It can be scary when you feel like you’re an outsider looking in at the complicated world of skincare. At the end of the day, though, the effectiveness of any skin treatment—cleanser, toner, even makeup—comes down to your own skin’s health.
In order to know what skincare is right for you, start by knowing your own skin type.
Skin can be classified in five ways:
Color, which is affected primarily by ethnicity.
Thickness, which is determined most by age. The more we age, the thinner our skin becomes.
Oiliness, which is visible based on pore size. Bigger pores typically indicate oilier skin.
Laxity, which affects the firmness and tightness of the skin.
Fragility, which increases as we age and expose our skin to damaging conditions (such as wind, cold, or the sun).
Even if you have thick, oily skin, it’s important to keep your skin hydrated and balanced.
Facial washes—especially over-the-counter ones that you might find at your local drugstore—do cleanse your skin of dirt and surface bacteria, but they also make your face’s pH more basic.
To restore your face to its optimal pH, pair your cleanser with a gentle toner. Witch Hazel is an especially good astringent if you are looking for a solution that is mild, yet tough enough for stubborn blemishes.
I always tell my clients about Obagi’s facial kits, which help restore your face’s pH while also smoothing the skin and removing dark spots or blemishes. Sunscreen is also a must—even if you’re staying inside. I especially love this barely-there sunscreen brush from Colorescience.
Ultimately, good skincare comes down to a balanced pH. Don’t let the glitzy product labels and too-long-to-pronounce ingredient lists scare you! The true secret to healthy-looking skin is to keep it moisturized and stabilized, which will reduce environmental damage and help pesky blemishes heal that much quicker.