Are You Taking the Right Steps to Care for Your Skin?

Studies have found that matching a good skin care regimen with a healthy lifestyle is the best way to slow the signs of aging.

Skin Care Quiz

Chapter 8: Maintenance

 

Lucky you! If you have normal skin, you don’t have to put in as much maintenance to keep your skin looking its best.

However, don’t take advantage of your normal skin by not taking care of it!

Be sure you still have a great skincare routine in place to prevent sun damage, aging, and other potential problems.

Cleansing

To start, use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t have any alcohol or fragrance in it, as these ingredients can dry your skin out.

Using the cleanser, gently wash your skin every morning and every evening before bed.

If you find that you only need to wash your face in the evenings, that’s okay too!

I recommend my Foaming Pumpkin Cleanser as it gently removes the day and won’t dry your skin out.

You may also want to use a liquid makeup remover to remove any leftover residue from the day’s look (I recommend an oil-based solution).

Lastly, pat your face dry with a soft washcloth or cotton pads (these can also be used with the makeup remover).

When you’re tired, it can be super tempting to go to bed without washing your face or removing your makeup.

Make your nighttime skincare part of your routine so you never go to bed without it!

Leaving makeup on your skin can clog your pores, cause acne, and lead to accelerated aging—and who wants that?

Toner

Find a gentle toner to incorporate into your daily skincare routine.

If you’ve never used a toner before, I recommend finding one that does not contain alcohol, mint, lemon, eucalyptus, or menthol, as these can be irritating to some women’s skin.

If you have used a toner before (likely in your acne-laden teen years), I urge you to give toners another chance!

After washing and drying your face, that’s where your toner should swoop in for its supporting role!

Some women like to pour the toner onto their hand and apply it manually, but you can also use a cotton pad to apply the toner to your face.

Post-toner is when you can apply any other evening products such as eye cream, moisturizer, or serum.

Exfoliation

Exfoliation is a wonderful way to remove built-up dead skin cells, reduce clogged pores and little white bumps, and make your skin feel smooth!

Dermatologists don’t have a consensus about how often one should exfoliate, so it is important to determine the best schedule for your skin.

Since you have normal skin, most exfoliators should work great for you, and you can choose to use an exfoliating wash, cream, facial scrub, or even an exfoliating cleansing pad.   

The only thing you might have to worry about is getting your skin used to exfoliation.

If you want to exfoliate every day, I don’t recommend diving straight in!

Instead, start once a week for a few weeks, then slowly move up to twice a week, etc. until your skin feels good being exfoliated daily.

In terms of when to exfoliate, do so after using your cleanser, but before using your toner.

Moisturizing

In both the morning and evening, moisturize your face with a lightweight cream or serum.

This will be a big help in keeping your skin soft and smooth, plus it will prevent signs of aging down the road.

Special Products

To improve skin texture, prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and help even out your skin tone, you might want to use an over-the-counter retinol cream before bed.

If you currently (or previously) have suffered from acne, a retinol can help current or past blemishes fade as well!

Sun Damage Protection

As part of your morning skincare routine, slather on a moisturizer with SPF to protect your pretty lil’ face from the sun.

And yes, you should do this every day—whether it’s summer or winter (and even if you’re sitting at a desk all day).  

Those with combination skin have some areas of their face that are dry and some areas that are oily.

Unfortunately, the best skincare for combination skin often means a lot of trial and error to find what works best for you.

Here’s a hint: you might want to use different products on different parts of your face.  

For example, you may need lightweight gels, liquids, or oil-absorbing products for your oily areas (likely your T-zone) and creams for the drier parts of your face (likely your cheeks).  

You also may also want to use topical acne treatments solely on the areas where you’re prone to breakouts so that the drier parts of your face don’t dry out from them.

Cleansing

It’s best to wash your face twice a day, but if you can manage only once, do it in the evening.

Use a gentle cleanser or soap and wash your face by lathering (don’t scrub!).

The key word here is gentle.

You should avoid cleansers with fragrance or irritants, as well as bar soaps. These cleansers may clog your pores or dry out your skin more rather than helping it!

After washing your face, pat it dry with a clean washcloth. If you find that your skin dries out or gets oily after using a new cleanser, try a different one!

Toner

As someone with combination skin, you may want to first try applying it to only the more oily or “normal” areas of your skin, as a toner might make the dry areas of your skin too dry initially.

Other than that, you’re good to follow the exfoliating tips that I mentioned for normal skin!

Exfoliation

Since you have combination skin, most exfoliators should work fine for you, and you can choose to use an exfoliating wash, cream, facial scrub, or even an exfoliating cleansing pad.   

The one thing you might have to worry about is getting your skin used to exfoliation.

I don’t necessarily recommend exfoliating every day because it may dry out parts of your skin too much, but with a gentle exfoliant, you can work your skin up to it.

Whatever you do, take it slow!

Moisturizing

Whatever your skin type, all skin needs moisture.

Yes, you should apply it even to the oily parts of your face!

If you don’t, your skin will compensate for the lack of moisture by producing even MORE oil.

Apply a lightweight moisturizer while your skin is still damp from cleansing and toning to help seal in the moisture.

Special Products

I recommend retinol for combination skin.

Just keep in mind that retinoids can be drying, especially when your skin isn’t used to it.

I recommend starting with a low-intensity retinol, like my Night R1 Facial Oil, and seeing how your skin handles it.

You may want to try moisturizing post-retinol, or only applying it to certain parts of your skin.

Sun Damage Protection

If you’re worried about your oily skin prone to breakouts, try a tinted powder SPF like this one from La Bella Donna

 

However, a high-quality moisturizer with SPF shouldn’t mess with your skin.

Definitely take the time to find a sunscreen that works for you.

You’ll thank yourself down the road!

At its worst, dry skin is tight, flaky, scaly, or rough. 

Moisture is your BFF!

In addition to moisturizer, you may also want to load up on hydrating masks, facial sprays, and more.

Last but not least, keep your eyes peeled for any ingredients that may make your skin dry.

Cleansing

If you have dry skin, it’s extra important to use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t have alcohol or fragrance.

Those ingredients can dry or irritate your skin even more.   

I typically recommend cream formulas for dry skin, like my Daily OC Cream Cleanser.

Wash your face by lathering (don’t scrub it while washing or drying).

After washing your face, pat it dry with a clean washcloth.

If you find that your skin dries out after using a new cleanser, try a different one!

There are plenty of cleansers made especially to moisturize, which is exactly what you need.

Toner

Toners have changed a lot in the last few years, and there are now toners available that are well-formulated for dry or sensitive skin.

So, if you had a bad experience with toners in the past, I urge you to give them another shot!

The right toner for dry or sensitive skin can make a world of difference: You’ll see less redness, less flaking, and your skin will feel soothed and comfortable.

If your cleanser was peanut butter, your toner is like the jelly.

Essentially, your toner works to balance your skin’s pH post-cleansing.

You’ve probably noticed that your skin feels tighter and drier after you wash it, that’s because your cleanser is likely alkaline (has a pH level above 7) to combat oil.

However, you don’t want to make your dry skin drier (although you certainly do want to cleanse it), which is why toner can be a great compliment.

The majority of toners are acidic, so they’ll work to balance the alkaline properties of your cleanser.

This will make your skin balanced, healthy, and glowing at its optimal pH level.

Oh, and did I mention that reaching this optimal pH level will help your skin to fight harmful bacterias that may cause breakouts?

Exfoliation

Exfoliation can worsen some skin conditions, so it’s important if you have dry or sensitive skin to stick with milder exfoliants that don’t undo all the other good things you’re doing to help moisturize your skin!

If you fear exfoliation will dry out your skin too much if done on a weekly basis, you can also exfoliate less frequently—once per month may be enough.

Be careful not to scrub too hard! Use a washcloth (or even your hands) along with your favorite cleanser or a gentle exfoliation product, like a face mask, and work it in gently to remove any dead skin or dirt.

Moisturizing

Moisture and hydration is the name of the game for dry skin.

Smooth on a rich moisturizing cream right after bathing.

Cream formulas will penetrate and hydrate your skin!

If once isn’t enough and your skin still feels tight or dry, reapply as needed throughout the day.

At night, you can use the same cream before bed, or you can use a specific night cream.

Special Products  

You may also want to use products with hyaluronic acid (such as a serum) before applying your moisturizer.

Hyaluronic acid can improve your skin’s moisture content by really locking it in, plus soften and strengthen the skin’s outer layers.  

Personally, I LOVE my Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum.

Other tips to help your skin retain moisture?

Invest in a humidifier for your bedroom, and keep your thermostat at a cooler temperature.

Also, try to wear rubber gloves when washing the dishes or using cleaning products!

Little steps like these can go a long way!

Sun Damage Protection

As part of your morning skincare routine, slather on a moisturizer with SPF to protect your pretty lil’ face from the sun.

And yes, you should do this every day—whether it’s summer or winter (and even if you’re sitting at a desk all day).  

My NEW Daily Defense Anti-Aging Day Cream is perfect to get the job done!

Those with oily skin types have skin that produces – you guessed it – extra oil.

The evidence shows up on blotting paper!

Typically, oily skin types benefit from products with mattifying properties to tone down shine.

Cleansing

Use an oil-free foaming cleanser to wash your face twice daily.

Rinse with plenty of warm water.

If you exercise or play sports, you may want to wash your face afterward with a gentle cleanser to reduce sweat-induced breakouts.

You may also want to consider double-cleansing, a method popularized by Korean skincare.

This helps to remove all the gunk that many of us miss with our quick once-over cleanse.

Additionally, double-cleansing experts recommend spending at least one minute washing your face.

It doesn’t sound long, but you likely only spend about 20 seconds really massaging your cleanser into your lovely skin.

Just like brushing your teeth, spending some quality time can only help in the long-term!

Some of the other benefits of double cleansing include reduced breakouts, less pigmentation, and younger looking skin.

Even if you can’t seem to find the time to double-cleanse, it’s never a good idea to sleep with makeup on, so be sure to use a liquid removal product if your regular cleanser doesn’t do the trick.  

After washing your face, pat it dry with a clean washcloth.

If you find that your skin dries out or gets oily after using a new cleanser, try a different one!

Toner

It’s a good idea to use a toner after you wash your face.

Toners can remove extra oil, making your face less shiny, and help keep your skin clean.

Toners can minimize large pores and reduce inflammation as well.

For oily skin, avoid toners (and products in general) with drying, irritating, or “tingling” ingredients (such as alcohol, mint, lemon, and eucalyptus).

It may seem like a good solution for your excess oil, but they may actually trigger your skin to produce more oil!

I recommend Epicuren’s Protein Mist Enzyme Toner.

Exfoliation

Exfoliation is one of the most important skin-care steps for oily skin.

While dermatologists don’t have a consensus about how often one should exfoliate, the prevailing attitude is that those with oily skin can exfoliate more often, from two times a week to daily.  

I love my Brightening & Exfoliating Pumpkin Anti-Aging Masque as my form of weekly exfoliation.

 

Those with oily, thicker skin may be able to use stronger chemical treatments or mechanical exfoliation methods, such as a motorized brush or a scrub that contains exfoliating particles.

Whatever you do, take it slow!

Start exfoliating once a week for a few weeks, then slowly move up to twice a week, etc. until you get to your ideal routine.

Moisturizing

Whatever your skin type, all skin needs moisture.

Apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp from washing or rinsing to help seal in the moisture.

In the daytime, use a moisturizer with an SPF.  

You may feel the urge to avoid moisturizers and sunscreens because many are greasy, but both are essential for preventing wrinkles and reducing red marks — even for those with oily skin.

Look for lightweight and oil-free products that contain broad-spectrum sunscreen.

It’s best to look for sheer or fluid lotions instead of creams or oils that dry down to a matte finish.

Sun Damage Protection

If you’re worried about adding more moisture or grease to your skin, try a powder SPF!

As far as traditional formulas, look for something that’s oil-free and that will dry matte.

I recommend zinc oxide as it won’t clog pores.

Whether it be from hormones, diet, lifestyle choices, or reaction to a skincare product, pimples aren’t fun.

If you have acne-prone skin, you experience breakouts on a regular basis.

Most of your skincare products may be focused on eliminating said acne.

Cleansing

Use an oil-free foaming cleanser to wash your face once or twice daily – whatever is best for the state your skin is in.

You may find that cleansing twice a day is too drying.

Rinse with plenty of warm water—and be sure to wash your hands first!

If you exercise or play sports, I recommend washing your face right afterward with a gentle cleanser.

Sweat can clog your pores and make acne worse.

When you’re tired, it can be tempting to go to bed without washing your face, but leaving makeup on your skin can clog your pores and cause acne.

Make washing your face and removing your makeup part of your nightly routine so you’re never tempted to skip it!

Toner

It’s a good idea to use a toner after you wash your face, as these can help to prevent future breakouts and reduce current breakouts.

Toners can remove extra oil, making your face less shiny, and help keep your skin clean.

Toners can minimize large pores and reduce inflammation as well.

I recommend this Acne Toner from Biolements in particular.

For acneic skin, avoid toners (and products in general) with drying, irritating, or “tingling” ingredients (such as alcohol, mint, lemon, and eucalyptus).

The tingling sensation does NOT mean you can feel the product working properly.

It may seem like a good solution for your excess oil, but they may actually trigger your skin to produce more oil!

You should also avoid any products with pore-clogging emollient (you can find a list of pore-clogging ingredients to avoid here).

Exfoliation

Exfoliation is one of the most important skincare steps for acne-prone skin.  

While dermatologists don’t have a consensus about how often each of us should exfoliate, I recommend at least once a week for anyone who’s dealing with acne.

It removes dead skin cells and buildup that can clog pores, resulting in pimples.

Avoid formulas with harsh mechanical scrubs, like walnut shells.

Moisturizing

You may feel the urge to avoid moisturizers because many can feel greasy, but they’re actually essential for acne-prone skin!

In fact, sometimes our skin produces acne because it’s too dry!

Lightweight formulas will be your best bet.

If you use a topical acne medication, such as Differin, put it on in the evenings after washing your face.

Give it a couple of minutes to absorb, and then follow up with moisturizer.

I also recommend finding a hydrating product that will moisturize your face post-beauty rest without clogging your pores.

Try a lightweight serum!

Special Products

You may want to look for a cleanser with the following ingredients:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide – works by killing bacteria that cause acne.  
  • Salicylic Acid (also known as Beta Hydroxy Acid) – works by exfoliating (removing) the layer of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin that can clog pores. Available in washes, creams, facial scrubs, cleansing cloths, and cleansing pads. Can be used together with benzoyl peroxide to fight acne, but in some cases, this combination can make skin dry and irritated.
  • Sulfur – works by suppressing the bacteria that causes acne and also can unclog pores. This is a very targeted treatment that is intended to be applied to a single pimple rather than covering a large area of acne.
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) – Work similar to salicylic acid by exfoliating the skin. Widely available in cleansers, creams, lotions, and in cleansing cloths. Can be used twice a day, but some clients find this too drying for their skin.
  • Retinol a derivative of vitamin A that works by unclogging pores and making skin appear brighter, smoother, and reduces wrinkles. If you currently have acne scars or dark spots, I recommend using a retinol before bed.
  • Tea Tree Oil – Some patients prefer “natural” products to fight acne, tea tree oil been found to help a little but is not as effective and as the above products and some people can become allergic to it.

Additionally, you may want to see a dermatologist for a prescription of a topical acne medication like Epiduo that you can apply to problem areas.

In terms of types of products in general, try to stick to liquid, serum, or gel formulations rather than creams or thick lotions.

Products without any artificially added fragrance are always best to reduce inflammation.

 

 

Instead, use acne-fighting products to attack the root of the problem—not your skin!

 

Keep in mind that most acne products take at least two months to start taking effects, so be patient, my pretties!

Sun Damage Protection

Again, you may shy away from sunscreens out of fear of greasy formulas.

However, it’s essential for preventing wrinkles and signs of sun damage.

Look for lightweight and oil-free products that contain broad-spectrum sunscreen.

It’s best to look for sheer or fluid lotions instead of creams or oils that dry down to a matte finish, like this one from Coola

Let me know of any questions and/or concerns you have about your skin type in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help! 

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