What should I do first in skin care?

Starting a skincare routine can seem overwhelming with the myriad of products and advice available. However, a simple, structured approach can help you create an effective regimen tailored to your skin’s needs. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you get started with skincare:

Understanding Your Skin Type

Determine Your Skin Type

Before selecting products, it’s crucial to identify your skin type. This will help you choose the right products and treatments. The main skin types are: 

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  1. Normal Skin: Balanced, not too oily or dry.
  2. Oily Skin: Produces excess sebum, prone to shine and breakouts.
  3. Dry Skin: Lacks moisture, feels tight, and may have flaky patches.
  4. Combination Skin: Oily in some areas (usually the T-zone) and dry in others.
  5. Sensitive Skin: Prone to irritation and redness, reacts easily to products.

How to Determine Your Skin Type

  • The Bare-Face Method: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and don’t apply any products. After an hour, observe your skin:
    • Normal: Feels comfortable, not oily or dry.
    • Oily: Shiny in multiple areas.
    • Dry: Feels tight and may have dry patches.
    • Combination: Oily in the T-zone, normal or dry elsewhere.
    • Sensitive: Redness, irritation, or itching.

Basic Skincare Routine Steps

  1. Cleansing

Purpose: Removes dirt, oil, and impurities from the skin.

  • Morning and Night: Cleanse your face twice daily.
  • Choose a Gentle Cleanser: Avoid harsh soaps that can strip your skin of natural oils.
  1. Toning

Purpose: Balances the skin’s pH, removes any leftover impurities, and prepares the skin for other products.

  • Hydrating Toner: For dry or sensitive skin.
  • Exfoliating Toner: For oily or acne-prone skin, look for ingredients like salicylic acid or glycolic acid.
  1. Moisturizing

Purpose: Hydrates the skin and locks in moisture.

  • Lightweight Gel Moisturizer: For oily skin.
  • Cream or Balm: For dry skin.
  • Lotion: For normal or combination skin.
  1. Sun Protection

Purpose: Protects the skin from harmful UV rays that can cause premature aging and skin cancer.

  • Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen: Use SPF 30 or higher.
  • Daily Application: Apply every morning, even on cloudy days or when indoors.

Building an Effective Skincare Routine

Step-by-Step Routine

  1. Morning Routine:
    • Cleanser: Use a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type.
    • Toner: Apply a toner to balance and prepare your skin.
    • Moisturizer: Hydrate your skin with a suitable moisturizer.
    • Sunscreen: Finish with a broad-spectrum SPF.
  2. Night Routine:
    • Cleanser: Remove makeup and impurities with a gentle cleanser.
    • Toner: Apply a toner to prep your skin.
    • Serum (Optional): Use a serum targeting specific concerns (e.g., vitamin C for brightening, hyaluronic acid for hydration).
    • Moisturizer: Apply a night cream or moisturizer.

Addressing Specific Skin Concerns

Acne-Prone Skin 

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  • Cleanser: Look for one with salicylic acid.
  • Spot Treatment: Use benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil on breakouts.
  • Non-Comedogenic Products: Ensure all products are labeled non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores).

Dry Skin

  • Hydrating Cleanser: Use a cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin of natural oils.
  • Hydrating Serum: Incorporate serums with hyaluronic acid or glycerin.
  • Rich Moisturizer: Use a thicker cream or balm, especially at night.

Oily Skin

  • Foaming Cleanser: Helps to remove excess oil.
  • Lightweight Moisturizer: Use oil-free, gel-based moisturizers.
  • Mattifying Products: Look for mattifying primers or powders to control shine.

Sensitive Skin

  • Fragrance-Free Products: Choose products free from fragrances and alcohol.
  • Patch Test: Always patch test new products to avoid reactions.
  • Soothing Ingredients: Look for products with calming ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile.


  • Retinoids: Use products with retinol or tretinoin to promote cell turnover.
  • Antioxidants: Incorporate serums with vitamin C or E.
  • Hydration: Keep the skin hydrated with hyaluronic acid and peptides.

Tips for a Successful Skincare Routine

Consistency is Key

  • Daily Routine: Stick to your routine every day for the best results.
  • Be patient. It takes time to see significant changes, usually 4-6 weeks.

Layering Products

  • Thin to Thick: Apply products from the thinnest (serums) to the thickest (creams).
  • Allow Absorption: Give each product a minute or so to absorb before applying the next.

Adapting to Changes

  • Seasonal Adjustments: Modify your routine based on the season. Use heavier moisturizers in winter and lighter products in summer.
  • Skin Changes: Adjust your routine as your skin changes over time due to age, hormonal fluctuations, or other factors.

Avoid Overloading

  • Simplicity: Stick to a few key products to avoid overwhelming your skin.
  • Avoid Too Many Actives: Using multiple active ingredients can irritate the skin.

Stay Hydrated and Healthy

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from within.
  • Healthy Diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Get Enough Sleep: Ensure you get enough rest to help your skin repair and regenerate.

Consulting a Professional

Dermatologist Visit

  • Seek Advice: If you have persistent skin issues or need personalized advice, consult a dermatologist.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Regular visits can help address any concerns and keep your skin healthy.

Tailored Treatments

  • Professional Treatments: Consider professional treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasions, or laser therapy for specific concerns.
  • Prescription Products: Your dermatologist may prescribe stronger treatments for severe conditions.


Starting a skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated. By understanding your skin type, following a simple daily routine, and addressing specific concerns with targeted products, you can achieve healthy, glowing skin. Remember to be consistent, patient, and adaptable to your skin’s needs, and consult a dermatologist for personalized advice. With the right approach, you can create a skincare routine that enhances your natural beauty and keeps your skin in its best condition.

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What should I do first in skin care?