You know it, I know it: new routines are easy to start but hard to keep up. And it’s really no wonder that that’s the case. As humans, we tend to look for immediate results (guilty), only to disappoint ourselves when we don’t immediately see them (guilty again).
Since time travel is unfortunately out of the question, we’ll have to settle for rethinking our expectations. Dedication is key when it comes to both resolutions and skincare—and small habits can snowball into big results. Not sure how best to give your skin some extra TLC? You’re in luck! We asked a few of our expert dermatology providers for tips and tricks to help with long-term progress.
“I recommend keeping active ingredients to a minimum and being consistent. A simple routine is more likely to be maintained in the long run.”
—Andrew Saurin, PA-C / Physician Assistant
For a while, long skincare routines had a moment (hello, 12-step routine). But you often don’t need anywhere near that many products to see results. Most dermatologists agree that an effective skincare routine only needs four steps: cleanse, treat, moisturize, and protect. Here’s a basic routine that we recommend:
Cleanse: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
Moisturize: Apply moisturizer, if needed. You can use a broad-spectrum moisturizing sunscreen with SPF 30+ to skip step 3.
Protect: Apply sunscreen with SPF 30+.
Reminder: Don’t forget your lips! Bonus points if you apply a moisturizing lip balm throughout the day.
Cleanse: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. If you wear makeup, now’s also the time to remove it with something like the micellar makeup remover.
Treat: Apply a thin layer of your Custom Formula, or use your other skin treatment product as directed.
Moisturize: Apply a moisturizer, if needed.
Besides being super convenient, simple routines are also less overwhelming. When we load up on too many products too soon or too often, we might think we’re doing wonders for our skin. In truth, it can be drying, damaging, or irritating. If you have a reaction, having too many products makes it tough to know which product has what effect.
That’s not to say you should never buy any new skincare product, ever. Start low and go slow, meaning that you’ll want to introduce any product in small doses and gradually. This approach will give your skin time to adjust, and you’ll be able to tell if it’s doing anything at all.
“Patience is key! Improvements to your skin do not happen overnight. Your skincare journey to healthy skin takes time.” —Christine Han, NP-C / Nurse Practitioner
This one might be easier said than done at first. But I believe in you! It can be hard to implement changes to your daily routine, but small tricks like setting reminders or leaving sticky notes for yourself can go a long way. Eventually, your daily skincare rituals will become habit, and the rest will be history.
When you’re used to seeing yourself every day, it can be tough to notice the tiny changes as they happen. Curology offers a photo booth where you can upload your progress pics and pull up comparisons between old and new photos. It can be a great way to view how your skin has changed over time!
Christine also advises being gentle with yourself—mentally and physically. She recommends that you “[think of] your skincare routine as an opportunity to focus on your mental wellbeing,” adding that you should also “make sure to not be too rough on your skin” when cleansing your face.
“Good hydration is optimal for healthy skin, so moisturize (if you need it) and drink plenty of water.” —Rebecca Prakash, NP-C / Nurse Practitioner
At Curology, we love water and sing its praises (often and loudly). It helps you in so many ways, like regulating body temperature, keeping internal organs healthy, and helping to get rid of waste. It’s important to remember, though, that chugging H2O isn’t a substitute for proper skincare. Moisturizers are a must for comfortable, hydrated skin!
Speaking of hydrated skin, the reverse is possible, too. Skin can be dehydrated (which is different from being dry). Dry skin describes a skin type that doesn’t produce a lot of sebum, aka oil. Dehydrated skin describes skin that’s lacking water—so even oily skin can still be dehydrated. Here’s where it gets tricky: it can be hard to tell the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Both can feel tight, dry, rough, or flaky.
Some moisturizers we love for dry skin:
Some moisturizers we suggest for oily and combination skin:
“There are many products on the market that lure you in, but they can contain pore-clogging ingredients. You can find affordable skincare products in everyday stores that are great for your skin—just be sure to review the ingredients first!”
—Shannon Gunderson, NP-C, Nurse Practitioner
Confession time: Occasionally, I drop big bucks on a single skincare product. After all, more expensive products mean better quality—right?
Turns out, not always. Sometimes the high price is due to the packaging or even just the brand marketing. Focus on ingredients instead! There’s no point shelling out your hard-earned cash on something that will clog your pores. Brands will sometimes include a rare or expensive ingredient in one of their products and then ramp up the price accordingly—but that fancy-schmancy ingredient isn’t even necessarily what’s doing the heavy lifting.
That’s not to say that you should never go for pricier products. If you like a product, then feel empowered to buy it! The most important thing to do is to make an informed decision—do your research by reading reviews and examining the ingredients list. It’s more work than just grabbing something off the shelf, but being careful is worth it.
TL;DR: If you opt for a cheap cleanser because it gets the job done, then great! Fallen in love with a more luxurious product? That’s totally fine too—as long as you like it.
While maximalist skincare routines may be having a moment (hello, 12-step routine), you often don’t need anywhere near that many products to see results. Most dermatologists agree that an effective skincare routine only needs four steps: cleanse, treat, moisturize, and protect.
Waters helps you in so many ways, like regulating body temperature, keeping internal organs healthy, and helping to get rid of waste. It’s important to remember, though, that chugging H2O isn’t a substitute for proper skincare. Moisturizers are a must for comfortable, hydrated skin!
Expensive skincare doesn’t necessarily mean better. Sometimes the high price is due to the packaging or even just the brand marketing. Instead of branding or packaging, focus on ingredients first. You can find affordable skincare products in everyday stores that can effective treat acne, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles—just be sure to review the ingredients first!
We wish you all the luck on your skincare journey this year—and if you’d like us to support you through it, we’re 100% there. You can get your first month of Curology for free* (just pay $4.95 to cover shipping and handling).
Take a quick skin quiz, snap a few selfies, and one of our dermatology providers will review your info. If Curology is right for you, we’ll send you a bottle of your Custom Formula to tackle your unique skin concerns, plus any of our recommended skincare products (like our cleanser, moisturizer, or acne body wash). Skincare is a journey, but your provider will support you every step of the way!
*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.
Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C