When using a skincare product for the very first time, you may take extra precaution by carefully following the instructions on the packaging, or you may just go with your gut instinct. If it's the latter, it's time you take the guesswork out of your regimen. Chances are, you're using way too much product and going through items faster than you need to.
To break down the exact amount of product you should apply, we collaborated with Karen Hammerman, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. Check it out below and read on for tips from Hammerman about getting the most out of your cleanser, sunscreen and more.
"When it comes to cream or gel cleansers, you only need a dime-sized amount," Hammerman says. "If you have a foaming cleanser, one pump should do the trick. Using too much cleanser at once will not only dry out and irritate your skin, but it will make you go through your skincare product far too quickly. Cleansing your face once in the morning and once before bed, again with a dime-sized amount of cleanser, should do the trick."
"A penny-sized amount of eye cream is enough for both eyes. You want to be careful to use enough to hydrate this sensitive area of the skin. However, using too much eye cream can lead to eye irritation, build-up and difficulties in applying makeup. In addition, eye creams moisturize the eye area, and if you apply too much, your makeup may not hold well to your skin."
"When it comes to sunscreen, too much can never be too much. For your face, however, you should start off with a quarter-sized amount. For your body, go for a larger amount comparable to a gold-dollar coin, for example. The amount of sunblock equal to a gold-dollar coin size should adequately cover your legs, and then this same amount should also be applied to the upper body and back. Always make sure that you fully cover all areas on your body and if you feel as if you should be adding more, always add more. Also, don't forget to reapply the same amount every 2-3 hours as sunscreen does lose its effectiveness over that time."
"Serums are great for hydrating, exfoliating and brightening your skin. Stick to a penny-sized amount of serum/oil and spread all over your face/neck area. If you overuse serum, your skin may not absorb the beneficial ingredients of the product and instead, it will be left sitting on the surface of your face. This could lead to extra oily skin, breakouts and even irritation."
"A common size to start off with when using a daily moisturizer is about the size of a quarter, but all moisturizers are different so it is important for you to get a feel for your product as well. If you are trying out a new moisturizer, you will also know how much you should be using depending on your skin's reaction after a few day's usage. If your skin feels dry and tight, you can use a little bit more. If your skin feels clogged and oily, use a little bit less.
"When it comes to night cream, you should use a quarter-sized amount and apply it to your face and neck area," she says. "Before applying the cream, you should of course be thoroughly cleaning and washing your face. Night creams help to lock in moisture while you sleep."
"Retinol is great for anti-aging. It encourages skin-cell turnover, meaning that it helps produce and replenish new skin cells. It should be used at night, so that these new skin cells aren't exposed to sun/daylight right away. Most people's skin may need to build up a tolerance to retinol. I tell my patients who are just starting to use a retinol product to start with a dime-sized amount to the entire face every other night, and work your way up to a nickel-sized amount as tolerated. The retinol cream can also be diluted with a moisturizer if it is too irritating."
Infographic and illustrations by Tiara Chiaramonte.