A dermatologist on the 3 products everyone needs in their skincare routine.

Ahh skincare. You fickle beast. 

Most of us can hit our 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond and still not know wtf we're supposed to be using on our faces. 

Like, should we double cleanse? Is exfoliating for everyone? Do you use a moisturiser even if your skin is oily? What about the AHAs and BHAs? Hooly dooly, WILL SOMEONE TELL US ABOUT THE AHAs AND BHAs?!

Watch: More on the minimalist side of things? Here's seven ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Easy as pie. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

In all fairness though, skincare can be unnecessarily confusing and, for the most part, can be really OTT - so, it's totally not your fault. 

When you have marketing goblins telling you you need to use a specific oil for the left side of your vagina, and folk on Instagram encouraging you to use 45 serums every morning, it can get overwhelming. 

We get it.

To clear things up, we asked dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour from Bespoke Skin Technology to outline the absolute essentials for even the most pared back skincare routine. No frilly stuff.

1. A gentle cleanser.

For the love of glycolic acid, please tell us you're using a cleanser. Yes?

You guys, cleansing is probably the most important step in your skincare routine. Sure, you have all the flashy serums strutting their stuff, but this guy is literally the unsung hero of the game.

"Cleansing removes makeup, sunscreen, sweat and environmental debris which can lead to congestion and break-outs (you can do two cleanses with a gentle cleanser - one with a cotton pad, and then one with water)," said Armour.

Not only does it do all the above, but Armour said a thorough cleanse will, "ensure that fine particular matter (FPM) in pollution is adequately removed from our skin each night." 


Okay, cool. Why is this important?

"FPM has been shown to cause inflammation which can exacerbate acne, and also stimulate the activity of enzymes which destroy our skin's dermal collagen, leading to wrinkles."

Sheesh. Get in there.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, $15.49, or Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser $34.99 will do the job nicely without breaking the bank. Hooray!

Image: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser 

Image: Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser 


2. A nourishing moisturiser.

To give your cute little face (… and neck and chest) its best possible chance to stay plump, happy and youthful-looking, make sure you're using a nourishing moisturiser on the daily, mmmkay? 

"Ideally one with useful multitasking antioxidant ingredients (think niacinamide, resveratrol and ferulic acid)," suggests Armour. 

Listen to this episode of YouBeauty where we talk about how to find the perfect moisturiser. Post continues below.

Armour said a nourishing moisturiser will help support skin barrier function, which is something that stops your skin from getting seriously messed up - flaky! red! irritated! "Your skin barrier can so easily be disturbed by environmental conditions and over-cleansing or exfoliating," adds Armour.

Another good reason to make sure you're using a moisturiser on the reg is because some of us folk just have really dry, bitchy skin that needs a drink/constant top-up with external moisture.

If you wanna know which moisturisers are best, Armour said to look for something with active ingredients (as mentioned above).

"A great example, which is in many moisturisers, is niacinamide. Niacinamide soothes inflammation, supports skin barrier function, stimulates and protects dermal collagen production, decreases oil gland function in acne, and combats pigmentation. Everyone should be applying niacinamide to their skin in my view!"

Yep. It's not about the old sorbolene cream anymore, Helen!

But that doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune - because fancy brands do not necessarily mean better quality products, especially when it comes to moisturisers (it might be different when it comes to serums and all that jazz).

CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion PM, $29.99, Olay Regenerist Microsculpting Cream, $48.99 and SkinCeuticals B3 Metacell, $152 are all good options, depending on your budget.


Image: CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion

Image: Olay Regenerist Microsculpting Cream 

Image: SkinCeuticals B3 Metacell 


3. A hardworking sunscreen.

We know, we know. Pretty dang predictable, aren't we? 

But tell us this - are you actually using it? You bloody better be. Or we'll be so mad.

"Broad-spectrum sunscreen is crucial in order to block the effects of UVA and UVB, which are proven to cause non-melanoma skin cancers and melanoma, as well as contribute to the signs of skin ageing (wrinkles, fine lines, unwanted brown spots and pigmentation, redness and loss of facial volume)," said Armour.

It's actually super easy to love sunscreen these days, because there are so many fancy schmancy options out there that won't make your skin greasy/ghostly/pimply. 

Plus, have you seen all that cute packaging going on? Looks good in your cupboard. Nice on the 'gram. Makes us *actually* want to slather it on in the mornings. 

If you haven't already tried them, we reckon you'll love La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid, $20.69 and Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+, $47.

Image: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid 50+ 


Image: Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+ 

Feature: @drkatherinearmour; @ultravioletteau

Do you use all these products in your skincare routine? Share with us in the comment section below.

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