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The Biggest Mistake You’re Making with the 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine

One of the most common misconceptions about the 10-step Korean skin care routine is that you should introduce all of the products – or at least multiple ones – to your skin at once. This can be a recipe for irritation and breakouts. Here, we detail how to ease into the 10-step routine, and what to do if you’ve already gone too fast, too furious.

Too often we field messages from distressed readers who are experiencing issues like breakouts, redness, or even burning sensations after delving into a new skin care routine. Sometimes the culprit at the source of these concerns is an individual product, but it can also be a reaction to receiving too many new products at one time.
This is why we never recommend adding more than one new product to your routine at a time, and we always recommend patch testing first.
But what should you do if you already went full throttle on a new line-up of products and are now suffering the consequences? Read on below for pro tips from a top dermatologist.

Stop Everything

“When someone is experiencing a reaction to a skin care product but they’re not sure which one, I generally recommend stopping everything other than gentle basics,” says Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC. “I recommend they stick to a gentle soap substitute like Dove Beauty Bar and a basic moisturizer like Cetaphil cream until their skin has calmed down and returned to normal.”
Another great option for gentle relief is the Etude House Soonjung line. All of these products are made for people with sensitive and highly reactive skin. Take a look at the back of the product packaging and you’ll see a concise group of ingredients free of common potential irritants like fragrance, artificial color, and parabens. We love the SoonJung Cica Balm-Panthensoside 5 to soothe an angry complexion.
For a gentle K-beauty cleanser, we like the Commleaf Rice Purifying Foaming Cleanser because it’s made with natural, non-drying surfactants, is hypoallergenic, and is free of sensitizing ingredients like alcohol and artificial fragrance.
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Reintroduce New Products Very Slowly 

We get it – you just invested some serious cash into new skin care products, so of course you want to use them. But patience can’t be stressed enough when it comes to skin care. Don’t start adding products back into your routine until you’re SURE that your skin has recovered.
Dr King adds that “sometimes people are so pleased with their skin at this point that they want to continue this basic routine and decide to not add back in other products. But if they do want to add other products back into a routine, I suggest they add them in one at a time – a new one every one to two weeks. I would start with the gentler items – those meant for hydrating and moisturizing first – and then if you are tolerating all of those, start to add in products with active ingredients, one at a time.”
This method, says Dr. King, will enable you to figure out if there was a single product causing an adverse reaction. Knowing what ingredients or formulas your skin doesn’t like will be a lifesaver for all future purchases and will most likely save you the grief of frantically trying to heal your skin from another bad reaction.
Remember That Finding the Perfect Routine Is a Process 
Contrary to popular belief, most skin care products don’t perform miracles overnight. Generally, a product doesn’t offer real results until the second or third week of consistent use.
Dr. King explains there are also some products, like retinoids, for example, that require a month or more of use to show optimal results. “But a couple of weeks should still be time to see how your skin is tolerating it,” she notes. “And if you’re tolerating it better by day 14 than you were on day 2, then you’ll probably continue to adapt to it.”

Bottom Line

We know it’s tempting to slather on a bunch of new products as soon as you bring them home, but bettering your skin is a marathon not a sprint. Be patient, pay attention to ingredients and how your skin reacts to them and what you’re mixing together and we promise that your skin will thank you for it.

Whether you’re a skin care newbie or are in need of a skin care detox, shop gentle K-beauty products below to get started with.  

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