Philippine Dermatological Society

A Guide to Basic Skin Care Routine

Author: Dr. Aenelle B.Dizon FPDS

Caring for one’s skin is all about taking care of one’s self. It is not considered an indulgence but more of a necessity. The main goal of having a skin care routine is to maintain the skin’s function at its best, with no irritation or any signs of skin disease.

Before starting a skin care routine, it is important to identify and understand one’s skin type. This will help in one’s choice of products to use.

As dermatologists we agree that more is not always better and a basic skin care routine is as easy as a three-step procedure of cleansing, moisturizing and protecting.


Washing the face is the most basic and essential step in any routine. Our skin is constantly exposed to pollutants, dirt, oil, make up and all of these should be gently removed. Washing the face two times a day (morning and night) is basic. Finding the right cleanser with the right formula is important. A product that is fragrance free, gentle and cleanses without stripping the essential moisture of the skin is ideal for everyday cleansing according to skin type. Here is a simple guide:

  • NORMAL skin – Soap free cleanser or a micellar water is suitable for most people with normal skin
  • OILY or Acne prone skin– Look for a foaming liquid with no added emollients and one which can decrease sebum from the skin
  • DRY skin – Look for cream cleansers that are formulated with emollients to help hydrate the skin


Moisturizing the skin is an important step in a skin care routine. A moisturizer traps water in the skin and is best applied to damp skin at least 2 x daily. They can also complement the naturally protective oils within the skin. It is recommended to moisturize one’s skin regardless of skin type because the skin naturally loses its ability to retain moisture especially as we age. Or as we engage in daily activities such as washing the face frequently can strip off the natural moisture from the surface.

Here is a guide on how to choose a moisturizer according to skin type:

  • For OILY Skin – Choose a gel moisturizer, it is usually water-based, lightweight, and has quick absorption.
  • For DRY Skin – a cream moisturizer is ideal
  • For NORMAL Skin – Lotion form is the classic moisturizer level which absorbs well


Protecting the skin with sunscreen is a crucial part of a skin care routine. Daily and consistent use of sunscreen helps to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and certain skin cancers. In choosing the ideal sunscreen look for a product that is broad spectrum which means it can provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays and with little risk of irritation or health concerns. It is recommended to use sunscreen with a minimum spectrum SPF of at least 30.

Sunscreen application 101

Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and re apply at least every two hours. Make sure to apply enough sunscreen to appropriately cover the entire face and exposed areas of the body.

Besides the basic steps of cleansing, moisturizing and protecting additional extra steps can be done as needed. These are products which one can add to the basic skin care routine mentioned above. These can be in the form of toners, serum, exfoliants, or masks to target a more specific skin concern. A general rule of thumb is to apply the products with thinner consistency underneath the thicker ones. Face masks can be used periodically not more than once or twice per week.

As you choose products for your skin care routine, stick to key, important active ingredients and avoid experimenting too much, be consistent and wait for the skin products to work on the skin by maintaining for at least 2-3 months. Except if it causes allergic or adverse reaction, then it is warranted to stop the product right away.

Consistency or doing the skin care routine regularly is key to having good, well-maintained skin.