Trying to find an at-home skincare routine that works for you can be like trying to find the perfect pair of jeans. Easier said than done in a world where we are inundated with a plethora of options and trends. Social Media is the biggest culprit, with TikTok promising all the hacks and dupes. Cue the dermatologists and estheticians flying in to say “no, lying in the sun without SPF will not cure your eczema, Sarah” and “no, soaked chia seeds do not have the same effect as Botox”.
So where do you start? No matter your skin concerns, it’s always good to go back to basics and build from there. In this piece, we’re going to keep things super simple and accessible by focusing on four key areas that everyone should consider in their skincare routine: Prevent, Correct, Hydrate and Protect. We’ll take you through a streamline selection of products to target main concerns including Acne, Redness, Pigmentation and Wrinkle + Texture.
When we talk about the basic routine that *everyone* should be doing, no matter your skin concern or type, we have to talk about ZO Skin Health’s ‘Get Skin Ready’ protocol: Gentle Cleanser, Complexation Renewal Pads and Exfoliation Polish. This protocol was designed to kick start and support your skins optimal functionality. This is the foundation of Healthy Skin.
Exfoliation is such an important part of your skincare routine, no matter your concerns. This is the step that’s going to help you get the most out of your products by sloughing away the dead skin cells, allowing your products to penetrate more efficiently. It’s also going to support your skin cell turnover which is what you need to remove the damaged skin and replace it with the new. Now, those of you with Acne might already be dubious reading that a physical exfoliant is part of the protocol. If your preference is to stay away from something physical, switch out the Complexation Renewal Pads for the Oil Control Pads (ZO Skin Health), this is your toner step by the way, and add in the Active Peel System (iS Clinical) as your exfoliation step.
Once you have that routine down, let’s start building in the key components: Prevent, Correct, Hydrate and Protect.
PREVENT: When we talk about ‘prevention’ we are talking about antioxidants.
Antioxidants are like superheroes for your skin. They defend against damage cause by UV rays and environmental factors like pollution. These factors can upset your skin’s ability to function and repair optimally. Our favorite, one that 90% of our team use, for ALL skin types is ZO Skin Health’s Daily Power Defense. Nicole, one of our Skin Therapist’s at Main St. refers to it as her “holy grail”. It is packed with super-antioxidants like vitamins C and E, protecting against environmental aging. It also contains patented ingredients that neutralize free radicals, sooth visible redness and extend hydration. Using Daily Power Defense is like giving your skin a daily dose of superhero protection, helping it stay healthy, resilient, and looking its best.
If you have Daily Power Defense in your routine already and want to kick things up a notch, adding a serum like Phloretin CF from SkinCeuticals or Super Serum Advance+ from iS Clinical will give you an extra dose of Vitamin C.
CORRECT - When we dive into discussing ‘correcting’ skin concerns, Retinol is a no-brainer.
As a derivative of vitamin A, Retinol is a great option for anyone struggling with Pigmentation, Acne, Scarring, Fine Lines and Wrinkles. So … most of us. It tackles Acne by unclogging pores and preventing the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. It addresses Pigmentation concerns, such as dark spots and uneven skin tone, by promoting skin cell turnover and revealing fresher, more even skin. Thanks to its ability to stimulate collagen production and encourage the renewal of skin cells, Retinol is a game changer for anyone wanting to target fine lines, wrinkles and texture. By incorporating Retinol into a skincare routine, you can address multiple skin issues simultaneously, leading to a clearer, more radiant complexion.
We love the Retinol Brightening Serum form ZO Skin Health which comes in 0.25%, 0.5% and 1%.
Now Retinol isn’t always an easy one for people, we’ve all heard about the “Retinol Uglies”.. It’s definitely something that requires committing to the process. This sometimes that just doesn’t work for people and that is a-okay. A great Retinol free alternative is using both Brightalive Skin Brightener and Exfoliation Accelerator form ZO Skin Health at night. Brightalive Skin Brightener contains Niacinamide which helps reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone and Tranexamic Acid which helps minimize discoloration without irritation or redness. Exfoliation Accelerator contains a 10% Glycolic and Lactic Acid Complex which provides gentle exfoliation, supporting a healthy skin cell turnover. It also contains Vitamins A and E and is gentle enough to wear during the day provided you are diligent with sun protection.
If Redness is your concern, we havent forgotten about you! Our top options are Rozatrol from ZO Skin Health or Phyto Corrective Gel from SkinCeuticals. Rozatrol is a Serum designed for red, sensitized skin that works to reduce excess surface oil. It also provides a very, very mild exfoliation to encourage cellular turnover and reduce the signs of premature aging. Phyto Corrective Gel is formulated to calm and hydrate skin while reducing visual redness. It is also a great option for those prone to acne and breakouts for it’s soothing properties.
HYDRATE - Healthy Skin is skin you feel comfortable in.
A lot of people find they get enough hydration from Daily Power Defence, we like to think of it as a hydrator with benefits. But if you feel you need a little something extra, adding in an additional serum can take you to the next level. We love the Hydra-Cool Serum from iS Clinical and the Phyto Corrective Gel from SkinCeuticals, which we mentioned in the ‘Correct’ step. They Hydra-Cool Serum contains Hyaluronic Acid, a natural hydrator, and Centella Asiatica which is a powerful antioxidant. It is lightweight and recommended for even the most sensitized skin. These are both particularly great options for those with Redness and Acne. We also love Triple Lipid Restore post for when our skin is feeling dryer than usual, and is a great option for post treatment or even if you are hitting the ski slopes this winter. If your goal is to target fine lines, wrinkles, or texture concerns, we love Growth Factor Serum from ZO Skin Health which helps to restore hydration, reinforce your skin barrier and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
PROTECT: Protect is probably the most important step and often the most neglected. Hands up if you only apply it once during the day… or worse, forget it all together.
Honestly there’s very little point in doing the afore mentioned steps if you are going to skip out on SPF. The key here is to find a sunscreen you actually like and will happily re-apply. This step will require more trial and error but it is so important that you find what works for you.
The most popular sunscreen sold at Plain Jane Skinbar is SkinCeuticals’ Physical Fusion SPF 50 which has a light tint. It works for all skin types and most skin tones. If you find that this does not blend into your skin tone well, another fantastic option is the ZO Skin Health Daily Sheer or the iS Clinical Eclipse.
If you aren’t sure, pop over and test out a few options.
You might have noticed that there are a few things that consistently popped up through this post: exfoliation and antioxidants. When you are feeling overwhelmed by choices, come back to the basics. You want to thoroughly cleanse your face, tone, include an antioxidant, exfoliate regularly and wear SPF daily, reapplying often. These are the foundational pieces of a well-rounded skincare routine. If you feel that things are working, don’t be tempted to change unless you are doing it intentionally, with reason, and not because a TikTok video told you to.