Hear that? No, we aren’t talking about the quiet hum of your computer, or the sound of the coffeemaker letting you know your morning java is ready. (Hey, we know that’s important, too!)
We’re talking about the subtle messages your skin sends you about what it needs every single day function and look its best. Just like your body, your skin is always communicating with you – and it’s your job to listen.
The truth is that your skin’s inherent needs change quite often – daily, monthly, seasonally, and sometimes, depending on the weather, even hourly. Nearly everything – your health, your hydration level, your cosmetics, how much sleep you get, your diet, the sun, the wind…you get the point – can impact its function.
That’s exactly what makes tuning in such an important part of developing a daily skincare routine in the first place. And, more importantly, the most important shift happens every single day.
RECOGNIZING DAILY SHIFTS IN YOUR SKIN
Surprising fact: your skin functions differently over the course of the day, and that means what it needs in the morning is way different than what it needs at night. Your first step should always be to consider these daily differences and adapt your morning-to-evening routine to compensate.
Then, you’ll need to learn how to recognize day-to-day differences in your skin so you can anticipate them, adapt your routine to them, and (hopefully) ward off any more serious challenges. What’s this really all about? Timing.
MORNING SKINCARE ROUTINE
Few of us spring out of bed every morning bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to take on the day with a vengeance. Even if you are a morning person, it will probably take you a few minutes to wake up fully and get yourself into a functioning state. The same is true for your skin.
Skin’s main role in the daytime is to protect you from the elements, including UVA and UVB rays, wind, and environmental toxins (like free radicals). It also locks out and fights off bacteria – and you encounter those bacteria everywhere. So, how can you support it in this role?
First, start your day by examining your skin. Is it dry? Is it oily? Are you struggling with breakouts? Have a few products available and switch them out in the morning when you need to address a problem – but always keep it gentle. The last thing you want to do is open up microtears that make it easier for toxins and bacteria to get in.
Pay close attention to any puffiness, swelling, dark circles, or new spots. If you see any changes from the night before, the next time is the best time to act. For puffiness, try a jade roller pre-chilled in the freezer for a few minutes. Vitamin C serums can also help you to brighten your skin and look more awake.
If you have new blemishes, resist the urge to pick. Instead, consider it a warning sign your skin is struggling and try to track down the trigger. Treat with your favorite products and continue to monitor for new changes.
PREPPING FOR YOUR DAY
Here’s something else you may not know: your morning skincare routine also happens to be the absolute best time to prepare your skin for the kind of day you plan to have. If you know you’re going to spend a lot of time out in the sun, start with an SPF 30 primer and/or foundation. This will help prevent sun damage while making you glow beautifully – what’s not to love?
Heading into downtown Los Angeles for the day? The smog is a real concern for your skin. Start with an antioxidant moisturizer to make it easier for your skin to fight off free radicals and recover afterward. Going for a tan or heading to the beach?
You’ll want to avoid anything with heavy oils and stick with products that contain vitamin E. This, too, will help your skin recover and protect you from that overly-oily sweaty look some people are prone to.
EVENING SKINCARE ROUTINE
You’ve made it through the day, and you’re ready to unwind. Now, you need to help your skin unwind, too. As you sleep, your skin dives into what is effectively its toughest and most intensive task: rejuvenation. This includes rapid regeneration of cells, the creation of new collagen, and forcefully evicting or breaking down bacteria, toxins, and even old debris and dead skin cells.
To aid it in this quest, start by once again evaluating your skin. Is it dry? Is it irritated? Do you have flaking, a sunburn, or excess oil? Decide what you need to target and use a suite of condition-tailored skin care products to remove all of your makeup and strip away the day.
If you have dry to normal skin, try using a daily cleansing oil and a soft, microfiber cleansing cloth. Work inward towards your nose, rather than pulling skin outward, and try your best to avoid scrubbing.
If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, skip the oil and go for a light foaming cleanser instead. Use the same cloth-and-gentle method described above. If you have blemishes, target them with an extra-concentrated formula designed for overnight use.
Again, here, you should avoid abrasives and other potentially damaging products; you’ll only give your skin something else it needs to heal rather than helping. You should, however, give yourself a little more flexibility with using highly concentrated and targeted products. Don’t be afraid to slather on a little extra night cream or use that intense brightening AHA and vitamin C under eye serum!
PREPPING YOUR SKIN FOR THE NEXT DAY
Night is also the best time to “feed your skin” for the upcoming day. Think about where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing – what sort of impact will that have on your skin? Use this information to adjust the end of your skincare routine to best fit your needs.
If you know your skin will be “faced” with harsh winds, bump up your night moisturizer and use an anti-inflammatory serum to compensate. If you know you’re going to be going for a heavily moisturizing facial at your favorite medspa, pare back on the moisturizer and just aim for being clean and clear.
For city-dwellers, make your nighttime skincare routine all about feeding your skin the ingredients it needs to effectively ward off toxins the next day. That means products containing Vitamin C, Vitamin E, AHA, HA, and other essential fatty acids. This will ensure that the skin you wake up with is at a better “ground zero” and ready to fight off environmental influences with gusto!
The biggest takeaway here? You need to listen to your skin and monitor it for changes. Then, adjust your skincare routine on the fly to compensate. If you aren’t sure where to begin, or you really want to go custom, it’s well worth it to schedule a consultation with your local medspa. They can help you find the right base!