Start 2022 Right — 6 Ways to Update Your Skin Routine
If you’re like most of us, you’ve had a nightly skincare routine in place for some time and it works for you… but could it be better? Your skin’s needs can change over the seasons, years and life phases.
The top of 2022 offers a good opportunity to revisit your skincare regimen. Not only is the new year a natural time to reflect on what’s working in your life and what you want to improve, but it also comes after your skin has endured weeks of holiday stress, travel, and overindulgence in food and drink. Add to that the abuses of harsh weather and overheated rooms, and your skin could probably use a routine reboot!
The following six considerations provide a starting point for rehabilitating frazzled skin. You can also receive expert help by seeing a licensed skincare professional to design a personalized routine.
1 – Cleanse away the bad, but keep the good.
Cleansing your skin every evening is a must. It gets rid of skin-destroying free radicals as well as makeup, face products, dirt, excess oil and anything else coating the surface. You leave your skin more receptive to your nighttime treatments, so they can deliver greater benefits.
But how can you tell right after you’ve cleansed your face that you’ve done it correctly? Your skin will normally feel fresh and clean, but not tight. Besides avoiding hot water, this requires using the right cleanser for you. Shop around until you find one that has enough cleaning power, without stripping your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Steer clear of any with harsh ingredients like isopropyl alcohol, SLS or strong detergents.
A product that works for even the most sensitive skin is the best-selling Gentle Soothing Cleanser. Mild enough for a dry, reddened, winter-battered face, it hydrates using antioxidants and botanicals like green tea polyphenols, emblica, panthenol ectoin and yucca root extract. If you want to avoid water altogether, try Hydrating Cleansing Cloths. They’re gentle but textured for easy removal of sunscreen and other stubborn daytime products — and handy for travel.
2 – Reset frazzled skin with toner.
You might think of toner as strictly for oily or acne-prone skin. And that’s basically what it used to be. However, toner has evolved. You can now find toners that would make essential additions to your dry skin toolbox.
Adopt a hydrating toner as the next step in your routine after cleansing. Like all toners, it will help restore healthy pH and enhance your skin’s absorption of actives from other products. At the same time, a good one will provide its own dose of nutrients in a lightweight layer that easily permeates the skin.
Moisturizing toner sometimes comes in a traditional liquid format that you apply using a cotton ball or disk. Or you can opt for a more modern spray like Soothing Green Tea Mist, with humectant and micronutrient ingredients including comfrey, chamomile and vitamin C.
3 – Fortify regularly with serum.
If you skip serum and go straight to face cream, you’re missing out on the opportunity to make your skin very happy. Think of serums as supplements you apply to skin before cream. They are highly concentrated, yet very low viscosity so readily assimilated by your skin.
Whatever your skin challenge, you can find a serum aimed at it. Pure Hydrating Serum, for instance, quenches dehydrated skin and helps reduce the signs of aging with fractionated hyaluronic acid, peptides, amino acids, copper PCA and zinc PCA. Celebrity-favorite Obagi makes professional-grade vitamin C serums in 10%, 15% and 20% concentrations to brighten and rejuvenate skin. Just be sure to start with 10% and, if necessary, dilute it to avoid irritation. Vitamin C Brightening Serum is a 20% formula that reduces risk of irritation with time-released delivery of vitamin C. It also supports collagen production, fights free radicals and brightens skin, using a complex of powerful ingredients including superoxide dismutase, arbutin, emblica, CoQ10 and polypeptides.
4 – Feed your skin a well-rounded moisturizer.
While serum acts as a supplement for your skin, moisturizer provides a hearty meal. Particularly during winter, make sure you’re serving the kind of succulent feast your face craves. Not only do you need to consider moisture and actives, but also how well your face cream seals and protects your skin.
For instance, Fortified Moisturizer contains antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E, CoQ10 and green tea, but also helps lock out free radicals and trap in moisture with three types of ceramides. Similarly, Bio-Therapy Phyto Restorative Cream uses four ceramides, squalane, hyaluronic acid and phytosphingosine to nourish skin, reinforce its barrier and retain anti-aging actives including caffeine, peptides, green tea polyphenols, apple stem cells and resveratrol. If your skin is asking for a thick, hyper-rich balm, try Obagi Hydrate Luxe. It boasts fatty mango butter, avocado oil and shea butter, plus hydromanil (tara tree seed compound) and biomimetic peptides ChroNOline™ and Kollaren™.
5 – Do some slugging, when you need it.
Slugging is a recent TikTok trend out of South Korea that, when done right, can be wonderful for parched or damaged skin. Fortunately, it has nothing to do with actual slugs. Rather, it’s the practice of slathering a thick coat of occlusive product over your bedtime face treatments, locking them in with a physical boundary and causing your skin to glisten like a slug. Besides enhancing the benefits from your other products, slugging can help repair your skin’s natural protective barrier and reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
Ready to do some slugging? Just about any petroleum-based balm will do as the occlusive: Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, CeraVe Healing Ointment, Aquaphor Healing Ointment, whatever works best for you. Just be sure to tie back your hair, so it doesn’t get greasy. And consider covering your pillow with a towel.
Slugging is not recommended for oily or acne-prone skin, nor should it be practiced every night indefinitely. Instead, use it for extra nourishment and coddling when your skin is stressed or dehydrated. It can also be great to aid healing after certain procedures. Ask your board-certified dermatologist.
If slugging causes breakouts, or you need serious rehydration on an ongoing basis, use a more breathable product that’s still occlusive enough to curtail TEWL. Lipid Barrier Cream, for example, recreates the effect of your natural skin barrier by combining multiple ceramides, cholesterol and squalene. Plus, it’s spiked with anti-aging and antioxidant ingredients, including resveratrol, bisabolol, apple stem cells, caffeine, green tea polyphenols, sodium PCA, tetrapeptide-21, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
6 – Exfoliate, but with a light touch.
Though it might seem counterintuitive, exfoliation can actually leave dry skin looking and feeling better moisturized. It eliminates rough, flaky skin and stimulates production of supple new cells. Furthermore, with dead cells out of the way, your face is better able to absorb those nightly rejuvenating treatments. Regular exfoliation can leave your skin more moist, smooth, clear and radiant.
The challenge, however, is to find a method, product and frequency that’s intense enough without contributing to dehydration, irritation and skin-barrier damage. If your skin is dry, sensitive or irritable, avoid physical exfoliation, as with a scrub or cleansing brush. Instead, use a product that exfoliates chemically. Start with a mild formula twice a week, and work your way up as your skin builds tolerance.
Cleansers can be diluted or easily rinsed off if too strong, so are a good place to start. Papaya Enzyme Cleanser removes dead cells gently enough for red and irritable skin, using papain enzyme. Once your skin has built moderate tolerance, it may benefit from AHA/BHA Exfoliating Face Wash with 10% glycolic acid, 0.5% salicylic acid, and various vitamins and other antioxidants. Just be sure that you go slow, and rinse quickly if you feel any tingling.
Products featuring retinol (vitamin A) can be great for dry skin, offering gentle exfoliation while also stimulating production of juicy new collagen. Conveniently, Retinol Resurfacing Serum comes in three concentrations, allowing you to work your way from 2.5X strength up to 10X. Retinol can work wonders on dehydrated skin around the eyes. It’s in a number of excellent eye products, like the popular Enriched Retinol Eye Repair cream, which also features antioxidants, peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and vitamins C, K and B3 (niacinamide).
Time for a Revamp
When it comes to your skincare routine, “set it and forget it” works only for a while. As you kick off 2022, it’s a perfect time to revisit your nighttime skincare regimen. What would make it better for your skin — as it is now? Consider making an appointment with a professional for a skin assessment and expert skincare plan designed just for you.