How To Be Kinder To Your Skin
We often speak about the importance of being kind to others but it’s also super important to be kind to your skin, not just with skin-positive affirmations but with skin-loving habits, rituals, and formulas. Yup, we’re here to tell you to think of your skin as a plant that needs TLC in the form of hydration, soothing ingredients, and of course, love. So, we’ve curated a list of reminders; from holy grail products, essential steps, and need-to-know info for every skin type, to give your skin the support it deserves.
For Oily Skin
Before you reach for a mattifying toner, know that a layer of oil might actually be a cry for hydration. Instead of scrubbing (aggressively, might we add), here’s how to nurture your skin:
1. Don’t Forget to Moisturize: Oily skin doesn’t always equate to hydrated skin, in fact, when your skin is dehydrated it produces more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. What your skin will love is a lightweight moisturizer that will hydrate and nourish your skin without leaving behind a thick or heavy layer. Our WISHFUL Honey Whip Peptide Moisturizer, $43, instantly soothes and hydrates, and absorbs so quickly so you never get that uncomfortable sticky feeling on your skin.
2. Pamper your Skin with a Weekly DIY Facial: A weekly DIY facial is suitable for all skin types but it’s a game-changing opportunity to extract excess oil, nix pores, and hydrate your skin. Begin with a gentle facial steam to help exfoliate pores and hydrate the skin, creating the perfect base for your next steps. Plus, it’s so easy to do and feels like a mini spa treatment. Simply grab a bowl of hot water (not boiling) and place a towel above your head. Follow with a detoxifying mask, like the Indie Lee Clearing Mask, $52, which contains exfoliating acids, bentonite clay, and colloidal sulfur to draw out impurities. Finally, finish with a surge of hydration. Our go-to? The WISHFUL Thirst Trap Mask, $9, as it’s drenched in hyaluronic acid to amp up your glow game. It’s the ultimate de-stress combo for self-love days. Don’t forget to lock in that moisture with a moisturizer right after.
3. Invest in a Great Chemical Exfoliant but Don’t Over-Exfoliate: Exfoliating is essential for all skin types but it’s a make-or-break moment for oily skin. Call on oil-soluble BHAs like salicylic acid to break down oil, dirt, and debris that’s lurking in your pores that could otherwise trigger a breakout. However, remember not to go overboard because over-exfoliating can damage your skin barrier, which leads to dehydrated skin that can send your sebaceous glands into an oil-producing frenzy. Exfoliating 2-3 times a week (unless it states otherwise on your product) should be plenty.
You can also try weaving in a gentle enzymatic cleanser into your routine, which will help to gently exfoliate on the daily without altering your skin pH or damaging your skin barrier. We love the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel, $14, for its natural exfoliants, papaya and grapefruit, and non-comedogenic formula that doesn’t clog pores. For more info on how to treat your skin, check out our derm-approved skincare routine for oily skin.
For Combination Skin
Caring for combination skin can be tricky, but DW, boo, we got you. You’re looking for a routine made up of hydrating formulas to give drier areas the love they need and decongesting masks for oily zones. Take the time to chat it up with your skin to understand what she’s asking you for.
1. Look for Lightweight Hydration: It may feel counter-productive to moisturize an oily T-zone, but your dehydrated skin needs to be nourished to stop producing excess oils. Look for a lightweight moisturizer, like The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, $8, that’s packed with amino and fatty acids to rejuvenate dry patches and replenish oily zones with hydrating TLC. To boost hydration, brighten and get that skin glow, add a serum like the WISHFUL Thirst Trap Juice HA3 Peptide Serum, $47.
2. Weekly Masks to Decongest Oily Areas: Decongest your pores weekly with The INKEY List’s Kaolin Mask, $8; formulated with kaolin and smectite clay to draw out grease and dirt. Apply it to your T-zone and oily areas while you’re in the shower – the steam seals in moisture and protects your skin from overdrying. Follow with a hydrating serum and moisturizer.
3. Target Different Areas of your Face with Specific Ingredients: Don’t second guess it, girl! If your cheeks need hydration, but your forehead feels oily, then focus on different parts of your routine in different areas. Target drier areas with an oil on top of your moisturizer to lock in extra moisture. Your skin may ask for different things, but it’s essential to give it what it’s craving – whatever it may be.
Still curious? Here’s what the derms say about curating a routine for combination skin.
For Dry Skin
You don’t have to jump through cleansers, exfoliants, and peels to combat flakey patches – all you really need is a hefty dose of hydration.
1. Say Yes to Cleansing Balms and Rich Formulas: Think butter, oils, and the likes on your next shopping trip for a cleanser. Not only do cleansing balms whisk away gunk and grime, but they’ll leave your cheeks plump AF. The Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Balm, $22, contains coconut and rosehip extracts to seal in moisture and boost radiance with its wipe-on, wipe-off consistency – you don’t even need water to wipe this hydrating elf away.
2. Be Wary of Harsh Toners, Exfoliants, and Soaps: Astringents like alcohol and witch hazel are known for their oil-stripping qualities, so they’re an absolute no-no when it comes to dry skin. Steer clear from harsh toners, scrub exfoliants, and soap, because they’ll send your dry skin two steps backward. Look for formulas with names that include words like nourishing and hydrating.
3. Don’t Let Your Skin Air Dry: Did you know letting your skin air dry could be making it drier? After washing your face, lightly pat your face with a clean towel and then seal in any remaining surface moisture with your skin routine.
Need a step-by-step guide? DW, we got you. Check out the ultimate routine for dry skin – derm approved, of course.
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For Sensitive Skin
We like to follow a less-is-more approach when it comes to sensitive skin. Since your natural barrier is more delicate than others, you’ll know when she likes or hates anything you apply. A few precautions, nourishing formulas, and a lot of gentle loving is what your skin really needs.
1. Avoid Hot Water: We hate to break it to you, but your epidermis does have an archenemy – steaming showers. Opt for warm or cold showers over scalding water because it can strip away natural oils and moisture, leaving your skin feeling tight and dehydrated.
2. Avoid Harsh Ingredients and Opt For Gentle, Hydrating Heroes: Stay clear of any harsh, acidic ingredients like alcohol, fragrance, citrus, glycolic acid or L-ascorbic Acid (a more irritating form of vitamin C). You should also avoid rough scrubs, microbeads, and harsh cleansing brushes. As sensitive skin loses moisture more easily, layer hydrating creams that contain ingredients like ceramides to support your skin barrier and niacinamide to protect and soothe your skin. Natural ingredients like cica and honey are also great, along with repairing nutrients like aloe, chamomile, evening primrose, rose, and argan oil. Another great staple is azelaic acid, as it helps soothe inflamed skin. We’re like the affordable-yet-effective The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, $10.
3. Use Sunscreen Daily: Excessive sun exposure is extremely damaging to all skin types and those with sensitive skin may tend to avoid SPF due to its rep for causing skin reactions. But it’s simple, look for sunscreens with natural UV blockers, such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, as they’re non-irritating. Our go-to is the Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen, $19.
For Mature Skin
Your skin constantly adapts to changes in the environment as it matures, battling everything from dust particles to UV rays. Be sure to nurture it with collagen-stimulating ingredients and moisture-packed formulas to enhance your glow game while helping to soften fine lines and wrinkles.
1. Get Acquainted with Retinol: Retinol helps to boost collagen production to firm the skin, and soften fine lines and wrinkles along the way. Try the Arbonne DermResults Illuminating Skin Therapy Concentrate, $99, on areas prone to sagging – including your neck and decolletage. Check out our full retinol guide for more efficacious formulas and need-to-know tips.
2. Antioxidants are your Best Friends: As you mature, your skin’s sebaceous glands produce fewer lipids, AKA your skin becomes drier. To combat dryness, look for hydrating formulas like face oils and rich, heavy creams that are packed with brightening antioxidants to boost radiance and protect your skin from harmful free radical damage that further breaks down collagen.
3. Invest in a Skincare Tool: From gua shas to jade rollers, there’s a skincare tool waiting to firm, sculpt, and tone your skin. Check out our faves here.
Skincare 101, check! Next up, how to switch up your skincare for your age.
Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.
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