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Our essential skincare guide will take you through the three key products you need in your routine for every skin type, plus what you can add to enhance it.
When it comes to skincare, there are so many options that it can feel quite overwhelming and downright confusing. With row upon row of cleansers, toners, scrubs, moisturisers and serums available, all claiming to give you the best skin ever, it can be daunting, and it can be hard to figure out what skincare products you need for your skin type.
As someone who absolutely adores skincare, I have a carefully honed routine that changes very slightly throughout the year depending on the season. However, it hasn’t always been this way in my bathroom cabinet, so I know how daunting it can be to find the skincare that works best when there is so much out there. So, I wanted to put together a handy guide to choosing the 3 most important products for your skin type.
The most important part of building a skincare routine is knowing what your skin type is. To make this a little easier I would categorize it as below, but this isn’t an exhaustive list:
Cleansing your skin is the first step for any skincare routine, as it will remove any makeup, dirt, excess oils and build-up on your skin. Double cleansing has become quite popular recently, where you use an oil-based cleanser to break down any makeup on your skin followed by foam or gel cleanser to remove everything. For those with dry or sensitive skin, look for a cleanser with moisturising properties to ensure that oils are not stripped from your skin, keep away from foaming cleansers that can dry out your skin. If you have oily or combination skin, you should lean towards those that are lighter and won’t clog your skin, such as a foaming cleanser or cleansing bar.
Squeaky clean skin?
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to feel that squeaky feeling for your skin to be clean. That squeaky feeling is just the soap stripping all your natural oils off your skin. If the product is not overly irritating or drying, it’s fine.
If you have very oily skin, on the other hand, you’re likely best off with a cleanser that’s formulated specifically for acne or your skin type; these do tend to be drying—a good thing for some of us. Here’s some ingredients that work well for oily skin.
Finding the right moisturiser for your skin type is an incredibly important step in your skincare. More specifically, finding the right formula is key: it needs to hydrate and restore your skin efficiently without leaving it feeling greasy or heavy. A lot of people with oily skin also tend to make the mistake of not moisturizing all together, but this is counterproductive as when your skin is dehydrated, it’ll compensate for the lack of moisture by producing more oil. For oily skin types, lighter gel-based formulas are better suited as they will hydrate (add water to) your skin but won’t add more oil. If you have normal skin, use a lotion or light cream. If you are very dry, use a heavy cream that takes a minute or two to absorb into your skin. Apply it more frequently than once or twice a day.
Everyone should use a moisturizer around their eye area and on their necks because we all have very few oil glands in those areas. If you’re oily through the T-zone area, just use your moisturizer on your eye area, your cheeks, and your neck.
We can’t stress enough how important this step is, because SPF is the single most important treatment for your skin with massive benefits, and it’s not just for the summer months. The more sun protection you use and sooner, the better your skin will look and feel for longer. The powerful UVA and UVB rays of the sun result in ageing, fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and of course, skin cancer, which is why wearing daily protection is key. Make sure you look for a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, with 5-star UVA rating. Choose a sunscreen based on your skin type, your climate, and the intensity of your sun exposure:
For oily skin, choose a powder or very light lotion for your sunscreen.
For normal skin, choose a lotion or a light cream, and for dry skin, a rich cream.
For mature and drier skin, look for a sunscreen that adds some repair to it.
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Other additional products to consider using on a weekly basis are:
Exfoliators – Using a physical or topical exfoliator once or twice a week (depending on your skin type) will help remove dead skin cells and keep your skin looking brighter. If you have sensitive skin, a very gentle exfoliation such as a lower percentage glycolic acid would be best suited. Don’t scrub your skin too hard or too often with a physical exfoliator as this can damage your skin.
Masks – Getting into the habit of doing a mask weekly will take your skincare regime to the next level. It will deliver that extra dosage of nutrients or help target a specific skincare concern, so finding the right mask for your skin is key. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you want to look for a mask that will hydrate and replenish your skin, so a sheet or jelly mask packed with soothing and hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile or hyaluronic acid is ideal. If you have oily skin, a clay mask can work wonders on your skin as it will draw out excess oil from your pores.
Antioxidants (Vitamin A/C/E)
Vitamin A (commonly found in retinoid formulas) is the only proven formula to reduce wrinkles and the signs of ageing, dark spots and acne scarring. Those with sensitive skin should use the lowest formula possible as it is known to be irritating to the skin.
Vitamin C is used as a potent antioxidant known for its brightening properties, so it is useful to incorporate into your routine if you have discolouration, dark spots or hyperpigmentation. Look for products labelled as L-ascorbic acid.
Vitamin E fights off free radicals on the skin, which are a result of daily environmental stressors like unprotected sun exposure and air pollution. In fighting off free radicals, vitamin E helps protect the skin from damage. Vitamin E is usually not advisable for super sensitive, very oily, or acne-prone skin.
And what about all the other products available? Go ahead and try them out and find what suits you and your skin type best.
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