Sun sense Sun sense

Are you looking to improve your skincare regiment? Plan your own personalised routine with advice from experts.

More and more people are putting extra effort into skincare. Whether it’s following the Korean-inspired 10 step routine or just doing more than cleansing and moisturising, this trend has truly taken hold. Many take up a multi-step routine to address skin concerns. Applying multiple layers is said to be effective as it can supply skin with numerous ingredients at once – and it’s also customisable. But what about building a routine and tailoring it to your own skincare needs?

Where to start

Effectively using sunscreen

One thing often skipped over in the multi-step skincare approach is that everyone’s needs are different. Dr Katherine Armour, a Melbourne-based medical and cosmetic dermatologist, highlights that effective routines differ depending on individual skin concerns.

For those with acne, Dr Armour recommends a gentle cleanser, niacinamide, AHAs and BHAs or retinoids, spot treatment, and a light moisturiser, followed by sunscreen during the day. “Avoid ‘deep pore cleansing’ products or foaming cleansers that leave the skin feeling tight after use,” she stresses. “The role of a cleanser is to remove the debris of the day (make-up, sunscreen, air pollution) – not to achieve all of your skincare goals. I see many patients who can’t tolerate the skincare that will help them because their cleanser is irritating.”

“Wrinkle prevention and treatment is about protecting the collagen and other plumping fibres in our skin’s dermis, as well as stimulating the production of new collagen,” Dr Armour adds. Antioxidants like vitamin C, niacinamide, resveratrol, green tea, ferulic acid and astaxanthin are effective for protecting collagen, while retinoids, AHAs, PHAs, or bakuchiol for sensitive skin, promote collagen production.

Another common concern is melasma, or pigmentation. Dr Armour recommends serums or creams containing hydroquinone, niacinamide, vitamin C, astaxanthin, green tea, liquorice root extract, kojic or lactic acid, arbutin, azelaic acid and bakuchiol or retinoids. Avoiding harsh ingredients should also be a top priority. “Any irritation or inflammation of the skin can worsen melasma,” she highlights.

The popularity of skincare means a lot of these products are widespread. “Our team searches for the latest beauty trends,” says Rafaella Grech, Costco Australia’s assistant buyer for beauty. “We see strong sales in our bulk cleansers and moisturisers, and we find our members prefer brands that offer gentle products like Dermaveen, Cetaphil and Aveeno.”

What to keep in mind

Choosing sunscreen

Sunscreen is the number one must-use product. “It’s crucial to find a sunscreen that you enjoy using as you should use it daily on sun-exposed sites to prevent skin cancers and ageing. Aim to use a broad-spectrum SPF 50+ product,” Dr Armour recommends.

It’s also important to apply enough SPF to ensure it’s as effective as possible – at least one teaspoon per body part, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. “This allows the product to be evenly dispersed and absorbed into the superficial layers of the skin,” she explains. Although the allure of pricey products is strong, it is possible to create a routine on a budget. “Look for multitasking ingredients which have numerous skin health and beauty benefits,” Dr Armour suggests. These include niacinamide, vitamin C and retinoids/AHAs.

“One of the commonest issues that I see is people using too many products on their skin, which can lead to irritation and issues such as periorificial dermatitis.”

You can also look to buy basics in bulk. “We aim to increase our unit size by either bundling more than one pack or increasing the average unit size available in the wider market to ensure our members receive the best value every day,” says Grech. Dr Armour also says there’s no problem with mixing different brands, but you should exercise restraint in the amount of products you use. “One of the commonest issues that I see is people using too many products on their skin, which can lead to irritation and issues such as periorificial dermatitis. If in doubt, get some advice from your skincare professional.”


Application guide

Woman doing her skincare in bed



  • Apply products in an order of lightest to heaviest.
  • Follow the order of cleanse, tone, serums, eye cream, moisturiser, facial oil, then sunscreen in the morning.
  • Cleanse, tone, then apply serums, eye cream, spot treatments, moisturiser, retinoids/AHAs/BHAs, then facial oil at nights.




  • Forget to apply sunscreen daily.
  • Apply retinoids, AHAs or hydroquinone during the day - they increase sun sensitivity.
  • Combine retinoids with AHAs/BHAs, benzoyl peroxide, vitamin C and salicylic acid. This can be too harsh and cause irritation.



Originally published in The Costco Connection, Mar/Apr 2023. Pick up the latest copy at your local warehouse or read it online.