The world of skin care can be daunting when you're just starting out - information overload and differing opinions on what you should and should not use will give you decision anxiety, if anything. In this guide, we discuss the basics building blocks of skin care and the key items you need when starting out.
Skin care can be lazy and easy - as long as you commit to key products that your skin needs. However, we will definitely dive into other products that will give your skin the nutrients it needs for a healthy glow as you get *slightly* less lazy as you progress in your skin care journey.
The Key Building Blocks of Skin Care:
- Cleansers: Just as one needs to take daily showers and brush your teeth twice a day, cleansers keep the skin clean and healthy. This is key to having good skin.
- Moisturisers: Moisturisers are required for all regardless of your skin type. This is why there are so many moisturisers, or more commonly known as face creams, in the market. Oily skin types require moisturisers that reduce sebum production, and dry skin types require hydrating and nourishing moisturisers that strengthen the skin's barrier to protect it from water loss and sensitivity.
- Sunscreen: Living in a tropical country like Singapore makes sunscreen an essential part of everyone's skin care routine. Exposure to UV rays damage the skin cells and lead to premature ageing - this includes the appearance of fine lines, pigmentation and dull skin. Using a good sunscreen that is light on the skin and doesn't clog the pores will protect your skin while giving it a healthy glow.
How to build and layer your skincare routine
Step 1: Cleanser
Use it day and night.
Why must I cleanse my skin in the morning? Well, your skin is working as you sleep as it regenerates itself. In this process, it exhales toxins and naturals oils throughout the night as you sleep. Cleansing it in the morning is essential to keeping it clean and ensuring better absorbance of the other skin care you use to protect your skin in the day.
At night, cleansing your skin is even more important. Double cleansing your skin first with a make-up remover, then a gentle gel or water based cleanser will ensure your skin is totally clean. Any residual make-up, dirt and pollutants will clog your skin and cause acne or even sensitive skin.
We also advocate for a dedicated cleanser for your eyes and lips as these areas are thinner and require gentler care.
✔️ How to choose the best cleanser for your skin type
- Dry skin: The most common problem people with dry skin face is experiencing even more dryness after washing their face. This means that the cleanser is too harsh for you and you need to switch it our to a face wash with skin barrier-boosting ingredients. This includes hyaluronic acid, glycerin and ceramides.
- Oily skin: It can be tempting to use the next face wash that problems to strip your skin of oil and acne - they are often times too drying and instead cause your skin to produce even more oil. Gel-based and gentle foaming cleansers will be a good alternative.
- Sensitive skin: Always use gentle, calming face cleansers with soothing ingredients like aloe vera and niacinamide.
Step 2: Toner
Use it day and/or night.
Face toners are often light and feel just like water - which makes people question the actual efficacy of use toners. However, good toners are important for balancing your skin's pH and prepping it for other ingredients to be absorbed.
✔️ How to choose the best toner for your skin type
Acne-prone/oily skin: The best toner for both oily and acne-prone skin contain acid like glycolic acid or beta-hydroxy acid to clear congestion and reduce acne in the long term.
- How to use toner - Pour toner onto some cotton wool and gently wipe it over the skin. Focus on areas prone to blackheads and acne.
- Dry/sensitive skin: Both dry skin and sensitive skin types do best with hydrating toners (although all skin types, even acne-prone, can benefit) because they help replenish the water your skin barrier lost when you washed and dried your face. They should also help to balance your skin's pH.
Step 3: Serum
Use it morning and night.
An analogy we like to use to compare serums and moisturisers are clothes - serums are essential undergarments that amp up your skin health, and moisturisers are outerwear that protect you from the rain and sun.
Serums are essentially concentrated nutrients, hydrators or antioxidants and are important to include in your skin care routine.
Step 4: Eye and Neck cream
Use it morning and night.
Often neglected, the eye and neck are areas that sometimes expose our age. These areas are thinner and require more care - and early signs of ageing can appear without the right care.
Since eye and neck creams protect the more sensitive areas of your skin, they tend to be lighter. Always apply them before your creams and oils for higher efficacy and a good cream should hydrate the area without clogging it up and causing milea.
Step 5: Spot treatment
Use when necessary.
Depending on the type of spot treatment, apply it when necessary. Spot treatments for pimples and acne only need to be applied to the specific spots to prevent drying out the rest of your skin. Just remember to apply it on before your moisturiser.
For dark spots and acne scars, use spot treatments with niacinamide, or otherwise known as Vitamin B3, to gently brighten marks and lighten scars over time.
What about essences?
Spot treatments are sometimes called essences or boosters. They pack a small but intense nutritious punch for your skin and can be used for a short period of time. Again, use as necessary.
Step 6: Moisturizer
Use it day and night.
A moisturiser helps trap in all the products you've used to increase its efficacy, as well as protect your skin from external aggressors. It is definitely one of the most essential steps of your skin care routine and keeps your skin barrier hydrated and healthy. Choosing the right moisturiser for your skin needs is one of the most important things for beautiful, radiant skin.
✔️ How to choose the best moisturiser for your skin type:
- Oily and acne-prone skin: Finding a good moisturiser for oily skin is key to treating the skin from the inside out - it should regulate and reduce sebum production while hydrating the skin so your skin doesn't peel. Look for moisturisers that do not have too many harsh acids as they can be overly damaging on the skin. Sustainability is key to long-term healthy skin - while acids bring you fast and immediate results, they can cause more harm in the long run.
- Dry skin: Moisturisers for dry skin should contain ingredients that can strengthen the skin's barrier to prevent transepidermal water loss, as well as hydrate your skin cells. Hyaluronic acid, lipids and vitamins are key to keeping your skin cells hydrated and prevent sensitivity.
- Sensitive skin: Similar to dry skin, moisturisers for sensitive skin require hydrating ingredients that calms and soothes the skin to reduce itching, flakiness and redness. Some common ingredients for sensitive skin include camomile, bisabolol, allantoin, calendula and aloe vera.
- Ageing skin: Our skin starts to age when we reach 25 years old and is a normal process for the skin. It starts to produce less collagen and elastin - and thus the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and less elasticity. Using anti-ageing products that encourage skin cell renewal and collagen production is key to keeping your skin youthful.
Step 7: Sunscreen
Use it every morning.
Always use sunscreen to protect your skin against UV damage and external aggressors. It is absolutely essential and non-negotiable for beautiful, healthy skin free of pigmentation and uneven skin tone.
While Vitamin D is important - too much UV exposure will damage your skin cells and cause dull, tired looking skin without protection. It also reduces your risk of skin cancel and prevents the formaiton of abnormal collagen and elastin. What this means is that it prevents you from having thick, mottled, leathery skin.