If you are dealing with acne, your doctor may have recommended a 4-step skincare kit along with other treatments, such as oral medications for cystic acne. If you've only been using one product to wash your face every day, you may be unaccustomed to a four-step skincare routine. Read on to find answers to your questions.
What Does a 4-Step Skincare Routine Consist of?
While every brand is different, many 4-step routines consist of a cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer. These products are often used both morning and night. Four-step skincare routines are beneficial because they unclog pores and eliminate excess sebum, or oil, on your skin to prevent breakouts. They encourage cell turnover and help you prevent acne scarring. While cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers are common products, some people may substitute certain products or add additional steps with exfoliators, eye creams, and/or sunscreen depending on their needs. For example, there are acne spot treatments that you may want to add to your basic 4-step routine since these products contain benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient that can fight bacteria on the skin.
Does it Matter if You Use Your Products in a Certain Order?
Sources like thehealthy.com say that the order of each product is important, usually starting with the cleanser, then using the toner, serum, and then moisturizer. Why? If you use a thicker moisturizer first, it can be harder for other products to thoroughly penetrate your skin. Using a cleanser first is important because it removes pollutants, oils, and other debris and effectively preps the skin for other products. Using a toner next is important because it can lower your skin pH and help it better absorb serums and moisturizer creams. If you are unsure about your kit's order, ask a hair and skincare provider or your dermatologist for tips.
What 4-Step Products Work Best for Acne-Prone Skin?
If you have dry, sensitive skin, then a cream cleanser may be okay for your skin. However, many people with acne may feel that cream cleansers are too heavy, so gel or foam cleansers may be better since they are lightweight and have exfoliating properties.
Like cleansers, toners can help remove dead skin cells and impurities from your face. The toner that you choose shouldn't be too drying, however. Stripping too much of your skin's natural oils can actually backfire and cause the skin to overproduce oils. Look for a non-comedogenic and hydrating toner.
Serums are arguably one of the most important steps for acne skin care since they are packed with nutrients and specific ingredients for acne healing. For example, some serums contain retinol, a vitamin A derivative that increases cell turnover. Skip oil-based serums and look for serums that contain Vitamin B3, and/or Vitamin C. These ingredients act as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that help to decrease redness and fade acne scarring.
Lastly, ask your hair and skincare provider about moisturizer recommendations. Moisturizers can be tricky because they are the heaviest product and could potentially cause more breakouts if used incorrectly. Your best bet is to look for an oil-free, non-comedogenic brand that is specifically targeting acne.
To learn more about acne-prone 4-step regimen kits, contact a hair and skin care service or dermatologist in your area.