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Your skincare routine (and body care routine) plays an immensely important role in maintaining your skin’s health!
After all, who doesn’t want blemish-free radiant skin? Especially if you struggle with skin conditions like dark spots, acne, or eczema:
Your skincare routine steps and the products you choose can make all the difference! Read on to learn more about the best skincare routine that suits the Malaysian weather.
Why Is The Sequence Of Application So Important?
According to Dr. Heather Rogers, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon
Application of each product needs to be done in the right order (*1).
Since different ingredients may have their own separate functions:
You want to ensure that the key ingredients can penetrate your skin! In order to reap the benefits!
A rule-of-thumb you can follow when applying your products is to start with the thinnest consistency first. Followed by a product of medium consistency.
The last products to be layered on have the thickest and heaviest texture. Like an eye cream or night moisturizer.
Other than that, products with antioxidant ingredients (or other beneficial ingredients) should go first so that they can absorb into the skin (i.e. eye serum or face serum before moisturizer).
Before you finish off with a product containing emollients. As these sit on top of the skin to prevent moisture loss in your skin.
How Do You Know What Your Skin Type Is?
You can perform a physical skin test to discover your skin type, right at home!
By measuring your sebum level. As the amount of sebum produced by your skin determines what your skin type is.
You skin type can fall into any of these categories:
Note: Sensitive skin does not follow this sebum criteria.
Simply perform these steps to test your skin type:
- Wash your face before patting it dry. A clean face will make for better accuracy of the test.
- Wait for 30 minutes (without applying any products onto your skin).
- Press tissue or oil blotting paper gently on different areas of your face. Including the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin.
- Hold the paper against the light to see how transparent the paper is. (i.e. transparency indicates oil)
If you’re oily on most of your face, it’ll show on the paper clearly. For combination skin types, the oil production will be concentrated on your T-zone (forehead, nose and chin).
However, if the paper looks about the same as when you started the test, you likely have dry or normal skin.
Where dry skin differs from normal skin in the amount of hydration it needs! And can peel or look red and scaly in places.
Day Time Skincare Routine (Full)
Focus your daytime skincare routine on the following:
- Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and outdoor pollutants
- Hydrating your skin to a comfortable level
And whenever possible, steer clear from products containing these (or similar) ingredients for your morning routine:
Retinol, AHA and hydroquinone.
These can make your skin more vulnerable and susceptible to damaging UV rays (i.e. increased photosensitivity)!
Here’s the best way to clean and prep your face for the day!
Step 1: Cleanse Your Face
There’s no better way to wake yourself up than with a refreshing splash of cold water in the morning. Paired with a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type!
Cleansing your face in the day is crucial. As it rids your skin of the grime, sweat, dirt and dead cells that have collected overnight.
Plus, it prepares a good base for the rest of your products to absorb better.
Gel and foam cleansers are generally better for oily and combination skin. While cream cleansers are better suited for dry sensitive skin.
Oil cleansers / cleansing oils can even be suitable for most skin types (*2)!
Step 2: Use A Toner
Toners serve to balance the skin pH, protect the skin, get rid of residue dirt and bacteria, and improve efficacy of the rest of your skincare products.
Some might even help in shrinking those pores!
Using a toner is an optional step if your skin is already healthy and glowing without the help of toners! Acne prone skin and oily skin types can use the extra help though (*3)!
Step 3: Apply A Serum With Antioxidants
Serums are formulated and packed with nutrients beneficial for your skin. Other than protecting your skin from UV rays:
They guard your skin from damaging environmental pollutants, brighten your skin, encourage repair, and reverse aging (by stimulating collagen production)!
Look out for these antioxidant ingredients that help to prevent sun damage and photoaging:
- Vitamin C
- Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
- Vitamin E
- Coenzyme Q10.
They help to reduce your skin’s inflammatory response and neutralize damage from UV rays and pollutants (*4)!
Step 4: Dab On Eye Cream
If you want to avoid those dreaded fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet, it is time to stop neglecting the skin under your eyes!
Eye creams will help to reduce or prevent these first signs of aging. And maintain the moisture and elasticity of the undereye area!
In fact, it’s optimal to use them at least once at night, or better still twice daily! As suggested by Dr. Annie Chiu, a board-certified dermatologist.
Step 5: Treat Blemishes
If your healthcare professional has advised you to apply topical medications for acne, dark spots, or inflammation:
It is best to apply them on bare skin for optimal benefits.
But because such medication can use differing active ingredients, you should consult your dermatologist on how best to apply them.
Generally, topical acne treatment can be very drying for the skin. But this is not a reason to skip them!
Note: Not allowing sufficient time in between application of your topical cream and moisturizer will hinder the efficacy of your medication!
Step 6: Put On Moisturizer
This is a non-negotiable step, and having oily skin is not an exception! Everyone requires that extra hydration to keep the skin looking healthy.
And reduce the damage inflicted by the sun or outdoor pollutants.
Simple moisturizers with fewer ingredients suit sensitive and normal skin types. While heavier oil-based moisturizers are better options for those with very dry skin (*5)!
On the other hand, water-based thin creams will suffice for oily skin!
Step 7: Apply Sun Protection
Of course, to maintain youthful-looking skin and prevent dark spots, sun protection is key!
Physical or mineral sunscreens are both available in Malaysia.
Night-time Skincare Routine (Full)
The ingredients and texture of products for your night-time routines is different from the skincare products you use during the day.
They don’t provide any sun protection. But they help your skin recuperate and replenish lost moisture and nutrients (*6).
Night serums (and moisturizers) are generally thicker, richer, and more hydrating too.
Furthermore, prescription retinoids and products containing retinol should only be reserved for night-time use (*7).
Below is a recommended night-time routine:
- Step 1: Cleanse (Or Double Cleanse) – Experts recommend removing your makeup with a makeup remover before using your cleanser. Another option is to double cleanse, which involves using a cleansing oil. Before washing your face with your regular cleanser.
- Step 2: Use A Toner
- Step 3: Apply An Essence – Essences are watery, highly-concentrated skin care boosters that deliver nourishment and hydration to your skin.
- Step 4: Apply Eye Cream
- Step 5: Use Face Serum/ Treatment/ Peel – Do not be tempted to layer up all your targeted skincare treatments. Instead, direct the treatment towards what your skin needs most at that time. This reduces risk of irritation and allows for maximum efficiency of the product.
Note: Don’t use prescription medications or retinol creams on the same night as exfoliating products. Plus, exfoliative products should not be overused, optimally once to thrice weekly.
- Step 6: Put On A Night Moisturizer
Basic Skincare Routine
For those who constantly experience irritation, inflammation, and itch:
A basic skincare routine will suit your sensitive skin best. The most important thing is that the routine must use products that are gentle, mild, and non-irritating to protect delicate skin (*8).
Just stick to these essentials only. Because the less products you use, the less the risk of irritation!
The steps to a basic day and night skincare routine are listed below.
Day Time Skincare Routine (Basic)
- Step 1: Cleanse
- Step 2: Tone
- Step 3: Moisturize
- Step 4: Apply Sunscreen
Night-time Skincare Routine (Basic)
- Step 1: Cleanse again
- Step 2: Apply toner
- Step 3: Use An Antioxidant Serum (No Retinoids!)
- Step 4: Apply A Night Cream
Other Tips For Taking Care Of Your Skin
These are some other things you can do to help your skin look and feel its best!
- Give products time to absorb between each one
- Ensure all makeup is removed before bed
- Do not use facial masks more than once a week
- Try to manage your stress levels
- Use sunscreen/sunblock with SPF of at least 30
- For eye creams, avoid products with high retinol content, alcohol or strong fragrances
- Do not use toners with exfoliating ingredients more than once daily
- Give it time; Use products for at least 6 weeks consistently (unless you see signs of allergy) before crossing them out (*9)!
- Patch test new products
- Change your pillow cases at least once a week
- Use sunscreen every single day and apply it at least 15 minutes before going out
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Have a balanced diet
- Don’t keep changing up your skincare routine or daily products
The best skincare routine in Malaysia does not necessarily contain ten different steps. With ten separate products! The phrase, “the more, the merrier” does not apply here!
Ultimately, you need to discover which products and skin care routine work best for your skin! And it make take some time to find your perfect skincare routine so be patient!