It's time to spring clean your skin

It's time to bring your glow out of hibernation.

You can't get much more "clean girl aesthetic" than freshly washed skin. Think: unclogged pores, smooth texture and the telltale gorgeous glow that comes from sudsing up.

But what's exactly the best way to cleanse your skin? Like, do you need to wash morning *and* night? Should you be using a foaming cleanser? One that's fragrance-free? Or what about a cleansing balm? Can you over-wash? So. Many. Questions!

Relax. Turns out the right routine hinges on knowing just one thing: your skin type, says Alexis Bonin, an esthetician at clean beauty retailer The Detox Market. There are five types: oily, dry, normal, combination and sensitive—and each one needs its own regimen. Bye-bye, dryness and dullness...hello, healthy, happy face.

If you have oily skin...

The sheen on your skin is actually the oil that secrets from your pores. Turns out grease is a *good* thing because it keeps skin moisturized. That said, pores can get clogged, so opt for a pore-penetrating foaming cleanser.

SPRING CLEAN IT: The sky cycling trend you've seen on SkinTok? "It's a way to try to avoid irritation and dryness, especially when using retinols or exfoliants," explains Dr. Heather D. Rogers, co-founder of Modern Dermatology in Seattle. Basically, it refers to the swapping in and out of products or ingredients that otherwise would be too harsh for daily use. So use a chemical exfoliant (think: acids) on day one, a retinoid on day two and a rich moisturizer on days three and four before starting the "cycle" again.

SKIP IT: No daily exfoliating with harsh scrubs, advises Dr. Kseniya Kobets, director of cosmetic dermatology at Montefiore Einstein in Westchester County, N.Y. "Stripping your skin with astringents, toners and scrubs irritates skin and can even cause oil production to spike."

TRY: Paula's Choice Calm 1% BHA Sensitive Skin Exfoliant, $34PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Maximum Strength, $10Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment, $15Community Sixty-Six Nourishing Rich Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid, $25.

If you have dry skin...

You may feel tightness or notice some flaky areas—which means your skin is in need of a major hydration boost. The creamier the cleanser, the better (look for the word milk or milky). Oils and hydrating serums are great for you, too.

SPRING CLEAN IT: To take your gentle wash to the next level, try a silicone cleansing tool. The flexible nubs offer just enough of a slough while you scrub. Finish with a hydrating serum to lock in moisture.

SKIP IT: If your skin is ever left feeling dry or peeling after you rinse, it can be a sign you're over-cleansing. Try scaling back or implementing a more moisturizing formula.

TRY: Ursa Major Making Moves Milky Cleanser, $34Sephora Collection Facial Cleansing Tool, $8The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum, $8.

If you have normal skin...

Not too dry, not too oily, your skin is just like Goldilocks' perfect porridge.

SPRING CLEAN IT: Incorporate a facial steamer once a week before cleansing—it helps open up your pores. Choose a pH-balanced cleanser, then add a simple vitamin C serum (a multi-tasking must for bright, smooth skin).

SKIP IT: No going overboard on products or process. Whether you wash in the morning is up to you but, as a rule of thumb, Dr. Rogers recommends simply rinsing it with water and patting skin dry to "leave those good oils on your skin. Your body worked hard to get them there," she shares.

TRY: Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser, $36. Vanity Planet Facial Steamer, $50. Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster, $55.

If you have combination skin...

You have the most common skin type: You're oilier in some areas with spots of dryness or sensitivity. Typically, combination skin consists of an oily T-zone (the forehead, nose and chin) with the cheeks on the drier side.

SPRING CLEAN IT: Look for an exfoliant that's not stripping and has balanced ingredients such as oil-purging salicylic acid and calming centella asiatica.

SKIP IT: Combination skin has different needs, so don't treat your entire face the same. When you do use your scrub (stick to once or twice a week), start in the T-zone, then extend the product to the cheeks so everywhere gets a nice, deep clean—without irritating the drier areas. Breakout? A simple spot treatment will solve it.

TRY: Biore Clean Detox Gentle Face Cleanser, $7. Is Clinical Cleansing Complex Polish, $48. Zapzyt Acne Treatment Gel, $5.

If you have sensitive skin...

You experience unexplained redness, irritation and even the occasional random breakout. The best thing you can do? Keep the number of products you use to a minimum (and track which ones send your skin into a tailspin).

SPRING CLEAN IT: Start using a cotton round with your cleanser instead of just your fingers or a rough washcloth. The texture of the pad will remove any dirt or dead skin. And calming ingredients like oat = your skin's best friend.

SKIP IT: In lieu of washing in the morning, rinse with a gentle micellar water. (Psst: Don't overlook products that are formulated for babies. Theirs is the most sensitive skin of all—which means perfect for you, too!)

TRY: Mustela No Rinse Cleansing Baby Micellar Water, $16. EcoTools Reusable Ultra Soft Cotton Pads, $10. Lumene Nordic Hydra Oat Milk Cleanser, $19.

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our February/March 2023 issue. Get your copy HERE.

What's your go-to product in your skincare lineup rn? Tag us in your skincare #shelfie on Insta @girlslifemag for a chance to get featured!


by Lisa DeSantis | 3/5/2023