A morning skincare routine that works

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Because I’m an SIU Medicine dermatologist with a specific skin type (oily), you might think I use fancy and expensive products. The truth is my skincare routine is much simpler than what I tend to see on social media. I can find everything I need from big box stores (superstores) or the local drugstore. 

Here's what I do every morning to protect and nourish my skin: 

1. Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser

Since I shower in the morning, I simply complete this first step right in the shower. I always use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser with simple ingredients that removes sebum, makeup and dirt.

You actually don't have to wash your face twice a day, and really shouldn't if you have dry skin. But you should at least wash your face at night before bed to remove oil, environmental impurities and any makeup from your face.

2. Apply moisturizer

Even though I have oily skin, a daily moisturizer is an important step in my morning skincare routine because it ensures my skin stays adequately hydrated, which is essential for improving its appearance, function and overall health.

I prefer using a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid, which is a substance naturally produced by the body. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it draws in water and preserves moisture. I also make sure to look for a moisturizer that is free of dyes and fragrances. I avoid products that have unnecessary additives that may cause irritation or allergic reactions.

3. Apply sunscreen to face and neck

I use an SPF 46 broad spectrum mineral sunscreen that protects against UVB and UVA rays from the sun. I wear this every day all over my face and neck. I repeat: every day, even if it’s cloudy or I’m not planning on being outside.

It’s important to find a sunscreen that protects against both types of rays. Generally speaking, UVA rays cause wrinkles and other signs of premature aging, while UVB rays cause sunburns and skin cancer.  

I choose mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide because, unlike some chemical formulas, mineral sunscreen acts as a physical blocker of UVA and UVB rays, works immediately and is usually better tolerated by people with sensitive skin. 

Whether you choose a mineral or chemical-based sunscreen, look for a product with at least SPF 30. You don't have to spend a lot of money, either! Just make sure the sunscreen you choose is a good fit for your skin type, has minimal ingredients and isn't expired.

Keep in mind that added ingredients like fragrances and dyes can cause contact dermatitis and allergic reactions in some people. 

4. As needed: Use a warm wash cloth to gently exfoliate face and neck

This last step doesn't make it into my a.m. routine every day, but I do like to gently exfoliate my face and neck about two to three times per week in order to remove flakiness. Mostly I do it because it feels nice!   

The key word here is “gently.” I exfoliate with warm water and a washcloth. I also avoid products with scrubby beads. Not only are these bad for the environment, they also tend to be too harsh and can end up clogging your pores or causing dry skin. 

Even products with "natural" exfoliants like walnut shells or apricot kernels can be too irritating and can clog your pores. 

Could your skin—and skincare routine—use some professional help?

The SIU Medicine dermatology team blends the best of science, personalized health care and skincare innovation to help people from throughout southern Illinois put their best faces forward. Call us at 217-545-8000 to schedule an appointment with me or another experienced dermatologist in Springfield. 

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