Thorough but gentle daily cleansing and a good moisturizing care will help to keep your skin healthy. Quality skincare products, chosen to match your specific skin type and skin concern, can protect facial skin from damaging external influences such as the sun, hot and cold climates and air pollution. They can also help to soothe irritated skin, restore it to a healthy condition and prevent the development of skin diseases.
In this article
YOUR DAILY FACE CARE ROUTINE
Four basic steps
Good skincare involves four basic steps: cleanse, tone, care and protect
Thorough cleansing is the first step in effective skincare. Cleansing removes dirt, sweat, sebum and make-up and prepares the skin for care. Cleansed skin is better able to absorb the ingredients in care products.
Toning removes any traces of cleanser, refreshes the skin, while restoring its natural pH value.
Care products moisturize and replenish skin. Many also target and treat specific skin concerns.
Sun protection is important for the days when your skin is going to be exposed to harmful UV rays: the main cause of premature skin ageing. Most day creams already come with an SPF 15.
Your skincare routine should take place twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. The specific routine will vary depending on the time of day and the particular needs and condition of your skin.
In the morning
Cleanse: Skin produces sebum as it regenerates overnight. Cleansing every morning removes this sebum and ensures that skin is ready for the day care.
Tone: Toning removes any traces of cleanser and refreshes the skin, while restoring its natural pH value.
Special care (for example serums or concentrates): These products contain a high concentration of ingredients and should be applied directly onto the freshly cleansed skin.
If you are not using a special care product, skip step 3 and go directly to step 4.
Day care: that matches your skin type to hydrate and protect your face. A dedicated eye cream is recommended to protect and care for the delicate eye area.
In the evening
Cleanse: Cleansing every evening removes dirt, sweat, sebum and make-up. Skin is then clean and ready to absorb the active ingredients of your night care product. A dedicated eye-make-up- remover should be used to cleanse and protect the delicate skin around the eyes.
Tone: Toning removes any traces of cleanser and refreshes the skin, while restoring its natural pH value.
Special care (for example serums or concentrates): These products contain a high concentration of active ingredients, which can work overnight. They should be applied directly onto the freshly cleansed skin.
If you are not using a special care product then skip step 3 and go directly to step 4.
Night care: Use a moisturizing night cream to nourish your skin and support overnight regeneration. Follow with an eye cream for the delicate area around the eyes.
ABOUT FACIAL CLEANSING & TONING
Why cleanse and tone?
An effective face care routine starts with thorough but gentle cleansing and toning to:
- remove dirt, sweat, sebum and make-up without drying out the skin.
- prepare skin for your face care regime. The valuable ingredients in face care products are absorbed more effectively when applied to cleansed skin.
Cleansing is particularly important for skin prone to acne as it helps skin to maintain its natural healthy balance and supports the natural regenerative process.
How to cleanse and tone
There are two main steps to a thorough cleansing routine: a cleansing lotion or gel followed by a toner. If you are wearing eye make-up then it is advisable to add a separate eye-make-up-remover as a third step in your cleansing routine.
To gently remove make-up from the lashes and delicate area around the eye. Eye-make-up-remover is best applied with a cotton pad wiped gently across the eye area.
Toning removes any last traces of cleanser and refreshes the skin, while restoring its natural pH value. Toner should be applied with a cotton pad, wiped gently across the face.
- Cleansing gels should be rinsed off thoroughly with lukewarm water. Avoid using water that is too hot, especially on sensitive skin, as extreme temperatures can cause irritations.
- Cleansing lotions are applied and removed with cotton pad and do not require water. You can, however, gently remove cleansing lotion with lukewarm water if you prefer.
How to choose an appropriate cleanser and toner
Water alone will not clean your face. You need to use a surfactant (a detergent that dissolves both water and fat) to bind with the dirt and remove it gently from your skin. It is important to choose products that are gentle on skin. Frequent washing with ordinary soaps or aggressive surfactants can weaken the barrier function of skin by:
- changing the pH from its naturally slightly acidic state of between 5.4 and 5.9 to a neutral or even alkaline pH, reducing its ability to fight bacteria
- disrupting the proteins in horny layer (the outermost layer of the skin)
- removing skin-protecting lipids (the fats that hold cells together in the epidermis)
When skin’s barrier function is weakened its sensitivity is increased and it is more prone to dryness and irritaton.
Read more about skin structure.
Choose a cleanser that:
- will be gentle on your skin and will not dry it out
- has been formulated for your specific skin type and concern
- has been thoroughly tested and is, ideally, compatible with sensitive skin
When choosing between a lotion and a gel product the general rule is that the drier the skin the more it will prefer a cleansing lotion. It leaves your skin’s own lipids untouched, your skin stays balanced. Cleansing gels are ideal for cleansing normal to combination skin types.
Eucerin recommends alcohol- free toners for most skin types. Alcohol based toners have a cooling effect, but they can strip skin of its natural lipids. Skin may then over-produce lipids in an attempt to replace those that are missing. Alcohol can intensify the dryness in dry skin and, for those with oily or combination skin, an alcohol-containing toner can help to regulate excessive oiliness by removing sebum.
ALL ABOUT THE FACIAL CARE ROUTINE
Care products should hydrate and replenish skin. Moisturisation not only increases skin’s water content, it protects it and encourages orderly desquamation (the process by which skin sheds dead cells) leaving it feeling smooth, soft and comfortable. Many care products also target and treat specific concerns.
Specific skin concerns such as ageing, hyperpigmentation and acne can effectively be treated with special care products that contain a high concentration of active ingredients. These special care products are often in a concentrate or serum format.
As they contain the most active ingredients in your skincare routine, special care products should be applied onto a freshly cleansed skin, and before the application of a day or night cream, to ensure they are absorbed with maximum efficiency and penetration into the skin.
Day or night care
A moisturizing day or night cream should be used to hydrate and replenish facial skin as well as to provide active ingredients to address any particular skin concerns that you may have.
Eye care products should be applied carefully, and after your day or night care product, by gently dabbing the cream around the delicate eye area.
- Topical medication prescribed by a dermatologist to treat conditions such as acne or Atopic Dermatitis should be applied in the same way as a special care product: always first on gently cleansed skin before the application of day or night cream. Special care products should be allowed to absorb into the skin for a couple of minutes before a day or night care product is applied.
- If you are using a special care product then it should be allowed to absorb for a couple of minutes before applying a day or night cream. If your skin does not require a special care product, then the day or night cream should be applied directly onto a thoroughly cleansed face.
How to choose an appropriate care product
Care products should be matched to your skin type and should address any particular concerns that you may have. Your care product choice can also adapt to suit the season (for example, many people prefer to use a lighter fluid product in the warm weather and a richer cream during the cold winter months.)
Learn more in skin types and concerns and take our skin test to help determine your own skin type. If you would like advice on how to treat a specific skin concern then contact a dermatologist.
Day care and night care
Many care products can be used both morning and evening. Others are formulated for specific use during the day or at night:
- AM: Some moisturisers contain a sun protection factor (SPF). This makes them suitable for daytime use but they should not be used in the evening. Other care products that contain pigments (for example, some of the products that treat redness or acne) should also only be used to during the day.
- PM: Skin regenerates overnight. As well as moisturising skin, night creams contain ingredients that stimulate the cell regeneration process. They are also SPF and pigment free.
Caring for skin around the eyes
The delicate skin around the eyes is particularly thin and sensitive and thus more vulnerable than the rest of facial skin. Because of this it benefits from a specially formulated eye care product. Eye cream should be applied with care.
For more tips on how to care for skin visit tips for healthy skin.
ALL ABOUT SUN PROTECTION FOR THE FACE
Effective sun protection is a vital part of keeping skin healthy and should always be considered as part of your daily face care routine. Whilst a few minutes a day in the sun helps with the healthy production of Vitamin D, facial skin is often exposed to several hours of UV rays. Over exposure to UV rays is the main cause of premature skin ageing. For this reason, skin that is going to be exposed should be protected with a sunscreen.
Read more about UV rays and sun protection.
How to protect
Several day creams already include a sun protection factor – normally SPF 15 – but on many occasions your skin will require a higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF), which can be applied in addition to, or instead of, your usual SPF day cream.
Products containing SPF should be applied as the final step in your morning skin care regimen.
How to choose the right sun protection product
There are several factors that should be taken into account when choosing the appropriate sun protection factor for your skin:
- Skin colour (i.e. are you darker or fairer skinned? Fair skins are more sensitive to UV exposure than darker skins)
- Skin concern
- The season
- The level of exposure (depending on the climate zone you are in)
- The duration of exposure
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to use a separate day cream and SPF?
For some skin types, and when a higher SPF is required, a dedicated sun protection product will substitute the day cream. Dry skin types will still prefer to use a day cream and add extra sun protection at the end of the routine. Your choice will be influenced by your lifestyle, personal preference and how your skin reacts to environmental factors such as humidity. The highest SPF applied determines the protection level (i.e. if you were to add a sun protection factor product with an SPF of 30 to a day cream with SPF 15 then the total protection level would be SPF30).
Read more about which products and SPF’s Eucerin recommend for your skin type and condition, as well as about how much SPF you need to use, in recommended sun protection.
Are face masks a good idea?
Yes, face masks are particularly good at replenishing dry and dehydrated skin. Eucerin recommends that you use your night cream and apply a little bit more of it that you normally would to cover your face, throat and decollete. Night cream is richer than day cream, contains regenerating actives such as panthenol and is free-from SPF or pigment.
What do I have to keep in mind for using make up if I suffer from Atopic skin disease?
Ask your dermatologist or pharmacist for recommended products that are tested in eczema patients and contain no perfumes or common allergens. If you have acne always use non-comedogenic products for oily or combination skin.