How to make sure you’re getting the most—and only the good—out of your skincare investments
Gone are the days when skincare was restricted to the cleanse-tone-moisturise routine. At this point, the longer you’re willing to spend on your morning and night skin rituals, the more potions the industry can provide you with to pat into your skin. While access to different types of products, with both new age and traditional ingredients, is only getting easier, it’s important that you make an educated choice when it comes to usage. Is it safe to use a Vitamin C product during the day? How often are you supposed to use a cleanser?
It’s always safest to get the answers directly from the experts. With this in mind, we got Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Madhuri Agarwal to help us clear the air on using the right skincare products in the AM and PM. Her top skincare advice: “For your everyday skincare regimen, it is necessary to remember to stick to the same routine and not change products too frequently. Use the routine for at least three months for the products to be effective and show visible results. Make sure you pick products according to your skin type and age.” Ahead, we answer all the questions you may have about building a strong skincare routine.
How many times a day should one use a cleanser?
Twice a day usually suffices, unless your skin is too oily or you have too much makeup on. Avoid using a cleanser or washing your face too frequently in a day, as this disturbs your natural skin barrier and can lead to skin issues like dryness and irritation.
Is it safe to use AHA-based products during the day?
It is advisable to use AHA products only in the night to reduce chances of photosensitivity, which is a side effect of the active ingredients. Alpha hydroxy acid helps to reduce the dead skin buildup and brighten the skin. Ensure you use a broad spectrum sunscreen on top of your AHA-based products, if you’re using them during daytime, to enhance the benefits and prevent the chances of sunburn or an increased tan.
Can using Vitamin C products during the day cause damage due to sun exposure?
Not at all. In fact, it is advisable to use Vitamin C in the day—it is a powerful antioxidant and it reduces tanning and skin darkening too. It is intended for daytime use because of its ability to neutralise free radicals through the day. Add sunscreen on top of the Vitamin C for effective results.
What is the best time of the day to use a face mask?
Face masks can be used at any time of the day, and only need you to spare 15-20 minutes. However, this is also dependent on the type of mask—for example, an exfoliating or detoxifying mask should be used at night (as it leaves the skin more susceptible to photo damage in the day), whereas a hydrating, tightening mask can be used in the morning before your skincare routine—it can help add a plumping effect to the face and provide a clean canvas for your makeup.
When should one use a hyaluronic acid serum?
Hyaluronic acid is a heavy humectant molecule that works on repairing and hydrating the skin. Use a few drops of the serum at night to wake up with soft, supple skin in the morning.
Do you need to apply sunscreen in the evening?
Sunscreen is mainly intended to be used in the day for protection against sun exposure. But nowadays, with visible and infrared light surfacing as probable culprits to skin pigmentation and photoageing, it is suggested that you reapply sunscreen in the evening in case you are stepping out in brightly lit areas, and when you are cooking or in front of heat sources during the night. Make sure you wash the sunscreen off before bedtime, though.
Is it important to use a toner twice a day?
A toner is beneficial for oily to combination skin, and for when you’re travelling a lot or being exposed to pollution. Depending on the ingredients, it can help to remove residual impurities from the skin after your cleanser, and also hydrate the skin. Opt for toners that are alcohol-free, and use them twice a day—unless you have dry skin or are residing in very dry weather conditions, as the product can cause irritation under such circumstances.
When should one use retinol-based skincare products?
Retinol-based products are the gold standard for anti-ageing solutions. Apply a pea-sized amount of retinol to dry skin at night, and follow with a hydrating agent like a serum or moisturiser. Retinol usage also calls for very diligent sunscreen application. Keep in mind that you apply any Vitamin A derivatives in the evenings only, because sunlight can lessen their efficacy and leave the skin open to damage.
When should one use brightening skincare products?
The usage of brightening products depends on the ingredients. Products containing niacinamide, Vitamin C and liquorice can be used in daytime, while ones including kojic acid, arbutin and retinol are best used at night.