract and bisabolol, which helps calm the anticipated reaction of retinol so you can use it every night. (Sensitive skin types may want to alternate with their nightly serum — check with us if you’re not sure!)
STEP 4: EYE CREAM
The skin around your eyes is more delicate than the rest of your face, so it’s important to choose a product that is gentle, but capable of addressing your main skin concerns, such as wrinkle prevention, puffiness or dark circles. Additionally, you may need a different product in the AM than the PM, depending on your individual needs. For example, a gel that quickly absorbs before makeup application is ideal for morning use, while a heavier cream is appropriate in the evening. For AM use, Total Eye by Colorescience has SPF and is lightly tinted, providing protection and hiding dark circles from the world. If you’re concerned about puffiness, I recommend Lumière by Neocutis. If you’re new to using eye products and prefer a lighter formula, try Eye Gel by EltaMD.
STEP 5: MOISTURIZER
In the morning, you’ll need a formula that absorbs quickly and provides a good base for cosmetics. We like Renewal Lite Facial Lotion by Epionce or Skin Pharm’s Youth Serum. As for your last product in the evening, we recommend Biotherapy Cream by Skin Pharm or the thicker version of the above mentioned Epionce product, Renewal Facial Lotion. If you’ve been relying upon your moisturizer — or your makeup — to be your sun protection, I advise that you add a separate SPF product to your skincare routine. Which leads me to the most important thing you can put on your skin each day …
STEP 6: SPF
Patients often ask me what the most important skincare product is, and my answer is always the same: SPF. The best care is preventive care. No matter your age, applying a product with SPF — I recommend at least SPF 30 — on a daily basis is the single most effective way to protect your skin from damage and the signs of aging. We carry options for every skin type, and our favorites are 100% Mineral Tinted SPF or Sheer Defense SPF by Skin Pharm, and Brush-On by Colorescience. 100% Mineral Tinted SPF is best for dry, normal and sensitive skin types while Sheer Defense is best for those who are oily. The Colorescience brush-on is ideal for re-application (especially during warmer months) and is great for all skin types.
If you’re going to be in direct sunlight during the day (any time of the year — not just summertime), you will need to reapply your SPF every two hours, or each time it’s rinsed off with water. And remember, the SPF in your makeup does not count as a reapplication, as you’re likely not applying enough makeup to get the full benefit from the SPF coverage.
Starting a new skincare routine can be intimidating, but we promise that it gets easier once you make it part of your daily ritual. If you get confused about what order to apply products in, remember that the general rule of thumb is to apply the thinnest products first, and then work your way up to the thickest product. The one exception is your retinol product, which should be applied after cleansing and toning and before your moisturizer. I recommend talking to a dermatology provider to determine the best retinol product for your skin type, and how often you should use it.
The feedback that I get from my patients is that it’s worth finding the products that work best for you, and sticking with them until you see results. (We’ll talk more about that in another post, so watch this space!) We’re always here to guide you so you feel confident to face the world each day. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 615-582-6726 or schedule an appointment here.
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