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5 Things to Know Before Using a New Skincare Product

It’s always exciting to start something new, whether it’s a new job or a new hobby, but it’s also just as fun when it’s a new skincare product! With more time on our hands due to the global crisis, we have time to take good care of our skin and try out new products.

You’re most likely tempted to try something new for yourself. We’re all for trying a new product, but since this is your precious skin we’re talking about, it’s best to be cautious. We have some tips here to help you introduce a new skincare product in your routine – from choosing the right one to introducing it correctly, we have everything covered for you to make an informed decision.

1. Know Your Skin Type

First and foremost, before you even start looking for a new product, know your skin type. This is one of the most critical steps in choosing a skincare product, and we can’t emphasize its significance enough. There are generally four broad categories of skin types – dry, oily, combination, and normal. Most of us have skin in either of these categories or somewhere in between them.

* Normal Skin - It’s the ideal skin type, with adequate moisture and no major skin issues.
* Dry Skin - It feels tight and is more prone to fine lines and flakiness.
* Oily Skin - It has a greasier appearance and is more prone to breakouts.
* Combination Skin - It has dry or normal skin on the cheeks and an oily T-zone, which is the forehead, nose, and chin.
* Sensitive Skin - It reacts easily to products with redness, irritation, or breakouts.

Read more about your skin type here.

2. Read the Ingredient List

Once you have identified your skin type, consider your major skin issues. You need to choose a product that fits your skin type and will solve your skin problems without causing adverse reactions.

For dry skin, use products with antioxidants, glycerine, hyaluronic acid, olive oil, or colloidal oatmeal, which provides intense hydration and restores the moisture barrier of the skin. Oily skin will do well with salicylic acid, which helps fight acne. Sensitive skin types should opt for products with Vitamin C, which can soothe and heal irritated skin.

If you’re looking for products that target spot treatment, look for ingredients like tea tree oil, neem oil, niacinamide, and azelaic acid. For anti-aging products, go for peptides, Vitamin C, and retinol. Opt for non-comedogenic products which won’t clog pores, and stay away from products with ‘fragrance’ as an ingredient.

While reading the ingredient list, look at the active ingredients. Remember that products that stay on longer, like moisturizers and serums have a greater chance to cause reactions compared to products that are washed off, like cleansers and scrubs.

3. Do a Patch Test

Once you’re done researching and picked your product, be sure to do a patch test first. Many people miss this step, and most people don’t have an issue, but it’s absolutely essential for those with sensitive skin or with specific skin conditions like eczema. Reading reviews and labels will not guarantee how the product will perform on your skin – only a patch test can tell you that.

Apply a small amount of the product on an area that’s not prominent, but in an area, that’s still visible. Start with the inner elbow and wait for 24 hours to check for a reaction. If everything seems fine, do a patch test on the area behind your ear and wait for 24 hours. If the product clears this test, it’s safe to apply on your face.

Remember that when testing products with ingredients like Vitamin C, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or AHAs, you may experience a slight tingling sensation, and the area may seem a little pink, but this is normal and should subside in about 15 minutes.

In case you do develop any kind of reaction, like redness, irritation, itching, or rash, stop using the product immediately. Apply cold milk or yogurt to the affected area and leave on for 15 minutes. If it doesn’t go away in a few hours, consult your doctor.

4. Apply in the Right Order

If you already have a steady skincare routine going for you and you are introducing a new product into it, make sure you’re inserting it in the right order of application. A basic rule of thumb is to apply products in the thinnest to thickest order, to ensure every product is effectively absorbed.

The general order to follow is this: cleanser; toner; serum; eye cream; spot treatment; moisturizer; sunscreen. If you intend on using a product that doesn’t fit these categories, follow the instructions on the pack carefully. You can also try getting multitasking products so you can eliminate a step or two. For instance, a moisturizer with SPF will do away with the sunscreen.

Always wait for the first product to dry before moving on to the next product to prevent everything from becoming one sticky mess. Be careful about the ingredients you are combining in your skincare routine – some don’t go well together. For instance, AHAs and retinol, Vitamin C, and retinoids are bad combinations. You can use these at different times of the day than in the same routine, like vitamins in the day and retinol at night.

5. Introduce Gradually

Starting a new product is exciting, but it’s important to curb your enthusiasm and introduce the new product slowly into your skincare routine. Even if you have patch tested the product, it’s recommended to use the new product once in five days in the initial phase.

Avoid introducing more than one new product into your routine at the same time. If you do have a reaction, it will be difficult to identify which one is causing it. Too many new active ingredients at once can be overwhelming for your skin too. So, start with one product, give it two weeks to work, and if all is well, introduce the next product.

Another thing worth remembering is that you shouldn’t introduce a new skincare product right before any major event, like a wedding or a festival. Leave a buffer time of at least a month before the event, so that your skin has enough time to recover in the off chance that something goes wrong.

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