Admittedly, when I was younger, I never thought much of skincare because skincare was never as exciting to me as color products (i.e. makeup). Although I suffered from bad acne during my adolescence, I never felt the need to invest in great skin care habits because the root of my “bad” skin was genetic.
Yes – I washed my face twice a day with strong acne-fighting cleansers, applied both drug-store and dermatologist prescribed topical solutions, and even took oral medications, but I only did what I felt I had to do at the time. Moisturizers and sunscreens weren’t a part of my daily life because I didn’t see the need for them. Why would I need to moisturize if I have oily skin? Who wears sunscreen when they aren’t at the beach?
Little did I know that taking care of my skin meant moisturizing and wearing sunscreen daily. Moreover, when I was younger I failed to grasp the concept that if I took care of my skin, then every product that I put on my face would look better because my texture and coloration would be better. Thankfully, once my skin calmed down, I slowly began to dip my toes into the world of skincare.
My Skin Concerns
Before I dive into my daily routine, I think it is important to discuss my skin type and my current skincare needs. Although I no longer suffer from horrible breakouts, my skin is still oily, with occasional dry patches that resurface during the dead of winter. I do not currently have any set-in wrinkles, but I do have dark under-eye circles and red discoloration from old acne scars. My biggest skincare concerns are the prevention of fine lines and wrinkles, prevention of further sun damage, evening my skin tone, and maintaining an even skin texture.
A.M. Skin Care Routine
- Wash my face with a gentle, but effective cleanser. I am currently using the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. I didn’t think this cleanser would be effective for my oily skin, but it is cleansing without being harsh.
- Spritz toner on my T-zone to help keep oil production at bay. I am currently using the LUSH Tea Tree Water Toner. I don’t necessarily love this product, but I want to finish it before it expires in October.
- Apply Vitamin C Serum to help prevent further skin damage from city pollution, prevent wrinkles, and lighten and brighten my uneven skin tone. I am currently using the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum.
- Massage Moisturizer into my skin to hydrate and plump. I make sure to use lightweight gel formulas that won’t clog my pores or feel heavy on the skin. My current go-to is the Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream.
- Dab eye cream under my eye for a plumping and brightening effect.
- Finish by patting sunscreen all over my face, neck, and chest. Sunscreen prevents further sun damage (sun spots, wrinkles, etc). I opt for mineral-based sunscreens as these act as physical blocks on top of the skin. Chemically-based sunscreens are not immediately effective and can potentially clog pores. My go-to face sunscreen is the Algenist SUBLIME DEFENSE Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF 50
P.M. Skin Care Routine:
- Remove makeup with my favorite micellar water from Simple.
- Wash my face with an exfoliating face wash from Origins. I opt to use a stronger face wash as night in order to ensure that I am thoroughly cleansing my skin – removing any oil, dirt, or products that may have sunk deep into my pores.
- Apply my AHA/BHA serum to exfoliate and rejuvenate my skin every other night. This helps to reduce the appearance of my pores and has helped my skin to look less dull. I am currently using the Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.**
- Massage a facial oil or moisturizing sleeping mask into my skin. My current moisturizing oil is discontinued so I cannot link it, but I have previously enjoyed the Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil. I prefer using oils or overnight masks because they lock in moisture better than creams or gels.
- Dab on nighttime eye cream under my eye to help reduce the appearance of dark circles and wrinkles. I purchased this StriVectin cream from T.J. Maxx, but there are others available at Ulta.
Skin Care Basics & Takeaways
My skin-care routine will likely look very different from yours depending on your skincare concerns and age. For example, I would not recommend that anyone in high school or even in college use retinol due to the high-intensity nature of the product. However, at a minimum, most people should be washing their face at least once a day, applying moisturizer, and wearing sunscreen.
I built myself up to my current routine, starting with one product at a time. For example, I integrated moisturizer into my routine first and then several months later added sunscreen.
Trying to add too many products at one time can be overwhelming. Moreover, it makes it harder to judge the results of individual products when starting to use several new products at once.
Skin Care Routine Results
Since adopting a regular skincare routine, I have found that I am less self-conscious my appearance without makeup because my skin looks more luminous and healthy. Furthermore, when I am wearing foundation, products sit on the skin better since there are no visible dry patches and the appearance of pores is minimized.
**I cannot stress this enough, but if you are using any chemical or retinoid based serums, acne topical ointments such as Differin, or dermatologist prescribed medications it is ESSENTIAL that you wear sunscreen every day during use and for at least two weeks after stopping use otherwise, you can cause more sun damage to your skin.
If you are using a topical retinoid for acne, I would not recommend integrating a retinoid-based serum into your skincare routine because this may be too harsh for the skin. Also, when first adopting retinoids or other chemical exfoliants into your skincare routine, only use these products one to two times a week in order to ensure that the product is not too harsh for your skin.
If you are getting any hair removal treatments (waxing, threading, or laser) be sure to consult with your doctor or to notify the specialist whom you are seeing as these products can cause increased sensitivity to such treatments.
Other things to note, retinoids can counteract certain topical treatments for acne, such as benzoyl peroxide. Therefore, if your skin reacts better to benzoyl peroxides better than sulfur or salicylic based topical treatments, you may not want to use retinol.
Finally, please note that I am not a dermatologist nor do I claim to be a skincare expert. I am only able to speak from personal experience. Please consult with a specialist and do research before integrating any products that could potentially cause irritation.
What is your current skincare routine? What are your skincare staples?