Your Skin’s Four Phases Explained

Victoria Moorhouse
Keith Clouston / Getty Images

Keith Clouston / Getty Images

It seems like one minute your skin is perfect without a zit in sight and the next, out of nowhere, blemishes invade. The unpredictability of it might drive you insane, but ironically and possibly unbeknownst to you, your skin actually follows somewhat of a schedule in a rather common time period—according to the American Skin Association, your skin cells are produced and replaced in a 28 day cycle.

But, of course, your skin doesn’t act the same all 28 days, hence the patches of dry skin and a potential pimple here or there. According to Dr. Terry Loong, The Body Shop Global Skincare Expert and Integrative Skin Doctor, that 28 day cycle we mentioned before is broken down into four difference phases: dry, improving, glowing, and oily.

Each of these are characterized by different skin problems and pluses and can be helped along in different ways with various products. Take a look below for expert tips from Dr. Terry Loong on how to enhance your routine, what types of products to add to each phase, and more.

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Your Baseline
You don’t want to drastically change your skin care routine every time your skin switches out of a quarter of its entire phase. Dr. Loong explains that you should actually have a “core regimen.” This core regimen should include cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and of course, moisturizing. You can also add in an anti-aging product to these phases.

Phase Skin Care
“It takes about six weeks to see the effects of a skincare product, so I would suggest sticking with a core regimen and supplementing your routine with different products as needed to support each of these phases. You should exfoliate regularly to keep skin refreshed!” says Dr. Loong.

So what things should we add into each phase to boost up the performance—a.k.a keep your complexion clear and your skin at its absolute healthiest? It’s a given, but in your dry phase, you’re going to want to hydrate. “Super-hydrating skincare, such as The Body Shop Vitamin E line, can be used everyday, with special care products like the Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil during your ‘dry’ phase,” she explains.

After you’ve passed through dry and improving, you’re at glowing—the stage you’re going to remember because it’s when your skin looks its very best and is likely blemish-free. “During your ‘glow’ phase, when your skin is firmer, your pore size is smaller, your levels of oil are reduced, and your skin has more color, I recommend a radiance-boosting product such as The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Boost, or perhaps opt for a natural look and use The Body Shop’s new Wonderblur, made with skin-renewing edelweiss stem cells, allowing your natural glow to shine through,” she explains.

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Watch for Acids’ Effect on the Skin
“Inflammation caused by increased acid in the body’s system will affect your entire body–including skin–making it more reactive during any phase,” explains Dr. Loong.

This build-up can be attributed to food, stress, and vigorous exercise. To avoid this in terms of what you eat, Dr. Loong suggests her clients keep an alkaline balance by incorporating things like green juices and hot water with lemon and manuka honey in their diets.

To further prevent your skin’s balance from going haywire, Dr. Loong says to watch your sugar intake. “It is also important to regulate your sugar intake by eating small, regular meals to avoid the highs and the lows that can stimulate the stress hormone, cortisol, which in turn can lead to increased oil production and inflammation of the skin. Balance of your body’s system is key,” she says.