Stop! Now, slowly but surely remove the beauty products scattered on your bathroom counter, and just let your skin be. "Oftentimes, with the intention of doing everything possible to turn back the hands of time or clear up our breakouts, we do so much that we actually exacerbate our problems," warns Dr. Jessica Krant, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Art of Dermatology.
Melissa Picoli, esthetician and founder of BijaBody health + beauty, agrees. She recommends rinsing your face with water and a warm washcloth for the first week. Then, tone with either witch hazel or sake, and moisturize with a simple face oil.
Since your skin has had the chance to balance its natural lipid barrier by now (trust us, this is important), wash your face with water only and wait 30 minutes, suggests Picoli. After a half hour is up, see how your skin feels. Is it oily? Is it dry? Is it a combination of both? Does it seem normal? Based on what you find, add a serum designed for your specific skin type to the simple regimen you began last week.
Krant says you can also reintroduce SPF into your daily moisturizer at this time. "Just be sure it's a minimum of SPF 30," she cautions.
There's no better time than this week to score your perfect moisturizer. "Look for ones that contain high concentrations of botanical oils and antioxidants," notes Picoli, "and steer clear of vitamin A or citrus oils in day-use products." Any antioxidant products that cause stinging or burning (potential culprits include some vitamin Cs and anything with the name "acid" in it) you should use very sparingly or not at all, informs Krant.
Also, find a cleanser you love, adds Picoli. "Because you know what balanced skin feels like now, it'll be easy to tell if it's too harsh or not."
Don't give up — you're almost there! "Now that you've got the mild cleansing and basic nonirritating antioxidants on board, incorporate a half-pea-sized amount of a topical retinoid (OTC retinol or prescription tretinoin) to your face nightly," recommends Krant. "You should do this at least an hour after washing so your skin can tolerate it." Voila. You're back in business, lady!
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