How do I Start a New Skincare Routine? Pro-Tips from a Licensed Esthetician
Starting a new cleansing system can unexpectedly spark an inner excitement and joy! The sweet, fresh aroma of a lightly scented cleanser... the luxurious and fluffy texture of a physical exfoliant... the utter disbelief of noticeable results from active ingredient formulas... All these factors contribute to a near spiritual experience when practicing skincare.
But, where do you start? It's completely normal to be overwhelmed during the research process and it can seem totally daunting, but I'm here to shed some light on the subject (and maybe a little bit of dead skin too).
1. Knowing the difference between tingling and stinging/burning
In order to see results in your skincare regimen, you must allow your skin to go through an adjustment period when using new products featuring active ingredients. Patience is the foundation of a perfect regimen (just like any relationship – amiright).
When you experience a tingling sensation, that means the product is working! So, get ready for a skin transformation, girl. That tingling sensation can be caused by AHA's and BHA's, both active ingredients that exfoliate without causing extreme irritation. Additionally, Retinoids are designed to create a very mild inflammation in the dermis that encourages cell turnover and stimulates the production of collagen, which plumps and tightens the skin. Yay, Collagen!
However, there is a fine line between tingling and burning. Understanding the distinction between the two could make all the difference in your skincare regimen. Skincare products SHOULD NOT, I repeat SHOULD NOT, cause stinging or burning. If so, remove the product from your skin quickly and neutralize your pH with water. Extreme irritation can cause redness and inflammation, which will age the skin quicker (thank you, next).
2. Not experiencing immediate results? Don't stress!
With most skincare products, active ingredients can take up to 8 weeks to show visible results, especially in the case of retinoids and antioxidants. So, stick with it! You got this!
I generally recommend for my clients to take consistent, weekly progress photos to witness the skin's transformation in stages. When you stare at your face every day in the mirror, you tend to miss the little changes that add-up over time.
Patience is a virtue and sometimes expecting results overnight may not be realistic. Like an exercise routine, these things take time and unwavering commitment. If you care, the results will be there.
3. Try, try, and try AGAIN
Don't break-up with a skincare regimen just because you're frustrated. Been there, done that.
Everyone's skin is different and responds to various external factors differently. As you grow and change, so does your skin. Climate and diet can also play a role in how your skin behaves.
Take a deep breath and repeat this mantra after me: I will not stop my skincare routine if I do not get immediate results. Again, I will not stop my skincare routine if I do not get immediate results.
If you do feel like a product is not performing like it used to, this may be a result of your skin's built-up tolerance to an ingredient. Congrats! You leveled up. Your skin may be able to handle stronger ingredients, so take this opportunity to graduate to a stronger, active ingredient... slowly, of course.
Educating yourself on the science of skincare and understanding your body's needs is so important for happy skin and confidence. Remember: you're in a relationship with your skin for life.
4. Is cleansing two times a day important?
Washing your face two times a day may seem time consuming but trust me, it's essential to healthy and glowing skin. The one factor that affects EVERYONE is environmental damage: wind, extreme sun, extreme cold or pollution. Cleansing twice a day neutralizes these pesky changes and removes dirt and excess oil from the skin that has collected during the day.
Finding the right cleanser that will not strip your skin of its healthy oils is step #1. Foaming cleansers are generally formulated for acneic and oily skin because of the deep lather and foaming features. If you have oily skin, Pre-Req Invigorating Foaming Cleanser is perfect to cleanse with morning and night. Wash your damn face, girl!
5. Wearing sunscreen is not a suggestion... it's a necessary step.
Sunscreen is arguably the most important step in your routine because of the immeasurable benefits like: preventing skin cancer, accelerated aging, free radical damage and sun spots. Yes, please!
Sunscreen should be worn YEAR-ROUND no matter what... *yells through the screen*. Prevention and protection are two non-negotiables in a skincare routine.
Pro-tip: there are two types of sunscreens, Chemical and Physical. Examples of Chemical Sunscreens are oxybenzone and octinoxate, which absorb into the skin quickly and fight against Ultraviolet light. While Chemical Sunscreen is lightweight and applies easily, it can also cause irritation to sensitive skin types. Physical sunscreens like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sit on top on the skin and deflect UV rays from entering the body.
Physical sunscreens have very little cause for irritation, but they tend to leave a slight grey tint on the skin and can be more visible on darker skin tones. Products with both Physical and Chemical sunscreens are the best route. Don't sweat it! Higher Education Skincare has just what you need. Spring Break Oil-Free Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen has SPF 30 and is the perfect staple in your skincare routine and doubles as a mattifying primer!
6. My skincare routine isn't working... Now what?
There are so many factors that can cause a certain product to be ineffective for your skin type like: the product's pH levels, how it is stabilized, and whether or not an ingredient is complimentary to your skin chemistry. Brands that focus on the science and education of skincare, have done their market research and provide great customer feedback are the best place to start.
Watch for claims that support your values and have the evidence to back it up; this will help you find the perfect products for your lifestyle. Surprisingly, genetics have a huge part in understanding what works best for your skin type and can eliminate a whole testing process if you know where to start. So, ask your family how their skin responds to certain ingredients and what products have historically worked for their skin.
Information is power when it comes to skincare.
7. Healthy habits can transform your skin!
I'll let you in on a huge skincare secret (ha): don't wear your makeup to bed! Okay, maybe not a secret. But, girlfriend, just don't do it.
Wearing your makeup to bed can cause enlarged pores as the product sits on the surface of the skin seeping into your skin's excretion system, causing the pores to expand as they reach for fresh air. The larger your pores, the more prone you are to breakouts.
Additionally, avoid zit popping when the zit sits underneath the skin or has a lot of redness surrounding it; doing so will wound your dermis causing more redness and irritation and potential scarring.
Pro tip: clean your makeup tools weekly, if not daily! Bacteria can build up quickly and may be the cause of a nasty breakout. Try a sanitary spray cleaner for everyday use and a deep cleaning with gentle soap and water once per week. These brushes touch your face more than anything else, so keep em clean!
8. The Bottom Line
A substantial skincare regimen is one that treats your main skin concerns and works for YOUR skin. By cleansing your skin every day and spending the time to pamper yourself, you are practicing self-care, propelling you closer to your best skin AND your best self.
Let your regimen take care of your skin while you change the world.