How to Know If Your Skin Care Routine Is Working

Woman doing her skin care routine How to Know If Your Skin Care Routine Is Working

If you’re like most American adults, your top skin concerns are preventing wrinkles, getting rid of acne, treating dermatitis, and protecting against skin cancer. So are the particular skin care products you’re using helping your cause… or hurting it? Here’s what to look for in your skin care routine.

Best Skin Care Practices

Proper Cleansing

Ideally, you want to wash your skin about twice a day with a cleanser formulated for your skin type. If you’re especially oily, you might look for a gel-based cleanser, while people with dry skin tend to benefit from cream-based cleansers. Look for “non-comedogenic” products that are gentle and won’t clog your pores. Experts agree that people generally need to start using anti-aging products in their early twenties to prevent as many age-related issues as possible, so if you fall into that age range and you’re not already using anti-aging products, it’s a good time to start.

Cleansers should never dry out or irritate your skin. If you notice peeling or flaking, the problem could be your cleanser. A common myth for those who have acne is that they need to wash more frequently, but twice a day is usually sufficient in order to keep the skin from getting red and raw. Also, many products formulated for acne contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and alpha hydroxy acids, which can be irritating if used too frequently.

By the same token, you want to ensure your skin is getting thoroughly cleansed when you wash. If you notice frequent breakouts or an abundance of clogged pores, your cleanser might not be doing the trick. Your cleanser should be powerful enough to remove surface dirt and oil as well as to penetrate the pores, even beneath makeup. If your face has remaining residue after cleansing, swap it out for another product.

Proper Moisturizing

Again, look for that “non-comedogenic” label to ensure your moisturizer doesn’t clog your pores. You should use moisturizer formulated for your skin type after every wash.

Your face should feel hydrated and fresh after applying moisturizer. If it feels tight, your moisturizer may not be hydrating enough and you might need to switch to a thicker solution. Keep in mind that while oil-based moisturizers can go on with a silky smooth feel, many people need to use water-based moisturizers in addition or instead in order to get the appropriate level of hydration.

However, if you’re experiencing blackheads, whiteheads, or breakouts, your moisturizer might be the issue. While your face shouldn’t feel dry after moisturizing, it also shouldn’t feel greasy or sticky. If the product isn’t being absorbed within a few minutes of moisturizing, it might be too thick of a formula for your skin type. People with oily skin benefit most from lightweight moisturizers that don’t feel too “wet.”


Regardless of what products you choose, always use something with an SPF 15 content or more on a daily basis. If you notice premature wrinkling, sun spots, or an increase of freckles, you’re likely not protecting your skin against the sun enough. When outdoors in direct sunlight, choose SPF 30 to 50 at a minimum, and try to limit your exposure to UV rays.

Contact Vanguard Dermatology

Need more specific tips on which products to try for your particular skin concerns? If you’re in the greater New York City area, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists who can answer your questions and give recommendations.

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