Many people come to look to revamp their current routines or create a new routine. While not all of the products mentioned here will work for 100% of people, this is a good place to start regardless of skin type/concern. The products mentioned here tend to be affordable/widely available/effective for most people.

You don't need to get everything at once! Be patient, take your time, and Test patch . Include only 1 new product at a time.

  • Cleanser

    We frequently tell folks it's not necessary to cleanse 2x a day, particularly for those suffering with oily/dehydrated/dry skin types. Exceptions include things like post-workouts or if you've been sweating through the night.

    If your skin is feeling tight/dry/squeaky after cleansing, you should look for a new cleanser.

    Cleanser Recs

    ~ Cerave Foaming (US/Canada): Suitable for acne prone

    ~ Cerave Hydrating (US/Canada): Better for non-acne prone/dry

    ~ Spectro Jel (US/Canada): Suitable for acne-prones

    ~ Boots Sensitive Foaming Wash (UK/US/Canada/other?): Potentially suitable for all skin types

    ~ Eucerin DermatoClean, "gentle" (Worldwide): Suitable for sensitive/acne prone

    ~ Oil Cleansing : Suitable for almost all skin types, but the oil/oils you use depends on your skin type. Those with SD should tread lightly with this method, as some oils can exacerbate the issue.

  • Exfoliation

    Chemical exfoliation is the preferred method on skincareaddiction , it tends to be more gentle than physical exfoliation and you can do it daily.

    Lactic acid is the most gentle, so if you suffer with eczema/rosacea prone sensitive skin, start with lactic. If you're acne prone/have lots of clogs, start with a BHA.

    Physical exfoliation (yes this includes a washcloth and the Clarisonic!) should not be used more than 1-2x a week, and not if you have active acne, sensitive, flaking, or irritated skin.

    Exfoliation will be beneficial if you have any of the following concerns (not comprehensive): zits, uneven texture, congestion, blackheads, whiteheads, dull skin, dry skin, etc

    BHA exfoliator recs (alcohol free)

    ~ Stridex Maximum Strength Pads aka Stridex in the red box (US/available on iherb or Vitacost): If known serious sensitivity to light fragrance/menthol proceed with caution. These tend to work fine for the majority of people

    ~ Paula's Choice BHAs (Worldwide): Fragrance-free options, but pricier than stridex

    ~ BravuraLondon (UK): Various BHA products

    AHA exfoliator recs

    ~ St Ives Scrub Free Exfoliating Pads (US/Canada): 4-5% lactic acid. If very sensitive to fragrance or known fruit allergies, proceed with caution.

    ~ Silk Naturals AHA Toner (US based but will ship to some international locations): 8% Lactic acid. Contains aloe. Fragrance-free.

    ~ Paula's Choice AHAs (Worldwide): Varying concentrations of glycolic acid, fragrance-free

    ~ Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir (Worldwide): 8-10% glycolic acid, fragrance-free

    ~ BravuraLondon (UK): Varying Glycolic/lactic/ AHA+BHA combos

    ~ Alpha Hydrox Oil Free Gel (US/ Parent company may ship international to some locations): 10% glycolic acid, fragrance free

    ~ Alpha Hydrox Swipes or Intensive Serum ( US/ Parent company may ship international to some locations): 14% glycolic acid, fragrance free

  • Moisturize

    Everyone needs a moisturizer, even those with oily skin! A lot of the time at least part of the oil production is commonly due to dehydration (aka lack of moisture).

    Moisturizer Recs

    ~ Cerave Cream aka Cerave in the tub (US/Canada): Suitable for any skin type. Also works for the body. Fast absorbing, lots of humectants/ceramides.

    ~ Oilatum Natural Repair (UK): Suitable for any skin type. Similar to Cerave in the tub, though a tad more greasy.

    ~ Cetaphil Lotion/Cream (Many locations worldwide): Suitable for any skin type. Slightly greasier formula to Cerave in the tub.

    ~ Vaseline (Worldwide): Suitable for any skin type. Good to add on top of moisturizer, or use alone to prevent water loss.

    ~ EltaMD Intense Moisturizer (US): Vaseline alternative, non-sticky/day friendly option.

  • Sunscreen

    This is your choice, just be sure to wear it everyday and it's at least SPF30 with high UVA protection. It's even more crucial if you're using AHAs, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, or you're on particular oral medications.

    Proper amount for application is 2mg/cm 2. This is about 1/4 teaspoon (~1.2 mL) for the face alone. Reapplication should be every 1.5-2 hours (maybe even more depending on how nasty the UV index will be that day), and after every time you take a dunk in water.

    Recommendations highly vary depending on location and type of finish you prefer.

    Generally, if you are very sensitive or acne prone, you'll want to look for an all physical sunscreen or at least a physical/chemical combo. All chemical sunscreens tend to cause stinging/breakouts/irritation for many people.

  • Spot Treatments/Masks

    This will vary based on your skin type, personal preference as well. An effective spot treatment generally has antimicrobial/anti inflammatory properties.

    Spot Treatments to Consider

    ~ Benzoyl Peroxide cream/wash: If in a wash, leave on skin for a few minutes before cleansing off to allow the BP to take effect. Side effects can be dryness/redness sensitivity.

    ~ Sulfur ointment/cream: Tends to be less irritating than BP

    ~ Tea Tree Oil: Should be diluted with a carrier oil to avoid a chemical burn. Avoid if prone to allergic contact dermatitis. Potent fragrance.

    ~ Neem Oil: Very potent fragrance

    ~ Clay masks: These will help clear pores and help bring some acne to a head. Bentonite is the strongest, not great for dry/very sensitive skin, and should be mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). Kaolin/Rhassoul/French green are less drying and do not need to be mixed with ACV.

    Reference: The Starter Skincare Regimen: A basic routine for most people with average skin