1) Cleanse. Same as the morning routine. Use your preferred cleanser with a washcloth or brush. I also recommend using an exfoliant sparingly after cleansing. Over-exfoliation can cause damage to your skin. As long as you are using a washcloth or cleansing brush you are getting enough abrasion so that you only have to exfoliate once a week, or every other week.
2) Exfoliation. This occurs after you cleanse and before you tone. You can choose between an abrasive or a chemical exfoliant. Beware if you use a chemical exfoliant that it is not too strong for your skin! You can do this by performing a patch test first. If you prefer to leave it to the professionals, my favorite treatment is dermaplaning and a light peel. Dermaplaning is where a professional uses a razor to shave off dead skin and hair. This may sounds harsh but it is very relaxing and does not hurt. It just feels like a finger running over your face. Your hair does not grow back thicker, in fact, I don’t even notice when my hair grows back. The dermaplaning is to remove some surface dead skin and to allow the peel to be more effective. I choose a light peel because my skin does not need anything harsh at the moment and due to the fact that stronger peels cause flaking. The stronger peels are more effective, however unless you really need it, stick to the lighter peels as a substitute for a good exfoliation. Stay away from microdermabrasion! The suction that is used during this treatment can cause broken capillaries and damage your skin. An at-home microderm is just a glorified exfoliator (without the machine) so that would be used as an abrasive exfoliant which is ok.
3) Tone. Same as in the morning, nothing fancy here.
4) Treatment Serum. Treatment serum is where you can tailor your routine to what you want to achieve. Fight against wrinkles? Retinol or Retin-A. For Retin-A or stronger a stronger formula of Retinol you will have to purchase it from a medispa or doctor; however, it can be very irritating to your skin. You may want to start off with a lower amount that would be sold over-the-counter. Retinol/Retin-A has many benefits for the skin and is the best product to use for preventative and reversing the signs of aging. There are many products out there with big claims, but this (and Botox if you are up for that) is the only way to really fight the war against wrinkles. The war against wrinkles can only be won if you are also using an SPF to prevent further damage! Also, your skin can get very delicate with Retinol/Retin-A, so DO NOT go to the tanning bed if you are using either of these. You should not be tanning anyway because of the insane damage it does to your skin (discoloration/hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, breaking down collagen, CANCER, etc).
If hyperpigmentation (also known as sun spots) is your nemesis you can use hydroquinone. IPL treatments work great for discoloration, but they tend to be very expensive. I have found that if you do not keep up on the treatment then the spots come back.
If you don’t need either of the above two, you can insert another antioxidant serum for a preventative. As stated before, Vitamin C is amazing and you can always use it at night as well!
5) Moisturize. Since this is for your night routine you do not need SPF. Due to my dry skin, I prefer a heavy cream such as La Mer (which I use very sparingly as it goes a long way) or Kiehl’s Smoothing Nourishing Face Crème. Those of us who have dry skin, we have an even harder time with wrinkles because our face does not have the natural moisture of those with oily or combination. Therefore, I recommend using a heavy moisturizer if you have dry skin. Also, drink a lot of water (I bet you haven’t heard that before)! For me, I can only drink so much water in one day. It doesn’t matter if I drink 10 gallons, I will always have dry skin. Another moisturizer I like is olive oil. It absorbs fairly quickly and even heals dry patches and rashes, in my experience.
For oily or sensitive skin, just use a light moisturizer. Do not skip the moisturizer because you think your skin doesn’t need it! Your skin will compensate for being dry and create more oil which in turn, causes more acne. You need to keep your skin balanced! Also, for sensitive skin you need to keep it moisturized or it can become even more irritated.
To sum up the evening routine (3-5min):
1) Cleanse 2) Exfoliate once or twice a week. If you prefer the salon, once or twice a month is enough. 3) Tone 4) Treatment Serum 5) Moisturizer
I have learned what is stated above from my personal experiences, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and from reading others’ experiences. No one has the same skin type, even if we categorize them into “dry, oily, combination, or sensitive”. Skin type is just where you start. That is why there are TWO rules: 1) What is your skin type and 2) Which products YOU prefer that work best.
Not to repeat myself (but I am going to repeat myself) the basics of a good skin routine are:
• Cleansing efficiently with a washcloth or brush (i.e. Clarisonic or similar) • Occasionally exfoliating • Using an antioxidant serum and SPF during the day • Using a good moisturizer • For wrinkles, using a Retinol or Retin-A.
I hope you can take this, apply it (or even part of it), save some money, and that it helps get you the results you are looking for!A huge thank you to my dear friend Megan for helping us obtain the knowledge needed for better skin care. Feel free to comment below with skin care or beauty related questions for Megan and she will get back to you.