In a fantasy world, we’d all choose to have flawless skin, right? Heck, even creating a simple skincare routine around *one* skin issue would be a dream come true! But let’s face it, most of us struggle with more than one skin issue from time to time—whether acne, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, uneven tone, or sun damage. Big bummer.
The good news? Most of the active ingredients used to treat your common skin concerns work well together. In fact, many of them often help each other work even better! Translation? Even if you struggle with more than one skin issue, you can still discover a minimal and effective skincare routine that fits all your needs, without compromising your time.
The key is to pinpoint your main skin conditions, decipher which active ingredients you need, then figure out how to combine them in a manageable way to get results. Sounds complicated? Have no fear! It’s actually pretty easy—and we’ll help you get there.
Oh, and FYI: Struggling with more than one skin issue doesn’t mean you need to overload on products and ingredients. Let’s be concise! “Less, but better” is always the best approach to skincare, and we’ll show you how. So, let’s get started!
Step 1: Identify all of your skin issues.
This is the easy part. Start by writing down your skin issues from most concerning to least concerning. Get specific! Are you dealing with dehydration or dullness? Hyperpigmentation or sun damage? Acne and breakouts? If you feel that a couple are tied on your list, don’t worry about that for now. Just do your best!
Step 2: Make a list of active ingredients.
Next, identify all of the active ingredients you should be incorporating into your skincare routine. This will help you shop for the right products. Hopefully, there will be some overlapping. For example, if you suffer from hyperpigmentation and an aging complexion, Vitamin C helps to brighten and even the skin tone, while also stimulating collagen production. It’s a win-win!
Need some help? We’ve got you covered. Below is a quick cheat sheet to help you figure out which ingredients help to improve certain skin issues.
- Dehydration/Dullness: Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides
- Hyperpigmentation/Uneven Tone/Sun Damage: AHAs, Vitamin C, Niacinamide
- Breakouts: BHAs/AHAs, Niacinamide
- Redness/Sensitized: Niacinamide, Ceramides
- Aged: Retinol, Vitamin C, AHAs
Step 3: Figure out your daily + nightly routine.
Okay, so you identified your skin concerns, determined which active ingredients you needed most, and have the car revving to go shopping for some new skincare products. Now what? Do you just buy whatever you see in the store, slather these on willy-nilly and call it a day?
Hold it right there! Before you move any further, the key to creating a simple routine is knowing which time of day you should be using these active ingredients. Generally speaking, active ingredients can be categorized into morning usage and nightly usage:
- Morning: Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C
- Night: Niacinamide, AHAs, BHAs, Retinol
Quick Tip: Niacinamide and Vitamin C *can* be used morning and night, if needed. If you struggle with pigmentation, redness, and occasional breakouts, you may want to incorporate these two powerhouse ingredients twice per day. However, we strongly advise starting off with these ingredients once a day, then increase later, if necessary.
Step 4: Find the right products.
Now for the fun part: shopping! The next step is finding the right products that incorporate your active ingredients in a seamless fashion. We love serums because they’re lightweight, but usually contain higher amounts of powerful active ingredients. Another win-win! Here at Otto, our Go-Getter and Multitasker serums combine the right active ingredients for the right time of day and are boosted with gentle, effective plant-based extracts.
The Go-Getter Day Serum: Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C + Plant-Based Antioxidants
Don’t let this lightweight gel fool you—our ultra-hydrating, Go-Getter Day Serum packs a powerful punch against pigmented, dehydrated, dull, and aged skin. This water-gel serum contains pure, vegan hyaluronic acid, which hydrates and plumps up the look of the skin. Combined with visibly firming Tripeptide-5 and a potent blend of antioxidants including Kakadu Plum, Watermelon and energizing Ginseng, think of this as your partner-in-crime in fighting the elements. Use daily for dewy, soft skin that’s ready to take on anything.
Add a cleanser that contains Ceramides, and it’s the perfect routine for the skin issues above. You can also add The Fresh Start Face Oil with 20% Vitamin C at night to achieve even better results (but we’ll get to that later).
The Multitasker Night Serum: Niacinamide + Fruit AHAs + Gluconolactone
Hit the reset button on dull, tired skin. Using a luminous, water-gel texture, this powerful, yet gentle serum is great for hyperpigmentation, redness, breakouts and aging skin. Here’s how it works: our rejuvenating blend of fruit acids exfoliate away dull skin, while Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) calms and revitalizes your complexion. It also goes hand-in-hand with The Go-Getter Day serum without overlapping any active ingredients for those that also deal with dehydrated skin.
If you struggle with breakouts, be sure to consider adding a cleanser with BHAs (salicylic acid) once daily. If your skin is oily or acne prone, adding a retinol product after The Multitasker is also beneficial. Retinol combined with AHAs can increase irritation, so start with retinol after using an AHA serum 2-3 times a week, then increase to nightly as tolerated. You may also want to alternate a retinol product with a Vitamin C oil (like The Fresh Start) every other night to reduce the risk of irritation. Using AHAs before Vitamin C has shown to help it work even better!
The Fresh Start Face Oil: Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C)
Hyperpigmentation and aging are two of the most common skin concerns. If you struggle with these, in addition to any other issues, you might want to add The Fresh Start Face Oil to your routine. It contains 20% THA which is an extremely stable, oil-soluble form of Vitamin C that can be used after The Go-Getter Day Serum and The Multitasker Night Serum.
Quick Tips: The main thing to consider when combining active ingredients is irritation. Combining exfoliating acids like BAHs/AHAs with retinol or Vitamin C can be irritating and increase sensitivity, so be cautious and go slow. Vitamin C is less irritating than retinol, so you may want to alternate them after using an AHA serum nightly. It’s also extremely important to use AHAs and retinol at night and use sunscreen daily. Adding a daily moisturizer with Ceramides can also help reduce irritation and maintain your skin barrier.
Holy cow! We covered a lot today. If you’re struggling with multiple skin issues, it’s easy to feel it’s nearly impossible to simplify your routine—but that doesn’t need to be the case! All it takes is knowing which ingredients are the most effective for your skin conditions. Most of the time, many of these ingredients work double-duty to tackle more than one common skin woe. We hope we made this part a little easier for you! In the meantime, have any questions? Leave a comment below!