Over the years, I feel like I've slowly managed to find what skincare products suit me and what I have time for in a routine, but for some people starting out, it can be a little daunting to come up with a routine when there are just so many sprays and lotions and cleansers to choose from. I am in no way claiming to be an expert, but I do have a big interest in skincare and I particularly love to help other people find products that work for them. For that reason, I decided to write this post in the hope that I can help at least one person develop their own skincare routine. This particular post will look at skin types and an outline of what a basic skincare routine should consist of. Part two will look at more advanced routines and how to maintain them.
First you need to work out what type of skin you have. Everyone knows the four basic skin types, which are oily, dry, combo and normal. But everybody's skin is unique and these four categories are really only umbrella terms. You might have oily, acne prone skin or perhaps you might have oily sensitive skin that leans towards more dehydrated skin in colder weather. There are a multitude of skin type combinations that will determine what you need to look for in skincare. There are many tests you can take online to work out your skin type, but you can work it out yourself by just observing how your skin behaves. For example, if you think you have oily skin, are you prone to breakouts? If so, do these breakouts appear in the T-zone? If your skin appears dry, does it look/feel rough yet still produce oil?
Because there is a number of combinations when it comes to skincare, I won't go through all of the types, but I will tell you a bit about my skin. I always thought I just had oily skin, and I used to buy skincare that was targeted at teenagers who had oily, acne prone skin. While I do get the occasional breakout, I wouldn't say I had acne prone skin, still I trusted the labels and went with those products. What I later realised is that my skin type was more verging on oily/combo with my T-zone producing oil and my cheeks and sides of my nose being more dehydrated, By using these harsh, acne fighting and oil soaking products, I was actually making my skin more oily due to my body trying to compensate for the oil that was being stripped away and the dryer areas of my skin were becoming completely dehydrated.
Once you've worked out what skin type you have, you can start looking at products to cater towards your needs. I think every skincare routine, no matter how complex or simple you want it, needs to have a cleanser, an exfoliant and a moisturiser (with spf for during the day). Think of this as the skincare routine skeleton. Once you've got this down pat, you can start looking to add in additional products.
CLEANSERS // There are many different cleansers on the market today, but it is important to find the right one. If you have skin that is more on the dry side, It is recommended that you steer clear of cleansers that lather too much (this can further dry out the skin) or contain Benzoyl Peroxide which is commonly found in acne skincare. Likewise, if you have oily skin it is best to avoid cleansers that are incredibly rich or oil based as they will block your pores and may cause break outs. Honestly, it's just a matter of trying a couple out to see what works best for you. If you find a cleanser in a shop that you want to try but don't want to spend the money without knowing if it's going to work, you can always ask for samples. Most places would be more than happy to offer you a sample.
EXFOLIANTS // Like cleansers, there are many different types of exfoliants available. There are two types of exfoliant, chemical and mechanical. Chemical exfoliants help to promote skin renewal by means of hydroxy acids, enzymes and Retinol. Chemical exfoliation tends to penetrate deeper into the skin and encourages the formation of normal, healthy skin. Mechanical exfoliation on the other hand relies on the use of either a tool, (such as a sponge or brush) or a substrate, (pumice particles, rice bran, oatmeal etc.) Mechanical exfoliation uses friction to slough away dead skin cells and increase blood flow beneath the skin.
MOISTURISERS // Moisturisers are usually the last step in a skincare routine. They can be split into day and night moisturisers. For example, a day moisturiser might contain spf and be a little thinner in consistency whereas a night moisturiser might be a little more rich and won't contain spf. Oily skinned peeps would tend to go for light weight or gel based moisturisers in order not to block the pores and produce breakouts. On the other hand, dryer skinned peeps would want to look for products with a richer consistency that helps to deeply hydrate and protect the skin.
I believe that if you find a cleanser, exfoliant and moisturiser that suits your skincare needs, you already have a really good routine. Once you've got this routine sorted, you might then want to look at adding some additional products, and I will cover this in my next post!
I hope this post was helpful! Please let me know if there is anything else (besides the aforementioned topics) in part two that you'd like me to cover.