BY Freya Cormack

Skincare is tricky and can seem overwhelming if you are just starting to develop your own routine. 

The internet is saturated with contradicting information and influencers pushing product recommendations. But your skin is your largest organ, so it is something to prioritise. Here are 5 tips to make sure your skincare routine is working for you, and not against you:

1. Understand that everyone’s skin needs and preferences are different

If working in skincare retail has taught me anything, it’s that some people can use anything on their skin and they’ll be fine. And it’s usually the guys who wash their hair, body and face with a fragranced shampoo and moisturise with a foot lotion that have annoyingly perfect skin. Now if I skip one step of my routine, you can bet I’ll have a breakout in two days.

Understand that buying expensive products and emulating an influencer’s skincare probably won’t get you their luminous glowy skin. Some of us have dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, or even a combination. And some people are genetically predisposed to certain skin conditions, such as acne.

The moral of the story is that what works for some people, won’t work for others. Take your time figuring out your skincare needs and avoid splurging on products before doing your research.

2. Sun protection is key

If you take one thing from this article, it’s that sunscreen is crucial. Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world so it’s incredibly important that we protect our skin from the sun.

Not only can sun damaged skin lead to cancer, it can also lead to premature aging and sunscreen is considered the number one product to use for age prevention. Even those with deeper skin tones should use it as it can prevent hyperpigmentation (aka “sun spots”).

Australia is one of the best countries to buy sunscreen in as our regulations are so tough. There are a tonne of brands out there selling a sunscreen formulation that will work for you.

Tip: download the SunSmart app to get daily notifications about the UV index and when you should be wearing sunscreen.

3. How to reapply sunscreen throughout the day

You should apply sunscreen generously in the morning and reapply every few hours throughout the day. This is easy to do if you aren’t wearing makeup, but can be a little difficult if you are.

One method is to use a sunscreen powder or mist that can be delicately applied over makeup. However, sunscreen powders and spays tend not to apply great coverage and you will get more effective protection from reapplying a sunscreen cream or gel.

Without disrupting your makeup, squeeze a light-weight sunscreen onto a microfibre sponge and gently dab over the skin. Microfibre sponges absorb very little product, making it easy to apply over existing makeup and not waste product.

4. Try to incorporate sustainability where possible

The skincare industry produces a lot of waste but there are ways to be more sustainable. One of the best ways is to avoid buying products you don’t need. Simple routines are great routines and you don’t need a full medicine cabinet of products in order to have nice skin.

Another thing you should do is avoid single-use using cotton rounds and makeup wipes to remove makeup. If you like applying certain products with a cotton round, buy reusable ones – it’ll be cheaper in the long term as you can wash them over and over, and they don’t need to be disposed of.

A great waste-free way of effectively removing makeup or thick sunscreens is by using an oil cleanser. Oil cleansers are gentler on the skin, compared to wipes, and are suitable for most skin types. Most people would benefit by following up an oil cleanse by using a regular face wash. This is known as double-cleansing and ensures that you remove all dirt, grime, makeup and excess oil from the skin’s surface.

5. Introduce active ingredients into your routine with caution

You might have seen that famous red, blood-like serum from The Ordinary making the rounds on social media. It’s their AHA 30% and BHA 2% Peeling Solution and offers deep chemical exfoliation of the skin.

Products like this with active acid ingredients can help to clear pore congestion, fight blemishes and produce radiant skin but it’s important that you follow the usage instructions. Misusing these products can lead to low-level chemical burns, inflammation and a damaged moisture barrier.

AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. AHAs help peel away dead skin from the surface whereas BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) penetrate deeper to remove excess sebum and skin cells.

It’s best to avoid strong acids in skincare if you have very sensitive skin. Lactic acid is a gentle AHA exfoliant that removes dead skin cells from the skin’s surface without irritating the skin.

Important note: while you should be wearing sunscreen every day, it’s very important that you do so after using an acid or retinol.

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