Skincare 101: How to Start a Routine for Beginners

By Vivian Wang | The BFF Mag

Why should I even do skincare?

Our skin is our most exposed organ and it works around the clock to protect us from the environment. It is the first line of defense against harmful sun rays, dirt, and bacteria. Over time, our skin gets worn out and clogged up, resulting in issues like large pores, dark spots, acne & more. Just like exercise, a regular skincare routine can help you can take preventative measures to maintain healthier skin years down the line.

What's Your Skin Type?

Everyone's skin is unique, which is why there is no single solution to any problem and it is important to keep an experimental mindset when building your routine. Determining your skin type will help you take the first step to evaluating the treatments that are right for you. The five major skin types are:

Normal Skin
Those with normal skin have a good balance of oil and moisture. They are not prone to breakouts and generally have firm, healthy skin with minimal wrinkles.

Dry Skin
Dry skin tends to feel tight due to a lack of oil and moisture. You may notice some flaking or itching up close in the mirror. You may also see fine lines where your skin pinches.

Oily Skin
Oily skin will appear shiny/glowy throughout the day. Those with oily skin are prone to larger pores and acne.

Combination Skin
Those with combination skin experience both oiliness and dryness, sometimes due to changes throughout the seasons. Others will have an oily T-zone but dry cheek area.

Sensitive Skin
Those with sensitive skin tend to flush easily and are prone to rashes, redness, bumps, and may react negatively to certain skincare products. If you have sensitive skin, you need to choose your products carefully.

Not sure which category you fall in? You can find out by using blotting papers. Apply the blotting papers to your face -- if the paper is completely saturated with oil, you have oily skin. If the paper shows little to no oil, you likely have dry skin.

3 Major Benefits of Skincare

If your skin is a bit dry or somewhat shiny, or you experience some mind acne in young adulthood and wrinkles over time, these conditions are mostly normal and can often be treated with off-the-shelf products. If you experience excessive dryness, acne, rashes, dark patches, or if your skin reacts poorly to certain products, it may be time to consult a professional dermatologist. To build a basic off-the-shelf routine, take advantage of 3 major benefits skincare products can deliver:

Everyday your skin collects dirt, bacteria, and sweat. A cleanser helps remove dead skin cells, makeup, oil and other pollutants from your face. Cleaning off all that gunk helps unclogs your pores and prevents build up of agents that can lead to acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and more.

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A good moisturizer brings hydration and nourishment to the skin. Common ingredients in moisturizers include: occlusives -- whose job is to block water evaporation and hold moisture in, humectants -- which sponge up water from the air and the deeper dermis layer of your skin, and emollients -- which help the skin feel smooth.

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Protect Against the Sun
The sun emits harmful UV radiation that causes sunburn. Even worse, radiation can penetrate deep inside skin cells, damaging the DNA and resulting in mutations which can lead to serious diseases such as skin cancer. Luckily, sunscreen works by physically blocking these rays and reflecting them away from your skin, or chemically absorbing them.

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A Sample Routine

- Cleanse with water
- Put on moisturizer
- Put on sunscreen

- Clean with cleanser
- Put on moisturizer

Next Steps

Skincare products generally need a few weeks to take effect, so don't be discouraged if you don't see results immediately. If something isn't working after a few weeks, try switching products out slowly and one at a time. Once you have the basics nailed, you can experiment with treatments for specific problems and more advanced concerns such as aging and dark under eyes.

Looking for solutions to specific concerns?

The most common skin concerns & solutions

Still have questions about building your skincare routine? Email us at at any time -- we are happy to help out.

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