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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Skincare Routine

We’ve all seen those beauty montages in movies where the protagonist wakes up and spends an hour on her skincare routine. There’s lotions, cleansers, toners, acne treatments, patches – it’s dizzying, especially when so many of us feel like we barely have time to splash warm water on our faces in the morning. 

But some things are just too important to let fall by the wayside, and the right skincare routine for your skin can go a long way – especially if you’re experiencing acne. So, whether you’re crunched for time or just new to skincare, we’re here to help you get started on the right foot.

That’s why we created this no-muss, no-fuss beginner’s guide to skincare routines for acne and acne-prone skin. It’s quick, effective, and totally to the point. Without further ado…

Here’s our ultimate beginner’s guide to starting a skincare routine.

  1. Keep It Simple

It’s so easy to get carried away with all of the products that are out there. But the truth is, our skin doesn’t need all that much. When treating acne or acne-prone skin, less is actually better!

So start off with a three step process: cleanse, treat, and moisturize. Depending on your particular skin type or challenges, you may want to adjust or add certain products into your routine, whether it's a spot treatment or a toner, but cleanse, treat, moisturize? It’s a great place to start.

2. Figure Out Your Skin Type

Everyone’s skin can be categorized into one of four main types. Different skin types may require different products or different levels of care. Observe your skin throughout the day and try to classify yourself as having one of the following skin types:

  • Oily skin. Your skin looks shiny and feels greasy due to an overproduction of oil.
  • Dry skin. Your skin looks dry and there may be flakey areas that feel tight.
  • Sensitive skin. Your skin is easily irritated and turns red when using new products or exposed to wind, sun, etc.
  • Combination skin. Your skin has a combination of oily and dry, flakey areas.

It’s important to observe your skin after you’ve started using a cleanser and moisturizer daily, because sometimes one problem can mask another. Some people who think they have oily skin actually have dry skin that’s just been so under-moisturized that it’s producing oil to moisturize itself! What a world, right?

3. Create Your Ultimate Routine

Now that you know what type of skin you have, you can tailor your specific skincare routine. For each skin type there are ingredients that will be helpful for you, and ingredients that will be, well, not so helpful. If this is already too confusing, take the Dermala Skin Quiz to get a tailored treatment for your skin type!

Cleanse

Our first step in our skin care routine is simple and to the point: washing your skin gently and thoroughly. 

Washing your skin will remove dirt, debris, and excess oil: all things that can cause breakouts (and dull our skin’s natural glow, to boot). Experts agree that you should wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. 

When you wash your face, you want to use warm water and a gentle cleanser. If you have oily skin, find a cleanser that is formulated to give a deep and gentle clean, while keeping the lipid barrier balanced. If you have dry skin, look for a cleanser that is hydrating and anti-inflammatory. Our daily cleanser is perfect for all skin types. It uses a patented Microbiome Complex that targets bacteria, but is infused with plant extracts, amino acids, and vitamins to keep skin hydrated, balanced, and healthy.

Wash your face using the tips of your fingers and moving quickly in small circles for about 30 to 60 seconds. Then rinse off your face with warm water and pat your skin mostly dry with a towel. Rubbing your face with your towel will cause too much friction, which can trigger your sebaceous glands to overproduce oil. And we definitely want to avoid that. 

Treat

After you’ve cleansed, the next step in our skincare routine for acne and acne-prone skin is to treat. Have hormonal acne where breakouts only come once a month? You still need to use a daily acne treatment to lessen the severity of those impending monthly breakouts or even stop them before they start. 

One of the first steps to fighting all types of acne (whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and pustules) is to open clogged pores and prevent new clogged pores from forming. Use an acne treatment that contains salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates dead skin cells on the surface while also penetrating sebum (oil) to work its magic in your pores. 

Also use products with microbiome-balancing ingredients like Dermala’s SE Microbiome Complex® to support beneficial skin bacteria while targeting the acne-causing bacteria, C. acnes. Microbiome-friendly ingredients will not only balance the good bacteria on your skin, they also strengthen the skin barrier to support your overall skin health and wellness. 

Adding in a gut and skin healthy probiotic supplement will give an extra boost to your acne-fighting topical regiment. Dermala’s unique mix of prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins, zinc, and spinach extract calm inflammation, support immune health, and fight breakouts from the inside out. If you’re getting those monthly hormonal breakouts, add a DIM Skin Mix to give your probiotics an extra boost. 

Moisturize

After your skin is clean and treated it’s time to moisturize (yes, even if you have oily skin). Moisturizer creates a barrier between your skin cells and the outside elements. And this barrier works two ways; it locks in the moisture and helps rehydrate skin cells, while protecting your skin from the climate and outside elements, including dirt and debris.

You want to find a moisturizer that is free of perfumes and other unnecessary irritants. You also want to find one that is non comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores). Other ingredients to keep an eye out for include:

  • Hyaluronic acid, which helps plump and hydrate the skin
  • Niacinamide, which helps brighten skin and strengthen the skin barrier
  • Ceramides, which help hold skin cells together and support a healthy skin barrier

Not to toot our own horns, but our OAT So Sweet Daily Moisturizer has all of these, plus our patented SE Microbiome Complex (which supports a balanced microbiome, killing off acne-causing bacteria and encouraging the production of acne-fighting bacteria). It’s basically an all in one protector for skin!

To moisturize effectively, apply your moisturizer to clean, slightly damp skin (this will help lock in the moisture post wash and ensure your skin isn’t drying out after you cleanse.) Apply a pea sized amount of moisturizer to your face using your fingertips and lightly rub it in with a circular motion. And don’t forget your neck!

And that’s our easy 1-2-3 skincare routine for beginners.

This will get your skincare journey started right! This covers the basics, but if you find any products that you love that work for you, feel free to add them into your routine. We personally recommend adding a pimple patch to give stubborn pimples a little extra love.

What’s Dermala, anyway?

Dermala is…

  • A science-based acne-fighting super system that works inside and out.
  • The name that makes C. acnes, the acne-causing bacteria, quiver in fear.
  • Your skin’s new best buddy.
  • And a dedicated team of lovable nerds working to combine human microbiome science with skincare and big data.

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