Even though there’s an endless supply of skincare products on the market, many experts will tell you that maintaining simplicity in your skincare routine is the key to a healthy complexion. A ten-step routine certainly isn’t necessary—however, there are some steps you should never skip out on, especially if you want to maintain a youthful glow.
To learn about the most essential skincare steps for those who want glowing skin, we spoke to beauty experts Dr. Yoram Harth, Board Certified Dermatologist, Medical Director of MDacne and Mina-Jacquelin Au, Integrative and Complementary Wellness Specialist and co-founder of Vivre Skinlabs. In addition to cleansing and moisturizing, they told us there’s one more vital step many people make the mistake of skipping: applying SPF.
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Always apply sunscreen
You’ve probably heard time and time again that you should always wear sunscreen—and it’s true! This one skincare step is essential every single day, not just in the summer or when the sun is out. “Do not get lazy about SPF,” Au urges.
“Applying sunscreen is a must for anyone, including people with acne and oily skin,” Dr. Harth agrees.
Some skincare and beauty products have a certain level of SPF built in, but it tuns out that’s not going to cut it. “Many of my patients do not use sunscreen daily and for those that do, some think that just because there is sunscreen built in, their foundations would suffice. It is not enough; you will always need a good physical sunscreen every morning to end your morning routine,” she says.
So, what happens if you don’t wear sunscreen? Au says a lack of adequate UV protection could worsen signs of aging. “If you care about anti-aging, know that the UV rays (even when it is raining) will accelerate the aging process, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation,” she warns.
Dr. Harth notes that you also put yourself at risk of another skin issue if you skip out on the SPF: clogged pores. “The UV light emitted from the sun causes the epidermis to be thicker and increases the risk of clogged pores,” he says. “The UV rays also cause the post-acne dark spots to be darker and, of course, cause premature skin aging.” Yikes! No one wants that.
Choosing the right sunscreen
While we can all agree that applying sunscreen is an extremely important skincare step, Dr. Harth points out that using the wrong kind can worsen your acne in the summer. “The wrong sunscreen can clog your pores and cause more acne breakouts,” he says.
For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to the type of sunscreen you’re putting on your face. “People with acne or acne-prone skin should use only sunscreens that are clearly labeled oil-free,” Dr. Harth recommends. He also suggests avoiding sunscreens that are based on zinc oxide and titanium oxides. “These sunscreens are thicker, leave a white cast on the skin, and tend to clog pores.” Instead, Dr. Harth says you should opt for “invisible” chemical sunscreens.
Additionally, Dr. Harth notes that people with acne-prone skin should choose water-resistant sunscreen, since “it will not get diluted by sweat and will stay longer on the skin.” Perfect!
At the end of the day, though, what really matters is keeping your skin protected. When you skip this vital part of your skincare routine, not only do you put yourself at risk of dark spots and other signs of aging, but you also put your health on the line. “Skin cancer is the most common and potentially fatal cancer in the US,” Au reminds us. “Why risk health?” She makes a great point—pass the sunscreen, please!