It is no secret that I love skincare. Growing up I struggled a lot with acne and in the process of trying to find something-anything- to clear my skin I learned a lot about all the different products that are out there. And there are a lot!
There are cleansers, toners, moisturizers, serums, ampoules, essences, chemical exfoliators, manual exfoliators, sunscreen (physical and chemical), masks, sleeping packs, and the list goes on.
I love all of these products and they each have their place, but are they all really necessary?
A lot of skincare companies, and estheticians for that matter, will tell you they are. However, it is my philosophy that of all the products available, there are only 3 that you must use to keep your skin healthy. Everything else is just a bonus. If you are trying to fix a specific issue (acne, wrinkles, pigmentation, etc.) you may need additional products, but cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen are the base everything is built from.
Every skincare routine starts with a cleanser. A good cleanser works to remove dirt, oil, makeup, and environmental pollutants without stripping the skin of its natural protective barrier. Regular bar soap won’t work - it is too alkaline and will mess with the PH of your skin, stripping away the skin’s natural moisturizers and leaving your skin vulnerable to environmental damage.
There are different types of cleansers out there and what works for you depends on your skin type. For example, oil cleansers are targeted for drier skin (and are also excellent make up removers) whereas cleansers that foam are better suited for oily skin.
My favorite cleanser is Hale & Hush’s Quiet Wash. It is a gentle face wash that is good for all skin types - even the most sensitive and compromised skin will love it. It can be used every day, twice a day and has ingredients such as horse chestnut bark extract, birch tree heart, and olive leaf extract, which all work together to soothe the skin and support barrier function.
All moisturizers work to replenish and balance oil and moisture levels and protect the skin. Everybody needs to moisturize, whether your skin is very dry or very oily. The difference is what type of moisturizer to use.
Too often people with oily and/or acne prone skin will avoid moisturizing because they are afraid of adding more oil, but extra oil in the skin does not replace moisture loss. A moisturizer for this skin type can actually reduce an oily appearance by balancing the level of oil and moisture in the skin.
I would argue that this step is the most important step of your skincare routine, but also the step most often skipped. You should be wearing sunscreen every single day, whether it is the middle of summer or the dead of winter. You should also be reapplying throughout the day.
90% of wrinkles are caused by excessive sun exposure, not to mention that sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer.
When choosing a sunscreen make sure to pick one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 35.
There are many different types of skincare products out there and they all serve an important role in skin health, however a good cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen are the foundation that everyone should own and use on a daily basis. Once those bases are covered you can then amend your routine to add exfoliators, serums, masks, etc. in order to reach your individual skin health goals.