Apothecary Marián García.

At the pharmacy when I ask women about their daily facial skin care routine, the reactions are tragi-comical: some of them adopt a poker face, others look at the ceiling and most of them look me straight in the eye and say: Look Marián, the thing is, I don’t have time for that sort of thing.

I don’t want to tell you what happens if I ask a man the same question… It’s best if we leave that for another day.

I’m well aware of how difficult it is to introduce new routines into the intensely busy lives we all lead nowadays. We live very much in the here and now, where everything is instant, in a flash… But although these suggestive words may captivate us, the truth is our skin needs a daily care routine. We still don’t realise that the things we don’t do today will have an effect tomorrow and we won’t be able to make up for lost time.

When is the best time for your skin care routine?

Choosing the best moment of the day depends on your own personal habits, but I’m sure many people are like me: after a long day we often slump exhausted in front of the TV or finishing some work on the computer. When we manage to half open our eyes on the sofa at midnight all we can think about is giving our teeth a quick once over with the brush and then collapsing into bed. Does any of that sound familiar to you?

If this is true in your case, my advice is to establish your routine a bit earlier. Perhaps after finishing your evening meal, before you sit down to watch a film or read a while. That way you can relax when you’ve finished all your tasks and you’re more likely to stick to the routine.

Why is facial cleansing important?

The key to your night-time routine lies in facial cleansing. Often when I tell my children to wash their face they reply: But mum, my face is already clean! As far as they are concerned if there are no tomato sauce marks or mud like warpaint on their face, they think they are as clean as a whistle.

The truth is, many of us think the same: fortunately or unfortunately, most of the dirt on our skin is invisible and when we look in the mirror we don’t see any need to wash our face. However, the dirt is there and it comes from different places:
- Internal: due to the sweat and grease produced in the sebaceous glands.
- External: due to contamination, to dust particles that stick to your skin throughout the day, makeup (our own and other people’s because some “kisses” leave their mark…), etc.

If we don’t remove all this invisible layer of dirt obstructing our pores before we go to bed, our skin can’t breathe properly. And if instead of removing the dirt we apply a cream on top of it, we may be creating a significant blockage.

What facial cleanser is recommended for combination skin?

Although traditionally makeup remover milks were the most popular cleansing products, for combination skin it is better to use a foam or gel every day (without soap, that respects the skin’s pH balance) combined with micellar water. Yes, I said combined with, because they are not exclusive products.

Micellar water is a useful and convenient product that has deservedly earned its place in daily skin care routines. However, we need to use it along with products that guarantee deep cleansing to prevent the appearance of acne and comedones. It is important to take care when cleaning the so-called “T-zone” (forehead, nose and chin) where sebum production may be greater.

Once a week it is advisable to complement the cleansing with exfolient or chemical peeling products that stimulate cell restoral. For combination skin, after exfoliating or using the peeling product a sebum-regulating mask with a mattifying effect can be applied to reduce shine.

After cleansing… moisturise

After completing your daily cleansing routine, you should finish the job off by moisturising your skin. For combination skin some textures like serum and gel-cream are especially useful. Their composition should find the balance between restoring the skin’s barrier without stimulating sebum production, therefore oil-free products can be very useful.

As well as the essential moisturising product, night-time is the ideal time to apply intensive treatment with retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, etc. Remember that any treatment should always be chosen specifically for your skin and your pharmacist is the ideal person to help you create your own personalised beauty routine.