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Building A Healthy & Lasting Skin Care Routine


Taking care of one’s skin is a personal matter. In the world of skin care, there is no shortage of opinions; strong and mild in equal measure. Depending on who you talk to or what you read, you are likely to have a challenging time sifting through facts, myths, and opinions on pretty much all topics on skin care; from moisturizing preparation to UV rays’ protection. Nonetheless, there are some basics that everyone agrees with. For instance, most dermatologists and other skincare professionals agree that there are three main steps to all skin care routines:

  1. Cleansing
  2. Toning
  3. Moisturizing

However, often added along with these are: Serum and sunscreen application. In this article, we unpack all these skin care procedures.



Cleansing is the first step of any skin care routine. As such, it is also the most fundamental step. The reason is quite straightforward. The skin is the first point of contact with all sorts of dirt, environmental pollutants, as well as fluctuating – sometimes drastic – weather conditions. Top dermatologists recommend washing the skin twice a day; morning and evening. It must be done gently and with a view to clearing clogged pores. 

So, What Is the Right Facial Cleanser?

When it comes to skin care, more so cleansing, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We all have distinct skin types which react differently to various skin products. That said, basic tenets still apply. The most ideal formula is one achieves cleansing whilst maintaining essential and healthy oils. When doing exfoliating scrubs, generally, you want to stay away from the abrasive kinds such as those containing walnut shells. Additionally, limit exfoliating to once a week at most or once every couple of weeks.

If you are new at this and don’t know where to begin, the table below can guide you.



Sensitive Skin

Oil-based Cleanser

Oily & Acne-prone Skin

Foaming Cleanser

Dry & Eczema-prone Skin

Cream- or Lotion-based Cleanser

Mature Skin

Melting Balm

Any Skin Type

Micellar Water



Think of toners as an opportunity to add nutrients or ingredients that are lacking in the other products you use for your skin care routine. Modern day toners are often thin liquids that make it easier for your skin to absorb a multitude of nutrients. Toning usually comes after cleansing, right before anything else goes onto your skin.

Many people like to use a cotton pad saturated with the formula and gently pat around their face. However, this may lead to a lot of wastage. Instead, you can apply the toner on your hands, provided they are clean, and then gently apply on your face.

The table below provides a quick guide for those who are unsure what toners to use.



Hyaluronic Acid

Improves hydration and helps treat fine lines

Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acids

Great for removing dead skin cells and reducing sun damage

Vitamin E & C

Protect the skin from free radicals that accelerates aging

Rose Water & Green Tea

Has an anti-inflammatory effect that is great at calming irritation.


With the exception of acid-based toners, all toners can be used twice a day; in the morning and in the evening. Because acids can be abrasive, dermatologists recommend their use to every two days.



Serums are potent formulas packed with active ingredients and designed to treat or relieve a number of skin issues including wrinkles and dark spots. In addition to addressing specific issues, serums can also be used defensively to protect against effects of environmental pollutants on the skin. These are typically referred to as “general antioxidant serums”.

As you may have realized, it’s quickly becoming customary to provide a quick guide for those who are new to this. Here’s one for serums.



Hyaluronic Acid

Seals in moisture to prevent moisture loss whilst enhancing skin barrier

Vitamin C

Helps to get rid of dark spots. It also brightens the skin

Retinol, Vitamin B3, Peptides

Stimulates production of elastin & collagen to fight development of fine lines, wrinkles, & sagging

Colloidal Sulfur, Niacinamide

Decreases inflammation and calms irritation. It’s good for acne as well.


Serum application can be blended to address various concerns on the same skin. However, it is important that you consult your dermatologist first before taking any action, in order to prevent potential reactions. On the same note, do not mix your serum into your moisturizer. Doing this will compromise the serum’s ability to get absorbed by your skin.



After serum application, the next step is moisturizing. The primary goal of this step is to prevent water loss through the skin’s outer layers. Moisturizing can help to soften the skin as well, and strengthen the building blocks that make a healthy skin. The following table can help you pick a suitable moisturizer for your skin type.



Dry Skin

Soft cream

Oily Skin

Gel-based Moisturizer

Normal or Combination


Sensitive Skin



Important to note is that there are generally two types of creams; day cream and night cream. The one you apply in the morning (day cream) is designed to protect the skin from environmental pollutants. They often contain antioxidants that neutralize free radicals as well s sunscreen to prevent harmful UV rays from penetrating the skin layers. Night creams are designed to repair damage caused during the day. They often contain retinol to relieve dark spots and restore moisture levels.



Sunscreen is the last step of any skin care regimen and perhaps the most important. It is regarded as the most effective defense against development of fine lines, wrinkles, textural imperfections, and pores on the skin. Peer-reviewed studies and journals have also found substantial evidence to suggest sunscreen actively prevents certain types of skin cancers. Renowned dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with SPF of at least 30.