What’s in a Routine? How to Take Care of Your Skin
With so many techniques, procedures, gadgets and products for your skin on the market, it’s hard to know exactly what to do or what to choose. In spite of all the advances and access, your skin still requires some very basic care and if you don’t skimp on that, you can even avoid or at least delay the need for a procedure down the line.
I liken the products and routine needed to take care of your skin to a theater production. Each product has a particular role or function and without it, you have no “production”. So, first things first… Let’s start with the night time routine, since that’s the most important one. Your skin repairs itself at night, just like your body does during sleep. This is recovery time from the daily onslaught!
Step 1: Cleanse your skin with a mild cleanser (these are your “stage hands”)–I prefer using a cream or oil-based cleanser since these are most supportive of your skin. By cleansing, I mean mix a bit of cleanser with water and massage it into your skin. You may remove it with a soft washcloth, cotton pad or sponge. Using something to remove the cleanser is cleaner than splashing all over the sink, plus it gives you a light exfoliation as well.
Step 2: Toner (these are the “props” on the stage)–toners are so different now and probably cause the most confusion. People always wonder why they need a toner. Nowadays, toners are loaded with humectants that attract moisture and anti-inflammatories. They soothe and hydrate and provide slip for your moisturizer to glide on. Toners are different than an astringent. Astringents have a drying effect and I don’t recommend them, even for oily skin. Too harsh!! Many people like to spritz toner directly on the face. You can also put it into the palm of your hand and pat it on. And while it’s still damp, apply Step 3…
Step 3: Serum (these are the “actors” in the play)–serums are your “action” product and deliver the most healing and supportive ingredients directly into the skin. They have many functions such as hydration, brightening, repairing, reducing redness, removing bacteria, treating blemishes. Most serums will serve a combination of functions and some are specialized for specific conditions such as acne or rosacea. Apply a serum morning and night for best support and apply it while your skin is still a bit damp from the toner.
Step 4: Moisturizer (this is the “final curtain”)–moisturizer is an absolute must even if you have oily skin. This “seals the deal” and allows all your other products to remain on the skin and do their job. Moisturizer protects your skin and keeps it supple and elastic. Apply while your skin is still damp from the serum to seal in hydration. And don’t forget your neck!!
Step 5: Eye Cream (this is the “special effect”)–eye creams are important because the skin around the eyes and on the lips is especially thin. Pat it on around the bone surrounding your eye using a light touch.
Step 6: Exfoliate (this is also what I call a “special effect” because it’s not done every day) –exfoliation is helpful to rid your skin of dead cell build-up. Build-up can cause your skin to look dull and prevent your products from being absorbed. 2-3 times a week is enough for most people. You can exfoliate simply using a wash cloth or sponge. You can also use more sophisticated products like a gentle scrub or brush.
So now your morning routine is exactly the same as the night time routine except I just splash my face with water in the morning and don’t cleanse. You may use a sunscreen during the day instead of your regular moisturizer. Easy-Peasy, right? If you are faithful to your routine, your skin will be faithful to you. Get your routine out of the way early in the evening so you don’t give in and go to bed with the day’s gunk still on your face :)