A Complete Guide to Skin Care for Beginners

What does your skin care routine look like? If you don’t have one yet, you probably should get started—and fast! The condition of your skin will play a huge role in how others see you and how confident you feel, and that confidence boost will pay off in more ways than you can imagine. Here’s what you need to know to get started with a great skin care regimen.

Use a toner

By removing excess dirt and oil, a toner prepares your skin for further moisturizing. Use one that’s either alcohol-free or has witch hazel as its main ingredient—that way, it won’t do more harm than good by drying out your face. After using a toner, wait 15 minutes before applying your moisturizer to allow it time to settle into your skin.

Cleanse thoroughly

Cleaning our skin is not just about getting rid of dirt, but also about removing pollutants and other substances that irritate and damage it. In order to do so, we’ll need a cleanser (or soap) that washes away oil but leaves no residue behind. This can be achieved by using an alkaline cleanser. Alkaline cleansers include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Triethanolamine and Sodium Laureth Sulfate.

Moisturize daily

Daily moisturizing is essential if you want to keep your skin looking fresh and healthy. But what if you have dry skin? Don’t skip out on moisturizing, just switch to a cream that’s designed specifically for sensitive skin or dryness. Not only will your skin be more hydrated, but it won’t feel tight and uncomfortable throughout the day. Daily use will also help prevent wrinkles over time.

Wear SPF every day

According to dermatologists, 80 percent of sun damage occurs before age 18. Even if you’re not a kid anymore, sunscreen is still important; UVA rays can penetrate glass and can lead to premature aging. Be sure you’re applying your SPF 30 (or higher) daily under your makeup so that you get full coverage all day long. Look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide—these ingredients provide broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Drink water

Staying hydrated is one of many simple tips that dermatologists tell their patients. Studies have shown that drinking water helps maintain healthy skin and other tissues in your body. Even mild dehydration can trigger dryness, wrinkles, dark circles under your eyes, and puffiness. For example, studies have shown that people who drink five or more cups of water a day are more likely to maintain healthy looking skin than those who drink less (1). To lose weight safely but quickly, switch to a sugar-free diet.

Wash hands before touching face

Soap removes oils, dirt and bacteria that cause breakouts. It’s a good idea to wash your hands before you touch your face — no matter how tired you are or how good you think you’re being about not touching your face.

Avoid excessive heat

Your skin is a delicate organ, so watch out for excessive heat. Burning your skin with a hot shower or bathing too often in extremely hot water can damage collagen and elastin—two proteins that help keep your skin healthy. As you get older, these two proteins become depleted, making your skin more prone to wrinkling and sagging. In addition, try not to bathe in excessively hot water more than once a day.

Sleep well

You’ve probably heard it before, but that doesn’t make it any less true: Getting enough sleep is critical to a healthy skin care routine. Your body repairs itself and rejuvenates when you’re sleeping, making it crucial to your long-term health. What’s more, if you aren’t sleeping well, your skin will show it—in fact, research has found a link between lack of sleep and various skin conditions.

Know what ingredients to avoid

Your skin is your largest organ, and everything you put on it gets absorbed. That’s why it’s so important to know what ingredients are in your skincare products and how they affect your skin. The first place to start is with parabens, which are found in many cleansers, moisturizers, lotions and makeup—and they can cause allergic reactions or disrupt hormones.

Talk about it with someone you trust

One of the best ways to be sure that you’re making smart decisions about your skin is by talking with an expert in a field. Whether you talk with someone at your local cosmetics store or visit a dermatologist, it’s important that you ask questions and keep an open mind; most people are happy to help. And by talking with others, you get information from a variety of sources—not just one person—which gives you more perspective on what really works.


Whether you’re new to skin care or looking for some product recommendations, I hope you found these tips helpful. Whether you’re looking for an easy way to jump-start your skin care routine or want a few extra product recommendations, these products are definitely worth a try. Happy skincare! 🙂

Jessica Wilkers

I'm a dedicated beauty professional helping you learn more about beauty, skincare, and everything in between.

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