The Building Blocks of a Skincare Routine
To kick off our skincare section we’ll be exploring the basics, you know, the simple stuff like building a skin care routine from scratch. Think of it as skincare Lego or a skincare Jigsaw puzzle, or even better, a skincare buffet where you can pick what you want depending on your skin type and needs. LOL! Okay on a more serious note, I’ll be explaining the basic building blocks that make up an effective skincare routine that really anyone can personalize as needed, depending on unique skincare needs. The bits and pieces will vary for skin types, age, time of day, budget, lifestyle, level of extra-ness, etc. It could basically be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Just be sure to always keep in mind the fact that your skin has its individual needs, and what works for Helen might not necessarily work for Angela.
We’re about dive in and I hope at the end of this article you’ll be super- well equipped with info, enough to build your very own practical skincare routine on your journey to beautiful skin 😉
Block 1: Makeup removal
This is a MUST ladies and gents! Never ever sleep with makeup on; it’s actually a crime at The Medics Club (LOL!). Wipes aren’t always enough though, consider a cleansing oil, a cleansing balm (my fave!), Micellar water, or a good ‘ol makeup remover. Whatever you choose to use, the aim is to ensure there are little to no makeup residues left on your face before you go ahead to cleanse. Oh, and don’t forget your eye makeup, your hairline, and your neck.
Block 2: Cleansing
Now this to me is the most important step and it’s also where all the gunk that managed to escape the first step get unlucky. The type of cleanser you use will be largely based on your skin type and needs. There are cleansers for acne prone skin, dry skin, oily skin, mature skin and so much more. They also come in various forms like gel, cream, oil, clay, foam, powder, bar, etc. You might also consider cleansing tools like mitts, sponges, brushes and even silicon. Just get you something that works and stick to it.
Block 3: Exfoliating
Exfoliation doesn’t have to be done daily. The point is to get rid of dull skin on the surface for a smoother, more radiant, brighter complexion. There are physical exfoliators (the ones with the tiny beads), there are chemical exfoliators (mainly chemicals like Alpha and Beta hydroxyl acids), and there are enzyme exfoliators (mainly derived from fruits). Good thing is that a lot of cleansers and toners on the market today double duty as mild exfoliators. Easy life 🙂
Block 4: Chemical Sunscreen
There are 2 major types of sunscreen- Physical and Chemical. If you decide to use a Chemical sunscreen, then it’s recommended to use it here on freshly cleansed skin because the chemicals will need to interact with your skin cells unhindered, to be maximally effective. Don’t forget to let it absorb properly before moving ahead with the rest of your skincare routine.
Block 5: Face Mask-ing (not sheet masks)
This isn’t a compulsory step, and even when it is, it’s not usually a daily requirement. There are a gazillion different face masks out there in various forms, so what you pick will of course, depend on what you need and your budget.
Block 6: ToningI get asked a lot what the point in using a toner is, and it’s mainly to rebalance your skin’s pH after the harshness of cleansing and exfoliating, and before treatments and moisturizers.
Ps: At this point in your regimen, you can actually choose to tone, moisturize and call it a day. That’s the simple way. But if you’re slightly extra like me, then keep going, there’s more.
Block 7: Essence-ing
This step is very popular with Korean women, and seeing as they have amazing skin, who are we not to concur? An essence they say, helps your skincare products absorb better, so in essence (LOL! Pun intended) your products will be on their best behavior when you use an essence before applying them. If you exfoliate, chances are there’s really no real need to use an essence.
Block 8: Treatments
This is where it starts to get a little bit complex. The word ‘treatments’ is actually quite vague, but hey! holla in the comments section if you figure out a better word we can use.
Here are ‘treatment’ options for you:
- Sheet masks: Another Korean tip. They are literally face masks on a sheet with holes in the eyes, nose and mouth areas that are designed in a way that you can place them on your face directly. They should usually stay on for 10-20 minutes, after which you can take the sheet off and massage what’s left of the product into your skin i.e. they don’t need to be rinsed out after application.
- Serums: I love these! Again, whichever one you choose to use should always depend on what your skin needs at the time. It’s okay to use more than one and to switch them up every now and then.
Block 9: Moisturize
Oh so important! Even if you have skin that has made it on the “grease ball association”, never skip moisturizing. The logic behind this is that the less oil your skin senses is on its surface, the more sebum it’ll produce. Moisturizers come in different exciting forms including lotions, creams, and gels.
Block 10: Eye Treatment
Always show your eye area some love because the skin around your eyes is so delicate and somewhat volatile. Eye treatments could be in the form of serums, creams or oils. It’s all about preference and skin needs.
Block 11: Facial Oils
There are so many on the market today, and so whatever works for you, you choose. Look out for lighter oils and oils that mimic the natural sebum produced by the skin. I find that heavier oils have a higher tendency to block pores, compared to lighter oils.
Block 12: Physical Sunblock
Unlike the chemical sunscreen mentioned earlier, these ones contain zinc and titanium oxide and so have to be applied last. They are actual sunblocks that have no business interacting with your skin cells. The good thing is loads of moisturizers and foundations have these in them, and I recently noticed spray sunscreen the other day in a shop which was specifically targeted at post-makeup sun protection. This means you can reapply sunscreen without ruining your makeup! Sweet!
That’s it folks, hope you learned a thing or two and I’m actually excited to know what blocks you choose to build your customized skincare regimens with. Let us know! Don’t forget the most important steps are cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and sunblocking.
Featured image credit: www.planttherapy.com; www.essence.com; www.porcelainfacespa.com; www.hemachouseblog.com; www.jezebelleskinsolutions.com; www.lamdepcungdermocos.com; www.news24.com;
Dr. Wendy Evans-Uhegbu is a graduate of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, with experience in Connected Health, Medical Technology, Clinical Research, Medical Education, Medical Communications, and Web Design/Development. She is a part of the Medics Abroad team with the role of Chief Communications Officer. She is also a Medical Writer at 3D4 Medical and runs a Medical Communications and Children’s books company (ODR Integrated Services/ ODR Books). She is the author of the newly published children’s book series “The Things Around Me”.