One of the most common questions our dermatology specialists gets asked by people with acne is: “What is a good skincare routine?” After all, knowing how to properly care for your skin is an important part of minimizing breakouts and having healthy skin. Believe it or not, how you apply products and what order you apply them in can also have an impact on your skin. Therefore, here is a brief overview of the perfect skincare routine:
Step #1: Cleanse Your Skin
The first step to your daily skincare routine is to cleanse your skin with warm water and a gentle facial cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type. Cleansing your skin makes sure that you are applying the rest of your skin products to clean skin. Simply stated, clean skin is the best foundation for healthy skin.
A Note About Cleansing Brushes
Cleansing brushes are battery-powered brushes that move in a circular or back and forth motion. When combined with a skin cleanser, the motion of the brush helps to remove dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. They also help to create an ideal foundation for the rest of your skin care products. However, it is recommended to select a brush with soft bristles rather than a flat pad, since the pads can be more abrasive. Additionally, those with sensitive skin should exercise care when using a cleansing brush to avoid excess skin irritation.
Step #2: Apply Toner (if needed)
Toner is primarily used to supplement a person’s skin care needs. Some toners keep the skin clean and less oily by removing dirt, oil, grime, and impurities from the pores to make them less visible. Other toners have a moisturizing effect for people with dry skin. Not everyone needs to use toner. Our dermatology specialists will evaluate your skin and recommend whether or not using toner is necessary.
Step #3: Apply Treatment
The third step in your skin care routine is to apply your acne treatment, if you are using one. This is because acne treatments are best applied directly on clean skin for best results. . Depending on your treatment plan, you may be given instructions to apply your topical treatment to specific areas or to the entire face. Our dermatology specialists will explain the best way to apply your particular treatment, as well as how often it should be applied.
Step #4: Moisturize (if needed)
After applying your skin treatment, the next step is to moisturize your skin if needed. Generally speaking, moisturizing is only recommended for individuals who have dry or dehydrated skin. Dry skin is characterized by little to no oil production which makes the skin dry to the touch and possibly flaky. Dehydrated skin is characterized by a lack of water content, while still being able to produce oil. In some cases, dehydrated skin can trigger an overproduction of oil as a way of compensating for a lack of moisture. Skin that is dehydrated generally feels tight and lacks elasticity. Our dermatology specialists will help you to determine the type of moisturizer that would work best for your skin type.
Step #5: Apply Sunscreen
Sunscreen is best applied daily, since our skin is regularly exposed to the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun throughout the day. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, is at least 30 SPF or higher, and is water-resistant. They also recommend re-applying sunscreen around every two hours, or more frequently if you are sweating. Using sunscreen no longer slows down skin aging from UV radiation, it also reduces a person’s risk of getting skin cancer. Our dermatology specialists can help you find the right type of sunscreen for your skin.
Step #6: Gentle Exfoliation (1-2 times a week)
You may want to gently exfoliate your skin at least once or twice a week. We lose an average of 500 million skin cells daily and these dead skin cells, if left on our skin, are partially responsible for causing breakouts. There are two different types of exfoliants: chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliants use hydroxy acids to dissolve the connections between live and dead skin cells so the dead cells can be shed, while physical exfoliants use gritty particles to remove cells from the surface of the skin. Physical exfoliants should only be used once a week since they are more abrasive than chemical exfoliants and can cause skin irritation when used too frequently.
Step #7: Peels/Scrubs
Skin peels are used to brighten the skin by removing dead skin cells and reducing the effects of sun damage. During a peel, glycolic, lactic, mandelic, or salicylic acid is applied to your skin and then removed, along with the outermost layer of skin. Facial scrubs are made up of physical exfoliants that gently remove dead skin cells. Both peels and scrubs can help remove dead skin cells and excess oil in order to improve the skin’s appearance. Our dermatology specialists can advise you on how often peels/scrubs should be performed to benefit your skin.
To Sum it All Up:
Overall, having a good skincare routine can help you improve or maintain the health and appearance of your skin. It can also help to reduce the frequency and/or severity of breakouts associated with acne. While cleansing your skin, applying toner, using treatments, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen are all intended as a daily routine, exfoliating only needs to be performed 1-2 times a week. Getting a professional facial peel or scrub from time to time may also supplement your skin care needs.