While the world was facing its first set of lockdowns in March of 2020, an upcoming healthcare trend boomed in the market. In accordance with the gain in popularity, the skincare stock market, which became a 1.4 billion dollar industry in 2019, is expected to see a 3.5% annual increase through 2023- with a predicted market value of $180 billion by 2024. Now more than ever, consumers are looking for science-based approaches to beauty in contrast to traditional cosmetics, such as makeup. As new types of products fill up shelves, it is essential to understand dermatologist-approved labels.
When creating a skincare routine, it’s crucial to start with the basics. The baselines of most regimes include a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen-- although many prefer to add treatments between cleansing and moisturizing. Before selecting any product, your skin type must be known. According to skincare expert, Hyram, to find your skin type, use a gentle cleanser while you are showering. After you finish, do not use any other product for one hour. Once the hour is finished, examine your skin. Shine is linked to oily skin, while tightness and dryness are often seen within dry skin types. Using this basis, selecting products for your skin type becomes simplified.
Cleaning is a very important part of an everyday routine. Throughout the day, skin captures particles from pollution and faces sun damage, so cleansing your skin from these toxins while hydrating is the first step in any routine. A double cleansing system is used in more advanced regimes to ensure all makeup and oils are removed by first using an oil-based cleanser. However, this step can be skipped at entry-level. To start, cleanse your skin of leftover oils, dirt, makeup, and residue by using a dermatologist-approved cleanser. A highly recommended drugstore facial cleanser is the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, but many upscale brands can be used in its place--such as Skin Pot Cleansing Balm.
Toning is an optional step to further add a level of hydration and balance the Ph of your skin. Toners open your pores, making the skin more receptive to serums and treatments. This step can be especially helpful for acne-prone skin. The Aloe BHA toner is a Korean product that can be found online on websites such as SokoGlam. Researching a toner that meets your skin needs is a key step when choosing a product, as most drugstore toners contain harsh and harmful ingredients, such as witch hazel or fragrance.
After cleansing or toning, using a treatment allows you to target specific impurities and issues within the skin. Most treatments come in the form of serums containing active ingredients. The best serum for your skin is dependent on your skin concerns, so while testing out products, a good line to use is The Ordinary. The surprisingly cheap and effective products typically contain one or two active ingredients. For all skin types, helpful and productive products include niacinamide, Salicylic acid 2%, Lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid, but researching specific products for your needs, such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and/or rosacea, will help battle these concerns.
Another important part of the regime is moisturizing. According to the University of Tennessee medical center, all skin types need twice-a-day moisturizing to combat either extreme dryness or excess oils; both ends of that extreme can lead to additional skin issues, such as acne. Good drugstore moisturizers include: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion or cream, Elf Happy Hydration Cream, and the Shea Moisture Skin Rescue Moisturizer.
Sunscreen is the most important and only mandatory step of a skincare routine. As day-to-day encounters with the sun leave the skin damaged by ultraviolet radiation, damages to skin cells, lead to inflammatory reactions, and can result in skin cancer--skipping this step will render every previous product useless. Using an SPF of at least 30 is a prime way to avoid these issues. Good drugstore sunscreen includes CeraVe mineral sunscreen SPF 30 and Burnout eco-sensitive SPF 35.
What to avoid:
When selecting products, it’s vital to know what ingredients will be catastrophic for your skin. A good website to check the ingredients of a product is the INCI decoder, which will display all ingredients and check for good and bad additives. However, as a general rule, it’s important to skip out on the following products and ingredients:
Scrubs: Physical exfoliators, such as Saint Ives Apricot Scrub, are known for causing damage and irritation to the skin.
Witch Hazel: Witch hazel is drying to the skin.
Mineral oil: This type of oil often results in clogged pores.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: If this ingredient is listed within the first few ingredients in a product, it’s best to skip out. This ingredient can cause over-stripping and damage to the skin.
While all of the above information is gender-neutral, men must understand the importance of proper skincare. Many drugstore skincare brands aimed towards men contain harsh ingredients that will do more harm than good. An alternative option for men seeking to improve their routines is a simple dermatologist-approved regime, which includes cleansing, treating, moisturizing, and protection( As shown above).
Korean skincare, a popular and powerful subsection of skincare, focuses on protecting and maintaining the skin, while typical American methods prioritize treating and undoing the damage. A traditional Korean skincare routine typically goes as follows:
Oil cleanser: Double cleansing at night is an important staple in Korean skincare; it ensures that all makeup/dirt/sunscreen/oils have been removed from the skin.
Water-based cleanser: Using a water-based cleanser after using an oil-based cleanser will remove water-based impurities, such as dirt and sweat.
Exfoliant: Using an exfoliant allows for dead skin cells to be removed. It is important to use a chemical exfoliant rather than a physical exfoliant- as physical exfoliants typically result in damage to the skin. This step should only be performed 1-3 times a week.
Toner: Toners balance the skin’s PH and add a layer of hydration to the skin.
Essence: Essences help active ingredients in skin care products work better, as well as deeply penetrating hydration into the skin.
Serum: Serums can treat problem areas within the skin, such as hyperpigmentation, acne, wrinkles, and fine lines.
Mask: Masks add nutrients to the skin and offer the ability to target specific areas.
Eye cream: Eye creams are products that are safe to use in sensitive areas around your eyes. This helps with dark circles and wrinkles.
Moisturizer: Moisturizers lock in ingredients and add hydration to the skin.
Sunscreen: Finally, arguably the most important and part of the skincare routine: Sunscreen, ideally applied 3-4 times a day- or every two hours.