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29 Oct

Your multiple step skincare routine may be making your skin worse. Here’s why:

Written by Evie

Image by @SeanGarette

For many of us skincare is not just a part of our daily routine, but a way of practising self care. Sometimes there is nothing better than a nice long skincare routine to help you unwind after a long day – it is almost therapeutic. The popularity of the 10-Step Korean skincare routine, coupled with the amount of products on the market, has lead many of us to think we need a routine with multiple steps in it to see results.

Skincare is not one size fits all. But there are many occasions where I think we can all agree that less is more. Most of us have a had moments of keeping our routine fairly minimal and finding our skin looks better than ever.

Having a routine with multiple steps is not a bad thing in itself and it can be a great way of making sure your skin is getting what it needs. For example, if you have dry skin, there is usually no harm in layering multiple hydrating products. 

However, many of us are unknowingly overloading our skin with the same few ingredients over and over, causing sensitivity and irritation. I cringe seeing people layering on a serum with niacinamide, over a toner with niacinamide followed with a moisturiser which has, yes you guessed, it niacinamide in it. This overload of active ingredients can be counterproductive for our skin. It’s even worse when we are are unknowingly using multiple exfoliants, which more often than not leads to a damaged skin barrier and sensitised, angry skin.

If you have a long and extensive skincare routine and aren’t seeing the results you had hoped for, it might be time to strip it back to basics. Most people who do not suffer from any sort of skin condition (such as acne, eczema etc.) can get away with just cleansing, hydrating, moisturising and SPF.

Cleanse, Hydrate, Moisturise

A good cleanser is essential and will act as the foundation for a great skincare routine. Make sure to look for a cleanser suitable for your skin type. Incorporating a cleansing balm or oil as a pre-cleanse is also a great way of making sure you skin is free of makeup, dirt and spf. 

It is important to make sure you are adding hydration back into your skin. I often say that hydration is one of the most important components of having healthy skin. You can do this using a hydrating toner, essence or serum in your routine. Look for humectants such as Glycerin and Hyaluronic acid –  these will draw moisture into your skin and keep it plump and hydrated.

Most can benefit from incorporating a moisturiser into their skincare routine. Even if you have oily skin, a moisturiser is a good way to stop your skin from becoming dry and overcompensating by producing even more oil. There are many options for moisturisers ranging from very lightweight gel textures to thick creams, so there is something out there for everyone!

SPF! SPF! SPF!

The most essential product that everyone, no matter skin type or concern, needs to have in their daily routine is SPF. You are probably tired of hearing it and have likely been bullied by the SPF police at some point in your life, but it is so important. Protecting your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays can help with acne, hyperpigmentation and slow the breakdown of collagen in the skin which leads to ageing.  I would even go as far as to say, if you aren’t using an SPF, you might as well hang up the rest of your skincare routine. These products have come so far from the traditional thick, white, uncomfortable paste that turns everyone a shade of purple, so there is really no excuse. Wear your SPF.

So do you need an 8 step skincare routine? 

The short answer is no. The long answer is, its probably not necessary for most people, but if that’s what you enjoy – go for it. Skincare is about results but it is also about enjoying yourself. Skincare shouldn’t feel like a chore. 

I still believe that simplicity is the key to a good routine. If you find you need to add additional steps to address and specific skincare concerns, do it one product at a time. This way, you help your skin get used to the product and if it doesn’t work for you, you know exactly which product is causing a reaction.