How to Establish an Effective Skincare Routine

With so many skincare products on the market, choosing the right combination might seem overwhelming, but creating a skincare routine can be fun! To make sure that your routine works for you, you should first consider what type of skin you have. You can then put together a personalized regimen of cleansers, toners, moisturizers, exfoliants, and masks. Within a few months, you will be delighted by your beautiful skin!

EditSteps

EditSetting up a Basic Routine

  1. Remove makeup. If you wear makeup, you should remove it before you go to bed. Some cleansers claim to remove makeup for you, but these may not get rid of all makeup. You may want to have an extra makeup remover on hand. Use it before you cleanse your face.[1]
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    • Makeup wipes or removers are easy and convenient. Simply wipe off the makeup with a soaked pad until it is gone.
    • Since eye and lip makeup can be harder to remove, you may want to use a special makeup remover designed for these parts.
  2. Cleanse twice a day. You should wash your face twice a day, once in the morning before you put on makeup, and once at night before you go to bed. You should also cleanse after sweating heavily.[2]
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    • Wet your skin with warm water but not hot water. Warm water helps remove dirt, but hot water will dry out your skin.
    • Apply the cleanser and massage it into your skin in upwards, circular motions. Remove completely, either by using a sponge or by splashing with warm water. Dab your face dry with a clean towel.
  3. Apply toner after your cleanser. Toner should be applied once you have dried your face after cleansing. Pump a small amount of toner onto a cotton pad, and simply wipe over your face. Avoid the eye area. Let the toner dry on your skin. You do not need to rinse off.
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  4. Moisturize your skin. Your moisturizer goes on after your toner absorbs. You can massage your moisturizer into your skin using upward circular motions to your face and neck. Alternatively, you can apply it to your clean palms and gently pat it in.[3]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • If you have dark or puffy eyes or if you are concerned about wrinkles around your eyes, you can use a separate eye cream. Gently pat the cream around your eye with your ring finger.
  5. Exfoliate once or twice a week. You should only exfoliate once or twice a week, or else you may cause damage to your skin. Be gentle as you exfoliate. Soft movements are all that are needed. Vigorously rubbing or scrubbing can be harmful.[4]
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    • There are many different types of exfoliation. You can use a wash-off scrub, a special mitt or sponge, or even a chemical exfoliant such as AHA or BHA.
    • You may want to avoid exfoliating if you have active acne breakouts or hyperpigmentation.[5]
  6. Wear sunscreen everyday. Daily sun exposure can cause premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and other problems. Even if you don’t plan on going outside for long, put on sunscreen before you leave home. Apply it fifteen minutes before going outside. [6]
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    • Sunscreen should be applied as the last step of your routine after you have put on moisturizer but before you have put on any makeup.

EditControlling Oily Skin

  1. Choose a foaming cleanser. Foaming cleansers work the best for oily skin as they remove oil gently. You only need a small amount for your whole face. Foaming cleansers come in gel, pump, and cream form.[7]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Be careful only to wash your face twice a day. Washing too often can actually cause your skin to produce more oil and pimples.
  2. Look for ingredients that will fight acne. If you have acne-prone skin, then you should be using tougher ingredients that will reduce oil, shine, and pimples. Some common and effective ingredients include:[8]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Benzoyl peroxide
    • Salicylic acid
    • Sulfur
    • Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid or lactic acid
    • Retinoid
    • Witch hazel
  3. Apply a water-based moisturizer. Using a heavy moisturizer might make your skin even oiler. To combat this, use a water or gel-based moisturizer instead. These are moisturizers where water is listed as the first or second ingredient.[9]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 9 Version 2.jpg
  4. Relax with a clay mask to reduce oil. Clay masks are great for people with oily skin. Smear them on your face after cleansing, and leave them on for fifteen to twenty minutes before rinsing off. Apply moisturizer afterwards.[10]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 10 Version 2.jpg
  5. Avoid touching your face. Touching your face can transfer bacteria and dirt from your hands to your face. These can cause pimples. If you must touch your face, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm first.[11]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 11.jpg
    • Never pick, squeeze or pop your pimples. It hurts more, looks worse, and eventually may leave behind an ugly scar.

EditSoothing Dry and Sensitive Skin

  1. Rinse your face in the morning. Since cleansers can strip your skin of good oils, you do not need to use them in the morning. Instead, rinse your face with warm water and pat dry. Wash your face with cleanser at night.[12]
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  2. Oil cleanse to remove makeup. Makeup removers often contain alcohol and other harsh ingredients that can dry out and irritate your skin. Oil cleansers are gentler than makeup removing wipes. Simply apply the oil to your dry skin, and wash off with warm water.[13]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 13.jpg
  3. Use a serum before you apply moisturizer. A serum is a watery moisturizer that gives your skin an extra boost of hydration. Gently dab the serum onto your face with a cotton ball or clean hands. Let it absorb into your skin before you apply moisturizer.
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  4. Apply a cream with oils. If you have dry or mature skin, oil-based products will not only add hydration but seal moisture into your skin. Check the label to see if oil is one of the first listed ingredients.[14]
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    • Mineral oil or petrolatum may be helpful if you have cracked skin or flaky patches.
    • Rosehip oil and jojoba oil can help prevent moisture from leaving your skin.
  5. Pick soothing ingredients if you have irritation. Irritation and flaky skin can be common for both dry and sensitive skin types. To soothe your skin, pick products that contain moisturizing ingredients, such as aloe, chamomile, green tea extract, or Vitamin C.[15]
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  6. Avoid alcohol and other astringents. Alcohol can dry out skin and irritate sensitive skin. Read the ingredients of all of your products so that you can avoid alcohol. In addition to alcohol, you should avoid irritating ingredients like:[16]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 17.jpg
    • Witch hazel
    • Peppermint
    • Eucalyptus oil
    • Fragrance
    • Acids

EditHandling Common Skincare Problems

  1. Look for antioxidants to reduce signs of aging. Antioxidants can help prevent signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. Common ones one include Vitamin C, retinol, tea extracts, grape seed extracts, and niacinamide.[17]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 18.jpg
    • While they are not antioxidants, alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, can help reduce the appearance of fine lines.
  2. Treat uneven skintones with lightening ingredients. If you want to reduce hyperpigmentation or dark spots on your face, choose ingredients that will lighten these areas. Some effective products include:[18]
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 19.jpg
    • Kojic acid
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin E
    • Arbutin
    • Niacinamide
    • Licorice Root Extract
  3. Use brightening products if you have dull skin. Dull skin is a common side effect of dry or mature skin. If you are looking for more of a glow, try to find products that contain Vitamin C, arbutin, niacinamide, and mulberry extract. These products are more effective when used together, so feel free to mix and match.[19]
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  4. Choose mild products if you have rosacea. To avoid flares, choose a mild cleanser and moisturizer.[20] You should avoid products that contain alcohol, menthol, peppermint, eucalyptus oil, or witch hazel.[21] For the best treatment, talk to a doctor about getting a prescription to treat your condition.
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  5. Visit a dermatologist. If you are struggling to find products that work for your skin, visit a dermatologist. They can help you identify your skin type while pinpointing the underlying issues that may be causing your concerns. They may even give you prescriptions that can help.
    Establish an Effective Skincare Routine Step 22.jpg

EditTips

  • Consider using natural or homemade products, especially if you have sensitive skin that does not react well to commercial products.
  • New products rarely work right away. If you are starting a new routine, give yourself between six weeks and three months to let the products work. Keep doing your routine in the morning and at night for consistency.[22]
  • Drink plenty of water, if you’re well hydrated, your skin will be too.
  • Never go to bed with your makeup on.
  • If you have extra dry skin then get an exfoliating scrub that isn’t too harsh and aim to exfoliate 1-2 times a week.
  • Smoking, drinking and drug taking have substantial effects on the skin from premature aging to discoloration and dryness.
  • During dry seasons, sleep with a humidifier in your room.

EditWarnings

  • Do not apply products that contain an ingredient that you are allergic to.
  • If a product causes redness, irritation, flaking, or swelling, stop using immediately. Rinse off with water if the product is still on your face.

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

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