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How Often to Exfoliate, Use Retinol, Apply a Facial Peel, and More

A skincare to-do list can feel overwhelming, especially for those types that enjoy dipping their toes into all sorts of serums and creams. Most of us have a daily routine down pat, but what about those weekly, monthly, and even yearly check-ins and treatments that we know we should be doing at some point, but just don’t know when or how often? Enter: our handy skincare calendar. Whether you screenshot it, bookmark it, or set reminders on your phone—this is your guide to how often you should be doing these skincare practices.


Wash Your Face 
Yes, everyday. Leftover makeup, dirt, and bacteria clog pores and cause  breakouts, premature aging, and more. We love a good double cleanse but if you don't have time for that, a few swipes of Baby Cheeks Hydrating Milk will do the trick. 
Apply Sunscreen
Sunscreen isn't just for summer—you should be wearing some sort of SPF everyday (we recommend our Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen which also protects against environmental and electronic pollution). The sun's UV rays can cause damage to your skin year-round, leading to cancer and premature aging. 



Fun fact: Our skin sheds about 500 million cells per day. Unless we exfoliate on a regular basis, those dead cells build up on the outer layer of our skin pretty quickly. As a rule of thumb, aim to exfoliate 2-3 times per week unless you have dry or sensitive skin. If that’s the case, start with just one weekly exfoliation and take it from there. Our Day Maker Microcrystal Exfoliator is a great pick when it comes to physical exfoliation since its creamy texture is gentle enough for all skin types—even those with acne-prone skin. Always err on the side of caution with exfoliation. Too much can damage your acid mantle, which basically throws your skin off balance—depleting moisture and potentially causing irritation. 

Treatments (Masks, Facial Peels, and Retinol)

Because at-home masks and peels are left on the skin for an extended period of time before being washed off, they're able to do more deep cleaning and damage control than an everyday skincare routine. These aren’t just reserved for #SelfCareSunday though—most products can be used a few times per week depending on your skin’s needs. Always check the packaging and follow usage instructions to make sure you don't overdo it and irritate your skin. For example, treatments formulated with gentle ingredients, like The Shortcut Overnight Facial, can be used nightly while our Instant Resurfacing Mask shouldn't be used more than once per week. 

Retinoids are powerful (and yes, extremely effective) when it comes to aging skin and clearing up breakouts. Most products that contain this vitamin A derivative are too potent be used more than 2-3 times per week. Our Gentle Retinol Serum, however, is gentle enough to be used nightly because it’s formulated with encapsulated retinol (which bypasses the surface of skin, where the irritation occurs) and plant-based alternatives that are much gentler on the skin.

Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Bacteria can build up very easily in your makeup brushes. In order to keep your skin nice and healthy, make sure you thoroughly wash them once a week (or once a month, if you are not an avid makeup-wearer). 


Replace Your Razor Blade and Loofah
While these tools can be handy in the shower, they’re prone to bacteria if not swapped out often enough. Once you experience any nicking and tugging while shaving or notice your blade rusting, it’s time to switch up your blade. Hint: Invest in a non-single-use razor for eco-friendly shaving and recycle your blade once your done with it. Loofahs (opt for a natural one that can be composted) should be cleaned weekly and replaced every month. 

Get a Facial or In-Office Chemical Peel
Turns out, it’s widely debated how frequently you should indulge in a treatment with a facialist—especially since these days, you can DIY many of these treatments yourself at home. Besides the fact that getting a facial can be an uber relaxing form of self-care, it also never hurts to have a professional assess your skin, and most importantly. take care of those extractions so you don't attempt them at home (we all know how that ends). If a full-blown facial or peel isn't in the monthly budget, ask for a 'skin cleaning': many derms and estheticians will do extraction-only sessions for you. 



Visit a Dermatologist
Many of us only think to book an appointment with a dermatologist if we are experiencing skin issues like acne or eczema, but regular check-ups are important for your overall skin health—especially when it comes to screening for skin cancer. We should always be checking our skin for irregular bumps and spots, but if you are “normal risk” (determined by factors like your genetics and average sun exposure) make sure to visit a dermatologist for a mole check every 1-2 years. Your primary care doctor will let you know if you need to visit more frequently than that.