The skin is our body’s largest organ, so it goes without saying that it needs to be well looked after. That’s why investing in a solid skincare routine is essential, but it doesn’t have to be a complex daily operation that involves all manner of lotions and potions. You can take good care of your skin year-round without having to spend the earth cramming your bathroom cabinet with expensive skincare products.
With that in mind, then, what are the best skincare products to invest in? Which daily essentials can you simply not live without? Which products should you be prioritising if you’re on a budget?
Here’s our list of the essential skincare investments you should be making right now.
Even in the winter when the sun seldom makes an appearance, applying sunscreen should be an essential part of your daily skincare routine. That’s because there are two types of UV rays (UVA and UVB) and while the latter are more potent during the summer months, UVA rays are present all year round — and they can even penetrate thick wintry clouds, potentially damaging the skin even in chillier temperatures.
Why invest in a good sunscreen? Because it’ll keep your skin looking healthy year-round while preventing premature ageing. What’s more, sunscreens often have added skincare benefits (which can reduce the overall number of products you need to buy), and you can usually pick up a good quality sun cream for under £10.
If you suffer from a specific skincare condition, investing in a treatment (or a combination of treatments) to reduce and alleviate your symptoms is a no-brainer. If your skin condition is severe, a doctor may prescribe you a stronger treatment, but for mild to moderate symptoms you can usually find a suitable over-the-counter medication. For example:
- If you suffer from eczema (a condition in which the skin becomes dry, cracked, itchy and sore), there are a range of emollient creams, lotions or shampoos (if your eczema affects the scalp) you can use.
- If you regularly have breakouts of acne (the causes of acne in adults are often hormonal, genetic, or related to medication you’re taking), you can reduce the appearance of spots using a cleanser or a medicated facial wash.
You can’t put a price on your skin’s health, so investing in a skincare treatment if you suffer from a skin-related condition is essential (a pharmacist will be able to recommend an effective yet budget-friendly solution). Leaving a condition untreated is rarely an option, since this is only likely to make the situation worse — possibly leading to long-term skin problems.
When it comes to your skincare routine, moisturiser should be one of your primary investments. Why? Because moisturiser not only helps your skin feel hydrated and refreshed, but it can reduce the possibility of developing long-term skin problems and keep your skin looking young and wrinkle-free for longer. There’s no need to shell out for a fancy branded moisturiser, either, as plenty of generic high street brands are just as effective.
We all have different types of skin — some of us have oily skin, some dry, and many a combination of both — so choosing the right moisturiser for your skin type is important. Here are a few pointers on what to look out for:
- For oily skin, you’ll obviously want to avoid oil-based moisturisers and instead use something water-based like a gel. Oil-free, lightweight moisturisers are also great for acne-prone skin.
- For dry skin, opt for a cream rather than a gel. A moisturising cream is a little thicker and takes longer to dry, while its ingredients (called humectants) help to draw in and retain moisture.
- For combination skin, use what feels best for you: if your skin’s a little on the dry side, use a thick cream moisturiser; if it’s slightly oily, use a water-based gel.
- Alternatively, if you have particularly sensitive skin, you should avoid fragranced moisturisers that contain parabens or irritants.
Why should an eye cream be an essential part of a daily skincare routine? Well, they perform a different role than face creams — they’re formulated specifically for the delicate eye area — and therefore you’ll want to apply an eye cream in addition to your preferred face cream. Because the skin around the eyes is thinner, it’s more susceptible to lines and wrinkles — which is often one of the first signs of premature ageing.
A good eye cream will even out your skin tone, reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes, and strengthen and protect the under-eye area. Prices range from budget to bank-busting — the most premium products will set you back an eye-watering amount — but you can find many good quality eye creams for £10 or less.
A crucial part of any skincare routine is properly removing makeup at the end of the day — a cleanser is essential for this, as it’ll also remove dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other pollutants along with it, helping to keep the pores clear and preventing breakouts. Cleansers are also much gentler than traditional soaps, which can disrupt the skin’s natural barrier and cause pH imbalances.
Gel cleansers tend to have deep-cleaning, exfoliating properties, while cream cleansers are better at moisturising and are suited to dry or sensitive skin. Foam cleansers are more lightweight, but great at removing excess oil from the skin. Whichever type of cleanser works for you, it’s a necessary — and typically inexpensive — addition to your skincare product collection.
There are a range of additional products you can incorporate into your skincare routine, of course — such as toners, exfoliators, and anti-ageing creams — but the five above are the most essential investments you can make for your skin without having to spend too much. Review your skincare routine today and ensure you’re investing in the right types of products.