These Are Your 5 Skin Regimen Essentials

You know the feeling: You look in the mirror and there are blackheads where you never knew you had pores. Or your face is so shiny that you could use it to light your path on a midnight walk in the woods. Sound familiar?

Then it’s time to start a skin regimen, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “It’s so important for people to maintain their skin,” he says. “Cleansing, moisturizing, and exfoliating are the three basic steps everyone should follow.”

What if you don’t have time to do all those things? Or what if you have oily skin that doesn’t need a moisturizer? We asked experts to break down the skin regimen basics into five simple steps that anyone can do — and that will work for most types of skin.

1: Cleanse twice daily with a gentle soap or cleanser.

2: Exfoliate once or twice a week with a store-bought product or make your own.

3: Apply an eye cream nightly to protect the delicate skin around your eyes.

4: Moisturize at least twice daily — even if you have oily skin (but choose

Whether you are looking to add products to your regimen or simply want to upgrade your current routine, keep reading.

Skin Type

It is important to determine your skin type before adding products to your regimen. If you have not determined your skin type yet, check out this guide.

Regimen Essentials

The following five products are the basics of a good skin care regimen. You will notice that none of them are very specific; they are general products that can be used by most people in nearly any situation. These essentials can be combined with other products to create a personalized regimen for all types of skin concerns and issues.

Cleanser: This is a product that gently removes dirt, oil, makeup and other impurities from the surface of the skin without drying it out or creating irritation. Overly aggressive cleansers can actually worsen many common skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and sensitive skin types. Cleansers can be found in gels, lotions and creams, but no matter what type you choose, they should never leave the skin feeling taut or stripped.

Moisturizer: Moisturizers help hydrate the outermost layer of the epidermis so that the skin feels softer and smoother while also improving its barrier function

If you want to get the best out of your skin, then there are five basic steps in your skin regimen that should be adhered to, no matter what.

1. Cleansing: The first step is removing impurities from the face. To cleanse your skin, use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil. After gently massaging the cleanser over your face for about 15 seconds, rinse it off with warm (not hot) water. Never use a washcloth on your face or scrub it harshly – that can irritate the skin and worsen acne and other skin conditions. Also, remember to wash your face twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed.

2. Exfoliating: This step is about sloughing away dead skin cells, which makes room for new healthy cells to emerge and keeps pores from becoming clogged. Use a gentle scrub and massage it over your face with small circular motions for about 20 seconds (be careful not to scrub too hard). Rinse thoroughly with warm water, pat dry with a soft towel, and apply a toner if you wish (but don’t use it all over your face if you have oily or acne-prone skin). Do this just once or twice per week

Skin regimen is an essential part of a healthy-looking complexion and it’s important to follow these steps daily.

1. Wash your face twice daily (morning and night) with a mild cleanser like Cetaphil or CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.

2. Apply a moisturizer with SPF 30 every morning after your face wash.

3. Apply a retinoid cream like Retin-A or Retinol at night to help fight acne, fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

4. Exfoliate 2-3 times a week with a gentle scrub, or use an at-home chemical peel like The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution or The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%.

5. Use a cleansing brush like the Clarisonic Mia Prima, Foreo Luna Play Plus or Olay ProX Advanced Cleansing System twice weekly as an alternative to scrubbing by hand.

You don’t need a 10-step regimen, but you do need these five: a cleanser, an antioxidant serum, a retinoid, SPF, and a moisturizer.

We’re not talking about the quick splash of water you do in the shower or the swipe of toner on a cotton pad. Thorough cleansing takes time and effort, and it’s important to be consistent with your routine. Cleansing gets rid of grime from the day (and night) before so that your skin is free of impurities and ready for the products that come next.

A gentle cleanser removes makeup, dirt, sweat, pollution, oil, and dead skin cells—all things that lead to breakouts and dull-looking skin if they build up over time. I recommend using one with hyaluronic acid since it helps replenish moisture levels while adding some plumpness back into your skin.

Your skin is an essential organ, and it’s important to take care of it. While there are plenty of different products on the market that promise to keep your skin clean and healthy, there are some basics that you should always include in your regimen.

Cleanse with a mild cleanser twice daily.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat a healthy diet.

True or false: a facial wash is the best way to clean your face?

False! A facial wash is a quick fix for cleansing but it does not wash away dirt and excess oil from your pores thoroughly like a cleanser does. That’s why it’s important to cleanse with a mild cleanser at least twice daily, morning and night. A good cleanser will remove dirt, makeup, bacteria and excess oil without stripping your skin of its natural oils.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for oil-free and noncomedogenic products. If you have sensitive skin, look for something hypoallergenic and fragrance free. Some people also find that foaming cleansers can irritate their skin so if you experience any stinging or burning while washing your face try switching to something more gentle like a cream or gel cleanser.

The face wash was a scrub, really — or I guess technically a “scrub-bead cleanser,” because the granules were so fine and so numerous that they felt less like gravel and more like tiny balloons. But it wasn’t a good kind of scrub, either; it didn’t have the foamy detergent base you need to get your skin clean, and if I had used it in the shower, I would have ended up with little bits of grit all over my face.

To be fair, I had received this sample from one of those beauty magazines that are trying to sell you something on every page, and so I shouldn’t have expected much. (The product’s name is not important, but its website is here.) But the thing about beauty products is that the people selling them know that consumers have no idea what they’re doing.

If there’s one thing we all learned from Fight Club, besides the secret recipe for homemade napalm, it’s that soap is soap. Soap is a detergent, which means it washes grease off things: out of your frying pan, say, or out of your hair. There are lots of different kinds of detergents you can use to clean your face; some are harsher than others

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