If you're interested in improving the appearance and health of the skin on your face, you need to look beyond washing with just soap and water. The sheer volume of products on the market can be daunting, as well as the prices. You don't, however, need to purchase expensive department store or spa products to achieve your desired results; you can find great skin care items right in the aisles of your local drug store. Here are some tips on what to look for and how to create the right skin care regimen to maximize its effectiveness.
The Proper Order for Products
The first thing you need to do is to use your skin care products in the proper order. You can purchase products all from one manufacturer's line (especially helpful if you are seeking anti-aging products or treatments for acne), or you can put them together a la carte from different makers. The order in which they should be used is
- exfoliant or scrub (if not part of the cleanser)
- mask or peel
- serum or special treatment
- moisturizer and sunscreen (these can be combined)
Masks and peels are generally only used occasionally, such as once per week, and you don't have to use all of these items daily. You should at least use a cleanser and moisturizer every morning and every evening, but you may want to incorporate more products as needed. Look for products that are geared for your particular skin type or problem such as acne, rosacea, oily skin, combination skin, dry skin, or aging skin.
Your cleanser removes environmental dirt and debris from the surface of the skin as well as excess oil, sweat, and dead skin cells. Some cleansers remove makeup too, but if yours does not, use a makeup remover prior to your cleanser.
Most cleansers are mixed with water and rinsed clean; follow the package directions for correct use. If you keep a bottle or tube of cleanser in your shower, you'll have it handy to use there in the morning or after exercise.
Some cleansers include exfoliants, but these products can also purchased separately. Also known as scrubs, exfoliants contain grainy substances to further remove dead skin cells to reveal fresher skin below. This can be too much for sensitive or very dry skin, so you may not want to use an exfoliant daily unless you have a condition like acne, where removing excess epidermal remains can help keep pores cleaner.
Adding a toner is a great step if you want to deep clean and minimize your pores. It can make your skin feel fresher and tighter, without stripping it of its inherent moisture. This is an ideal product for men to use after shaving.
Mask or Peel
Masks or peels are usually applied once per week or on an as-needed basis. These can help reduce oiliness, apply extra moisture, or in the case of peels, remove more dead skin than a daily exfoliant. A mask is a wonderful way to get the feel of a spa at home.
Serum or Treatment
Serums are concentrated products that have intense effects and are often anti-aging products. Usually, they are applied only to areas that need extra care, such as fine lines and wrinkles or hyperpigmentation (age spots). There are also spot treatments that can clear acne blemishes faster or reduce redness for blotchy skin.
Moisturizer and Sunscreen
Your final step in your skin care routine should be the application of a moisturizer to hold water on the skin and protect it from the elements. In the morning a moisturizer should be used with sun protection (these are sometimes combined in one product). At night no sunscreen is needed.
Even people with acne or oily skin can use a moisturizer; it just needs to be one formulated for your skin type. You may need a lighter moisturizer in the summer and a heavier one in the winter, and there are also moisturizers created specifically for men, whose skin is thicker and frequently more oily than women's.
Many pharmacies now have staff who are well-versed in skin care products, so you can ask them about your anti-aging or breakout concerns. To see if products work for you, try purchasing them in travel sizes or kits with small samples, so you can find the regimen that works perfectly for you. For more information, visit a store like Pharmacy Solutions to see their selection.