The four cornerstones of a simple skincare routine
It all boils down to three elements: cleanse, tone, moisturize. Most dermatologists agree that these are the cornerstones of healthy and clear skin. Dr. Alexis Granite, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic explained in an article for The Telegraph that it is important to cleanse and moisturize the skin at least once a day, but ideally twice (morning and night).
The following three essential steps are considered fundamental to any beauty routine, because each step complements and balances the other, forming a complete circle of skin health. The main idea behind it is to purify the skin while keeping it hydrated and balanced.
Get to know your skin
Before we jump into the three basic steps, it’s important to get to know your skin. Do this short questionnaire to determine your skin type. This will help you buy products for each step and determine what is important to focus on when treating your skin. Once you find your skin type, read the basic guidelines below for it and make them part of your daily skincare routine.
Step 1: Cleanse
The why and the how: Cleansing the skin removes sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. Cleanse your skin in the morning to remove any dirt collected throughout the night and in the evening to clear your pores from the buildup of the day.
Remember: Your cleanser will vary based on skin type, but be sure to choose one that is free of irritants and harsh ingredients. Consider using a mild foaming or lotion-based cleanser that won’t excessively strip your skin of its natural oils. Similarly, it’s best to avoid using harsh bar soaps when cleansing your face, as they tend to dry out your skin and make it overproduce sebum, the natural oils your skin produces for protection.
Step 2: Tone
The why and the how: There is a lot of confusion around toner, and for many dermatologists, it may be considered unnecessary. But some skin experts agree that toning can be an important addition to your skincare routine with beneficial effects for your skin if you choose the right toner and don’t have overly dry or sensitive skin. Why is it necessary? Well, after you cleanse your skin from impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser, as well as any makeup or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb the moisturizer and minimize the appearance of pores. Some toners may have PH balancing and antiseptic effects, too.
Toner should be applied right after you have cleansed your skin, while the skin is still damp. The best way to apply it is with a cotton pad or cotton ball, simply soaking the pads in the toner and wiping upwards, starting at your neck.
Remember: Experts advise against using harsh alcohol, citrus-based or heavily fragranced toners as they can damage and irritate your skin. If you use a mild, water-based toner with beneficial ingredients such as skin-repairing substances, antioxidants, and cell-communicating ingredients such as niacinamide, then there is no reason you should skip this step. Toner will add much-needed properties back into your skin.
Step 3: Moisturize
The why and the how: Throughout the day, our skin loses moisture. Moisturizing provides a protective layer to the skin that locks in moisture and keeps the skin hydrated. This hydration is what gives your skin a smooth, luminous appearance.
Choose a moisturizer based on your skin type — cream, lotion, gel or oil—and gently rub it into your skin in an upward motion being careful not to tug on the delicate skin around your eyes. Once the moisturizer is applied, give it time to sink in so you receive its full benefits. In the evening, consider using a heavier moisturizer or night cream for extra hydration that will sink in overnight.
Remember: Look for a moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15 or 20 for the daytime, or higher if you stay out in the sun or have fair skin. This is an important factor in preventing skin cancer and keeping your skin healthy as you age.
Step 4: Monitor your skin health
Go one step further: Include skin checks in your skin care routine to catch skin cancer symptoms early. Download SkinVision and check your skin regularly to keep it healthy.