Skin Care Basics: How to Choose a Regimen for Your Skin Type

GoodRx Health /  Maryann Mikhail, MD

Key takeaways:

  • Your skin care product regimen should be specific to your skin type.
  • Cleansers and moisturizers make up the basics of skin care.
  • Acne-prone skin benefits from non-comedogenic ingredients, while rosacea-prone skin needs nonirritating ingredients. 

Your skin care regimen — the products you use to cleanse, condition, hydrate, and protect — is an important part of keeping your skin healthy. And what works for you may not work for someone else, and vice versa. When building your skin care regimen, understanding your skin type and specific concerns is key. 

Here’s what you need to know to create an effective regimen of products that is perfect for your skin type.

Choosing the basics

The foundation of any skin care regimen is cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting your skin with sunscreen. From there, you can add active ingredients based on your skin type and specific concerns. 

Cleanser and moisturizer

The goal of a cleanser is to wash away dirt, impurities, products, and makeup. Out of all the products in your regimen, this is the one you can save on. There are plenty of affordable, effective cleansers that you can buy at the pharmacy and elsewhere.

Moisturizers hydrate, smooth, and improve skin’s barrier function. Since moisturizer is a leave-on product, it’s important to find one that works for your skin. 

The most important thing to consider when picking both your cleanser and moisturizer is how dry your skin is. And keep in mind that your skin’s dryness can change with your climate, age, hormone levels, and the other products you use. So you might have to make adjustments.

Skin typeCleanserMoisturizer
DryCream cleanserCream-based moisturizer
CombinationFoaming cleanserLotion-based moisturizer
OilyGel cleanserLight lotion or gel-based moisturizer


Everyone needs to wear sunscreen, regardless of their skin color. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher. When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. You need about a tablespoon of sunscreen for your face and about a shot glass’ worth for your body.

If you have hyperpigmentation or spend a lot of time on your electronics, a tinted mineral sunscreen can protect you from damaging, high-energy visible light from screens.

Continue reading on GoodRx