If you’re wondering how many skincare products you actually need, this guide outlines the basics you need to consider.
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What is all the cleansing, scrubbing, and moisturizing doing for your skin — besides taking an extensive chunk out of your wallet, that is. Skincare doesn’t come cheap anymore, but dermatologists pontificate it to be more important than ever.
Even for the body’s largest organ, there’s only so much surface area. And even if bathing in moisturizers seems oddly thrilling, most experts recommend keeping things simple, and budget-friendly.
While there’s no universally accepted “perfect” skincare routine, there’s the bare minimum that everyone should do: gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and wearing sunscreen. Beyond that, it’s trial and error: Here’s how you figure out what’s best for you.
This one’s obvious: cleaning your skin removes the dirt, excess oil, dead skin cells, and makeup that accumulates throughout the day. What matters is how often you wash your face, and how you do it.
Picking the right kind of facial cleanser is also important — a moisturizing, oil-based cleanser for dry skin, a foaming or gentle cleanser for oily skin, and a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin.
People with acne might require a more personalized approach, but a gentle cleanser with salicylic acid should generally do the trick.
The skin moisturizes itself with a light layer of oil — called sebum — that helps seal in moisture and keeps it from drying. However, washing your skin strips away these oils, and that’s where a moisturizer comes in.
Choosing a moisturizer depends on your skin type and not the perfume that most people look into.
You should moisturize every time you wash your face or take a bath. If your skin feels, dry, tight, flaky, or irritated, it’s time to reapply.
Everyone should wear sunscreen every day — even on cloudy days or during the winter.
Sun exposure damages your skin, increases melanin production, increases the risk of skin cancer, and accelerates skin aging. Wearing a sunscreen protects you from all that.
When choosing a sunscreen, look for:
Sunscreens typically come in two types: one that forms a physical barrier against harmful rays and the other that absorbs UV rays before they can damage the skin. Each is known to work well, but you can switch between the two depending on what suits your skin better.
It is best to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going under the sun. Reapply every two hours if you are under the sun, or immediately after swimming of extensive sweating — since no sunscreen is waterproof.
There are a lot of additional products to choose from, including toners, serums, eye creams, exfoliants, and face masks. However, things quickly reach the point of diminishing returns as you add products.
Many of the things these products want to achieve, the skin does on its own: it heals, hydrates, and exfoliates. Therefore, add more products only if you need to.