These days we are inundated with thousands of products and dozens of steps in skin care routines that can be very intimidating, especially when you are just staring out on your skin care journey or you don’t completely understand what your skin care goals are and what skin care products or skin care regimens you need to adapt for yourself. In this article we will explore how you can build a skin care routine that suits your skin type and how to get a clear, healthy and glowing skin for yourself.
Before we dwelve in to this topic let me introduce you to skin barrier, our skin contains three layers,
Hypodermis is the deepest layer of our skin and is made up of fat and connective tissue, then there comes dermis, dermis is the middle layer of the skin and is made up of tough connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands and the outermost layer of our skin is called Epidermis, which is responsible for protecting our inner layers and acts like a waterproof barrier. The top most layer of the epidermis is stratum corneum, which is basically our skin barrier, which acts as a primary barrier between the environment and our body.
When your skin barrier starts to damage, our skin starts to loose and gets dehydrated and inflamed and now that the inner layers of the skin are exposed to the environment, the dirt and bacteria, ultimately causing a variety of skin issues, ranging from dry and flaky skin, wrinkles, acne, breakouts, rosacea and more.
Whatever your skin care routine you choose, it should help you strengthen your skin barrier and help you with your skin issues, especially the ones that keep recurring on your skin, in regular intervals, like acne, breakouts, skin inflammation, rashes or hyper pigmentation.
A basic skin care routine should contain 4 main basic steps, these are :
- Toning & Hydrating
cleansing is the first and obviously the most important step in your skin care routine, the cleansing types are differentiated based on how frequent and what products you are using to cleanse your skin and this should completely depend upon what your skin type is and regardless of what your skin type is just avoid cleansers that contain Sodium lauryl sulfate or Sodium laureth sulfate as one of the ingredients, as these cleansers strip away all the natural oils from your skin and do more damage than good, also avoid cleansers which are marketed as scrubs.
One more thing to consider while choosing a cleansing product is also to look for the pH level of the cleanser, if you have a very oil skin and need a thorough cleansing, you might want to go for cleansers with a pH level ranging 6 to 6.5 or more, but in general it is preferred to use a gentler cleansers, especially when your skin starts to age and that will be cleansers with pH level same as the skin’s normal pH level which is between 4.5 and 5.5
now lets look at cleansing for different skin types.
Cleansing for Oily Skin : If you have an oily skin, try to look for face washes or cleansers with salicylic acid in it and also try to cleanse your skin for about 2 minutes at a go as it will help the ingredients such as salicylic acid get contact time and work effectively in removing dirt and unclogging your pores.
Cleansing for Dry Skin & Combination : If you have a dry skin, it is better to just use micellar water to cleanse your face in the morning, while go for a proper thorough cleansing at the end of the day to clean out all the dirt and pollution that has accumulated on your face and you can opt for products that are milk, gel or cream based cleansers.
In general if you want to cleanse, when you have make up on your face, it is better to opt for a double cleansing, where in you use a cleansing oil to remove your makeup and then a water based cleanser or face wash to remove all the dirt from your pores.
Toning is the second step in your basic skin care ritual, many people think that you could skip toner, but you should understand that it is a very important step in achieving a healthy and naturally glowing skin and it is important to apply a toner even though you apply a moisturiser, because toner helps hydrate your skin and if your skin is dehydrated moisturiser per se., will not be really effective in restoring and protecting the hydration in your skin.
Oily & Acne prone skin :
Toning for oily skin basically constitutes of removing the dirt and extra oil accumulated on your skin, you can look for toners with ingredients such as green tea or tea tree oil and also avoid toners with alcohol content in it.
If you have a sensitive skin, you should look for toners that are generally calming, which for sure doesn’t contain any alcohol and products are hypoallergenic.
If you have dry skin, you want to look for toners that are hydrating and moisturising, you might also want to consider toners that have fatty acids
Exfoliating toners available these days are also very beneficial, if you have dry skin or uneven skin tone , look for toners with Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) toner or if you have a oily skin, you may opt for Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) toners. When you are using exfoliating toners, make sure you are not using them more than 2 times a week.
It is a popular misconception that oily skin type does not require application of moisturiser as your skin is already oily, the important thing here to understand is that when you have oily skin, you need to use cleansers and face washes that remove this extra oil from your skin and when your skin is depleted of moisture and you don’t use a moisturiser, your skin produces more oil and sebum to compensate for the loss and thus causing more problems. So, regardless of your skin type it is very vital that you use a good moisturiser of your face.
The important responsibility of the moisturiser is to stop the trans epidermal water loss and it should ideally consist of occlusives, emollients and humectants. Occlusives help lock the hydration of the skin, while emollient keep your skin smooth and soft, while humectant draw water to your skin and keep it hydrated.
If you have an oily skin type op for gel based moisturisers, while if you have a skin that is sensitive or easily irritated, look for moisturisers with ceramides and fatty acids and if you have a dry skin you can opt for heavy duty moisturisers that
When you don’t apply a sunscreen, skin gets damaged due to UV radiation exposure and heat, causing hyperpigmentation, freckles, sun spots and wrinkles, gradually your skin looses elasticity and doesn’t bounce back as it used to. It is very important that you apply a good sunscreen when you go out, even if is cloudy.
Look for sunscreens with SPF more than 50 and these days you can easily find sunscreens that are made for oily skin and doesn’t make your skin oily and leaves a matte` look.
In addition to the basic 4 step skin care routine, there are lot of products that you can use to help improve your skin and the approach you can follow to add these products to your routine is to ask what are the 2 most important skin care goals that you want to achieve and add products that would help you achieve the same.
For example if you want to have a naturally glowing skin and clear out hyper pigmentation from your skin, you can add Vitamin C serum and Niacinamide & Zinc serum to help you get the same. The key here is to make sure you are not layering actives, which should not be mixed and you could also use 1 active in the morning routine and 1 at the end of the day.