Skin Care 101: A Basic Guide to Skincare Products

The traditional skincare method dates back to the Shang dynasty, when people used a specific type of mushrooms to make their skin lighter. Over time, people learned how to manufacture cosmetic products from such ingredients, making their skin appear brighter and clearer.

This means that the concept of doing skin care isn’t exactly new, and the popularity of skincare brands like Olay, Ponds, or Clinique in the mid-1900s is a testament to that. However, it wasn’t until the skincare trend resurfaced in this decade that influencers and self-made gurus popularized their own skincare routines.

The skincare hype took the world by storm, especially now that online shopping made it so easy for consumers to buy products that aren’t available in their local drugstores. E-commerce platforms are home to an abundance of skincare products that people have difficulties choosing which ones to use.

But cleansers, toners, and moisturizers — these are already the usual products that people use when they start building their skincare regimens. These products are easy enough to understand because they aren’t as complex; at least they are when compared to other skincare products like serums or spot treatments.

Having a good understanding of the skincare products you’re using is important because the wrong ones can permanently damage your skin. And you can’t just take people’s reviews or recommendations about products online without doing your homework. So, to help you get started, here are some of the most common skincare products that can be confusing to beginners:


When you’re trying to treat a skin problem, such as dry skin, that’s when you use a serum. This is because serums are super-concentrated and nutrient-dense, which means they can help you address specific concerns. But unlike spot treatments, serums are usually applied to the entire face.

For instance, if you feel like your skin is losing moisture because you’re constantly exposed to extreme weather conditions, then a deep-hydrating serum will be perfect for you. Most serums are full of vitamins and natural ingredients that can help your skin retain moisture and look healthier.

And since the vitamins inside the serum need to be as close to your skin as possible, it’s recommended to be used after washing your face and applying toner. Knowing the correct order of skincare products that you should use is crucial to maximizing the effects that you’ll get from doing your routine.


It’s easy to confuse hydrators with moisturizers because they both make sure that your skin is getting the water it needs. However, they work in different ways. Moisturizers, which most people in their routines typically use, are made to trap and seal moisture in the skin to create a protective barrier.

On the other hand, hydrators infuse the skin cells with water, improving the skin’s ability to absorb nutrients and moisture. So, while these skincare products can both successfully fight dryness, skin dehydration, premature signs of aging, and environmental damage, their approach is different.

Spot Treatment

spot cream

Like serums, spot treatments are filled with active ingredients that can solve specific problem areas. But since spot treatments are super-concentrated and can dry out the skin, you must only apply the treatment to the spots that need it, hence the name of the product.

Spot treatments are usually used to address skin problems like acne, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, dark spots, and fine lines. These formulas use active ingredients like retinoids to reduce wrinkles, topical steroids to treat skin allergies, and salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to help manage acne.


Most people grow up thinking that sunscreen is only to be used when going to the beach or swimming in the pool, but actually, this skincare product should be used every day. This is because sunscreens can protect the skin from UV damage, developing sunspots, and getting skin cancer.

Sunscreens are often greasy and can clog the pores, which is why it’s typically recommended to be the last skincare product that you apply before you head out during the day. If you’re not fond of the sticky sensation, you can also opt to use moisturizers with SPF so you can skip the sunscreen altogether.

Taking care of your skin can look easy enough, but with all the different brands and ingredients available in the market, these products can confuse even the professionals. Add to that the fact that each skincare product is designed to address a specific problem area, but the efficacy is on a case-to-case basis.

There can be times when learning about skin care can make you feel like a scientist, especially once you begin to understand how the active ingredients differ from one another. It may seem like a lot of work, but doing skin care is worthwhile if it means achieving your best skin yet.

Scroll to Top