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Getting Started With A Daily Skin Care Routine

Posted on January 26, 2023 by Henry Ford Health Staff
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How often should you wash your face? In what order should you apply skin care products? What procedures can help you maintain healthy skin? Sifting through all the available information on skin care can be confusing. 

“Sticking to daily skin care routines is the key to maintaining healthy skin, which will boost your self-confidence and reduce the risk of skin cancer,” says Diana Flis, M.D., a plastic surgeon at Henry Ford Health. “Once your skin is damaged from the sun or neglect, procedures or products can’t completely turn back the clock.” 

Here she outlines steps to keep your skin healthy and advises on how to choose skin care products.

Step-By-Step Skin Care Routines 

Dr. Flis recommends setting aside a few minutes as you begin and end your day for some skin care TLC:

Morning skin care 

Start your day with these steps:

  1. Cleanser: Rinse your face with lukewarm water. Apply a cream-based cleanser with your fingertips, gently rubbing in small circles over your face. Avoid using a washcloth or sponge, which can irritate your face. Rinse with lukewarm water and blot with a towel. 
  2. Toner: After cleansing, while your face is still damp, apply a toner to keep your skin hydrated. Toners also help balance the pH levels in your skin, reducing the risk of bacterial growth that can cause breakouts.   
  3. Vitamin C serum: Nutrients like vitamin C help reverse early signs of aging and sun damage. It’s also an antioxidant, which can reduce inflammation and may prevent cell damage from exposure to smoke, pollutants and sunlight. Vitamin C also reduces hyperpigmentation (dark spots). 
  4. Moisturizer: Choose a moisturizer that matches your skin type (oily, normal, dry) to hydrate your skin. Use a more concentrated moisturizer in the winter to combat dryness from cold temperatures outside and heat indoors. Using your ring finger to apply moisturizer—especially around your eyes—is gentler on your skin.    
  5. Sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Choose a mineral-based sunscreen with titanium and zinc, which are less irritating to the skin than chemical-based sunscreen products. Some moisturizers and makeup also contain sunscreen, allowing you to combine steps in your morning routine.  
  6. Makeup: Your skin needs to breathe during the day. If you wear makeup, avoid using heavy foundations or powders. Choose products based on your skin type. 

During the day, nourish your skin and body by staying hydrated. When heading into the sun, wear a hat and reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Evening skin care 

Before bedtime, follow these steps:

  1. Cleanser or toner: Use a cream-based cleanser to remove makeup, dirt and pollutants from your skin. You can also cleanse your face using toner on a cotton pad.
  2. Retinol: Use a retinol cream to help remove dead skin cells, even skin tone and lessen fine lines and wrinkles. Higher concentrations of retinol (.05% to .1%) may cause irritation or dryness. When first using retinol, choose a cream with a lower retinol concentration (.025%), and use it only once or twice a week.
  3. Moisturizer: Just as you did in the morning, finish your nighttime routine by hydrating your skin with a cream-based moisturizer.    

How Can I Choose The Right Skin Care Products?

A wide variety of skin care products are available at budget-friendly prices, says Dr. Flis. She recommends keeping these strategies in mind when choosing skin care products:

  • Look for products with natural ingredients: Choose products that are dermatologist-approved with natural ingredients. For example, glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid cleansers naturally remove dead skin cells and are less abrasive than physical exfoliants. Many anti-aging products contain natural ingredients to promote skin cell turnover and reduce dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. European-made skin care products tend to have fewer harmful chemicals due to more stringent regulations than the U.S.
  • Avoid potential irritants: Look for alcohol- and fragrance-free products to reduce the risk of dryness and irritation. 
  • Check expiration dates: Many products expire 12 to 18 months after opening. Before purchasing a product, look for the expiration date, often listed next to an image of a jar. Routinely review your skin care products and discard expired items.

“By adopting a daily skin care routine with the right products, you can keep your skin healthy and avoid or delay the need for many cosmetic procedures in the future,” says Dr. Flis. And that’s a daily routine we can all get behind.


Looking for more information about skincare or want to make an appointment with a plastic surgeon or dermatologist? Call 1-800-436-7936 to schedule a dermatology appointment or 1-844-432-6763 to schedule a plastic surgery consult.

Diana Flis, M.D., is a plastic surgeon at Henry Ford Health Medical Center—Cascade Ridge.

Categories : FeelWell
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