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This 4-Step Skincare Routine Is All You Need To Maintain Younger-Looking Skin
  • Since the dawn of the popular 10-step Korean skincare regimen, taking care of one’s skin was never quite the same. You probably grew up with your mom’s cold cream or your sister’s facial cleanser, too, but skincare then was definitely not the intensive K-Beauty regimen introduced to us in 2011.

    Suddenly, you needed oil-based and water-based cleansers, exfoliator, toner, essence, booster, serum, or ampoule. Then there are sheet masks, eye cream, moisturizer, and, finally, sunscreen. Of course, we all jumped at the chance to get fresh, flawless faces like Song Hye Kyo’s or Son Ye Jin’s. (Who wouldn’t?)

    After almost 10 years, though, an exciting shift in beauty is occuring as we see more and more women paring down their routines and going back to the basics. The goal has become to establish a baseline routine first, with an emphasis for the proper care of the stratum cornuem or, simply put, the skin barrier. It is the uppermost layer of our skin that protects from irritants and stressors — including, yes, using too many products.

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    Simple skincare routine for moms

    In a series of Facebook posts, board-certified Filipina dermatologist Dr. Erin Tababa of The Nerdy Derma breaks down the 10-step Korean skincare into four categories: cleansers, “actives” (products with active ingredients), moisturizers, and protectors. The rest (toners and exfoliators), she calls “fluff.” The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says the same, stating that there are only three or four essential steps for everyday skincare.

    Here, we discuss how these simple basics should work for you so you can cut the fat and do more with your very precious me time!

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    The first step in any recommended routine: cleansing — preferably with a gentle, non-abrasive, and alcohol-free formula as per the AAD.

    In addition, Sydney-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Natasha Cook says in an interview with Daily Mail Australia, “Cleansing in the morning is good to prepare for your application of your daily serums and skincare. In the evenings, it’s important to remove all of your makeup, sunscreen, and any environmental pollutants and damage, which may have built [up] throughout the day.”

    If you’re looking for a cleanser personally used by a dermatologist, Dr. Tababa thinks the Nivea Extra White Whip Foam (Php99 for 50ml, Watsons) is good for daily washing, as shared in one of her Twitter posts.


    While more extensive regimens have two or three more steps in between cleansing and treating, the AAD-recommended routine goes straight to applying medication or treatment.

    In Dr. Tababa’s categories, this would be the “actives” where your serum, ampoule, or essence fall under. “In general, an active is something that contains an active ingredient,” says SELF. Basically, ingredients that have been scientifically proven to alter your skin’s behavior like treating hyper-pigmentation or preventing acne. If you’re unfamiliar with how a particular product in this category will work for you, it’s still best to consult a dermatologist to be sure.

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    Next in the routine is moisturizing. “Wherever you are, moisturizers are needed,” shares Dr. Winlove Mojica, a Clinical Associate Professor for Dermatology in the Philippine General Hospital in his Twitter account, @theskinsensei. “You might need less or more depending on the situation, skin condition, and the body part in question.”

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    While it’s easy to conclude that moisturizers cause oiliness and breakouts, what it really does is lock in much-needed water in your skin. The AAD even recommends it for acne-prone skin. Of course, there are specific formulas that work for different skin types—do yourself a favor and find out what yours is!

    For an affordable yet effective product, Dr. Tababa swears by the Celeteque Dermoscience Hydration Facial Moisturizer (PHP250 for 100ml, BeautyMNL), according to her Twitter. “Peksman, twice, thrice a day mo [man] gamitin, hindi ka magmamantika kasi water-based,” she says.


    Lastly, the most important part, protecting your skin with sunscreen. “I usually follow the minimum amount because the Philippines is humid, but you can never over-protect especially for lighter skin,” Dr. Tababa shares in one of her Facebook posts. To get the recommended minimum amount, line your pointer finger to at least 2.5 fingertip units. She cites Jude Chao, a digital marketing director for a skincare brand, who uses Missha All Around Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel (P789 for 50ml, Lazada).

    Dr. Mojica agrees, saying, “Don’t forget to put your sunscreen to prevent sun spots and accelerated aging!”

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