Getting your skin to look its best takes time, effort, and a little bit of cash. So of course you want to make sure that your products are giving you the maximum result. Here are some tips that you can try to get the most out of your skin-care products.
The dead skin cells on your face act as a barrier between the fresh skin underneath and your skin-care products. Exfoliating lets you wash away those dead skin cells so your products can reach the fresh skin underneath. Your skin will be able to absorb those products much more readily.
Exfoliating unclogs your pores, helping you clear up acne and blackheads more easily. Since your products will penetrate more easily, exfoliating will help any other skin conditions (like dry skin) clear up.
Be careful not to exfoliate too much. Exfoliating too often can irritate your skin, so listen to your face to decide how much is too much for you. In general, you don't want to exfoliate more than 2 or 3 times a week.
When you do exfoliate, do it at night. Exfoliated skin is more sensitive, so you don't want to immediately bombard it with wind and sunlight. If you absolutely need to exfoliate before heading out for the day, be sure to slather on an extra helping of sunscreen.
2. Wash with Warm Water.
Just like dead skin cells, dirt and dried sweat can keep your skin-care products from doing the most for your skin. Be sure to use warm water when washing your face. Warming your skin will open your pores, making it easier to unclog them and easier for your skin to absorb your products. Warm cells also interact with each other more quickly than when they're cold, so the effects of your products will travel more quickly.
Leave your face damp (not wet!) before applying any of your products. Damp skin is ten times more absorbent.
3. Go in Order.
The order in which you apply your products does matter! In general, after you've washed your face, you’ll want to apply your treatments first. Anything targeting specific problems like acne or wrinkles should go on first. Since those will be the first products on your skin, they’ll be the most potent. After that, apply your products in order of density, from lightest to thickest.
If you're treating two different problems with two different ingredients, use one product in the morning and one at night. That way, both products will give you the best result possible without hindering the other.
4. Rest with Your Retinoids.
Use retinoids regularly, and use them at night. Retinoids and retinols are sensitive to sunlight and air, which is why they come in opaque, tightly-capped packages. Retinoids make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and air as well, since they encourage the turnover of fresh skin cells.
Using retinoids at night not only keeps your skin protected in the cover of darkness but also allows your skin to absorb the retinoids more easily. Our body temperature rises when we sleep as blood moves away from our organs and toward the surface of our skin. That warmth opens up our pores and makes it easier for our skin to absorb products.
Keep an eye out for how skin reacts to these powerful line-fighters. If your skin becomes dry, use your retinols less often and add more moisturizers to your routine. Any sign of irritation like pain or inflammation means you should probably leave the retinols behind.
5. Read the Label.
Ingredient labels list ingredients from highest concentration to lowest concentration. There are two kinds of ingredients: active ingredients, which will do the hard work of fixing and maintaining your skin, and filler ingredients, which are there to bind the product and add fragrance. You want a higher concentration of active ingredients than filler ingredients, so make sure the actives are at the top of the list.
In general, you’ll want to be extra attentive to products with a long ingredient list as many of those ingredients may just be fillers. Regardless of length, read through the label carefully. If you’re getting a product to target a specific issue, you want it to contain the ingredients it needs to help correct that problem.
6. Combine Complements.
Some products just make a perfect pair. When doing your research on ingredients, keep in mind which products contain complementary ingredients. Combining your ingredients correctly can help you get the most out of them.
For example, you can combine sunscreen and antioxidants to protect your skin from UV rays and the free radicals created by those UV rays. You can also use antioxidants together with peptides to strengthen your skin so those collagen-building peptides can work better. If you have dark patches like those caused by melasma, try using retinoids and hydroquinones together.
Some prescription products work excellently together too, but they’re trickier to figure out. Talk to your dermatologist to see if there’s a combination that would work well for you.
7. Don’t Quit. Modify.
If it seems like your routine isn’t doing it for you, change it up! It may be that you just need to switch out a few products, change how often you use a product, or add another step to your routine. Modify your routine before giving up on it, and be patient. Products can take about three months before they deliver the best results, so give them the time they need to work their magic.
It might not even be your skin-care routine that’s failing your. Environmental factors or seasonal changes could be affecting your skin in a way that doesn’t let your products do their best. The cold, winter air might dry out your skin, or maybe seasonal allergies make your skin too sensitive. In a case like these, try adding moisturizers or products for sensitive skin to your routine instead of giving up on your products.
8. Store Products Properly.
All the above tips won’t help much if your products are weakened by poor storage. Many skin-care products are sensitive to light, air, and temperature. Be sure to store them somewhere cool and dark, away from direct sunlight.