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Michelle Darrisaw
May, 16, 2018

We’ve all the heard the popular sentiment: Love your skin. The skin is the body's largest organ and although it regenerates roughly every 27 days, learning to take care of your skin is a habit that will serve you for a lifetime. Basically, don't skimp on the TLC.

But as much as we’re all committed to pampering ourselves, drinking water and following a strict beauty regimen, the road to healthy and flawless skin is a long one — a routine that, for most of us, is shaped by trial and error.

For example, daily exfoliation may work for some skin types. For others, it could dry their skin of natural oils. Likewise, some people can fill their makeup bags with nothing but drugstore products, and others swear by only expensive, luxury brands. If you’re starting to get serious about maintaining healthy skin for your summer glow up, but you don’t have time for a daily 10-step skin care routine or the money for facials, we’ve got a few tips. Check it out!

First, identify your skin type.

According to Dr. William Kwan, dermatologist and founder of Kwan Dermatology in San Francisco, California, this step involves assessing whether you have dry, oily or combination skin. From there, you can better identify other skin concerns, like acne or irregular pigmentation, and what products are best to use under those conditions.

"I'm not a fan of complicated skin-care routines or changing it up too often," explained Dr. Kwan. "Find something that works for you and stick with it."

If you do need to change product(s), change them out one at a time so you can determine how your skin is adapting to it. If you change out too many things, you'll have trouble figuring out what is causing an issue, like dryness.

Next, learn how to properly cleanse, tone and moisturize.

A perfectly beat face starts with a healthy canvas, so always make sure your face is clean and moisturized before applying foundation, concealer or a highlighter. And don’t forget to remove your makeup at night.

"I typically recommend a gentle cream and lotion-based cleanser for most patients," stated Dr. Kwan. "However, if you’re oily or acne prone, I recommend a foaming cleanser. If you prefer to use a toner, I only recommend applying a water-based botanical toner, because the alcohol found in certain toners can dry out the skin."

The final step in this part of the routine is moisturizing. Most beauty experts suggest rubbing the moisturizer gently in a circular motion, working your fingertips down from your forehead to the neck. By massaging the moisturizer into your skin you help to increase blood circulation and relieve puffiness.

"A moisturizer with SPF should be used in the morning," recommended Dr. Kwan. "You can use the same moisturizer morning and evening, and add a mineral based powder for your sunscreen in the morning, which is easy to touch up throughout the day. Before going to bed, I recommend face wipes, such as Neutrogena, and a gentle cleanser to wash off any additional residue. Clarisonic brushes can also help remove makeup residue and oil from the pores." 

Always apply sunscreen.

Don’t forget that Black girls need sunscreen, too!

"There's a big misconception that African-Americans don’t need to use sunscreen," Dr. Kwan noted. "The most common complaint from my dark-skinned patients is irregular skin color or pigment. The use of sunscreen can actually help even the skin tone since sunlight (UV) tans the skin and can increase hyperpigmentation, like Melasma."

Don’t pick at your pimples.

Trust us, we know how tempting it is to pop pimples, squeeze whiteheads or pick at blackheads. Resist the urge. When you constantly put your fingers on your face, it can only lead to more inflammation and dark spots. Sometimes this can actually be worse than the actual pimple itself.

"Once the pigmentation occurs, it can take weeks or even months to resolve," explained Dr. Kwan. Uneven skin tone and texture is one of the most common concerns I’ve seen in my years of practice, and treating a range of ethnically-diverse patients is the reason why I created my first skin-care product, Day/Dream," he said. 

The product is a dual-pump morning and evening cream, specifically formulated to improve overall skin tone and texture, without the use of Hydroquinone (a topical skin bleaching agent to lighten dark spots and skin).

Lastly, remember that every beauty tutorial you see on YouTube may not work for your skin.

Right now, everyone is obsessed with the 10-step Korean skin-care routine, as shown in the video below.

While the results may be worth it, realistically, with school or work, do you really have time to incorporate this lengthy routine in your beauty regimen? Probably not.

"I don’t believe it’s realistic for anyone to sustain a 10-step skin-care routine for too long," added Dr. Kwan. "Today, everyone is busy. I'm lucky if I can convince a patient to cleanse and apply sunscreen daily. I believe in simplified skin care based on your schedule."

Indeed. Although, having an extended #treatyoself routine once a week or a couple times a month couldn’t hurt.

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