How to treat your skin right!
April 25, 2022
To be clear: I am not an expert and the best thing to do if you are having skin troubles is to see a dermatologist if you can. They know best and can prescribe the good stuff. Wink wink.
I am going to keep it affordable since expensive skin care is not necessarily good skin care and most teenagers are pretty broke.
You only really need three steps in a basic skin care routine: cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. I am going to start off with my recommendations for those three and then continue to other treatments.
A lot of people love the tight feeling they get after washing their face, however, that is a bad sign. Your cleanser is stripping your skin too much if that feeling results. That feeling is a sign of irritation and can lead to breakouts and excess oil production. When you strip your skin of its natural oils, it overcompensates by producing tons of sebum and your skin gets oily.
Cleansing can and should be gentle. I use the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser ($14.99) at night. It is a gentle yet really effective cleanser, especially for oily skin. In the morning, for a light cleanse, I use the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($13.99). If you have acne-prone skin, the CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser ($13.99) or the PanOxyl Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser ($11.99) may work for you.
Your moisturizer should replenish the moisture your skin lost from cleansing. People with oily skin often skip this part of a skincare routine (I have been guilty of this in the past) because they don’t want to make their skin more oily. The thing is that’s not how it works. As I mentioned before, when your skin is stripped of moisture, it overproduces sebum leading to oily skin. By moisturizing, you can get light, healthy hydration, and less oily skin. Ingredients to look out for are glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
My personal favorite night moisturizer is Elf’s Happy Hydration Moisturizer($12). It is a creamy moisturizer with tons of amazing ingredients. It contains cannabis sativa oil in a super high concentration especially for the price, niacinamide, glycerin. Another good one is the CeraVe PM moisturizing lotion ($12.30). My favorite morning moisturizer is the CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 ($18.99). While it is not necessary to have SPF in your moisturizer, I like to have some just in case. It also contains hyaluronic acid.
You may notice a lot of recommendations from CeraVe. CeraVe is a great, simple, and affordable brand. All their products contain ceramides that work to repair your skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier prevents irritation, acne, and moisture loss. CeraVe is not the only or best brand out there, but it is easily accessible and affordable.
Sunscreen is the MOST IMPORTANT part of a skin care routine. I know that you have been told this all your life and a lot of you have ignored it, but it is true. Sunscreen prevents sun damage (possibly resulting in cancer), wrinkles, scarring (from acne especially), discoloration, and, of course, sunburn. I know that tanning is in, but a tan is simply a sign of skin damage. There is also the myth that darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen as everyone can be damaged by the sun.
Your memories of sunscreen may be coated in a chalky, white lotion that you can feel and see on your skin for hours, but sunscreen technology is extremely advanced. When you are looking for the perfect sunscreen you should consider that there are two kinds: chemical and mineral/physical. Chemical sunscreens employ chemicals to filter out the sun’s harmful UV rays, whereas mineral sunscreens use substances like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to physically block ultraviolet light. While there is a lot of unfounded fearmongering around chemical sunscreens and mineral sunscreens often leave a white cast, both are good options.
My personal favorites are the Bliss Blockstar SPF 30($22), Hero Forceshield SPF 30($19.99), and Supergoop (not Goop as in Gwyneth Paltrow) Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40($34). The Blockstar is a creamy mineral sunscreen with a light tint to prevent a white cast that evens skin tone slightly but isn’t obvious on the face. However, the tint is easily transferred to masks. The Hero Forceshield is a light mineral sunscreen with a unique green color. When applied to the face, the green tone disappears and evens out redness. The Unseen Sunscreen is a clear chemical sunscreen that feels like almost nothing on your face.
You should be applying about two-three fingers of sunscreen to your face. It is best to have a separate SPF from your moisturizer as you will be more likely to wear enough.
Now for treatments. If there are skin issues you want to fix, this is the step you will best fix them in. It is not a necessary step, but it can be helpful. This step best takes place after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Most treatments come in serums, toners, and essences. Some great treatment ingredients are niacinamide, AHAs, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and retinol.
Niacinamide treats redness, acne and hyperpigmentation, minimizes pore appearance, and regulates oil production. Niacinamide is found in lots of moisturizers and cleansers so it may not be necessary to have it as a treatment step. However, it can be used more effectively in a higher concentration serum such as The Ordinary Niacinamide Serum ($5.90).
AHAs (Alpha-hydroxy Acids), such as lactic acid and glycolic acid, exfoliate, brighten, even tone, and prevent acne. The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% toner ($8.90) and Lactic Acid 10% serum are both good options.
Salicylic acid unclogs pores and clears and prevents acne. For a powerful toner, the Paula Choice 2% BHA ($29.50) and for a gentle cleanse, the aforementioned CeraVe salicylic acid cleanser.
Vitamin C promotes collagen production, evens tone, and brightens skin. The artnaturals Vitamin C serum ($12.99) and the Naturium Vitamin C Complex ($20) are both highly rated.
Retinol is a powerful wrinkle, dark spot, and acne-fighting ingredient. The Differin Gel 0.1% ($12) and Boots Retinol Serum ($8.99) are great products.
I wish you luck on your skin care journey and if you want more advice or more personalized advice, you can contact me!