The skincare essentials you actually need for glowing skin
Imagine this scenario – you’re 'planning' on getting stuck (or hiding out) on a desert island this winter. But the rescue team are a few weeks-to-months away from finding you. What skincare products would you take for this duration? Whether you’re stuck hiding on a desert island awaiting rescue or need to pack light for a mini holiday, you can maintain glowing, balanced, hydrated, and healthy skin with a few key products. In this article, we’re cutting through the noise and letting you know which skincare products are essential no matter where you are.
Priority #1 - Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a non-negotiable, especially if you’re outside for long periods of time. Without the right protection, excessive sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancers.
Here are some facts to think about – 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer every year, with Australia having the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. It's also estimated that approximately 34,000 other skin cancer types per year are caused by occupational exposures in Australia.
So always be sure to have broad-spectrum sunscreen on you, and don’t forget to re-apply every two hours to maintain the protection. If you have sensitive and acne-prone skin, opt for a physical sunscreen with healing and protective Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide. These ingredients reflect the UV rays and are gentle on the skin, helping to calm down any irritation and redness you might have from existing breakouts. The only downside, if removed by sweat or wiping the skin, protection immediately ceases.
TIP: Swop over to a mineral sunscreen in winter!
On the other hand, choose a sunscreen that absorbs UV rays. If you are very active and sweat a lot. Absorbing chemical sunscreen comes in many forms, typically as Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, and Phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid. They absorb the UV rays and help stop them penetrating deep into the skin - protecting against premature ageing (fine lines & wrinkles). Once they settle into the skin, exercising isn't a problem. Run, swim and sweat - you're still protected.
TIP: Absorbing sunscreens are perfect on those hot, sweaty summer days.
If you need extra assistance in choosing the right sunscreen, check out our ultimate guide to sunscreen.
Priority #2 - Serum
Serums are targeted treatments made to pack a punch. They usually contain higher concentrations of active ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin B3, Vitamin C, Peptides to name a few. Depending on the active ingredient, a face serum can noticeably brighten, smooth, or deeply hydrate skin – resulting in a healthier complexion. There is no need to use all the active ingredients available on the market though. Instead, choose a face serum with active ingredients that address at least one of your main skin concerns, whether that be acne, dryness, dehydration, pigmentation, wrinkles and more.
Below is a quick rundown of what active ingredients you should use, depending on your skin type and concerns:
- All skin – vitamin C to prevent ageing
- Dehydrated skin – Hyaluronic Acid
- Oily skin and acne – Salicylic Acid (BHA) and an AHA (Lactic Acid or Mandelic Acid)
- Sensitive skin, red or irritated skin – Niacinamide (Vitamin B)
- Pigmented skin – Botanicals
- Mature skin and wrinkles – Retinol (Vitamin A)
It’s important to note that a face serum can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Some active ingredients, like Vitamin A for example, should only be used in combination with daily use of a sunscreen. So unless you're in the daily habit of applying sunscreen, you should either delay or proceed applying Vitamin A daily with extreme caution. Here’s another reason to apply sunscreen daily - even in winter.
Priority #3 - Cleanser
Technically, using just water from the ocean to wash your face could work, but salty water is a going to dry your skin quickly, and with skincare, it’s always best to start with a balanced skin. That way, each product can gently penetrate and get absorbed properly. Unlike face serums, cleansers don’t need all the bells and whistles - it just needs to be mild enough to clean the skin without irritating it. What you should do is keep an eye on the texture of the cleanser. For example, cream cleansers are excellent for dry skin while foaming cleansers that are sulfate-free work best for oily skin. Meanwhile, acne-prone skin can benefit from cleansers that contain mild acid exfoliants. Here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you remember:
- Lipid-dry skin – cream cleansers with nourishing oils like Avocado, Argan or Almond
- Normal / Combination skin – foaming cleansers that are free of sulfates
- Oily or Acne-prone skin – foaming cleansers with acids to aid in exfoliation - like Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) or Salicylic Acid (BHA)
Priority #4 - Moisturiser
Finally, everyone needs a good moisturiser. Not only does it keep you looking hydrated and refreshed, but it also locks in all the products you’ve applied. As we age, our skin’s oil glands start to produce less oil over time which can accelerate premature ageing, dryness and dehydration. A moisturiser supports the oil glands by providing extra nourishing oils as well as humectants that draw moisture from the air and bring it back to the skin.
When choosing a moisturiser, keep an eye on the texture once again. A thick moisturising cream can be a godsend for dry skin, but it’ll likely clog pores and irritate breakouts for acne-prone skin. Similarly, a lightweight moisturiser can rebalance oily skin, but wouldn’t provide enough nourishment for lipid-dry skin types.
Create a simple yet effective skincare routine with Dermaenergy products
If you need help choosing the right skincare products for you, we’ve got you covered.
To protect your skin from the sun, use our Serve and Protect SPF50+ (chemical sunscreen) and Zinc It Over (physical sunscreen). Both sunscreens are broad spectrum and multi-task as a sunscreen and moisturiser in one. Serve and Protect is ideal for all skin types, while Zinc It Over is excellent for sensitive and/or acne-prone skin.
As for your serum, we have one for every concern. Our bestselling For Brighter Days addresses pigmentation and dullness with a potent combination of botanicals + brightening blend. Hydrate and Inflate contains a triple dose of Hyaluronic Acid to quench dry skin, while Race Against Time treats premature aging with a blend of peptides + proteins. Check out the full range here.
To cleanse, our Cream Clean Cleanse gently removes dirt and nourishes sensitive skin with almond, argan and avocado oils. A Mean Clean is ideal for acne-prone skin and removes dead skin with its use of Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and Beta-Hydroxy Acid (BHA). Whereas, Clean With Envy is a foaming cleanser for combination complexions and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils. All Derma Energy cleansers are sulfate-free.
For your moisturiser, Filthy Rich is our most hydrating choice, packed with nurturing oils, butters and hydration heroes like sweet almond oil, mango seed butter, and pomegranate sterols. Light As A Feather brings hydration without congestion, containing a mattifying complex for a shine-free finish. Last but not least, A Happy Medium is for those who need a bit of both worlds, with a texture that’s not too heavy and not too light – making it perfect for combination skin types.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death, Australia, 2017. 3303.0. Australian Bureau of Statistics: Canberra, Australia, 2018.
- Ferlay J, Soerjomatram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin D, Forman D, Bray F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11. IARC, World Health Organisation, 2013.
- Fritschi L, Driscoll T. Cancer due to occupation in Australia. Aust N Z Public Health. 2006;30(3):213–9
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death, Australia, 2017. Vol. 3303.0. Australian Bureau of Statistics: Canberra, Australia, 2018.
 Ferlay J, Soerjomatram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin D, Forman D, Bray F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11. IARC, World Health Organisation, 2013.
 Fritschi L, Driscoll T. Cancer due to occupation in Australia. Aust N Z Public Health. 2006;30(3):213–9