How To Build The Perfect Skincare Routine

Building the perfect skincare routine is a critical step in promoting skin health and clarity. Skincare routines differ between different age groups as well as between the different skin types. It can be quite difficult to understand the steps you should take to maintain a healthy complexion, we’ve built a complete guide for all skin-types to help you out. Read on to find out how you can build the perfect skincare routine.

Skin types

Before assembling a skincare routine, you have to first understand your skin type. Understanding your skin type will ensure you’re following the correct procedure and purchasing products that are tailored for you. Using the incorrect skincare products can have a detrimental impact on your complexion. There are 4 main types of skin;

1. Normal Skin

Normal skin refers to skin that is well-balanced. This means no excessive oiliness or dryness, small pores, minimal sensitivity and few imperfections. In general there is no perfectly normal skin, but rather skin that doesn’t fall to any extremes.

2. Oily Skin

Oily skin refers to skin that is shiny and prone to breaking out. Skin oiliness is a result of overactive sebaceous glands which are responsible for secreting sebum, the waxy substance used to keep skin healthy and hydrated. When excess sebum is produced however, this can cause the characteristic shine and lead to breakouts, blackheads and other blemishes. Those with oily skin also suffer from enlarged pores.

3. Dry Skin

Those with dry skin have a dull, dry complexion. Skin may suffer from peeling or cracking which can lead to redness and inflammation. Dry skin sufferers also have more prominent skin lines and wrinkles, and very small pores.

4. Combination Skin

Combination skin refers to skin that is any combination of normal, oily, and dry. For example, you may have oily skin around the T-Zone (very common), but normal or dry skin everywhere else on the face.

Aging skin and sensitive skin are two other common skin concerns, but these require a little more attention so we’ll dedicated separate articles for them.

Skincare routine for your skin type

This segment is broken up into four sections, a routine for each skin type. We’ve included product recommendations and some helpful pointers to maximise efficacy of any treatments.

1. Skincare routine for normal skin

The fantastic thing about normal/balanced skin is that your skincare routine can be fairly uncomplicated;

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GENTLE CLEANSE: Use a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser that doesn’t block your pores. Stay away from cleansers that use harsh soaps, these can strip the skin of natural oils it needs to maintain healthy function and lead to dryness. Try Cetaphil – Gentle Skin Cleanser. Cleansing is an essential step in maintaining skin clarity.

SERUM: Apply any serums immediately after cleansing. We won’t recommend any particular serum for normal skin as it’ll depend entirely on your skincare goals. Common serums what they do are listed here.

LIGHT MOISTURISER: You should always moisturise your skin at the end of your routine. Moisturising restores lost hydration from the cleansing process, and will keep your skin soft and supple. Hyaluronic Acid is an excellent hydrator and humectant found in moisturisers that works to keep your skin supple.

SPF 30+: Sun protection is essential to minimise the damage done by UV rays. UV rays cause cellular degradation which can lead to premature aging and skin cancers.

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GENTLE CLEANSE: Cleansing twice a day ensures all dirt, oils and pollutants are washed off your face; this reduces the likelihood of blemishes and breakouts forming. Use the same cleanser as you did in the AM.

SERUM: There are countless night serums you can use, tailor these to your skincare goals. Common ingredients include Vitamin C, to brighten and exfoliate the skin and Retinol, which is a powerful anti-aging agent.

RICH NIGHT-TIME MOISTURISER: Night-time moisturisers are often thicker to deliver excellent hydration all night long. Lack of skin hydration is often responsible for aging, by using a rich moisturiser you’ll slow down this process.

2. Skincare routine for oily skin

Oily skin requires a little more attention with cleansing as well as product choice.

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CLEANSE: Use a gentle non-comedogenic cleanser that won’t block your pores. Try and stay away from harsh soaps as these can overly dry the skin and even worsen skin oiliness. When the skin is stripped of all essential moisture, the sebaceous glands counter this by overproducing sebum. This overproduction of sebum aggravates skin oiliness and can lead to further breakouts and blackheads. Try Cetaphil – Gentle/Oily Skin Cleanser. Ensure you’re quite thorough when cleansing, especially around your problem areas.

AHA/BHA SERUM: Serums with AHAs/BHAs can help to regulate oiliness and reduce breakouts. Niacinamide is a superb ingredient that works to get rid of blemishes and regulate sebum production. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid are exfoliants that work great for oily and acne-prone skin.

OIL-FREE MOISTURISER: Moisturising is an essential step for all skin types, oily or not. A light moisturiser should be used, preferably oil-free.

SPF 30+: Applying sun protection is an integral step in your regime, SPF ensures that UV rays don’t damage your skin. UV damage is linked to premature aging and skin cancers.

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CLEANSE: Cleansing twice a day ensures you regulate skin oiliness and prevent build-up from clogging pores which can lead to blackheads and acne.

AHA/BHA OR RETINOL SERUM: Using a serum in the PM will ensure the active ingredients fight skin oiliness and breakouts all night long. Long term use of retinol has been linked to more youthful skin and therefore smaller pores. Make sure you don’t combine the two however.

OIL-FREE MOISTURISER: Never use a thick night-time moisturiser if you have oily and acne-prone skin. This is fine for other skin types but for oily skin sufferers it can easily lead to clogged pores.

3. Skincare routine for dry skin

Dry skin is often more prone to irritation. It is therefore imperative that gentle products are used where possible, and moisturising should receive a little extra attention.

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GENTLE CLEANSE: Emphasis on the gentle here, if your skin is dry you don’t want to wash away any essential oils required to maintain healthy skin barrier function. Use a soap-free cleanser such as Cetaphil – Gentle Skin Cleanser.

HYDRATING SERUMS: Find serums which contain hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is an excellent hydrator and humectant meaning it draws water from it’s surroundings to deliver outstanding hydration all day long. Try to stay away from chemical exfoliants as these can dry skin further. Try Laroche-Posay – HYALU B5 HYALURONIC ACID SERUM.

RICH MOISTURISER: There are moisturisers formulated specifically for overly dry skin. These aim to replenish lost moisture, therefore reducing skin cracking and peeling which in turn reduces redness and inflammation. This also reduces the probability for infection.

SPF 30+: Sun protection is critical to prevent harmful UV rays from damaging your skin. Direct sunlight exposure damages skin cells which can cause premature aging, inflammation and skin cancers. Dry skin is often more sensitive to pollutants, using SPF with broad spectrum protection can help to protect skin from these damaging particulates.

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GENTLE CLEANSE: Cleansing twice a day removes impurities and oils that can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

HYDRATING NIGHT SERUM: You’ll find that most night serums for dry skin include hyaluronic acid to replenish moisture and plump the skin overnight.

RICH NIGHT-TIME MOISTURISER: A rich moisturiser will provide hydration all night long. By hydrating your skin you’re effectively minimising chances of peeling and cracking, as well as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Skincare routine for combination skin

Combination skin often requires a mix of products used for oily, normal and dry skin. You may find that you require the use of certain products on targeted areas on your face.

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GENTLE CLEANSE: Use a gentle soap-free cleanser that won’t strip the skin of essential moisture. Be thorough around oily/problem areas to ensure you wash away all excess oil and dirt.

SERUMS (AHA/BHA, VITAMIN C, NIACINAMIDE): You might find that you need to use chemical exfoliants on the whole face for a brighter complexion, or just targeted areas that are more prone to breakouts and oiliness. Niacinamide can help to regulate sebum production and battle blemishes where required. Vitamin C can brighten the complexion and promote collagen synthesis.

LIGHT MOISTURISER: If your skin is on the drier side, use a moisturiser with hyaluronic acid to provide thorough hydration. If your skin is on the oilier side, use a lighter gel-based moisturiser as to not clog the pores.

SPF 30+: Never skip out on sun protection, it saves your skin from photoaging (aging caused by repeated UV exposure), as well as skin cancer and sunburn/inflammation.

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GENTLE CLEANSE: Cleansing twice a day refreshes your face and gets rid of impurities that can lead to blackheads and breakouts.

AHA/BHA OR RETINOL SERUM: These serums will tackle your skin problems all night long. Exfoliants such as AHAs/BHAs will work deep into the pores to clear congestion and reduce blemishes, while Retinol will promote collagen synthesis and reduce pore size.

LIGHT MOISTURISER: Plump and well protected skin, that’s the purpose of a moisturiser.