The 4 Skincare Categories that Matter

Did you know that 50 million Americans are affected by acne each year? How about that 85% of people between the ages of 12–24 experience at least minor acne?

Well, my family was lucky to not be a part of either the 50 million or 85% statistic. I, however, was a part of that 15% who experience acne so severe it can cause permanent scarring, both physically and mentally.

It was one thing to have really “bad” skin during your pre-adolescence (I was 11), but it’s another when people who share your DNA don’t have the same genetic “defect” that you do.

“Was something just really wrong with me?”

Visits to countless dermatologists, estheticians, and other specialists gave me years of expert advice and knowledge to maintain clear skin (this was all before YouTube). Although those expensive treatments didn’t work (I simply aged out of my severe acne as it does for many), I was able to at least avoid flare-ups and keep my skin as happy as possible.

15+ years of severe acne and hardly any scars to show for it!

The 4 skincare categories that actually matter:

1. Cleansing: The act of cleaning your skin.

Although my acne was caused from internal factors (hormones), it was definitely important to not “double homicide” my skin with external ones, too.

You need to remove excess oil, dirt, pollution, and dead skin cells off at least once everyday at night; twice a day if you’re cleansing in the morning.

So, can you just not cleanse in the morning? Yup. It’s simply down to preference — you can even use just water, which I do in the drier winter months.

2. Active Ingredient(s): Refers to the specific ingredient(s) that is directly responsible for treating the targeted skin concern. This category is going to have the most diverse range of ingredients that address turnover, collagen production, sun damage, and acne.

tl;dr: the thing that actually works.

Vitamins are the superstars of active ingredients; it’s the “your mom’s friend’s perfect daughter.” Each vitamin not only targets a medley of skin concerns, but they also have all the hard, peer-reviewed scientific data, proof, and evidence to show it really works! Every other new, fancy whatever is just trying (and failing) to compete.

The next two are great supporting actors:

A. Exfoliants primarily helps your skin shed its dead skin cells to reveal smooth skin and help other active ingredients penetrate and work more effectively.

B. Skin-lightening agents target hyperpigmentation and brown spots caused by acne, sun damage, and hormone imbalances.

3. Sunscreen: A lotion or cream that protects the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Effectiveness of protection is measured through a sun protection factor, or SPF.

Generally, you’ll want to look for SPF 30–50 and apply liberally every 2 hours — although 4 hours later is better than not at all!

4. Moisturizer: A lotion or cream that prevents dryness. Technically, your sunscreen can be used as your moisturizer in the morning, especially if you have oily skin. But, this is the stuff that most people think of when they think skincare!

And there you have it: The 4 skincare categories that matter!

Now, take a look at your current collection to see what you need to add for healthy, glowy skin.

Or what you should take away because “too much of a good thing” applies to skincare, too, as little too much of anything may be clogging your pores.

Cheers to beautiful skin 🥂

And if you're looking for beautiful skin everywhere you go, we created the perfect skincare breakdown with a blueprint on where to start here.


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