You don’t need to go through twenty steps and several hours of work to achieve your skin’s best state. In fact, the absolute essential morning skin care routine only requires four steps! This step-by-step routine is done in order and should apply to those with any kind of skin type:

1.) Cleanser

Take a gentle cleanser that is preferably water-soluble in order to effectively but safely remove oil, makeup and dirt. Just rinsing your face with water is never enough to get rid of the debris on your face. With a clean face, other skin care products will work much better on your skin, no matter what time of day, and you’ll be ready to reap the maximum benefits from the next steps in your routine.

2.) Toner

Stopping after the cleansing step can strip your skin and leave it dry and dehydrated. Toners immediately hydrate and replenish the skin after cleansing and it also works to reduce patches of dry skin and redness. It helps to calm the skin and leave it smooth and soft. Toners contain important ingredients that repair the skin so don’t forget this step!

3.) Exfoliant

The frequency of this step depends on your skin’s condition. While some exfoliate once or twice a day, other people with more sensitive skin exfoliate every other day or even once a week. Exfoliants remove dead skin cells that have built up and this step reveals new, brighter skin. AHA exfoliants work on the skin’s surface while BHA products take care of both the surface and the inside of the pores.

When our skin is exposed to the sun, it can become thicker over time. With oil and acne, the build up increases and irritates your skin further. Exoliating removes these layers and takes care of those pesky clogged pores, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and dullness.

4.) Moisturizer with Sunscreen or Targeted Treatment

After exfoliating, those who have acne should use a product that contains benzoyl peroxide but also provides moisture, such as Repiderm. This targeted treatment gets rid of bacteria that causes acne and reduces redness. Several studies have confirmed that treating acne with benzoyl peroxide is one of the most effective ways to attain clear skin.

Moisturizing the skin and protecting it from sun damage is the final step in your morning routine. The bare minimum rating of your sunscreen should be SPF 25 and it should provide broad-spectrum protection. Sun damage and exposure is the main cause of aging signs, such as darkened spots and wrinkles. Protecting your skin from the sun helps it to create healthier skin cells and it is an essential step to achieving and mainting young and radiant skin!