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Beginner’s Guide to Skincare

Skincare has always been a controversial topic; many people believe soap and water are all you need, while others think the more products, the better. These varying opinions are very misleading, especially for skincare beginners. How many steps are actually required? What do products actually do? We are going to be diving into these topics and providing you with a sense of how to develop a consistent beginner’s skincare routine.


Image is courtesy of Getty Images.



What Does Skincare Actually Do?


Before we dive into skincare products, we must understand why we do skincare. As the biggest organ of our body, our skin controls many of our overall health conditions. It should be a part of our everyday hygiene practice for cosmetic and medical benefits, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. According to SELF Magazine, a consistent skincare process can prevent various skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea and protect us from harmful bacteria in the environment.


As explained by Cleveland Clinic, our skin is made up of two main aspects, the epidermis, and the dermis layers. The epidermis is the outermost layer of our skin where cell turnover occurs. This process is when your body sheds dead skin cells and naturally exfoliates the surface of your skin, keeping your skin vibrant-looking. On the other hand, a deeper layer called the dermis keeps our skin looking plump and elastic with two proteins, collagen, and elastin. Both these layers work together to achieve the best appearance of our skin; however, as we age, our cell turnover and protein production rate slows down, when our skin begins to look dull and loses its elastic qualities. This is where skincare is an excellent factor because it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and all sorts of conditions that come with aging.


Image is courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.



What to know before starting a routine


  • Skincare is a long term process and often times the results won’t be visible in a short period of time

  • Consistency is the only way to success

  • Various products work differently on everyone, one size does not fit all; what works for someone else might not work for you

  • With skincare, more is not necessarily better

  • Skincare is not the only factor that controls your skin conditions; eating habits, genetics, weather conditions, and lifestyle also play a role

  • If a product hurts when you use it on your skin, it is too harsh for you; skincare is supposed to be enjoyable

  • There isn’t a right or wrong skincare routine, is it what works for you

  • Regardless of gender and skin type, skincare should be for everyone



Now You’re Ready to Consider a Consistent Routine!


In general, skincare doesn’t have to be complicated. You have probably seen others doing a 20 step routine; however, more isn’t necessarily better. According to Today, applying too many products increases the risks of damaging your skin barrier and causing sensitivity and irritation. As a beginner, less is definitely better. You really only need the three basic steps: cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen. Those three products should be used every day in that order, morning and night, excluding sunscreen during the evening time. You should also determine your skin type, including dry, oily, combination, and normal skin. Knowing this information, you should find products for your skin type. Below is a method that you can use to determine your skin type.


Image is courtesy of My Beauty Naturally.


Cleansing


Ideally, cleansers should be used twice a day only, once in the morning and once at night, as Good Housekeeping suggests. The morning cleanse removes bacteria and sebum that builds upon the skin throughout the night, while the evening cleanse washes off oil, dirt, and other debris that has been collected on the skin from the environment. This also prevents clogged pores and keeps your skin fresh. However, if you have dry and flaky skin, the morning cleanse can be irregularly replaced by using only lukewarm water instead.


Moisturizing


After both your morning and evening cleanse, you should follow up with a hydrating moisturizer. Regardless of your skin type, both oily and dry sides need moisturization. As Healthline explains, if your skin is on the dry side, moisturizers help increase the water content in the epidermis layer, which soothes dryness. On the other hand, oily skin needs moisturizing too! The oil on our face is caused by excess sebum production, which is produced to prevent moisture loss from inside our skin. An article from Repêchage emphasizes how using a moisturizer helps with secreting water content in your skin, which can ultimately reduce sebum production and control oil.


Sunscreen


Every day after applying your moisturizer in the morning, make sure to put on a good sunscreen with a broad spectrum of at least SPF 30+. Even on a gloomy day with no visible sun, ultraviolet rays are still present and damaging to your skin. Sunscreen is more of a long-term process, as in most cases, results won’t be visible to the eye until the aging process begins to occur. According to the Skin Care Foundation, it is estimated that 90 percent of aging comes from sun exposure, and wearing sunscreen daily protects the skin from years of visible damage later in life.

When choosing the above three products, it is important to consider the ingredients. Non-stripping and fragrance-free products should be chosen to reduce the risks of irritation on the skin. Many available websites online are able to decode the formula of skincare products like the INCIDecoder, which can help with understanding the ingredients, effects, and possible irritations of a certain product.


The above three steps generally won’t have an effect on treating specific skin conditions like acne, hyperpigmentation, and others. After a consistent exploration into the basics, you can begin to research additional steps that have a more specific purpose. Processes like double cleansing, toning, and exfoliating are available out there, but they are much more beneficial for people who have a deeper understanding of skincare. Lastly, if you decide to dive deeper into skincare, make sure to keep in mind that more is not necessarily better.



Article Author: Kacy Zhao

Article Editors: Victoria Huang, Stephanie Sahadeo