How to Put Together a Skincare Routine That Works
As much as we hope you turn to us again and again to help you feel your best, we also want to make sure you are able to care for your skin at home — even if that means you won’t have to see us very often. The best way to do that is to establish your skincare as a routine, something you do twice a day, every day.
I like to use the analogy of going to the gym to work out. If you go once a month, you probably won’t see any results (if you do, I’d like to have a word with you later!). But when you commit and go regularly, you will see changes. It's the same with skincare. To make sure you commit to the gym, you may be promising just to do 30-minute workouts. With your skincare regimen, you can also keep things a little bit simpler if that means it’s something you’re more likely to stick to.
Hero Ingredients: Hydroxy Acids, Antioxidants, Retinol
What does a good skincare routine look like? As I’ve discussed here in the past, and as I always tell my patients, it’s not about steps as much as it’s about using high-quality, effective ingredients. For proven anti-aging results, I recommend everyone apply hydroxy acids, antioxidants, and retinol in to their skin. Sure, you need to use them in some kind of order, which could be cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, and protect. Or it could even be as simple as using a wash containing hydroxy acids and a cream containing antioxidants in the morning, then doing the same plus adding a retinol at night.
Hydroxy acids, which can be beta- or alpha-hydroxy acids, are present in a variety of different products, but it's easiest to find them in facial cleansers and toners. Both of these work as a chemical exfoliant on the skin. You’ll usually see alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) in the form of salicylic, glycolic, or lactic acids, sometimes in combination with each other and sometimes on their own. Hydroxy acids help clean dirt from the surface, remove dead skin cells, and decongest pores. Once skin is exfoliated in this way, other ingredients like retinol can penetrate the skin better.
Antioxidants will usually be in serums, moisturizing lotions, and creams. The most common and powerful forms of antioxidants for the skin are vitamin C, niacinamide, and vitamin E. These all protect the skin by binding to the hazardous free radicals (oxidants) that occur after exposure to the sun’s UV rays, HEV (blue) light, and pollution. Basically, this ingredient can prevent some of the damage we associate with aging.
Retinol is something you’ll find in serums and some creams. It’s a favorite ingredient among skincare professionals because of how well it’s been clinically proven to clear skin of acne and reduce the signs of aging. It induces skin cells to turn over quickly (a process that slows when we age), which in turn stimulates collagen production. The result is clearer, smoother, suppler skin.
How to Use These Ingredients
How you apply these key ingredients to your face, and which specific products you should use, will largely depend on your individual skin type and needs. If you have sensitive skin, it may be best to use hydroxy acids and retinol only a few times a week. If you have oily skin, you may want to use them in a stronger form. At Face Forward, we’ll happily advise you on what will work best for you.
I do have a couple of extra tips I like to share about how to cleanse and nourish your skin every day, however:
- Wash your face twice a day, in lukewarm to cold water, for at least 60 seconds.
- Use a separate towel just for your face. I suggest having many washcloths for this purpose, so you
- can wash them after one use. Or go with a biodegradable single-use cloth.
- Double cleanse if you wear makeup, especially if you’re acne prone.
- Exfoliate daily; unless you have sensitive skin, in which case, exfoliate three times a week.
- Start your nighttime skincare routine 30 minutes before you go to bed, so your products can be
- Absorbed instead of wiping right off onto the pillow.
- Use lighter products (serums) before heavier ones (creams), for better absorption.
- Sunscreen or sunblock every. Single. Day.
And of course, please, don’t hesitate to ask me or the rest of the staff at Face Forward if you have questions about your skincare routine. It’s one of our favorite subjects!