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You might be washing your face waaaay too much. Or using acids too less. When it comes to skincare, there is a right and a wrong way to do things. For starters, you can over and under-apply skincare products, just like you can use them in the incorrect order.
If you're wondering how often you should be washing your face or when to apply moisturizer, read on.
Cleanser always comes first.
Dermatologists recommend cleansing morning and evening, but if you can only squeeze one of them in, make it the PM! For the sake of your skin, it's imperative to remove the day's makeup, oil, and grime with a gentle cleanser or cleansing oil before going to bed. In addition to decongesting the pores, cleansing the skin allows other products to penetrate, making them more effective.
Sensitive skin types should avoid washing their face more than once a day to prevent dryness and irritation. They should avoid practices such as double cleansing.
The most anyone should ever be cleansing is twice per day. Any more than that is overdoing it, and can lead to dry skin.
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Exfoliation is a fundamental part of any skincare routine. It removes dead skin cells, keeps the pores clear, and enables enhanced product absorption. However, you definitely can over-exfoliate, and this can lead to issues like redness, flaking, and irritation. You can also damage your skin if you're using the wrong type of exfoliator, such as formulas containing large, rough particles like walnut shells.
It's best to use either a sugar-based scrub or chemical exfoliant (that containing AHAs or BHAs). If you're using a scrub, limit your exfoliating sessions to 1-2 times per week. If you're using a chemical exfoliant such as a serum made with glycolic acid or salicylic acid, you can use it every day. But only if your skin can tolerate it. Those with sensitive skin should still limit use to 2-3 times a week.
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Whether you're using beta hydroxy acid, benzoyl peroxide, or vitamin A (retinoids), now's the time to apply your topical acne treatments. Every product works differently, so follow the instructions as per the product.
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Toner is an optional skincare step, but if it's part of your routine, you should use it straight after cleansing. Aim for a gentle, hydrating toner rather than a harsh, astringent toner which strips the skin of natural oils and contributes to dryness. Toners should be used once a day.
For most people, this is the area where things get complicated. Some serums are designed for hydration, while others are loaded with antioxidants for anti-aging purposes. However, all serums contain high concentrations of active ingredients, which is what makes them so helpful in treating various skin concerns.
To get the most out of your serum, dermatologists recommend applying serum after washing and toning your face. Whether you're using an anti-aging retinol or a brightening vitamin C serum, always apply your serums before the thicker products like lotions and oils. If they're applied after, they won't fully penetrate the skin, leaving them virtually useless.
When choosing a serum, look for a formula designed to tackle your issues. Hyperpigmentation and dark spot? Try vitamin C. Fine lines and wrinkles? Choose retinol. Breakouts and blemishes? Make salicylic acid or glycolic acid your first choice.
Serums only need to be applied once a day after cleansing and before moisturizing.
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Eye cream is another optional step, but one worth implementing if you're trying to treat dark circles, fine lines, or puffiness.
For best results, it's best to apply eye cream after moisturizing as it tends to be thinner and lighter than lotions and face oils.
The skin around the eyes is extremely delicate, and is often one of the first areas to show fine lines and wrinkles, so an eye cream should hydrate and smooth the eye area.
When applying your eye cream, gentle pat it into the area around and under your eye using the tip of your ring finger. Eye cream can be applied 1-2 times per day.
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Whether you've got oily skin, acne-prone skin, or dry skin, moisturizer is a must. Moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated and plump, while helping fend of fine lines and wrinkles. It'll also keep your skin barrier strong and functioning optimally.
According to the derms, you should be applying moisturizer twice a day -- after washing your face. To make your moisturizer work even harder, apply it to damp skin so that it absorbs more effectively into the skin.
Choose a lightweight face or night cream formulated with humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin which will seal in moisture. If you're dealing with pimples, opt for an oil-free moisturizer.
Regardless of your age or skin type, everyone should be wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 every single day. The derms recommend applying mineral sunscreen as the last step of your morning routine as it's effective, safe, and suitable for sensitive skin types.
You can also pair it with an antioxidant serum for added protection from UV rays and free radicals that can cause premature aging.
Sunscreen should be applied every two hours if you're continually outside. It does not need to be part of your nighttime skincare routine.
As a rule of thumb, skincare products should be applied from thinnest to thickest. This way, each product can properly penetrate the skin and work as it should. If you want to get the most out of your beauty products, apply them in the correct order! And avoid over-using them, because more doesn't always mean better.
Always try to find products formulated with high-performing ingredients like ceramides, peptides, niacinamide, rosehip, retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid, as these help hydrate, boost cell turnover, improve skin tone, and cater to your skin needs.