If you check out the skin care aisle at your local drugstore, you might get overwhelmed, but taking care of your skin doesn't have to mean buying a ton of products or spending a lot of money. All you really need is a cleanser, a moisturizer and a sunscreen. Whether you choose to use other products is entirely up to you.
Keep in mind that taking care of your skin isn't just about facial skin. The skin on your body is very different from the skin on your face. If you have oily facial skin but are prone to dry skin on your arms, a single soap isn't going to work for both. Aging skin also tends to be thinner and more delicate on the face and hands. You may want to use a nonsoap cleanser on these areas. Soaps sometimes contain harsh detergents that strip away too much of your skin's natural oils, leaving it dry and tight.
Many people don't think that they need to use a moisturizer because they have oily skin, but you need to restore whatever moisture has been removed through washing or external aging factors like the sun. If you have oily skin, look for a light, oil-free moisturizer lotion. People with dry skin need heavier creams. There are also heavy creams for areas of the body that are especially prone to dryness and flaking, such as the elbows, knees and heels. The skin is thicker in these places and is exposed to a lot of stress.
Sunscreen should be worn daily, no matter what your plans. You probably know to apply it to your face, ears and neck, but your arms and hands can also suffer from exposure. The skin on the back of your hands sometimes shows signs of aging faster than facial skin because it tends to be neglected. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, but if you know that you burn easily or you're going to spend an extended amount of time in the sun, go with a higher number. You can usually find moisturizers with added sunscreen.