This is exactly how much cleanser, exfoliator and retinol you should be using

pattern of glass jars with facial moisturizer, face mask, scrub with exfoliating particles on a beige background concept of body care and beauty top view, flat lay
How much skincare product to useTanja Ivanova - Getty Images

Does that pricey moisturiser you’re addicted to always seem to disappear quicker than your bank balance on your summer hols? Same. But how much skincare product to use is a question worth finding out the answer to.

Not only can you save cash, but by buying fewer bottles, you can also avoid potential irritation, redness and flaking, not to mention disrupting your skin barrier – one of the biggest causes of skin issues for dermatologists – as per research published in the Journal Of Clinical And Aesthetic Dermatology.

So... what is the right amount of skincare product to use? And how much is too much? Dr Johanna Ward, founder of skincare brand ZENii is here to offer her expert advice.

So, how much skincare product to use for the best results? Let's break it down...

How much cleanser should I use?

Cleansing is essential for removing cellular debris, pollution particles and make-up from the skin’s surface.

I’m a big fan of a double cleanse (using an oil-based cleanser or micellar water to remove make-up and oil, followed by a lathering cleanser and water) morning and night – it’s amazing how much a single cleanse misses.

The optimum amount of cleanser is about the size of a two pound coin.

If you’re using a cleanser with salicylic acid, leave it on for two or three minutes to give it time to work.

If you use too little: You risk cellular build-up, skin dehydration, congestion
and accelerated ageing.

If you use too much: You’ll waste product – and your hard-earned cash – unnecessarily.

How much SPF should I use?

Most of us fail to use anywhere near the amount of sunscreen that we actually need. Make-up containing SPF isn’t enough –you’d have to apply it several times over to get the protection you need.

Use make-up as an extra measure, but start with a proper stand-alone sun protector with an SPF between30 and 50. A generous amount should cover your face and neck, think the length of fingers worth.

If you use too little: You risk skin cancer and accelerated signs of skin ageing.

If you use too much: In the case of SPF, you can’t really have too much of a good thing.

How much serum should I use?

Applied after cleansing and before moisturising, serums are designed to penetrate deep into the skin and deliver highly concentrated amounts of actives, such as vitamin C and antioxidants, or resurfacing ingredients, such as glycolic acid.

The intensive formulations often mean that only a coffee bean-sized amount is needed.

If you use too little: You won’t experience the benefits of the potent active ingredients.

If you use too much: The active ingredients may cause irritation.

How much exfoliator should I use?

Twice-weekly exfoliation with an acid such as lactic or mandelic can help remove dead and redundant skin cells to reveal newer and healthier ones.

This gives the skin a beautiful radiance. But overusing exfoliants can strip the skin of its natural barriers, causing sensitivity and irritation – aim for an almond-sized amount to minimise the risks.

If you use too little: It’s a fast-track to dull skin and cellular build-up. Skin will look congested and flaky.

If you use too much: Over-exfoliation can cause dryness, redness, irritation and stinging upon application. Stop and allow the skin to recover.

How much retinol should I use?

Retinols deliver anti-ageing and exfoliating benefits. They can, however, cause some initial irritation, so it’s best to introduce them gradually.

Always follow label instructions, which is usually one small pump twice a week, before slowly raising the amount and frequency, ultimately aiming for nightly use.

With high-quality retinols, you’ll never need more than a small pea-sized amount. Look for concentrations of 0.5 to 1% for maximum benefit.

If you use too little: You won’t reap the anti-ageing and anti-blemish benefits.

If you use too much: Your skin may become red, itchy and flaky.

How much night cream should I use?

Designed to work with your skin’s natural evening renewal process, night creams are packed with ingredients that hydrate, nourish and fortify your skin.

Look for products with vitamins, ceramides, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, or retinol for an anti-ageing boost. A 5p-sized amount should be plenty. If you use too little: Your skin will stay dry and taut and may look lacklustre.

If your bottle or tub is 50ml then is should last around 6 weeks.

If you use too much: If your night cream is too rich and you use too much, it can lead to congestion and breakouts.

Read more on how to use retinol, if you're not 100% sure, yet.

How much eye cream should I use?

The skin around your eyes is delicate, so you don’t want to overload it. Eye creams tend to be quite concentrated, so only a tiny amount is needed – think no bigger than a grain of rice.

Eye creams are best applied at night, so they’re not competing with make-up, and dabbed all around the orbital bone. Try applying it with your ring finger– it’s weak, so perfect for applying product delicately.

If you use too little: Your eye area can become dehydrated and look creased.

If you use too much: You risk congestion. Little white bumps called milia can form around the eye area.

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