This Is the Bare-Minimum Skincare Routine You Should Be Doing Every Day, According to Pros

Because most of us only have time for a simple skincare regimen.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

With the beauty aisles basically overflowing with supposed "must-haves," deciphering a skincare routine is harder than ever. Packed shelves and too-good-to-be-true claims often make beauty and skincare shopping more confusing than helpful.

Caring for your skin is necessary for both your overall health and diminishing signs of aging, but with so many new products and wild beauty trends popping up everywhere, finding a simple skincare routine, let alone sticking to it, seems near impossible.

Even if you're committed to keeping your skincare rituals simple to streamline your weekday routine—like quick and easy work hairstyles— there are still a few rules to follow. We spoke to a few experts to figure out exactly what you need to do—at the very least—to take care of your skin.

Use a gentle daily cleanser

Girl Cleansing her Face
Getty Images

From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, your skin takes a major beating. Exposure to harmful UV rays, pollution, and grime from routine activity both damage and age the skin.

"Wash your face before your go to bed. You must get the day's grime off your face to help your skin repair itself and prep for another day while you sleep," says Heather Rogers, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Modern Dermatology and Doctor Rogers RESTORE Skin Care. Although, removing makeup properly before washing your face is just as important. Using diluted apple vinegar cider can also help kill bacteria and yeast on the skin related to conditions like acne and eczema. In fact, apple cider vinegar is one of the best ways to treat hormonal acne naturally. And, cleansing your skin will also help remove any excess oils on your face which can help keep your bangs from separating.

RELATED: The 10 Best Face Washes for Acne-Prone Skin of 2023

Always wear sunscreen

Girl applying sunscreen on face
Getty Images

UV damage affects skin all year round, not just in the summer. Wearing an SPF is necessary when it comes to your skincare routine. Not a moisturizer with SPF or a foundation that includes SPF—apply an actual sunscreen product.

"The sun is responsible for 90 percent of skin's aging, so SPF (between SPF 30 and SPF 50) is the best anti-aging product money can buy," says Alex Serron, skin therapist at Heyday. "It must be worn every day, no matter the season or if you're going to be inside. Don't forget that UVA rays, which cause skin aging, can penetrate windows."

Shereene Idriss, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Idriss Dermatology, understands the confusing nature of the beauty world. "A plethora of skincare products can definitely appear intimidating, but just remember that the basics are the most vital when it comes to good skin, like a strong sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. You're fooling yourself if you think the SPF 15 in your foundation is enough," Dr. Idriss says.

RELATED: The 12 Best Face Sunscreens of 2023

Moisturize twice a day

Girl Applying Moisturizer
Getty Images

Your skin loses hydration throughout the day, hydration that keeps your skin plump and youthful. Apply moisturizer twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. "This routine makes sure you're cleaning your skin, aiding in moving along your skin cells' life cycle for healthier skin, hydrating, and, most importantly, protecting it," Serron says.

Exfoliate occasionally, not every day

Girl Exfoliating Her Skin
Getty Images

After a while, leftover gunk and grime can build up on your skin. Exfoliating frees your skin from dead skin buildup that can cause irritation, dullness, and acne—this also applies scalp exfoliation. While you shouldn't exfoliate every single day, make it a part of your skincare routine a few times a week.

"Once you're comfortable with your basic skin routine, I would recommend exfoliating a few times a week with a chemical exfoliant as it speeds up the removal of superficial dead skin cells, allowing active ingredients in your other skincare products to penetrate better, ultimately leading to healthier, smoother looking skin," says Dr. Idriss.

Add an anti-aging product

girl applying anti-aging product
Getty Images

Adding the first three steps here is necessary for establishing and maintaining healthy skin. However, optimize even the simplest skincare routine, and include an anti-aging product to help prevent wear and tear generated by environmental aggressors. There are many effective anti-aging ingredients that are good for your skin to choose from.

"Retinol (a less potent, over-the-counter version of a retinoid) is a star ingredient as it's one of those rare ingredients that can get deep into your dermis to stimulate collagen production right at the source," Dr. Idriss explains. "Over time, it's been scientifically proven to help even out texture, fine lines, wrinkles, and pore size."

Don't overthink it

Smiling woman holding a product
Getty images

Don't let yourself get stressed out by all the beauty noise. The basics of good skincare remain the same. Plus, once you're comfortable in your current routine, you can always add something new.

One great way to get started? "Focus on finding a face wash you like, and use it every night," Dr. Rogers says. "This simple step is the most important because it helps you to build an evening ritual of self care that will allow you to do more for your skin when you're ready." Beyond a daily skincare routine getting sufficient, good-quality rest can keep puffy eyes and dark undereye circles— signs of sleep deprivation—at bay. Also, since one of the effects of drinking too much alcohol is skin dehydration, it's best to consume alcohol in moderation.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles