The sheer number of skincare products, both drugstore and high-end, that’s available nowadays is more than a little overwhelming. I’ve had friends over that look at the army of bottles by my sink and ask, “Do I need to buy these?”. The honest truth is that everyone’s skin type and needs are different, and I can’t tell you exactly what you should buy. Instead, this post is going to run over the basic categories of skincare products, and some of my recommendations for different skincare needs.
(All products shown are products I own and purchased with my own money.)
Probably the most basic element of skincare is a good facial cleanser. The two shown above are great drugstore picks that I’m currently using. If you have sensitive skin or skin that tends to be dry, look for gentle face washes without harsh chemicals in them. Cleansers with ingredients like aloe, avocado, and green tea are often good at helping to reduce redness or inflammation and soothe the skin. If your skin is oily/combination or acne-prone, look for a face wash with salicylic acid in it and is oil-free. Salicylic acid helps to break down dead skin cells and pore-clogging dirt and oil, but also has a tendency to dry out more sensitive skin. Ingredients like tea tree oil, fruit extracts, and activated charcoal help to prevent breakouts and can help reduce oil production.
Lotions and moisturizers are definite must-haves, regardless of your skin type. There are tons of options out there to mix and match to suit your skin type, but I’m just going to skim over the most important points. Richer, heavier moisturizers (like the cream on the right) are good options for dry skin, but tend to clog the pores of people with oilier or acne prone skin. Instead, people with oily or combination skin should look for lighter, noncomedogenic moisturizers.
Outside of your basic lotions, there are other ingredients that you can look for, depending on your needs. SPF is definitely something to look for, as protecting your skin from the skin is key to preventing early aging as well as other skin problems like cancer or sunburn. Having SPF in your daily moisturizer is the best way to ensure that the delicate skin of your face is always protected.
Toner is an optional product, but if you have large pores or struggle with breakouts, I recommend shopping around for a toner you like. I like to apply toner with a cotton pad, but other people use cloths, sponges, etc. Toner is like a light cleanser, swept over your skin to clear surface impurities. It won’t penetrate as deeply as a cleanser, but it’s good for making sure all of your makeup is off at the end of the day, and to clear sweat off your face after workouts. If your skin is prone to dryness, avoid toners with high alcohol contents, as those tend to be much more drying. Skin-soothing ingredients like green tea and witch hazel are often good things to look for in toners as well.
FACE MASKS, SCRUBS, AND OTHER PRODUCTS:
I’ve lumped several product categories into this section just because these are usually products you won’t use every single day.
Face masks are great for deep-cleaning your pores, and are often effective at both helping to take down current blemishes and preventing future ones. They’re available as both liquid masks as well as sheet masks, and whichever you use is up to your own personal preference. Generally, I don’t recommend using a full face mask more than once or twice a week, as they tend to be a little stripping and will dry out the skin or cause irritation if used too frequently.
In terms of exfoliation, scrubs are the best way to go. Exfoliation is important because it clears dead skin cells off your face, and reveals the brighter, younger-looking skin underneath. Dead skin cells can also clog pores and cause breakouts, so it’s important to make sure you exfoliate every few days. Exfoliants can be physical or chemical, and scrubs often contain both. Physical exfoliants include scrubbing beads and other grains that are used to lift dead skin cells. Depending on the size of the grain, they can be very fine and gentle or more abrasive. Chemical exfoliants, like glycolic acid, dissolve or break down dead skin cells. I recommend giving both a try, and choosing whichever product works out better for you.
Finally, I want to touch on spot treatments. These can include acne creams, dark spot correctors, and more. Spot treatments cater to your specific skincare needs, so don’t be afraid to ask your dermatologist or another professional for recommendations!
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Hope you all have an awesome weekend!