As the biggest organ in the body, our skin deserves a lot of time and consideration.
The skincare industry is worth billions of dollars for that very reason, and regardless of your age, gender, or background, it’s something you should be investing in and paying attention to, to ensure that it’s taken care of.
What does skincare mean?
Skincare is a general term used to describe products and techniques used to look after the skin, including cleaning it, keeping it hydrating, and protecting it from damage.
A skincare routine can look different for each person depending on their needs, so developing one that caters to you specifically is important.
One look at the range of skincare and beauty products out there today can make anyone’s head spin, though, especially if you’ve never had a routine of your own.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to all things skincare, including how to figure out your skin type and what type of products are best suited to it.
What Does Skin Care Cover?
The term ‘skincare’ is a fairly loose one that can encompass any product or process you do that takes care of or improves the look of your skin.
When we discuss skincare versus cosmetics though, it’s generally about treating the skin’s issues and conditions, maintaining its health, and preventing damage from happening in the future.
Skincare can be used in conjunction with make-up, but the two aren’t in the same league.
While makeup is about enhancing your beauty and creating specific styles and appearances, skincare is about good health, and many people find that by developing a routine that works for them, their makeup ends up looking better as well.
Within the realm of skincare, there are many practices, including nutritional choices, avoiding the sun and other external elements, and using various products to cleanse, moisturize, and treat the surface.
The goal of skincare is to support, enhance, and protect the skin, which people can do with a range of products and treatments specifically suited to their needs.
Why Take Care Of Your Skin?
As the body’s largest organ, but one of the most forgettable ones, it’s crucial to have a plan in place that takes care of your skin.
There are so many valid reasons for having a skincare system or routine in place that you follow, and these are just a few of the benefits that make it worthwhile.
Aging is a natural part of being alive, but it’s also one of the things that most people want to fight when focusing on skincare.
A good skincare routine doesn’t only fight the signs of aging like wrinkles and uneven skin tone, but it prevents further damage from occurring with protection from UV rays and other harmful elements.
Although most people assume that skincare is about vanity, it’s also important for good health.
Using these processes, you can treat medical conditions including eczema and acne, prevent sun damage and skin cancers, and reduce the risk of infections developing on your skin.
Many of the practices encouraged in skincare like good nutrition and hydration are also beneficial for your overall health.
With your face being the first and most important thing people look at when talking to you, it’s normal to feel good when you know your skin is at its best as well.
Anyone who’s suffered from skin problems like acne understands how damaging it can be to their self-esteem, so it’s a healthy thing you can to do boost your confidence.
A solid skincare routine is the foundation of all other types of beauty.
Once your skin is smooth and supple, you’ll find that your makeup goes on better, your appearance is radiant and glowing, and you look in the mirror each day and see a beautiful reflection smiling back at you.
The Different Skin Types
If you’ve ever inspected a skincare or beauty product before, you’ve likely heard mention of the different skin types.
All of us are born with a specific type of skin and this is largely due to genetics, but there can be other external factors like hormones or the weather that can alter it, and it’s even possible to be many different skin types throughout your life.
Understanding skin types is important when it comes to skincare because knowing which one you are will help you select the products and routines that suit it best.
With that in mind, these are the four common skin types and a little more about what they mean.
This type of skin simply means it’s well balanced, so there may be areas like the forehead, nose, and chin that are slightly oily, and some that are slightly dry, but it’s balanced overall.
People with normal skin will also have smaller pores, a smoother and even complexion, and minimal blemishes.
They’re able to use a wider range of skincare products because they’re not prone to sensitivity, drying out, or becoming too oily.
People with dry skin will find that they produce less sebum, an oily substance, which means their skin struggles to retain moisture.
The degree of dryness can differ between each person and it requires specific skincare products that are designed for this type of skin.
Common signs of dry skin include a feeling of tightness, brittleness, scaling, flaking, and itchiness.
Skin types with an oily complexion are on the opposite end of the spectrum, producing too much sebum.
This excess oil leads to other issues including blemishes and acne, and it requires specific products to combat the sebum production and balance the skin.
People with oily skin will have a glossy or shiny complexion, their pores appear larger, and they may have more comedones or pustules on the face.
Just as the name suggests, someone with combination skin may find they have a mixture of skin types in their T-zone which affects their nose, forehead, and chin.
Usually, this will mean being oily in the T-zone but dryer on the cheeks, caused also by sebum over and under production.
A Standard Skin Care Routine to Follow
Developing a skincare routine of your own can take time, and there will likely be some trial and error as you test the products and processes that work, and those that don’t.
What’s important, though, is having a separate morning and nighttime routine, as our skin has unique needs depending on the time of day.
To help you get started, we’ve laid out a standard skincare routine that covers a common procedure for both morning and night.
This will give you an idea of what others have had success with, and steps that you can edit to suit your goals and needs.
A common misconception is that there’s no need to cleanse your face in the morning because you’ve only been sleeping, but during the night, your face comes into contact with your pillow and hair which has oil, dirt, bacteria, and more on it.
Start your day with a gentle facial cleanser to get a clean slate.
Moisturization is essential both day and night, as it protects your face and helps to balance it out.
A daily moisturizer can be used as a standalone product, combined with SPF protection, be tinted with foundation or concealer, or as a base for makeup application.
You can use a different moisturizer each day depending on your needs, as long as it matches your skin type.
Think about your day and what might be required to protect your skin, as this is what the morning routine is all about.
Defense measures might be applying sunscreen to stop UV harm or applying an antioxidant like Vitamin C that’s known to protect against free radicals that damage your skin.
Use a gentle product like micellar water or emulsifying oil to remove the makeup and other products left on your skin.
It’s important never to go to bed or start any other steps of a skincare routine until these have been stripped away.
A facial cleanser is the next step in your nighttime routine to further wash the face and cleanse all of the impurities, as well as anything that was left behind after removing your makeup.
Choose a cleanser suited to your skin type, like one that gently exfoliates the pores to remove dirt build-up, or something hydrating if you have dry skin.
You won’t need to exfoliate every day, but it depends on the product you’re using and what your skin needs.
An exfoliant could be in the form of a facial scrub or wash, or it might be a cream that lightly removes dead skin cells. Most people aim for once-a-week exfoliation so that it’s not done too excessively.
Applying a nighttime moisturizer is essential for protecting your skin and giving it everything it needs to recover from the day.
Choose one that’s made for the night and your skin type to ensure the best results. Apply this directly after cleansing and exfoliating to prevent dryness.
Further steps can be taken to protect the skin, with options like serums, face oils, spot treatments, retinol, and eye cream.
Depending on your goals for a skincare routine and the unique needs that your skin has, you will likely want to incorporate at least one other thing into your routine.
The Risks of Choosing the Wrong Products
The skin can be a sensitive thing and if you’re using the wrong stuff on it, it will usually let you know in one way or another.
The most important factor when choosing skincare products is to choose those made for your skin type, and if you’re still not sure what that is, seek out advice from a dermatologist.
Some skin types can handle things better than others, and if you have oily skin, you’ll find that you can handle more ingredients than the others.
Those with sensitive skin will have to be careful with the products they choose and only go with ones that are labeled for them, otherwise, rashes, irritation, and burns can possibly occur.
Even people with normal skin types will still need to experiment to find the right products.
What one person can handle will have a different result on another, even if they share the same skin type, so be prepared for some trial and error while you’re building up a collection of skincare products.
The risks of using the wrong skincare products are usually not severe but can include breakouts, blemishes, rashes, and oily or dry skin where there wasn’t any before.
This can happen immediately or after a few weeks of use, so any time you start using a new product, take careful note of how your skin reacts.
How Makeup Impacts Your Skin
Although we love makeup and all that it can it do for us, it has the potential to be damaging to your skin.
One of the most important reasons for having a well-developed skincare routine is to reduce the after-effects of makeup and ensure that we’re removing it after each use.
There are plenty of things that we do each day with our makeup that can be bad for our skin, including leaving your makeup on for too long, using inferior products, and choosing the wrong types of makeup for your skin.
Doing these things will lead to breakouts, clogged pores, excess production of sebum, dryness, and premature aging, all of which you’ll need some good makeup to cover.
The best approach is to go gentle with your everyday makeup, and when you plan on wearing more than usual, don’t leave it on too long.
Ensure that you’re removing every trace of these products from your face each night with a dedicated makeup remover, and following up with a cleanser for deeper cleaning.
Tips for Finding Skin Care That Works For You
Skincare can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve only ever washed your face with water before.
We’ve got some easy tips to follow that will help make it easy to take care of your skin and know what products to apply.
Sun protection: Apply some form of sunscreen every single day even if you don’t think you’ll be going in the sun that much. Sun damage is one of the leading causes of premature aging and discoloration, as well as being responsible for skin cancers.
Clean your makeup brushes: One of the biggest culprits for bad skin is our dirty makeup brushes, and each time we use them we’re transferring oil, bacteria, and grime across our faces. Once a week, clean all of your brushes with gentle baby shampoo and gently squeeze them with a towel to dry.
Keep the oil away: People with oily skin should find moisturizing products that can control sebum production and give them moisture only where it’s needed. Look for ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and hyaluronic acid to be sure you’re not overdoing it on the grease factor.
Combat dryness: Dry skin sufferers will want to add moisture wherever possible, so seek out formulas that exceed in this regard. Choose moisturizers that contain shea butter, natural oils, and lactic acid for instant hydration.
Be sensitive skin-friendly: Those prone to skin sensitivities need gentle and natural ingredients to soothe them and reduce the chance of breaking out. The best skincare contents to use are aloe vera, oatmeal, and shea butter.
Cleanse for your type: Moisturizers aren’t the only products that should be matched to your skin type, but cleansers as well. Most cleansers are designed for normal skin types so if you have special needs, spend some time shopping around.
Keep it simple: Avoid putting on multiple products a day or applying many different things at once, as it will be far too harsh for your skin, causing clogged pores and breakouts. Not only is it too much, but the products won’t be as effective when they’re layered with many others.
Avoid touching your face: It can be one of the hardest habits to break, as many of us don’t realize how often we do it, but one of the most effective for good skin. Make a point to not touch your face throughout the day and save yourself from the oil, bacteria, and debris that you could be transferring there.
Give it time: It’s rare to find a skincare product that works overnight, so you have to be prepared to experiment and give things time to work. After a few weeks of switching to a new product, you’ll have a good idea if it’s effective and what kind of reaction your skin is having to it.
Make good food choices: What we eat has a direct impact on how our skin looks, and if you want a healthy, blemish-free and glowing complexion, there are certain foods to go for. Fresh fruit and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, and at least eight glasses of water a day is the bare minimum.
Love the Skin You’re In
A good skincare routine shouldn’t feel like a chore, but rather a way to treat yourself and nourish one of your most important organs.
Whether you want something simple like a daily moisturizer or want to get further than skin deep to treat and prevent all kinds of issues, it’s worth spending the time to come up with a personalized skincare routine that will meet your needs.
Skincare is a crucial part of taking care of our bodies, and it doesn’t have to be hard work to come up with a routine that suits you.
We’ve answered some commonly asked questions about proper skincare processes that will help you learn even more about how to do it effectively.
How Often Should I Wash My Face?
Most people will benefit from washing their face at least once a day with a dedicated skincare product like a facial wash or cleanser.
Even if you don’t wear makeup or leave the house that day, it’s the most effective way to remove dirt and debris that might have built upon the skin.
Can I Wear Sunscreen Every Day?
Yes, you can wear sunscreen every day, and it’s recommended for those who have regular sun exposure.
There are many types of sunscreen products that you can use to suit your specific needs, like built-in SPF protection combined with a daily moisturizer, or a more heavy-duty standalone sunscreen, so there are lots of options.
Are Toners Necessary?
Toner isn’t an essential part of a skincare routine but there may be some users who benefit from using one after cleansing.
The purpose of a toner in your skincare regime is to minimize pores, refresh the skin, and prepare it for a moisturizer or other product, as it’s more likely to absorb it and reap the most benefits from it afterward.
Do Skin Care Products Expire?
Every skincare product will have an expiry date or recommended length of time that it can be used for before it starts being ineffective and potentially damaging.
This is usually written somewhere on the packaging in a month format, indicating how many months it will be used for. If you’re unsure, contact the manufacturer to find out their recommendations for its shelf life.