I’ve always been a minimalist when it comes to my skincare routine. In fact, Otto’s serums and face oil were created to prove you really can use fewer ingredients and minimal steps to achieve healthy, glowing skin—maybe even your best skin yet.
However, since staying at home for the last couple of months, my skincare routine has been stripped down to extreme minimalism (aka, I’m being super lazy).
This got me thinking. What if I could only use one ingredient on my skin? What could I absolutely never go without? Better yet, what’s my biggest skin concern? For me, the answer is most definitely pigmentation and uneven skin tone. Therefore, I couldn’t live without Vitamin C (although, I think AHAs would be a close second for my occasional hormonal breakouts—bonus: they also help to reduce pigmentation issues!)
That being said, I figured others (like you!) might be experiencing the same feelings right about now, and wondering just how minimal you can get with your skincare routine. As we come out of social distancing in the coming weeks, it’s safe to say we’re far from “back to normal.” Many have lost their jobs and businesses have had to make big changes to reduce their personal spending. So, I broke down the top active ingredients you should be using according to your skin concern to help prioritize what your skin actually needs during this time!
The Issue: If you suffer from dehydration, your complexion is lacking serious hydration, or inadequate water retention. Dehydrated skin is often caused by lifestyle, weather and diet changes, causing your skin to appear dry, dull. Unfortunately, this tends to increase the prominence of fine lines and dark circles.
The Remedy: Meet your new BFF, Hyaluronic Acid! This little life-saver is extremely effective in replenishing dehydrated skin, simply because it improves water retention. The results? A dewy, plump, healthy complexion almost immediately after your first few uses!
Dry or Sensitive Skin
The Issue: This one’s a no-brainer. If you experience dry, sensitive skin, it means your complexion suffers a decreased moisture content—usually associated with a lack of oil production and a compromised skin barrier. In a nutshell, your face often appears dry, flaky and inflamed.
The Remedy: Turn to Ceramides! Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin barrier and retain moisture. While they’re produced naturally by the skin, dry skin is thought to be caused by a decrease or depletion of these natural ceramides. Therefore, adding ceramides back into your routine in the form of a moisturizer helps to replenish the ceramides in the skin and repair the skin’s barrier. (FYI, we love this ingredient so much, we dedicated an entire post to it!)
Dull or Aging Skin
The Issue: As your skin ages, it naturally becomes less elastic and more fragile. In addition, it decreases its natural production of oil, which can make your complexion appear drier and more wrinkled. Not to mention, your skin also decreases its ability to turn skin cells over more rapidly, causing it to appear dull. Yikes!
The Remedy: One word: Retinol! This fan favorite not only helps to exfoliate by turning skin cells over more rapidly—it also works at a deeper level to enhance collagen production, smooth skin and even pigmentation issues. Cue the happy dance!
Rosacea or Redness-Prone Skin
The Issue: Rosacea (pronounced roh-ZAY-sha) is an inflammatory skin condition that can vary in severity—from mild redness and flushing to visible blood vessels and red pimple-like breakouts. (Psst...sound familiar? We wrote all about it here.)
The Remedy: Niacinamide to the rescue! There are very few skin care ingredients that have been associated with words like “powerhouse,” “all-around ingredient” or “amazing multitasker.” But this tried-and-true ingredient is truly just that. Also known as Vitamin B3, Niacinamide can be helpful in stabilizing rosacea or redness-prone skin. That’s because it helps to decrease inflammation and increase natural ceramides in the skin which can strengthen the skin barrier and reduce sensitivity. It’s kind-of a big deal!
Uneven Complexion or Hyperpigmentation
The Issue: Hyperpigmentation, uneven complexion, dark spots, discoloration—whatever you call it, this skin issue is majorly annoying. To put it simply, the cause of irregular darkening of the skin is from an overproduction of melanin. Brown spots and an uneven skin tone can result from too much melanin being produced due to sun damage, hormonal changes or inflammatory damage to the skin from breakouts or eczema.
The Remedy: My personal favorite, Vitamin C! This super-potent antioxidant is packed full of skin benefits. For one, it aids in significantly reducing hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase, which helps to prevent melanin production. It also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Overall, it’s super brightening without altering the skin’s normal pigmentation. Hello, fabled glow!
The Issue: You know it oh-so-well: those stubborn acne breakouts caused by a fluctuation of hormones (lookin’ at you, Aunt Flow). Yep, these breakouts tend to follow a similar pattern with your menstrual cycle, with stubborn spots found around the chin and jawline area. Ugh.
The Remedy: Get your hands on some AHAs! Glycolic, Lactic and Fruit Acids help to decrease oil production, while also improving cell turnover (so skin cells don’t get trapped in the pore and cause breakouts). Choose your favorite—we highly recommend gentle, but effective Fruit Acids, but any of these work like a charm!
The Issue: This one’s for you, acne-sufferers. Acne-prone skin is a condition that occurs when your hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Breakouts typically occur in areas where the oil production is most prominent (think: your face, chest, upper back and shoulders).
The Remedy: Big thanks to BHAs for existing! Commonly known as Salicylic Acid, BHAs help to dissolve skin debris that clog pores. They also act as an anti-inflammatory and help inflamed pimples or pustules dissipate faster. See ya later, acne! We hardly knew you...
Even if you can’t give up two or three of these ingredients, hopefully this guide will help you choose multitasking products that contain the minimal number of ingredients your skin needs to stay healthy. Understanding what your skin *actually* needs for your particular skin concern helps to empower you with knowledge so you don’t waste time and money on products and ingredients that your skin simply doesn’t need. Now more than ever, Otto Skin Goods will help you use less (but better!) skincare. We’re all in this together, and we’re here to help give you the best skincare advice to help you achieve your best skin yet!