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Skin Care 101 : 5-Step Skin Care Routine

Posted Feb 27 2008 12:00am

Skin care is important to achieve healthy and beautiful skin. Having good skin means that you won't have to put a paper bag over your head when you go out without make-up on. Everyone has different skin types, skin concerns and different reactions towards different skin care products. Thus, it is crucial that you practice a routine and use products that are suitable for you.

The basic skin care regime consists of cleansing, toning and moisturizing. However, with today's harsh environment, I'll add exfoliating and sun protection into the regime.

5-Step Skin Care Routine

Step 1 : Cleansing

Cleansing is not mere soap and water. Cleansing is, in my opinion, the most important step in the routine. You should first start with a make-up remover. They come in many forms; oil, milk, foam, balm, mousse. Use what's comfortable for you. Make-up removers dilutes impurities such as dirt, debris and make-up that have been accumulating on your skin throughout the day. When these impurities are not properly removed, they will clog your pores causing blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. You should use a make-up remover regardless whether you use make-up or not because moisturizers and sunscreen that you use from day may clog pores as well when not properly cleansed.
Recommended brands: Kate Cleansing Oil, L'Oreal Gentle Cleansing Milk, La Mer Cleansing Fluid, Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, Dior Cleansing Water

Next, you should use a cleanser that also come in many forms; milk, cream, foam, gel, mousse. Use a gentle cleanser so that you do not strip off your natural oils. Cleansers will remove traces of impurities and make-up remover that's left on the skin. Use an appropriate cleanser according to your skin type. Drier complexions should generally avoid foaming cleansers. Using regular soap to wash your face is a definite no-no since it is too harsh for the skin.
Recommended brands: Clinique Facial Soap, Origins Checks and Balances, St. Ives Apricot Cleanser, Himalaya Gentle Face Wash Cream, Liquid Neutrogena

Step 2 : Exfoliating

Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and traces of debris on your skin. Dead skin cells that accumulate on the skin's surface causes dullness and roughness. Dead skin cells also inhibits absorption of skin treatments and moisturizers. Exfoliating your skin regularly will help achieve smoother, clearer and brighter skin as well as better absorption of skin products to come. However, over-exfoliating may cause severe damage to the skin. Most exfoliators use some sort of granules to exfoliate the skin. These granules may scratch any pimples and bumps that you may have and may cause irritation to thin and sensitive skin. Some exfoliators use salicylic acid that would cause less physical harm to the skin. Exfoliation should only be done once a week for normal to oily skin and not more than twice a month for drier complexions.
Recommended brands: Origins Never a Dull Moment, St' Ives Apricot Scrub, Ginvera Marvel gel, La Mer The Refining Facial, Benefit Honey Snap Out of It Scrub

Step 3 : Toning

Personally, toning is a step that I skip. Although toning does not provide dramatic differences to the skin, it does have its benefits. Toners help to restore the pH balance of the skin, remove traces of debris and cleansers, and refreshes the skin. Some toners also rehydrate and exfoliate the skin. Drier complexions should generally avoid toners due to the drying effect of most toners. Many toners in the market contain alcohol which causes dryness but can be quite essential as an antiseptic for acne-prone skin. Choose a toner that is appropriate for your skin type.
Recommended brands: Clinique Clarifying Lotion, Himalaya Gentle Refreshing Toner, Clearasil Ultra Stay Clear Daily Toner, Giorgio Armani Mineral Soothing Lotion

Step 4 : Moisturizing

Second to cleansing, moisturizing is also another important aspect of skin care. Moisturizers rehydrates and replenishes the skin's natural radiance regardless of your skin condition. Most moisturizers generally contain vitamins and minerals to nourish and repair the skin. Moisturizing your skin helps prevent premature wrinkles and fine lines. If you have dry skin, moisturizing will help skin return back to normal. For oily and acne-prone skin, moisturizing is also essential to help control production of natural oil which may inflict pimples. There are various types of moisturizers such as cream, lotion, emulsion, gel and some with oil-free formula. Basically, drier complexions should go for heavier moisturizers while oilier complexions should go for lighter and perhaps, oil-free ones. Some moisturizers are divided into day cream and night cream. Day creams usually have lighter textures and ingredients that would benefit the skin in day time such as sun protection. Night creams are usually richer in texture and have nutrients that work better at night. It is not necessary to have 2 separate moisturizers. Use whatever that is comfortable to you.
Recommended brands: Creme de La Mer, Himalaya Nourishing Skin Cream, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Nivea Visage Aqua Sensation Moisturizing Gel-Cream

Step 5 : Sun Protection

Sun protection is often neglected in many skin care regimes. It is also a rather complicated step and has many controversial. The sun emits UV rays that burn and damage the skin. UV rays dry out the skin, cause wrinkles and skin cancer. Sun damage accelerates photo aging, which is the formation of deep lines and wrinkles that are first unseen to the human eye, but can be detected under special ultraviolet light. It is essential to protect the skin from UV rays to prevent aging. Sun damage, such as pigmentation, is almost impossible to erase. The amount of sun exposure you accumulate during your lifetime is one of the factors that determine the aging of your skin. Therefore, it is very important to use sun protection starting from a young age. Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher is quite enough for everyday use. An SPF of 30 or higher should be used if you'll be under the sun for extended period of time such as on the beach. The higher the SPF doesn't mean the better its effectiveness. Sunscreen should be replenished every 2 hours for it to work effectively and should be applied at least 30 minutes before you go into the sun. You should also use a sunscreen even if you're indoors most of the time because lighting emits UV rays as well. Sunscreen should be swept on the skin instead of rubbing it in. Using moisturizers and make-up that contains sun protection should not substitute for an actual sunscreen but having additional sun protection does help. Touch up powders with sun protection is a convenient way to replenish your sunscreen throughout the day. Use sunscreen that contains protective moisturizers, parsol, zinc and titanium dioxide. These natural ingredients cause less irritation to the skin.
Recommended brands: Clinique Super City Block, Banana Boat Sunblock Sun Wear Faces, Neutrogena SPF45 Sunblock with Parsol, La Mer The SPF 18 Fluid


Practice proper skin care routine to achieve beautiful and healthy skin.
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