Busy days, late nights, stress, too much sun and pollution. These are just some of the culprits that give your skin a daily beating.

And yet, while some of these factors are unavoidable, you can prevent your skin from looking drab, lacklustre and showing signs of premature ageing. All you need is a good skincare routine.

Tip 1: Always cleanse

Cleansing your skin is non-negotiable in terms of skin hygiene. A good cleanser removes dirt and bacteria, and clears away make-up, other fat-soluble particles and excess oils. It also ensures that your other skin products can do their job properly, allowing them to penetrate deeply.

Your face and neck should be cleansed first thing in the morning and before you go to bed in the evening. Always use mild or natural soaps suited to your skin type – harsh soaps can cause breakouts and, in some people, acne. Also never over-wash – it will strip your skin of its natural, protective oils. And use lukewarm water.

Tip 2: Moisturise twice a day

A good moisturiser smooths and hydrates the skin by locking in moisture and providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Your skin needs to be moisturised twice a day – in the morning and before bedtime.

A good moisturiser should contain glycerine, hyaluronic acid and dimethicone. Choose a light moisturiser if you don’t have dry skin, and consider using both a day and a night cream. It might be worth using a heavier formula in winter, when your skin might be drier, and a lighter, oil-free moisturiser during summer.

Note that over-moisturising can create clogged pores and lead to blackheads and breakouts, so don’t over-do things.

Tip 3: Tone, but only if it really works for you

Toning isn’t strictly necessary, but a good toner can remove any last bits of make-up and excess oil.

Choose a toner that’s free of alcohol and see how your skin reacts to it. Stop using the toner if it seems to dry out your skin. And, if your budget is tight, rather spend your money on a good cleanser and moisturiser.

Tip 4: Repair your skin, if necessary

If your skin looks drab and lacklustre, it might be time to give it a bit of extra attention. Apart from exfoliating regularly, ask your dermatologist or beauty-counter assistant about products specifically aimed at repairing the skin. A good solution might come in the form of a serum or mask.

For an instant lift, use products that contain antioxidants and dimethylethanolamine (DMAE). For red or irritated skin, use a product that contains a vitamin C ester.

Tip 5: Prevent sun damage and premature ageing

A good, nourishing, antioxidant-rich sunscreen is your best defence against the sun’s harmful rays.

Make sunscreen part of your daily skin routine (unfortunately, make-up with an SPF factor doesn’t provide enough protection) and wear a hat for extra protection on sunny days.

Choose a product with an SPF of 30 or higher and don’t ever skip it – not even in winter.

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