Building Your First Skincare Routine | Belo Medical Group

A Beginner’s Guide to Building Your First Skincare Routine

By Ysabel Vitangcol on October 16, 2020

Having a skincare routine should be as obvious as the need to brush your teeth. It’s not solely about vanity—your skin is the largest organ in your body, and since aging technically begins at 25—and substantial collagen loss begins at 20—you need to take care of it as early as possible. Here are some of the basics you need in your routine, especially if you’re a first-timer:

Invest in a good cleanser to remove impurities

“I would [use] wash, exfoliate, every single day…and then I would put toner and a Vitamin C [serum], and in the evening I would put Vitamin A,” advised Dr. Belo during a collab with Camille Co last year. But let’s start with cleanser, which will vary depending on your skin type. According to Dr. Belo, even if your oiliness is limited to the T-zone only, you still need a cleanser for oily skin. 

And don’t forget to properly rinse off after cleansing to prevent breakouts! “One of the things I see that causes a lot of acne are people who don’t wash their face well. So when you wash your face, you tend to put a lot under the neck that you don’t wash off after,” Dr. Belo said, gesturing to the area that separates your face from your neck. “And you gather a lot of soap or cleanser down here, and then it will cause acne. So if you get acne around the jawline, around the hair, that might be the reason.”

Save: Belo Prescriptives Kojic Acid Face Wash (50ml), ₱1,500

Splurge: ZO® Exfoliating Cleanser (200ml), ₱4,000

Use toner to balance your skin’s pH

“We have a toner that’s good and not too strong, so it doesn’t destroy the acid mantle of the face. When your skin is prepared, you can now put on your creams,” she said in an interview with

Save: Belo AcnePro Treatment Toner (60ml), ₱90

Splurge: ZO® Calming Toner pH Balancer (180ml), ₱3,700

Instead of moisturizer, use an exfoliant for baby-soft skin

Even skincare beginners must know that Dr. Belo highly discourages the use of moisturizer. (Related: Why Doesn’t Dr. Belo Approve of Using Moisturizer?)

Instead of slathering a thick layer of fake moisture on your skin, she recommends that you exfoliate to reveal your true, baby-soft skin underneath. “You can either do it physically or with chemicals,” she said in a Facebook Live session with “If you don’t want to use a physical way to slough off your dead skin cells, then you can do a chemical one. The natural way would be something like alpha hydroxy acid; it’s made up of sugar and it breaks the bonds between the skin cells.

“It’s not a toner, by the way, when you use alpha hydroxy acids. It’s not putting it on cotton and cleaning [your face]. It’s patting it in. There’s also papaya soap, which we have a new one of, and then there’s kojic soap, these are things that will slough off your skin. The thing is you have to leave it on for two minutes. It’s not a, you put it on and you wash it off, because it has to kind of ‘work.’ So you have to leave it for a while so you can sing Happy Birthday twice and then you rinse it off.”

Save: Belo Essentials Papaya Soap (135g), ₱80 (Buy 2, Get 1 Free);
Belo Essentials Kojic+Tranexamic Acid Soap (65g), P120.00 (Buy 2, Get 1 Free)

Splurge: ZO® Exfoliating Polish (65g), ₱5,500

Apply Vitamin C serum or cream in the morning

As we age, it becomes easier to develop dark spots. That’s why Dr. Belo recommends that you use a Vitamin C serum daily. “It’s an antioxidant which will also protect [you] from the sun and environmental triggers, brightens up the skin, promotes more even skin tone, and smoothes fine lines and wrinkles,” she said in an interview with Philippine Tatler.

Save: Belo Prescriptives Tyrosinase Inhibitor (10g), ₱750

Splurge: ZO® 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating (50ml), ₱7,700

Apply Vitamin A/retinol serum or cream at night

Dr. Belo is a huge fan of the stuff. “Apply tretinoin or retinol every day!” she said in her Tatler interview. “You should do this from the age of acne, all the way to your seventies, because it dries up oiliness, gets rid of bacteria and normalises skin turnover in your teens. As you get to your thirties, it increases collagen and elastin production.” 

Save: Dermese-A Cream (10g), ₱1,050 (Note: Like retinol, tretinoin is a Vitamin A derivative. However, it is prescription-only as it is a stronger form of Vitamin A, used for moderate to severe acne.)

Splurge: ZO® Wrinkle + Texture Repair (50ml), ₱12,000

Nail these five steps—along with a daily application of sunscreen, of course—and you’re on your way to your best skin ever!

** Note: Prices above have been updated as of June 2023

Click here to purchase these items at The Belo Shop. Belo Essentials and Belo AcnePro products can be purchased at BeautyMnl, Lazada, Shopee, and at leading drugstores and supermarkets. 

To book an appointment, call 8819-BELO or click here.

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