Our skin care routines are sacred. It’s okay to admit it! If your favorite part of the day is running through your skin care regimen every morning and evening, you’re in good company. Creating a skin care routine with products and steps that make sense for you and your skin type can take a long time to curate. So, where should you start?
Read on for an overview of basic skin care steps. The explanations are intended to help you determine if each step should be added to your personal skin care routine.
Cleanser is the basic, essential, and often underrated element of most any skin care routine. Washing your face is critical to keeping your skin looking and feeling great!
Who needs it? Everyone! Even if you don’t wear makeup or don’t live in a city with polluted air, dirt, bacteria, and oil can build up on your skin throughout the day, interrupting skin’s proper function. Washing your face twice-daily helps to remove that layer of dirt and grime while preparing your skin for the steps that follow.
Those with dry skin often skip the cleansing step to avoid drying out their skin further. However, if a hydrating cleansing product is used, this is not a concern. Those with dry skin should cleanse their skin every evening but if skin is particularly dry, it may be rinsed with water in the morning instead of washed.
Toner is one of those skin care products that often confuse consumers who ask, “do I really need it?” In short, everyone can benefit from a toner, especially one that promotes hydration. Application of toner naturally follows cleansing by helping to remove any last traces of makeup and dirt while also balancing skin pH.
Toners provide a ton of skin care benefits depending on the kind you select. Avoid toners that contain alcohol, which can harm your skin and cause it to become dry and damaged. Properly formulated toners can provide an extra dose of hydration while calming sensitive or irritated skin. They work particularly well if you have dry, mature, sensitive, or acne-prone skin.
Who needs it? Hydrating toners are beneficial to everyone but especially those with dry, mature, sensitive, inflamed and acne-prone skin. If your skin is dry and/or mature, regular use of toner throughout the day can improve skin texture and overall comfort. Those with psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, acne and skin sensitivity will find that a hydrating toner helps relieve burning and redness as it calms inflammation.
Exfoliation eliminates built up layers of dead skin cells and sebum that can cause our complexion to look dull and lead to the formation of acne. It also activates the skin’s natural rejuvenation response, thereby minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and boosting collagen production.
If you have sensitive skin, you don’t need to do it daily, just a few times a week will do depending on your level of sensitivity. In fact, sensitive skin is typically a sign that your skin is not functioning properly. Exfoliation can help normalize the function of your skin over time.
Who needs it? We advise anyone over the age of 25 to add an exfoliator their skin care routine to keep their complexion looking its best. A regular exfoliation practice softens skin texture, provides a brighter complexion and minimizes many of the signs of aging.
Moisturizers help our skin stay at optimal hydration levels through the use of three main ingredient categories: humectants, which attract environmental moisture to our skin; emollients, which seal and soften skin; and occlusives, which form a protective barrier to prevent the loss of water from skin tissue to the surrounding environment. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is the process by which our skin loses moisture and every skin type experiences it. The drier your skin is, however, the higher the rate at which our skin loses moisture.
Who needs it? Everyone! Yes, even those of you with oily skin. This is because all skin is at risk of dehydration or dryness. Oily skin just becomes oilier when it is dehydrated.
Serums are lightweight products that deliver a concentrated dose of active ingredients to the skin. Depending on what your skin care goals are, there is likely a serum for you. Their benefits run the gamut from delivering antioxidants and/or vitamins and brightening skin tone to minimizing fine lines and wrinkles and repairing sun damage.
Who needs it? If you have specific skin concern, such as fine lines, hyperpigmentation, rough skin texture, dryness and more, serums are a beneficial addition to your skin care routine. If you are young or have skin that is exactly where you want it to be, serums are likely not necessary. Look at serums as therapy when your skin needs extra love.
Products with added SPF protect your skin from harmful UV rays. They not only prevent painful sunburns; sunscreen products also minimize the potential for cellular damage that can lead to skin cancer. If those benefits alone aren’t enough to convince you to add SPF into your daily skin care routine, consider that it can also minimize the potential for premature skin aging that occurs when UV rays break down collagen, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and the sagging of your skin.
Who needs it? Everyone! Whether you choose to use straight sunscreen or a skin care product with added SPF, using a sunscreen product daily is essential to protecting your skin’s health and aesthetics. For adequate skin protection, be sure to use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15.
What comes next?
Now that you know what steps you want to implement into your personalized skin care routine, you’re likely wondering how to put it all together! First, we recommend you take the Lexli skin type quiz to better understand the specific products you should consider. Then, we recommend you read “The Order to Apply Skin Care Products” to advance your skin care routine to the next level.
Remember, everyone’s skin is different, so your skin care routine likely won’t match someone else’s. For your skin care regimen to be truly beneficial, the products you select must take into consideration your skin type and personality, as well as the skin care goals you want to achieve.
Photo by Shiny Diamond