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Image of putting cream on a hand to represent resetting your skin routine

How to reset your skin routine

Written by
Debbie McQuoid

Skincare and beauty hold so much more importance than just making your skin look and feel nice. It’s an invigorating or relaxing routine that marks the start and end to the day, the products you use can be signs of status, and it’s how a lot of us choose to spend our money... And spend we do. The global beauty business generates $500 billion a year with more than 1500 mainstream (i.e., stocked by major retailers) beauty launches in 2019.

Along with empty purses, another downside to this is what professionals in the industry know as product overload. Our skin is suffering from overuse and inappropriate use of too many products. Ten-step plus routines are unnecessary and harmful. But when we’re using so many products how do we know which ones are working and which ones to bin forever?

Find a clinic or practitioner near you and enjoy a risk-free booking process thanks to free in-clinic consultations and the option to pay in-clinic. Also, you can now split the cost of your treatment into four equal, interest-free instalments using Tabby.

Why you should reset your skin routine

More than half the population of the world complains of having sensitive skin. Alongside our environment and genetics, a significant contributing factor is overloading our skin with product.

Our skin doesn’t like being overstressed. Layer on layer of skincare is not only a waste, but when it’s not given the chance to absorb, it can sit on the surface, blocking pores and leading to breakouts.

If you’re using too many actives, your skin barrier can be disrupted, resulting in acne, dermatitis, eczema, or increased rosacea. In particular, retinol and acids can become painful when used together, increasing redness and dryness.

Or it can simply be that you have been using the same product for too long and your usual moisturiser isn’t working as it used to, leaving your skin tight.

Skin, and its needs, changes throughout time for many reasons, from hormonal shifts to maturing and environment. Your skin will most definitely need products with more oomph as you transition from your 20s to 30s and beyond. It may be time to start investing in stronger actives – or gentler if your skin has become sensitised or your skin barrier compromised.

But whether it’s time to upgrade your regime or strip back on overuse, the only way to know what products are working for you, is to reset your skin routine.

How to reset your skin routine

Back to Basics

This is the hardest part, especially for those of who love complex routines and lots of exciting product. Clear your skincare shelf – completely. There may be some products you will re-introduce at a later stage but not for a while, so clear it. The only thing you will need for the next six to 12 weeks is a gentle cleanser, moisturiser, and an SPF.

Choose a gentle cleanser for the AM – you might want to use a balm or oil cleanser for the evening – and follow with a strengthening and calming moisturiser with ceramides or squalene. Start with a light formula SPF for everyday use. Choose products you will enjoy using, as consistency is key. You need to stick to the same products for the best results.

What’s your concern?

Depending on the condition of your skin, some people find six weeks is enough to see a difference. For others, with concerns such as redness or acne, it may take a while longer. Whenever you feel ready, start to introduce an active, depending on the skin concern you want to tackle most.

For fine lines and wrinkles, it would be a retinoid; for brightness and tone, it would be vitamin C; for texture and large pores, it would be an acid exfoliant.

Go slowly, introducing one product at a time, for a minimum of six weeks. Start using the products once every three days for two weeks, then every two days for two weeks, then every day. Note to yourself how your skin feels. Are you using the right amount? Is it the right strength for you? Do you actually need the product every day? Wait two weeks before introducing the next product.

In general, once your routine is back up to maximum product use, it’s worth avoiding using acids on the same day as your retinoid as they can be too harsh together. Alternate every day instead.

An antioxidant serum as part of an evening routine is an incredible investment at any stage, but particularly for anyone concerns with signs of ageing.

Nice but not necessary

Once you have your new routine set and can appreciate the benefits each particular product brings to your skin, there are some great add-ons that can be introduced at any time.

Hyaluronic acid is a great humectant and brilliant for dehydrated skin. Applied to slightly damp skin straight after cleansing, it can make a real difference. Azelaic acid is a superb anti-inflammatory while niacinamide improves redness, pigmentation, and signs of ageing.

Also, enjoy your regime. It’s the only way it will become routine. If you are still missing the oil you used at night, there’s no harm in re-introducing it little by little. Once you have gone through a reset you will have a much better understanding of what your own skin needs and will be able to see what does it no harm – and what you should avoid indefinitely.

Treatments to enjoy

A skin reset doesn’t mean you should stop all treatments either. However, it’s generally a good idea to press pause on things that yield dramatic results, such as laser or deep chemical peels, as you won’t be able to tell what benefits are from the reset and what’s due to the treatment.


LED treatment is great at repairing skin barriers and generally stimulating collagen production and boosting circulation. It requires regular use (twice a week in a clinic, up to five days a week if using a home mask) but those who do use it become long-term converts as the benefits are far-reaching.


Profhilo is pure hyaluronic acid and is excellent at giving a much-needed boost of hydration to those areas in need. If you’re struggling with dehydrated skin during your reset, it can help get you through and stick with the programme. Alternatively, it can offer a skin treat at the time when you have re-introduced your full regime, super-sizing the impact of your products. Best results usually require two sessions, spaced out over four weeks, and can last for up to six months.

Browse clinics offering Profhilo.


Botox won’t contradict anything you are doing with your skincare, and if you’re already using it, there is no reason to stop during a reset. If it’s your first time, just be aware that you might feel differently about what you see in the mirror and try and differentiate between what is down to fewer fine lines (the Botox) and what is due to the changes you’re making to your routine.

Browse clinics offering Botox.


Like Botox, fillers won’t compromise a skin reset. Best known for restoring and boosting volume in areas such as the lips, cheeks, nose, and chin, fillers are naturally occurring substances, that your body will metabolise over time, lasting between six months and a year.

Browse clinics offering filler.

More impact, less waste

A skin reset really is the only way to know what products – and treatments – work for you. Not only do you save time on an overcomplicated routine, and money on a multitude of underwhelming products, you can start to use targeted products that really deliver – and get the most from your treatments too.

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