What to look for in choosing your basic products

Reading time: 7 minutes

Once you’ve picked out all the products you want for your basic acne routine, it’s time to learn how to incorporate them. 

Slapping everything on is the last thing you want to do.

Think about it, if you use all three at the same time and suddenly have a bad reaction, how will you know which one caused it?

So, hold on to those products. And let’s find out how to incorporate them into your routine.

Replace/add products one at a time

Since you’ll want to observe what a product will do to your skin, you’ll want to add your products one at a time.

If you already have an existing routine, you can replace one product at a time—choosing whichever you want to try first.

If you’re starting from scratch, it can be trickier to pick which one to add first. It can be up to your preference, really.

But it's usually safe to add a cleanser + another product, like the moisturizer for example.

While waiting to add the sunscreen, you can wear hats or seek shade to help prevent sun damage.

Whatever your skin type is, you can add sunscreen last since there are other things you can do to prevent sun damage: 

✅  wear sun protective clothing

✅  rock a broad brimmed hat 

✅  use quality sunglasses

✅  seek shade from the sun whenever possible.

Patch test

Now, before you go and apply the product of your choice, you need to patch test it. 

Patch testing is when you apply a new product on a patch of skin. Doing this will help you find out whether you’re allergic to the new product.

So, after selecting the new product you want to add, this is how you patch-test: simply place a little amount of the new product in the inner area of your elbow or arm; leave it on for 24 hours and observe your skin for any reactions.

Important note: most people don't experience adverse reactions to cleansers, moisturizers or sunscreens during a patch test, so consider this part more important as you start incorporating products like serums.

Besides the patch test, you want to do a "breakout test."

Patch testing is for checking allergies and other sensitivities. 

Breakout testing is for checking whether the product is giving you breakouts or not.

Breakout test

With the breakout test, you’ll need to wait a minimum of 2 weeks before adding another product.

So, you add the first product and observe your skin within the 2 weeks.

See if the product breaks you out or not.

Since everyone's skin is different, you might not notice you’re breaking out until a month into using the product.

Meanwhile, others break out after using a product for only a week.

The latter is much more typical for acne-prone skin.

Now, how can you tell you’re breaking out?

The general rule is that a product is breaking you out if you get pimples where you don't usually get them. 

For example, I’m used to seeing pimples along my jawline and chin when it's that time of the month.

But my forehead gets little to no pimples at all.

If a pimple (or pimples) suddenly appeared on my forehead (usually in the form of whiteheads), it’s likely a reaction from the product. 

This can be tricky though.

Especially if you tend to get pimples from different parts of your face for unknown reasons. 

But, with constant observation and genuinely giving the effort to know your skin, you will be a step closer to telling whether you are breaking out or not.

Using the products altogether

When you’ve finished testing the moisturizer and sunscreen products, you are now ready to use them altogether. 

The order is simple enough: (1) cleanser,  (2) moisturizer, and (3) sunscreen (in the morning).

But let’s go into a bit more detail.

When you’re starting from scratch, it’s possible to wonder about even the tiniest detail of your routine. And, that’s perfectly fine! 

As you get used to your routine, you’ll be a lot more discerning on what to do with each step. So, let this guide be just that—a guide. You’re free to change it up depending on your skin’s needs.


Use a cleanser.

Why?

  • When you sleep, you sweat and produce natural oils. This happens regardless of your skin type. 
  • The dead skin cells peppered on your pillowcase get transferred to the facial skin overnight. They can bring bacteria into the pores and clog them. 
  • You need to remove the skincare from this morning, plus all the grime you’ve accumulated throughout the day

How?

In the morning:
  • For all skin types except dry skin, transfer a nickel size amount of cleanser to your palm. For dry skin types, use ¼ of this amount—too much can potentially dry your skin out, even when using a mild cleanser.
  • Rub the cleanser between your palms before massaging it unto your skin.
  • Don’t massage too hard! Doing so might drive the surfactants deeper into your skin.
  • Massage for a maximum of 15 secs. before rinsing off the cleanser with lukewarm water. Don’t use hot water, since that can dry your skin out.
  • Pat your skin dry with a towel (preferably a microfiber towel—since that’s a lot gentler). Remember, pat not rub.
In the evening:
  • Same as in the morning, except for dry skin. This time, you can use the same amount (nickel size) other skin types use in the morning.

Use a moisturizer.

Why?

  • To keep your skin happily moisturized throughout the day, you need to use a moisturizer.
  • Using a moisturizer will help soften, soothe, and keep your skin moisturized throughout the night. This helps a lot too when your skin is healing, either from dryness or active pimples.

How?

In the morning:
  • Transfer about a quarter size amount of moisturizer to the back of your hand. For oily skin types, depending on the season where you live, you can get away with using less.
  • Using your fingers, scoop some moisturizer from the back of your hand and apply to your face in a light layer. Spread gently and evenly. No rubbing!
  • Pat the light layer into your skin (one layer can be enough for oily skin types). Move on to the next layer until you finish up the moisturizer on the back of your hand.
In the evening:
  • Same as in the morning, but oily skin types can use an amount closer to a quarter size.

Use a sunscreen. (Morning only)

Why?

  • You need to protect your precious skin from sun damage!

How?

  • Transfer about ¼ teaspoon of sunscreen to the back of your hand. 
  • Using your fingers, scoop some sunscreen and apply to your face in sections, in a light layer. 
    • When I say in sections, you can go for the forehead first then the right side of your face (cheek and jaw), then the left side, and lastly the chin. Doing it this way will ensure that you’re covering every inch of your face in sunscreen.
    • Applying in light layers is key! Even the lightest, easiest to spread sunscreen can feel goopy and heavy when you apply the ¼ tsp amount in one go.
  • Pat the light layer into your skin. Move on to the next layer until you finish up the sunscreen on the back of your hand.

And that’s a wrap!

Make sure to remember and do the steps in incorporating your products into your routine. 

Next class: 

How to evaluate new products into your routine 

How can you tell if their doing their job or not? That’s what we’ll find out.

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