How Many Skincare Products Can You Use?

Cleanse, tone and moisturize. Use a good exfoliant to get rid of the dead skin cells that are accumulating on the surface and an antiaging serum to keep skin looking younger for longer. And do apply a retinol product to fight off wrinkles. Oh, don’t forget the sunscreen! Nor a nice pampering mask twice a week! And what about eye cream? Should I use that too?

There are just so many beneficial active ingredients and products out there that if we were to use them all we could end up applying a dozen products in the morning and another dozen at night! But even when we use products with several active ingredients (such as a moisturizer with antioxidants and retinoids or a sunscreen with moisturizing ingredients) our skincare routine can still consist of 7 or 8 products.

While some women don’t mind using so many, others think that applying more than 3 or 4 products is too much and may end up damaging skin. So, who’s right? Well, there really isn’t a definite answer. It’s not really a matter of how many ingredients or products you can use, but of how many layers of them your skin can tolerate.

Skin, to function, feel and look its best, needs more than just one or two active ingredients. A combination of antioxidants works best than using only Vitamin C or green tea for instance. A lot of products contain more than one active just for this reason, and they are formulated so that they don’t conflict with one another. Some ingredients, in fact, can inactive others (AHAs inactivate retinoids so use the former in the morning and the latter at night), but if you’re careful to avoid these bad combinations you can use as many actives as you need to.

Instead, it’s the texture of the products that can cause problems. If you apply too many, they can feel too heavy on the skin and all those layers may prevent the products you’ve applied last from penetrating the skin properly, compromising their efficacy. So, stop worrying about numbers and use common sense instead. “When one product just doesn’t seem to set”, says Dr Schultz, “or seems to be sliding off your skin, because you have so many others underneath, then you’ve probably reached your limit.” Until then, you can use as many products as you feel your skin needs.

How many skincare products do you use?

16 Comment

    • Trisha, I agree that’s it’s a good habit to wait that one product has soaked in properly before applying the next. It can feel really uncomfortable otherwise. :)

    • Ana, cleansers are an important part of any skincare routine, but they shouldn’t be considered as layers, I agree. :)

  1. None of the products I use leave a heavy feeling on my skin :] and I use quite a bit. I like to alternate or use whatever I feel like but I don’t put on everything at once or even use everything daily.
    Daily: antioxidant serum which is thin and watery, firming serum (just another antioxidant serum but it’s moisturizing) around the orbital and frontal. Eyecream. Face moisturizer. Lip balm.
    Usually: eye and lip serum, retinol, NUDE’s oil

    I don’t use every product all over my face. Instead, I generally apply based on product consistency, and how moisturizing it is. They’re also not full-sized and come in kits. (I don’t have skin that reacts poorly to most products so I can try out many without breaking out.)

    I have several face moisturizers! I have a day cream and night cream from The Body Shop, an omega-3 moisturizer (lotion), Clinique moisturizing gel, H20 Face Oasis (gel), a gel-type mask and some others (deluxe/sample sizes from kits and such).

    But the amount of products I use consistently total 6 (antioxidant, serum, retinol [recently], eye moisturizer, face moisturizer).

    Sunscreen is a given :D Hopefully I wasn’t too repetitive.

    • Janessa, that’s great that your skin allows you to try lots of different products without reacting badly. And I like your routine. You use a lot of beneficial ingredients such as retinol, antioxidants and sunscreen agents, which really help skin look and feel its best as you get older. :)

  2. Oo, I forgot about cleansers! One is super gentle and doesn’t take off makeup and I use that in the morning. I have one that takes off my daily sunscreen and one that takes off makeup. I have an alcohol-free toner too which helps me take off any left-over makeup.

    • Janessa, I use a gentle cleanser in the morning and a “stronger” one to remove makeup at night too. I feel in the morning a gentle one is enough as that’s not much to remove then. :)

  3. I used to use a Neutrogena anti-aging creme with copper and some other ingredients, but I discovered that I’m allergic to copper. x.x Eeeek!

    Now, it’s just witch hazel to get rid of excess oil if I don’t have time for a proper scrub. For dry skin days, I have a ‘mineral milk’ soap (one of the Dead Sea products you can get cheaply in malls). For oily skin days, a clear glycerine bar soap or a black charcoal bar soap is lovely.

    If I need it, sunscreen, moisturizer, or makeup with an SPF goes on. Otherwise, I leave my skin alone as much as possible. I’d like a creme that really does prevent/lessen wrinkles, but I haven’t found one yet that’s worth it!
    BebeTaian´s last blog post ..葉落ち月: Month of Falling LeavesMy Profile

    • BebeTaian, what a shame you’re allergic to copper. And I’m glad you’ve found a skincare routine that works well for you.

      Vitamin A, in all its forms, can prevent and lessen wrinkles, but only to an extent. It doesn’t work as well as Botox, and it takes months to see the first, minimal results, but it’s the best option we have in skincare products. Prescription products with Vitamin A work best as its concentration is quite high, but they also can also be irritating. OTC ones work too, but very slowly.

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