How to build a skincare routine

Whether you’re a teen, a retiree, or fall somewhere in between, having the proper skincare routine for your age and skin type is crucial for optimal skin health. But with so many products on the market, skincare can be confusing! News flash: Your regimen doesn’t need to include ten steps – we promise. Using just a few of the right products morning and night, can help keep your skin clear.

Before getting into a skincare routine, let’s talk about your skin type. To properly identify your skin type, start by washing your face with a gentle cleanser and don’t apply any other skincare products afterward. Wait a while after washing and examine your natural skin texture and tone closely. If you look in the mirror and see that your skin is shiny, you have oily skin. If your face is red, flaky, tight, or irritated, you have dry skin. If you find you have patches of shine and patches of irritation or redness, then you have combination skin.

In order to find the best skincare products, you also have to take into consideration your age and skincare concerns. Do you have mature skin? Acne-prone skin? Dull skin? These are all things to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right products for you.

The order of which you apply your skincare is also very important. After cleansing, a general rule of thumb is to always apply the lightest product first, like your serum, and finish with an SPF. Your morning regimen should include cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

Here’s a simple step-by-step morning and nighttime skincare routine to follow.

Your step-by-step morning skincare routine

The goal of your morning routine is to refresh and protect your skin from external factors like sunlight, pollution, and the climate.


Believe it or not, some people over-do-it in the cleansing department. You only need to wash your face twice per day (unless the third is after a workout). In the morning, use a gentle cleanser to get rid of dirt, oil, and dead skin build up.


To tone or not to tone, that is the question. We say tone! Unlike the harsh astringents of the past, toners today have multipurpose benefits including hydration, exfoliation, and reducing the appearance of pores. Look for a gentle toner and swipe it across your skin with a cotton pad after you wash and before your serum.

Add moisturizer and SPF

Whether you use a moisturizer then layer SPF on top, or a moisturizer that includes SPF, both SPF and moisturizer are crucial finishing touches to your morning skincare routine. Not only does wearing SPF help prevent skin cancer, but it also helps prevent fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and more skin conditions as you age.

Your step-by-step nighttime skincare routine

Your nighttime regimen is just as important as your morning skincare routine, yet slightly different.


Just like in the morning, cleansing is also an important part of your skincare routine at night. It’s crucial to remove all the day’s build up from your skin. Say goodbye to all that grime!


Nighttime is when your skin regenerates so it’s important to exfoliate at least once per week to help increase the efficacy. There are two types of exfoliators – chemical and physical ¬– that basically have the same job but act in different ways.

Chemical exfoliators include acids such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) to aid in cellular turnover. They’re effective, because they break down the "glue" that holds your skin cells together to rid dead skin cells, dirt, and oil. Physical exfoliants show up as the gritty stuff in our face wash and in facial cleansing tools, like brushes. When using a face wash with tiny beads or grains, rub in a circular motion to help slough off dead skin cells.

Apply a treatment

If your skin regimen includes a treatment, don’t forget to apply it at night. ProactivMD®, for example, comes with Adapalene Gel which is meant to be applied nightly.

Add moisturizer

Yes, you really need a daytime and nighttime moisturizer. At night, you don’t need SPF. Instead, just look for a moisturizer that suits your skin type.

The takeaway

Once you choose the best skincare products for your skin type, it’s easy to put together a simple regimen. Perhaps the hardest part is waiting to see results. While some products like a moisturizer or an exfoliant can offer immediate gratification, others will take some time to work. Stick with your skincare routine and you should notice an improvement. Proactiv® offers three-step regimens that are perfect to get started. The products are designed to work together synergistically for optimal results.