Rules can be an attractive thing. They provide structure and certainty in the ever-expanding world of skincare. If common adages for what, when, and how to use skincare work for you, that’s great! I’m not here to fix what isn’t broken.
That said, you’re not alone if you’ve ever felt frustrated by the overwhelming number of rules out there. Many of my clients struggle to separate the useful tips from the cacophony of marketing hype. They try to follow competing recommendations and wind up drowning in skincare products, half of which they’ve been told can’t be used at certain times of day or in conjunction with other particular products.
If the rules are stressing you out, you don’t have to follow them! I’m a firm believer in questioning the rules and even breaking them altogether. People are individuals, and their skin and priorities differ in countless ways. A single set of rules won’t work for everyone across such a diverse range of wants, needs, lifestyles, and budgets.
You may have been told at some point or another that you must use vitamin C, or you have to use a brightening product to address pigmentation issues, and that you should only apply chemical exfoliants at night. There are valid reasons to disregard every one of these so-called rules. Maybe your skin is like mine and reacts poorly to vitamin C. Maybe you have freckles that you love and you don’t see a need to “correct” that pigmentation. If that’s the case, then those specific rules don’t necessarily apply to you. And when it comes to regular use of exfoliants, your skin will be just as susceptible to photosensitivity if you apply them in the morning as it is when you use them at night. As long as you practice sun protection, feel free to use that AHA during the day!
You can break any skincare “rule” as long as you pay attention to how your skin responds and adjust accordingly. You can also set self-imposed rules based on your own skin needs and concerns. For example, you may decide that your rule is to double cleanse every night. This isn’t necessary for everyone, but may be in line with your individual goals—especially if you frequently wear makeup and your skin tolerates that much cleansing. Ultimately, it’s up to you.