April 29, 2021 4 min read
You want to take good care of your skin. But stepping into a beauty store — or even the skincare aisle of the drug store — can feel instantly overwhelming. (Why are there so many products?!)
With so many products claiming to make your skin look ahh-mazing, it’s hard to know which ones you need.
“A skincare routine should be tailored based on each person’s skin type and what their goals are,” says dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD.
“For younger people, it’s about protecting the skin from the sun and pollution. For someone who’s acne-prone, it’s about addressing that. For someone who has more mature skin, it might be about preventing fine lines, discoloration, and other signs of aging.”
A good routine can help your skin look and feel great — but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Here are the basic steps recommended.
“Typically I think of our morning routine as protecting our skin and our nighttime routine as repairing it,” Dr. Khetarpal says.
She recommends starting with these 3 products in the a.m.:
They also offer protection from molecules in our environment (called free radicals) that can damage the skin.
If it doesn’t, apply a separate facial sunscreen. “I recommend a sunscreen with either iron oxide, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide,” Dr. Khetarpal says.
After these steps, you’re all set to put on makeup, if that’s your thing.
At night, you’re focused on cleaning and repairing your skin. Here’s how you can do that:
Acne-prone skin might do well with a face wash that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, Dr. Khetarpal says.
Someone who’s in their 30s or 40s might opt for something with an alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, that brightens the skin and can help with pigmentation.
Dr. Khetarpal recommends this option for people who tend to have more oily skin. “Some toners are alcohol-based and can strip the natural oils from your skin and lead to dryness or irritation,” she says.
Dr. Khetarpal recommends one that contains tretinoin, retinol, or adapalene. If it dries out your skin at all, you can add a moisturizer that contains ceramide or hyaluronic acid on top.
When it comes to skincare, don’t judge a product’s quality by its price tag — or by the claims made on its label.
Dr. Khetarpal recommends investing in products that contain ingredients that are backed by scientific studies, like the ones she mentions above.
“The products that are going to help your skin are not always going to be the most expensive ones,” she says.
“Just because something is very expensive, that doesn’t mean it going to help your skin. And just because something is natural doesn’t mean you can’t be allergic to it.”
Because many beauty products contain preservatives, chemicals, or fragrances that could irritate or dry out your skin, it’s a good idea to introduce new products one at a time.
If you have sensitive skin, Dr. Khetarpal recommends using a pea-sized dot of product behind your ear, along your jawline, and waiting a day or two to make sure your skin doesn’t react before applying it to your whole face.
It’s important to remember that no product on any shelf is going to give you fabulous, glowing skin if you don’t take care of it from the inside out.
Like the rest of your body, your skin won’t be at its best if you aren’t getting enough sleep (yes, beauty sleep is a real thing), managing your stress, and eating a healthy, well-rounded diet.
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