Skin Care Basics: Cleanse, Exfoliator and Moisturizer

Skincare can be overwhelming with all the options, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with the basics: cleanse and moisturize.

House of Aesthetix doesn’t strip your skin of natural oils. Wash at least twice a day, especially after sweating heavily. Follow with the right serum for your skin type (we like vitamin C). And finish with a moisturizer.

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Cleansing is an essential step of any skincare routine and the first thing you need to get right. Choosing a gentle cleanser that matches your skin type is key. You don’t want to use harsh products on your face that may strip the natural oils from your skin, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. Using too hot water to wash also sucks skin moisture, making it feel tight and itchy.

When selecting a cleanser, look for products free of sulfates and other drying ingredients like alcohol and fragrance. You should also check the pH level of your product, which should be close to normal skin. A glycerin cleanser will help hydrate and keep your sebum levels balanced if you have oily skin. A cleansing balm with shea butter is a good option for those with combination skin as it helps to soothe and nourish. For those with acne-prone skin, try a cleanser that contains antibacterial or exfoliating ingredients such as salicylic acid. You can also choose a cleanser formulated with niacinamide, a great ingredient for those with acne-prone skin, as it helps prevent future breakouts.

For dry skin, a cleanser containing hyaluronic acid is a good choice as it attracts and holds water molecules to hydrate the skin. This keeps it soft and plump while also helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A rich, creamy cleanser containing shea butter is another great option for dry skin, as it helps lock in moisture and soothe the complexion.

For those with combination skin, a cleanser that contains blackhead-fighting ingredients such as polyhydroxy acids can be helpful. A cleanser that contains moisturizing ceramides is also recommended, as well as a foaming cleanser that will help to remove excess oil. If you opt for double cleansing, start with an oil-based cleanser such as our Everyday Cleansing Oil and then follow it with a gentle foaming cleanser such as Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleanser.

Whether you have dry or oily skin, a proper exfoliation routine should be a part of your regular skincare. It removes dead skin cells that can clog pores and lead to breakouts and uneven tone. It also helps your moisturizers, serums, and face creams penetrate more easily by removing the top layer of dead skin. There are several different exfoliating methods, including physical scrubs and chemical peels.

Physical exfoliants use a brush, mitt, or other tool to physically remove the dead skin cells by scrubbing them off. This method can be harsh on the skin and irritate, so it’s best to avoid using it on sensitive skin. This type of exfoliation can also be a bit messy, especially if you use a dry scrub. If you’re considering this route, look for one that is less abrasive and uses finer particles than a traditional scrub, which can irritate the skin.

A more gentle way of exfoliating is to use a chemical product, such as an alpha or beta hydroxy acid (AHAs and BHAs). These are oil-soluble and dissolve the skin’s surface by dissolving the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. AHAs and BHAs help fade age spots, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, unclog pores, and even decrease the appearance of shallow scars.

There are many options for chemical exfoliants, so be sure to read the labels carefully. AHAs can be drying, so following up with a moisturizer after use is important. AHAs can also irritate the skin if used incorrectly, so be careful and only exfoliate your face twice a week.

Before starting a new exfoliation regimen, determine your skin type by pressing a tissue against your face. If the tissue has dry flakes of skin, you have dry skin; if it has oil on it, you have oily skin; and if it’s both, you have combination skin. Also, remember that our skin needs can change over time, so don’t get too set on one particular method of exfoliation.

Now that you’ve got your daily cleanse, exfoliator, and moisturizer down pat, it’s time to add some more targeted skin care treatments. Enter serums—the skincare superstars that can address various issues, from fine lines and uneven texture to dullness and dark spots.

Once you understand what serums are and how they work, you’ll likely find it fairly easy to determine which ones are right for your skin type and concerns. Many serums are geared toward a specific skin concern (like targeting fine lines or soothing irritation), and some have the bonus of multitasking – like the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, which tackles wrinkles and sun damage.

Their thin, watery consistency and higher concentration of active ingredients set face serums apart from traditional moisturizers. They’re designed to penetrate deeper than the surface of your skin, which means they can deliver their fancy peptides, stem cells, and vitamins more effectively. And because of their lightweight nature, they don’t contain any occlusive oils or other fillers that can block pores and encourage breakouts.

When choosing a serum, look for one that targets your specific skin concerns or unique needs and apply it after cleansing but before moisturizing. You can even layer a face oil with your serum to lock in moisture and enhance the effectiveness of both products.

Hydrating serums, which typically feature ingredients like hyaluronic acid that can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water, are the best bet for those with dry or sensitive skin. They’ll help boost hydration and plump the skin while improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by delivering more bounce.

On the other hand, anti-aging serums are best for those with mature skin looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark spots. These serums usually include retinol or other vitamin A compounds that jumpstart collagen production, firm the skin, and improve elasticity.

Consider a brightening serum, depending on your needs. These formulas will likely include powerful ingredients like kojic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin C that can help to fade discoloration, lighten the skin tone, and reduce the appearance of redness.

Moisturizer is an essential part of any skincare routine. It prevents dryness and can help fight signs of aging.

A wide variety of moisturizers are available, so it’s important to find one that works for your skin type. Moisturizers work by forming a protective barrier against transepidermal water loss (TEWL) or replenishing lost moisture in the outer layer of the skin. They are usually creams, lotions, oils, or ointments. Oil-based products are typically thicker and can help treat very dry skin. They can be formulated with emollients and may contain ingredients such as cocoa butter, isopropyl palmitate, mineral oil, shea butter, or lanolin. Oil-based moisturizers can also be developed with humectants designed to attract and hold water to the skin’s surface. They can include ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

A moisturizer should be applied to clean skin every morning and night. It should be used after washing the face, shaving, and exfoliating. It is especially important to moisturize after a shower or bath because hot water strips the natural oils from the skin. Skipping a moisturizer can lead to extreme dryness and cause excess oil production or acne.

If you have acne-prone skin, you should choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer specially formulated to reduce the likelihood of breakouts. Sensitive skin also requires special care, and it’s best to opt for a gentle formula that contains soothing ingredients. Mature skin tends to be dryer and has a slower cell turnover rate than younger skin, so using a rich moisturizer with anti-aging ingredients is a good idea.

Regularly using a moisturizer will reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin tone, texture, and elasticity. It can also be a great tool to combat sagging and loose skin. If you are looking to get the most out of your moisturizer, consider pairing it with a serum with skin health benefits. Then, finish with a foundation that provides coverage and protection. Remember, it is important to apply your moisturizer before you add any makeup so that it can absorb into the skin.