Although aging is an inevitable part of growing old, taking care of your skin will help slow the aging process. Unfortunately, in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to overlook the importance of skincare.
Not only that but with so many skincare products available in the market and conflicting advice found online, it can be overwhelming to navigate the vast landscape of skincare and determine the most effective approach/habits to achieving long-lasting results.
However, amidst the sea of options, four essential skincare habits stand out because they make a significant difference in the health and appearance of your skin, which is why taking just a few minutes out of your day to establish a simple yet effective skincare routine can yield remarkable long-term results.
Whether you’re new to the skincare world or a skincare enthusiast seeking to refine your skincare routine, this guide will serve as a valuable resource to help you establish a solid foundation for lasting skincare results.
Let’s delve into the four essential habits that form the foundation of an effective skincare routine to achieve and maintain the healthy skin you desire.
Step 1: Cleanse your skin with a mild cleanser.
The first essential step in any skincare routine every morning and evening is consistent and thorough cleansing to remove dead skin cells, excess sebum, dirt, microorganisms and oil from cosmetic products that have accumulated overnight or throughout the day and can clog your pores and lead to acne breakouts.
Cleansers are essential becausethey remove environmental impurities and cosmetic products that water alone cannot eliminate. Many environmental impurities and cosmetic products are not easily dissolved in water, so cleansers are needed to emulsify them into smaller particles and make them water-soluble.
Cleansers, which contain emulsifiers, detergents, or soaps, work by reducing the surface tension on the skin and effectively removing dead skin cells, excess sebum, dirt, microorganisms and oil from cosmetic products. That being said, it’s important to choose a gentle cleanser that does not damage or irritate the skin but instead helps maintain its moisture.
Use a mild cleanser that is specifically suited to your skin type to avoid stripping your skin of its natural oils — which disrupt theskin’s moisture barrier causing the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive and overproduce oil to compensate for the loss of moisture — and keeping your skin balanced and hydrated while effectively removing environmental impurities and cosmetic products.
For oily or acne-prone skin, opt for a double cleanse which consists of an oil-based cleanser — making ourPura Clarifying Cleansing Oil an excellent choice — followed by a water-based cleanser to regulate sebum production, unclog pores and prevent acne breakouts.
On the other hand, for dry or sensitive skin, opt for a creamy or lotion-based cleanser with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, or chamomile that hydrate, nourish and soothe the skin.
Last, but not least, opt for a cleanser for combination skin that can address both oily and dry areas without causing imbalance. Consider a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser that can effectively remove impurities without over-drying or leaving a greasy residue.
When cleansing, dampen your face with lukewarm water instead of hot water to open up the pores and allow the cleanser to penetrate deeply into the skin and prevent stripping away moisture from the skin.
Massage the cleanser onto your skin in circular motions for about a minute, paying attention to areas prone to oiliness or congestion. Then, rinse thoroughly with water — ensuring no residue is left behind — and pat your skin dry with a clean, soft towel.
The goal of cleansing is to remove impurities without compromising your skin’s natural balance and prepare your skin for the subsequent steps in your skincare routine. By choosing a mild cleanser that suits your skin type and is suited to your skin type and incorporating proper cleansing techniques, you can set the foundation for a healthy complexion.
Step 2: Exfoliate your skin.
After cleansing, the next essential step in your skincare routine is exfoliating your skin which helps removedead skin cell buildup and stimulate skin cell turnover, enhance the effectiveness of your skincare products and promote better absorption to reveal a healthier, smoother and brighter complexion.
There are two main types of exfoliation:
- Physical exfoliation involves using a scrub or a brush with gentle abrasive particles to slough off dead skin cells manually.
- Chemical exfoliation: which involves using exfoliating acids such as Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) or Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) to dissolve or loosen the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily shed and encourage their removal.
Physical and chemical exfoliation have their benefits, and the choice between them depends on your skin type and personal preference.
That being said when choosing an exfoliant, it is recommended that for sensitive or easily irritated skin, opt for a gentle exfoliant with fine particles or mild acids; for oily or acne-prone skin, opt for exfoliants containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid, which can help to unclog pores and reduce acne breakouts; and dry or mature skin opt for exfoliants that contain moisturizing ingredients like lactic acid or enzymes to gently remove dead skin cells without stripping away moisture to keep the skin hydrated.
But if you prefer physical exfoliation, look for a gentle scrub with fine particles or a soft-bristled brush specifically designed for the face; avoid harsh scrubs with large, jagged particles that can cause micro-tears in the skin.
To use a physical exfoliant, apply a small amount of the exfoliant to your fingertips or use a soft-bristled brush and gently massage it onto damp skin in circular motions; focus on areas that tend to be rough or congested, but be gentle and avoid scrubbing too vigorously. Then, rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry.
On the other hand, if you prefer chemical exfoliation, look for products containing Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) or Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). AHAs, such as glycolic and lactic acid, are water-soluble and work on the skin’s surface, gently dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells. BHAs, such as salicylic acid, are oil-soluble and can penetrate into the pores, effectively unclogging them and reducing breakouts. Choose a product with a suitable concentration of these exfoliating acids based on your skin’s tolerance.
To use a chemical exfoliant:
- Apply a small amount to clean, dry skin and gently spread it over your face, avoiding the eye area.
- Follow the instructions on the product regarding the recommended leave-on time, as leaving it on for too long can cause redness, irritation, inflammation, swelling or even worse, skin burns.
- After the specified time, rinse your face thoroughly with water and continue with the rest of your skincare routine.
Exfoliation should be done in moderation because over-exfoliating leads to skin damage, so aim to exfoliate your skin no more than 1-2 times per week, and adjust the frequency and intensity based on your skin’s response; if you have sensitive skin, start with a lower frequency and gradually increase if your skin tolerates it.
Note: If you have any skin conditions or concerns, it’s always best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized advice.
Step 3: Hydrate and moisturize your skin.
Regardless of your skin type,hydrating andmoisturizing are crucial for maintaining a healthy complexion because they help replenish hydration and moisture and create a protective barrier that locks in hydration and prevents moisture loss.
Incorporating a hydrating serum into your skincare routine with ingredients like hyaluronic acids — such as our3D Dew Drops 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum — ceramides, or vitamin E — which help retain moisture and strengthen the skin’s barrier — can provide an extra boost of moisture because serums contain concentrated active ingredients that penetrate deeper into the skin, delivering hydration and nourishment.
On the other hand, don’t underestimate the importance of selecting a moisturizer that suits your skin type. For dry or mature skin, opt for a rich and creamy moisturizer — such as ourRestore Facial Cream — that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or shea butter, to replenish and retain moisture in the skin while providing deep hydration.
For dehydrated, oily or acne-prone skin, opt for a gel-based, non-comedogenic, oil-free and lightweight moisturizer that contains ingredients like niacinamide or tea tree oil that won’t clog pores, balance oil production, and provide deep hydration. While combination skin types should opt for using a moisturizer that balances hydration without being too heavy or greasy.
After cleansing and exfoliating, lightly pat your skin with a clean, soft towel, leaving it slightly damp to help lock in moisture and enhance the absorption of the serum and moisturizer; take a pea-sized amount of serum and gently massage it onto your face and neck using upward circular motions, and then do the same with your moisturizer.
Note: Pay extra attention to areas that tend to be drier, such as the cheeks and forehead, to allow the serum and moisturizer to fully absorb into your skin before moving on to the next step in your routine.
Step 4: Protect your skin with sunscreen.
The last but most crucial step in any skincare routine for lasting results is protecting your skin withsunscreen; exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer, sunburn, and premature aging, including the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.
Shielding your skin from the effects of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is vital for maintaining its health and preventing premature aging; here’s how you can effectively protect your skin with sunscreen:
- Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen: Look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning it protects your skin against both UVA and UVB rays to ensure comprehensive coverage; UVA rays can penetrate deep into the skin, causing long-term damage and premature aging, while UVB rays primarily cause sunburn.
- Select an appropriate SPF: The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) indicates the level of protection against UVB rays, so choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to provide adequate protection for daily use; higher SPF values offer more protection, but it’s important to remember that no sunscreen can block 100% all UV rays.
- Apply sunscreen as the final step of your skincare routine: After cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating, moisturizing, and allowing the products to absorb into your skin, it’s time to apply sunscreen; this allows the sunscreen to form a protective barrier on your skin and ensures its efficacy. Take enough sunscreen and apply it generously and evenly to all exposed areas, including your face, neck, ears, arms and any other body parts that will be exposed to the sun.
- Reapply sunscreen throughout the day: Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours or more frequently if you’re swimming, sweating heavily, or rubbing your skin with a towel, as the effectiveness of sunscreen decreases over time.
- Check the expiration date: Sunscreen has a shelf life, and its effectiveness diminishes over time, so always check the expiration date on your sunscreen bottle and replace it if it has expired to ensure maximum protection.
Remember, sunscreen should be used daily to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun and maintain its health and appearance.
Skincare is not a one-size-fits-all approach because everyone’s skin is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the skincare products and routines that work best for you, but by incorporating and adopting these 4 essential skincare habits into your daily skincare routine, will lay the groundwork for lasting results that will significantly enhance the health and appearance of your skin.
Pay attention to how your skin responds to different skincare products and adjust accordingly; consulting with a board-certified dermatologist or skincare professional can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific skin concerns and needs.