Skincare: the basics
Q) “Can you please tell me the purpose of each step of the skincare regime: cleansing, toning and moisturising? Also, when are you meant to use an exfoliator, mask and eye cream? And how much of each product should I be using?” – Mel, NSW
A) Cleansing – the purpose of cleansing in the evening is to remove the dirt and grime that the skin collects throughout the day as well as the dead skin cells that the skin naturally sheds. It will also remove any make-up that you applied that morning.
It is as important to cleanse in the morning as skin also collects dirt, debris and grime (especially off our pillows) during our sleep. By cleansing the skin you ensure the skin remains healthy, clean and smooth and you have a fresh ‘pallet’ to apply your skincare products.
Toning – this is a very important step in skincare. A toner is used to boost the moisture on the skin’s surface and even out the moisture (thus preventing dry patches) and as a result, if you use a good hydrating spritz toner, it’ll mean you need only a pea-sized amount of moisturiser, saving you big bucks in the long run.
Moisturising – the function of a moisturiser is to seal and protect the skin. It seals in moisture to prevent dehydration and protects the skin from the environment and invasion of bacteria. A moisturiser assists and protects the skin’s natural barrier function. An eye cream or gel should be applied morning and night to the orbit of the eye. Eye treatments are designed specifically for the delicate eye area and usually contain a combination of skin firming and hydrating ingredients.
Exfoliation – this is designed to keep the skin soft and smooth and prevent flaky dehydrated patches. Ideally, you need to exfoliate twice a week; if you’re oily and congested, up it to three times. If you have particularly delicate or sensitive skin, opt for a rice bran microfoliant (try: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant®) that polishes the skin surface. For older skin, I’d recommend a hydroxy acid-based or vitamin A scrub.
Masks – many people omit masking from their skincare regimen, which is unfortunate as you can get some really great results using a mask. There are a plethora to choose from: clay based work best for oily skin; hydrating, moisture masks are great for dehydrated skin; multivitamin masks boost tired, stressed skin and medicated masks work well for skin with breakouts. Remember you can use a couple of masks at the same time if you have a combination skin type. The best time to use a mask is after your exfoliant as this increases its efficiency.