Just the Basics: A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Skin Care Routine
With the vast array of skin care products at our fingertips, starting at square one can seem daunting. How do you start a skin care routine when you’re not even sure where to look first? Thankfully, our experts are here to take the guesswork out of the process and to offer you a simple, three-step guideline for starting a daily skin care regimen from scratch. Everyone’s got to start somewhere!
When starting a skin care routine for the first time, Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com expert, believes in the less is more approach. “If you have more than five products, stop,” he says. “It’s too much and will likely lead to dryness and even acne.” When it comes to a beginner’s skin care routine, you should include three daily steps: cleansing, serum, and moisturizer.
Beginner’s Skin Care Step 1: Cleansing
“A gentle cleanser is key to use both morning and night,” he says. “It removes debris from the skin’s surface, cleans pores, and primes the skin to absorb topical products, like moisturizers and serums, better.” When you’re just starting out, reach for gentle, light cleansers to remove makeup and pollutants that can accumulate on the skin’s surface throughout the day. If these impurities stay on the skin, you run the risk of them combining with oil—or sebum—clogging your pores and causing pimples and blackheads. While we’re big on both chemical and mechanical exfoliation at Skincare.com, Dr. Bhanusali warns to be careful if you’re just starting a skin care routine. “Exfoliating cleansers that feature alpha and beta hydroxy acids should be used in moderation—two to three times per week max,” he says. Start off small with a once a week exfoliation and to see how your skin reacts before making it a part of your weekly routine.
If you have more than five products, stop. It’s too much and will likely lead to dryness and even acne.
Beginner’s Skin Care Step 2: Serum
After cleansing and patting your face dry—never rub!—Dr. Bhanusali advises that you reach for a serum. “Look for one that’s formula is rich in antioxidants like SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic,” he says. We share more on why you should definitely use serum in your skin care routine, here.
Beginner’s Skin Care Step 3: Moisturizer+
If we’ve learned anything by speaking to our experts, it’s that the best way to wash your face is to follow up with hydration and that sunscreen is a non-negotiable. “It’s imperative to wear sunscreen each day and utilize products with formulas rich in antioxidants to help protect our skin from environmental aggressors such as pollution.” Combine both steps by reaching for a moisturizer with a broad-spectrum—meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays—SPF of 30 or more. Apply as the final step in your skin care routine before putting on your makeup. At night, Dr. Bhanusali suggests beginners end their skin care routine with a night cream formula that is rich in antioxidants.
As you progress on the path to great skin, you can start to incorporate face masks into your routine a couple times a week, eye creams, and more!