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Proper cleansing to remove dirt, makeup and pollution should be the core of every skin care routine. Try to wash your face twice daily, usually in the morning and then again before going to bed at night. (If your skin is dry, you can skip the morning wash and simply use water and a soft face cloth or a moisturizing, cream-based cleanser.) Use lukewarm water to keep irritation to a minimum and avoid harsh cleansers, even if your skin is oily. Strong detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate, soap, and alcohol strip the moisture barrier from the skin’s surface, leaving it vulnerable to irritation and damage. Always use a gentle touch and don’t rub too much.
It is only necessary to use a toner (or astringent) if you skin is oily and still feels sticky after cleansing. Alcohol-based toners will strip away all the oil on the surface, leaving your skin dry and irritated. This dryness will actually prompt your skin to make even more oil, so it’s a vicious cycle. If you wish to use a toner, select one for sensitive skin and use it sparingly.
While some companies would like you to believe that using a toner can change the size of your pores, this is not true. Pores can appear enlarged because of a buildup of dirt and oil, but using a toner will not immediately make them appear smaller. Proper cleansing and exfoliating will help keep your pores clear, thereby improving their appearance over time.
Moisturizing is an optional step for many people. If you have oily skin, you don’t need to add any additional moisture. You may decide to moisturize around your eyes however, but this is a matter of personal choice. Normal skin can benefit from an oil-free moisturizer that won’t clog the pores but again, this is up to personal preference. Dry skin sufferers need to moisturize often however, to soothe tightness and minimize lines. While no moisturizer can prevent wrinkles and lines, it can “plump up” the skin and make existing lines less noticeable. Some moisturizers contain light-diffusing ingredients that soften the appearance of lines and make them seem to disappear.