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The Best Daily Skincare Routine, According To The Experts

The Best Daily Skincare Routine, According To The Experts

So, if you have read the beginners guide to skincare I published (Troya Beauty’s Beginner’s Guide To Skin Care) you are probably ready for the next step.

Now, I bring you the best skincare routine, according to leading dermatologists.

‘Firstly, to get the most out of a skincare regimen, no matter what your skin type, you should start with three simple steps: cleanse, treat and moisturise,’ recommends Ashley Magovern, M.D., Founder of Manhattan Dermatology in Manhattan Beach, California. We all know what cleansing and moisturising refers to (hopefully) but what about the treating aspect?

Serums and creams packed with vitamin C, retinol, alpha hydroxy acids and others (depending on your skin type and concerns) are the optimal choice, explains Dr. Magovern. “Adding a middle step in between the cleansing and moisturising components is really important. It can make a huge difference over time and in the health, appearance and aging of your skin."

With that info in mind, I have put together a dermatologist-approved daily skincare routine for morning and night, including the basic steps that should be in every regimen for oily, dry, combination, or acne-prone skin.

Morning Skincare Routine
1. Cleanser
Facial cleansing should be the first step in any skincare routine. It clears away impurities and excess oil that can clog pores and dull skin. Just be gentle. “Too many people cleanse too much or too often or with a cleanser that’s harsh. This will break down your skin’s protective barrier,” Dr. Magovern says. For dry/sensitive skin, try washing only at night and rinsing your face with water in the morning.

2. Toner
This isn’t an absolute ride or die. However, putting a toner on can be a great way to refresh skin, remove any debris and balance pH, Dr. Magovern advises. For acne-prone skin, look for a toner with ingredients like salicylic acid to fight bad breakouts. For dry/sensitive skin, seek out a hydrating toner made with ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to calm the skin.

3. Serum
When tailored to your skin concerns, a serum can treat and protect. Look for an antioxidant, like high quality vitamin C. “Everyone should use vitamin C, no matter your age,” Dr. Magovern says. “It helps to reverse any skin damage we get from the sun and pollution.” For darker skin tones, hyperpigmentation can be a common issue, and using a vitamin C serum in the morning can mitigate dark spots, says Jennifer David, a dermatologist also based in the USA.

4. Eye Cream
Eye creams fall into the "treat" category, too. If desired,use a formula targeted to your eye-area concerns, using your finger to avoid tugging on delicate skin and causing damage.

5. Moisturiser
Yes, many of us know moisturiser keeps skin hydrated and helps strengthen its barrier. Unless you have dry skin, opt for a lighter moisturiser for daytime use. A lotion or gel that will soak in quickly and won’t pill under makeup is a good option. If your skin is very dry, try something thicker, like a cream. “Look for ceramides or hyaluronic acid, since these ingredients are the building blocks of moisture retention in skin,” Dr. David explains.

6. Sunscreen
Definitely the most important step in any skincare routine, for every skin type and age. “If you don’t wear sunscreen, you might as well not do any of the other steps,” Dr. Magovern states. “The sun is the top reason our skin ages prematurely.” Sadly, the damage isn’t only cosmetic, no matter what your skin colour is. Even if you’re blessed with darker skin, you are still at risk of skin cancer. Additionally, “if you’re treating hyperpigmentation without daily SPF use, it’s like taking two steps forward and one step backward,” explains Dr. Magovern.

Try to use a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher facial sunscreen as the last step in your morning skincare routine. Don’t forget your neck and the backs of your hands. And yes, protecting your skin from the sun is still important even if you're spending your days indoors, as UV rays can penetrate through the windows.


Night Skincare Routine
Your night routine is the perfect time to make sure your skin is getting as many nutrients and active ingredients as possible. Your skin regenerates and repairs itself while you sleep, Dr. Magovern says (yes, the term ‘beauty sleep' is real). The basic steps still apply at night - cleanse, treat, and moisturise (with some minor differences listed below).

1. Cleanser
Time to remove the day's build-up of makeup and grime. Apply a separate makeup remover if needed to take off any cosmetics. “Cleansers are not necessarily designed to dissolve makeup, especially on eyes, and haven’t done so effectively in our testing,” says GH Beauty Lab Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann. Now, you can follow with the same cleanser as used in the morning (or your fav night cleanser), working from the inside of the face up, then out and down along the hairline and perimeter to underneath the chin.

2. Toner
If you’re choosing a toner, apply it as you would in the morning. Because they are liquids, toners should go on prior to heavier formulas like serums and moisturisers so that they have a moment to be absorbed.

3. Serum or Treatment
Nighttime is an ideal time to use products with ingredients that work to remove dead skin cells and stimulate cell regeneration while you sleep. ‘Try some alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or retinol,’ Dr. Magovern says. These help to smoothen skin texture, brighten and reduce pores. Some serums can be used for day and/or night. Just be sure to follow the packaging instructions. ‘When treating hyperpigmentation, alternate between a retinoid and the spot-fading active ingredient hydroquinone,’ Dr. David recommends.

4. Eye Cream
Dab a bit of your face serum/treatment, or a separate eye cream if you use one, around your eyes. “You don’t need to use a lot but if you start training your skin to tolerate more active products around the eye, you’ll see incremental changes,” Dr. Magovern explains.

5. Acne Treatment
If you currently have a blemish(es), apply an acne treatment at night. For chronic breakouts, be proactive rather than treating pimples as they pop up, Dr. Magovern advises. “If you only treat the spot, you’ll get acne right next to it if your skin is clogged,” she says. Breakouts occur because oil is building up so be consistent with your regimen to keep pores all over your face clear.

6. Moisturiser
Moisturising is crucial at night. It creates a barrier that seals in the skin’s natural hydration and any active ingredients to counteract moisture loss that happens as you sleep. The non-SPF moisturiser you might use during the day will work. You can also try a night-specific formula for targeted benefits like anti-aging.

7. Face Oil (extra credit)
Applying face oil can be a great way to help lock in moisture overnight. “A lot of people think that if they have acne or oily skin, they’ll break out with an oil, but it’s just not true,” Dr. Magovern explains. “It can actually really help soften skin.” For a moisture-boost, pat on a face oil as a last step once the rest of your leave-on skincare products dry.

My Top Picks:

1. Cleanser: Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel 

2. Toner: Medik8 Pore Minimising Tonic

3. Serum: Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Liquid Rehydration Serum

4. Moisturiser: Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream 100ml

5. Sunscreen: Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF 50+

6. Exfoliator: asap Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub


About The Editor

Ava, Senior Editor at Troya Beauty
I love long walks on the beach, procrastinating, casually complaining about my spending habits, and annoying my boyfriend with my (apparently ‘not so funny’) fashion and beauty related memes. In all seriousness, I love anything related to skincare and hair care. If it's worth using, I am your gal and I will tell you everything I know. Currently studying a Dip. Beauty Therapy.

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