How to start a skincare routine from scratch

Wednesday, September 9, 2020


Disclaimer: I am in no way a skincare professional or expert. All information in this post is based on my own combined research and personal experiences.

Are you new in the skincare world? Are you looking to start a skin care regimen that will work for you? Let me share how I started so you can get an idea of where to begin! 

First off, what is skincare? 

According to Wikipedia, Skincare is the range of practices that support skin integrity, enhance its appearance, and relieve skin conditions. They can include nutrition, avoidance of excessive sun exposure, and appropriate use of emollients.

So when do we supposed to start to have a skincare routine?

Let me tell you this, I started a skincare routine when I am already past 20. But according to an article I read from the Essential Wholesale and Labs, at age 14-20, skincare is supremely important since teenagers often develop chaotic skin. Experts say that it's never too young to find and start a routine that works for you, and as the old saying goes: "Prevention is better than cure." Starting a skincare routine while you are young will help you out, in the long run, to put off the effects of advancing years for much longer. 

But what if you are past your teenage years? Don't worry! It is not too late to start a routine. This remains true: our basic skincare needs to stay the same - cleanse, moisturize, and protect. But as we grow older, our skin needs more attention, and adding some steps are sometimes necessary, like toning, exfoliating, adding some special serums, and/or prescription treatments. But let us start with the basics.

When I came here in the US, I discovered that there's more to skincare than just washing your face with soap and water. In all honesty, I started off with only blindly using every skincare product I can get a hold for free, which I can definitely tell you were not a good thing.

You should know your skin first. Do you have a normal skin type? An oily one? Or maybe a combination or sensitive skin? That is something I did not really pay attention to when I started using skincare products.

How can you determine your skin type?

Tatcha has mentioned two great ways to do it:

The Bare-Faced Method - is where you cleanse your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser and gently pat try. Leave bare for 30 minutes and examine your cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead for any shine and after another 30 minutes, evaluate whether your skin feels parched. If your skin feels tight, your skin is likely dry. If there is noticeable shine on your nose and forehead, your skin is most likely normal/combination. If there is shine on your cheeks in addition to your forehead and nose, you most likely have oily skin.

The Blotting Sheet Method - is where you gently pat a blotting paper on the different areas of your face. Hold the sheet up to the light to determine how much oil is visible. If the sheet picked up little to no oil, you most likely have dry skin. If the blotting sheet reveals oil from the forehead and nose areas, your skin is normal/combination. Finally, if the blotting paper is saturated with oil, it is incredibly likely that you have oily skin.

Let's dive in deeper to each skin type:

Normal - blessed you! You have a well-balanced skin which is not too dry or too oily. Your skin is not prone to breakouts or flakiness.

Oily - this is when your skin always looks glowing, but its because it has excess oil, especially on your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Your skin tends to feel greasy, and this is the type that is often prone to blemishes and breakouts.

Dry - this is the opposite of having an oily skin where your skin feels and looks dehydrated and dry. It can be noticeably rough, flaky, and itchy.

Combination - this is when your skin is oily in certain areas and dry in others. Usually, the skin is oily in the T-zone and dry or normal on the cheeks and the rest of the face.

Sensitive - this is usually characterized by visible redness, frequent rashes, and bumps, with patches of dry, flaky, and irritated skin. This skin type is more likely to quickly get irritated when trying new makeup or skincare products.

Give yourself some time to really understand your skin type and, along with it, give some thought of what your skin needs. 

Now that you know your skin type, what's next?

Let's talk about your skin's BASIC needs.

As we have already mentioned, our skin's essential needs consist of cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting.

Cleanse - it is essential to wash your face morning and night. By cleansing, you are getting rid of dirt, sweat, sebum, and makeup from the skin's surface. 

For normal skin, most cleansers would basically work, but it's always good to find mild cleansers that can remove dirt and grime but will also preserve your natural sebum. 

For oily skin, oil-free foaming and gel cleansers tend to be the most effective. Look for cleansers that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to help with breakouts.

On the other hand, oil, milk, and cream-based formula that contains shea butter, honey, lipids, or ceramides work well for dry skin type. Avoid cleansers with irritants such as perfumes, alcohol, and other harsh ingredients. 

For combination and sensitive skin, an ultra-gentle cleanser is your best choice. Look for fragrance-free, paraben-free, and soap-free cleansers. A gel or micellar cleanser that contains aloe tends to be a good choice. 

Of course, choosing the right cleanser for your skin can sometimes take some time. Whatever cleanser you picked, make sure you take the time using it right. It is recommended that you apply your cleanser with your fingers in gentle, slow, circular motions for at least 30 seconds to a minute. After washing your face, gently pat it dry with a towel and avoid scrubbing it to your face. This is something I also learned late from the game. I used to scrub the towel on my face instead of just patting it gently. 

Moisturize - this is an integral part of the skincare routine since it hydrates and softens the skin while sealing moisture. Like finding the right cleanser for your skin, it might also take time to find the right moisturizer for you and may take a trial and error method. But be patient, you will definitely find a match! 

For normal and combination skin type, choose a simple, neutral, light, and non-greasy moisturizer. 

Oily skin usually does great with lightweight oil-free moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

Dry skin, on the other hand, can benefit from a richer and denser cream that contains shea butter, jojoba oil, or coconut oil.

For sensitive skin, always go with fragrance-free formula and moisturizers labeled hypoallergenic, and that contains aloe or chamomile.

Protect - it is vital to apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and broad-spectrum to protect your skin from developing skin cancers and also prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles every morning. It is recommended that you apply your SPF 30 minutes before going out and re-apply it every two hours. You can use a daily moisturizer that already has a built-in moisturizer for a simpler routine. 

It won't be necessary to use SPF at night. You might opt-in using additional skincare products instead, like exfoliators or acne treatments that specifically target your skin problems.

But if you are only starting to build a skincare routine, it is always better to start with the least products as possible. You also have to give your skin some time to get used to your routine. Do not be discouraged if you have not seen any results overnight. It can take up to six weeks to actually see results. Consistency is the key. 

And also, don't forget your lips! You can use a lip scrub once or twice a week and apply lip moisturizers every night.

On my next blog post, we'll dive into a more advanced skincare routine.

I hope this helps you start a skincare routine that is best for your skin! Do not hesitate to leave a comment or question below if you have any.

If you are looking for a skincare brand to start with, check out my Good Molecules post here.








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