Dive into Skincare

Whether you’re a skincare minimalist or a 10-step Korean routine devotee, adding a new product to your regimen can be tricky. There’s always the possibility that your shiny new serum will irritate your skin (or have no effect at all). To help you get the most out of your products, you must spend some time reviewing the ingredients and learn how to layer your skincare. But, layering skincare can be tricky & scary for the beginner. Everything in life is trial and error, and if you are scared of layering or mixing your skincare products, then you should probably consult a Dermatologist or an Esthetician. They can set you on the right path.   But, if you are anything like Me. . . let's Dive In.  In my skincare journey, I found out late that I preferred to use products that have a combination of ingredients, instead of a la carte.  This all happened to Me when the excitement of The Ordinary was in full force, and I wanted everything. Yes. . . their products are medical grade & so affordable. But, they are packaged as a single unit. So, I had to learn when to apply the Arbutin.

Medical Grade skincare is where the pros go and you can get your hands on some too.  But, you have to do the research before you jump into the deep. Getting rid of the day’s grime, dirt, oil and makeup is the first step to any skincare routine and some experts recommend Double Cleansing. When it comes to layering skincare, active ingredients like - Retinol, Salicylic/Glycolic acids,  and Vitamin C,  is where most of us get tripped up.  So which product goes on top of what, you ask?  The golden rule is to go from light to heavy textures. Ingredients tend to penetrate better when you start with light, watery products (e.g., facial mists and toners) and finish with heavy creams and moisturizers. Heavier textures are generally occlusive. They seal in moisture and whatever you applied before them. Save them for your last step before sunscreen and makeup. The four general "rules" to Layering via the Skincare Edit is as follows:
  • Thinnest to thickest texture: Move in the direction of light to heavy. Start with your most watery products, such as toners, serums and essences. Heavier, more moisturizing ones—like lotions, creams and then oils—come next, followed by sunscreen.
  • Water-based before oil-based: Oil and water don't mix, and oil can block water from penetrating. That means water-based products must be applied first. Let them absorb into your skin, and then apply oil-based products on top.
  • Lowest to highest pH: If you're using active ingredients, it's important to know their approximate pH levels, and go from lowest to highest. In other words, acidic products (pH 3.0 to 4.0) should always be applied before more neutral ones (pH 5.0 to 7.0).
  • Low and high pH products don't mix: If your routine includes products with active ingredients, you can apply them at the same time if their pH levels are similar. But if there's a gap in pH of more than, say, 1.0 to 2.0 (or if you don't know the pH at all). It has been suggested that waiting 30 minutes in between them or using them at different times of day is best. That way, each product can work at its intended pH.

You may have heard the term "Cocktailing".  It's not the kind we drink at the bar. But, it has the same premise.  A skincare cocktail is a mixture of different serums, that you combine in the palm of your hands to apply to your skin.  It's used instead of layering one product at a time. The pros swear by this method, and I often wonder if both sides of the face gets an equal amount. But, if to Cocktail we must, we need to know which serum plays well with others.  That's why I prefer to get my products already cocktailed by the chemists in combination style.  But, to use up the products in my stash, I will continue to layer and wait for them to penetrate before applying another in my regime. 

The world of Acids can be a bit overwhelming – there are so many to choose from, and all of them offer similar benefits. Before we dive in, let’s do a quick refresher on skin care acids. They boil down to two primary categories:
  • alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
  • beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).
But because there are nuances to each of them, it’s useful to have a good working knowledge of what they each do best.  AHAs, alpha hydroxy acids are water-soluble acids that work on the surface of the skin. They are most renowned for their ability to exfoliate the skin for a smoother texture and brighter finish.  Glycolic, Lactic, and Mandelic acids are common AHAs, and they should not be applied to chapped or open skin.  Beta-hydroxy acids, BHAs not only work on the skin's surface but also penetrate inside the pores because they are oil soluble. Unlike AHAs, there's only one type of beta-hydroxy acid that is common, and that's Salicylic acid.  Can you use BHA 's & AHA's together?  It all depends on your skin and what you are trying to achieve. Combining them can cause irritation, so if you are prone to dry skin, sensitivity or redness, stick to just one. The key to layering acids comes down to pH levels.   BHAs are typically formulated to be a pH of 3.5 and AHAs have to be formulated at a pH of under 4.  You must use with CAUTION. Again, if you are not sure about all this, consult a Dermatologist.

Sun Protection should come last in your AM skincare routine. Dermatologists recommend applying at least ¼ teaspoon to cover your entire face. Give your sunscreen a few seconds to dry, then move on to primer and makeup if you wear them. If you're looking to address specific skin concerns, seeking the help of an expert could prove to be the most cost-effective of starting points, to avoid wasting both money and time. I know all about wasting money because I'm a Skincare Junkie. The minute a new to me product shows up, I'm ready to put on my goggles. To Combine active ingredients successfully is an art, and that's why it’s often a good idea to get help. If the wrong actives are used together, they run the risk of causing an irritant reaction. Or, they may end up inactivating each other, rendering them useless.” says Dr Sam Bunting, Dermatologist.

See what I mean about Diving into the pool of Skincare!  You do not have to be an expert at every darn thing.  Seriously!!  We learn something new everyday and everyday there is another challenge. Just Conquer it.  Reading labels on skincare and cosmetic products can be daunting and you need a dictionary.  Have no fear, Paula's Choice Ingredient Dictionary got you covered.  Falling into a rut when it comes to skincare is a situation we know very well. Tiredness can make the temptation to just grab some make-up wipes for convenience.  But, if we are serious about maintaining good skin. We have to commit to a skincare regime and be Consistent. Also, skincare is very personal. What is great for me may not be good for you. That being said, let's pay attention to what we’re putting on our Faces and into our Bodies.

** Please Note:  I'm not a medical professional and not giving any skincare advice here on this blog!  This post is based on my own experiences and information found during my research.  It is imperative that everyone do their own research and consult their Doctor before using any products. **


-  Intro Guide: Skincare & Product Details .

Skincare recommendations by a Dermatologist.

Skin Explained - Diagrams included.

-  More about Korean Skincare Routines.

** Thanks for Visiting.  This post is F Y E.  If you like it, please comment & Email it to others. As with all subjects that have Health concerns, please contact your Medical professional.  Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin  for new post updates, and on Pinterest**

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