Pop quiz: What’s the largest organ in your body?
It’s neither your stomach nor your brain — which may seem like logical choices — it’s your skin. Your skin has several important jobs, including protecting you from disease and the environment, regulating your body temperature, and shielding your internal organs. And, just like you take care of the rest of your body by eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, and incorporating physical activity throughout your day, your skin benefits from TLC, too.
Establishing and maintaining a regular skincare routine isn’t just about pampering yourself — though that is a significant benefit. Taking good care of your skin can also help reduce damage from sun exposure, slow down signs of aging, and give you a glowing, blemish-free complexion. And, setting aside time each morning and evening for a self-care ritual can help you relax, clear your mind, and be present — which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Ready to get started? Follow these steps for healthy, nourished skin.
Step 1: Know your skin type.
First things first: Your skin type will determine how you treat your skin and what products you reach for on a daily basis. While your skin type typically doesn’t change, it may have certain tendencies (i.e., sensitivity) and conditions that can sometimes mask your true skin type. Plus, climate and weather, hormones, diet, and even the products you use can affect your skin, too.
Four common skin types
- Dry skin: Your skin naturally produces sebum, an oil that helps your skin retain moisture and protect itself from outside elements. If you have dry skin, your oil glands don’t make enough sebum. This can cause your skin to look dull and feel rough or tight throughout the day. To care for dry skin, avoid products with irritants like detergents and sulfates and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Oily skin: If you have overactive oil glands that produce too much sebum, you might notice an oily film on your face and enlarged pores. Oily skin can make you prone to breakouts, but it’s still important to keep it hydrated. Prevent sebum build-up by avoiding thick creams and moisturizers, and try not to touch your face.
- Combination skin: Many people have both dry and oily skin, with dry spots on their cheeks and oily spots in the T-zone (if you draw an imaginary T on your face, it touches your forehead, nose and chin.) You can also have combination skin if your face is dry in the winter months and oily in the summer months.
- Normal skin: When your skin produces the right amount of sebum and isn’t too oily or dry, it will be well-balanced and clear. People with normal skin tend to have fine pores and aren’t prone to breakouts. It's still important to keep normal skin clean and well-protected from the sun to reduce signs of aging.
How do I know if my skin is sensitive?
Sensitive skin isn’t exactly a skin type. You can have dry, oily, or combination skin that’s sensitive to any or all products you put on your face. You can tell whether you have sensitive skin if you feel stinging, burning or itching after you use some makeup or other skincare products.
Step 2: Start simple.
For a basic skincare routine, you only need cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen. You’ll use all four products in the morning, and the first three at night. Once you have the basics down, you can add in different products to treat different skin issues, like fine lines and wrinkles or dark spots and other blemishes. It’s important to add products to your routine one at a time and every few weeks, so you can easily tell what’s to blame if you have an adverse reaction.
Basic skincare product guide
- Cleanser: Different from body wash or bar soap, facial cleanser can come in many different forms (water-based, oil-based, cream-based, exfoliating, foaming, etc.) to target specific skin concerns
- Toner: Unlike the burning astringents you may remember, toners use different ingredients to balance your skin after cleansing and before applying moisturizer or other products
- Moisturizer: This product is dependent on your skin type and how much moisture it needs to stay hydrated and balanced
- Sunscreen: It's best to use sunscreens designed for your face, which is more sensitive than the rest of your body
How do I know what products are right for me?
Now that you’ve determined your skin type, you can narrow down the products that might work best with your skin. One size doesn’t fit all, so you should always test new products before prolonged use to help avoid an allergic reaction or breakouts.
For dry skin, use:
- Cream- or lotion-based cleaners
- Brightening toners with ingredients like vitamin C
- Thick and creamy moisturizers
For oily skin, use:
- Foaming cleansers
- Exfoliating toners with alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs)
- Gel or other water-based moisturizers
For normal skin, use:
- Hydrating cleansers or micellar water
- Balancing toners with ingredients like witch hazel
- Lightweight moisturizers
Tip: Don’t expect instant results
Even in our fast-paced world of instant gratification, there’s no such thing as an instant cure-all with skincare products. When you add a product into your routine, you’ll need to use it consistently for about a month and a half before seeing a difference.
Wellmark members can save money on skin care with Blue365®
If you're a Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield member, you can take advantage of up to 41 percent off Brevena® skin care creams External Site and balms for smooth, rejuvenated skin through Blue365. Simply head over to Blue365 External Site to explore all the deals available to you, including gym membership discounts and savings on fitness devices from brands like Fitbit® and Garmin®.
Simply use your Wellmark ID card to access Blue365 deals.
Step 3: Follow up with a dermatologist.
If you want medical advice for your skincare routine, have skin issues like eczema or psoriasis, or want to make sure that spot on your arm is just a spot, a dermatologist can help. You can find a dermatologist in your health plan network, compare ratings and read reviews with myWellmark® Opens New Window.
In addition to finding in-network doctors near you, myWellmark gives you a transparent look into your health insurance use, plus easy-to-use tools, resources and insights. You can check claims details, view health care spending, use tools to understand your benefits, and more.
Don’t have a myWellmark account? You can sign up in just one step Opens New Window — no ID card required!
Blue365® is a discount program available to members who have medical coverage with Wellmark. This is NOT insurance.
Blue365® is a registered mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
- NYTimes.com — How to Build a Skin Care Routine External Site
- WebMD.com — Building Your Perfect Skin Care Routine External Site
- BirchBox.com — Are You Using Your Skincare Products in the Right Order? External Site
- MarieClaire.com — Can Skincare Keep You Sane? External Site
- PaulasChoice.com — How to Put Together a Skincare Routine External Site
- Self.com — SELF's Comprehensive Beginner's Guide to Skin Care External Site