You may suspect you have dry, oily, or sensitive skin, but do you really know your skin type? Knowing your true skin type can help the next time you’re in the cosmetics aisle. In fact, using the wrong products — or even popularized Internet hacks — for your skin type could worsen acne, dryness, or other skin problems.
Read on to learn:
- how to build your own skin care routine
- how to treat specific skin concerns like acne or scars
- which DIY skin hacks aren’t healthy, even if they seem to work
- Building a daily skin care routine.
No matter what your skin type is, a daily skin care routine can help you maintain overall skin health and improve specific concerns like acne, scarring, and dark spots. A daily skin care routine has four basic steps you can do once in the morning and once before you sleep.
1. Cleansing: Choose a cleanser that doesn’t leave your skin tight after washing. Clean your face no more than twice a day, or just once, if you have dry skin and don’t wear makeup. Avoid washing for that squeaky-clean feeling because that means your skin’s natural oils are gone. Cleansers known to work well for all skin types include Cetaphil and Banila Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser.
2. Serums: A serum with vitamin C or growth factors or peptides would be better in the morning, under sunscreen. At night, retinol or prescription retinoids work best. Makeup Artist’s Choice has an effective vitamin C and E serum and retinol available.
3. Moisturizer: Even oily skin needs moisturizer, but use one that is lightweight, gel-based, and non-comedogenic, or doesn’t block your pores, like CeraVe’s facial lotion. Dry skin may benefit from more cream-based moisturizers like MISSHA Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream. Most brands will label their products as gel or cream on their packaging.
4. Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF 15 minutes before heading outdoors, as it takes a while for sunscreen to activate. Darker skin tones actually need more sun protection because hyperpigmentation is harder to correct. Try EltaMD’s sunscreen, which offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Choose products that fit your skin type and sensitivity, and remember to read the labels. Some products, such as retinol or prescription retinoids, should only be applied at night.
For all skin types
- Stay hydrated.
- Change pillow cases at least once a week.
- Wash or wrap up hair before bed.
- Wear sunscreen every day and apply 15 minutes before going out.
Start with a basic and simple routine to see how your skin reacts. Once you’re comfortable, you can then add extra products such as exfoliants, masks, and spot treatments to boost your skin’s health.
And don’t forget to patch test new products, especially if you suspect you have sensitive skin. This can help you identify potential allergic reactions.
To patch test a new product:
- Apply a small amount of product on your skin in a discreet area, such as the inside of your wrist or your inner arm.
- Wait 48 hours to see if there’s a reaction.
- Check the area at 96 hours after application to see if you have a delayed reaction.
- An allergic reaction may include irritation, redness, small bumps, or itchiness. If you notice these symptoms, wash the area you tested with water and a gentle cleanser. Then return the product and try another that better suits your skin type.