We often get questions about skincare products. So we put together a guide to help you decipher your skincare routine. We’re fans of Skinimalism -keeping your routine simple, and applying products that make a difference.
- What should I be putting on my face?
- In which order should I apply?
- Is this for AM/PM or both?
Let’s start with the key components we recommend for almost everyone. Because everyone has a different concern, skin type and budget, use this as a guide, and adjust as necessary.
KEY SKINCARE STEPS
When we do a skin consult, many clients groan at the thought of cleansing their skin. You’re busy – we get it! If you come in to do treatments, we encourage everyone to spend a moment to protect your investment 😊 A gentle cleansing at night helps give skin a chance to recover from the day. If you’re working from home, and don’t apply anything to your skin, of course you can skip some late night eves. When we cleanse at night, you’re removing all the “gunk” that has settled onto your skin during the day. We give skin a nice break and opportunity to heal and rejuvenate itself while you catch your ZZZZ’s.
With oily skin, it’s especially important to gentle cleanse, and moisturize well so the skin doesn’t react by overproducing oil.
ANTIOXIDANT: PROTECT & BRIGHTEN
Did you know the blue light emitted from our devices is aging our skin? To protect our skin from environmental stressors – think smoke, pollution, blue light – an antioxidant is essential. Antioxidants not only protect the skin but also help brighten.
You’ll find many products with Vitamin C. If your skin is sensitive to Vitamin C (i.e. it can causes breakouts for some) don’t despair. There are other effective antioxidants available to you.
A good vitamin C may include the ingredient L-absorbic acid.
Our favorite antioxidant: SkinBetter Alto. Fabulous for calming skin, brightening and protects you from blue light.
Also known as retinoid, vitamin A, Retin-A, Tretinoin. This product, when applied regularly, does so many things. It’s been shown to help collagen production, increase skin cell turnover, improve pigment, minimize pores and texture, treat acne. It’s one of the key ingredients to look for if you’re trying to rejuvenate the skin. Some skin types don’t tolerate it well. If your skin is sensitive, you might try and over the counter option that’s less strong. If your skin tends to be oily and less sensitive, you can likely use a strong product. It usually requires regular application to see a difference in the skin. Treat stronger retinol products like exercise >> apply 2-3x per week for a few weeks and let your skin adjust. Then increase to 3-4x per week. Keep progressing until you’re applying nightly. This method will help you avoid irritating your skin, and experiencing periods of redness and dryness. If you’re using a retinol of any strength, your skin becomes sun sensitive, so always apply sunscreen.
🧡 Our favorite retinoid is SkinBetter Alpharet. Delivers the benefits of a 1% retinol, but with less irritation.
If we had to recommend only 1 step for keeping skin looking its best >> Sunscreen. Even for those with darker skin tones, sunscreen will help protect the skin. An estimated 80% of our premature aging is caused by the sun. It’s a major cause of collagen breakdown. When you’re choosing a sunscreen, look for products including Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These 2 powerhouse ingredients sit atop the skin and reflect the rays. You can find products with clear zinc, with tint and mixed with other ingredients so they’re less chalky and rub in well.
We have so many favorite sunscreens!
- Tinted option: EltaMD Elements. Great for sensitive/acneic skin, and for those looking for a simple product that gives you tint AND protection.
- For our product lovers who want a tad of luxe, SkinBetter Tonesmart comes in a compact. A little tint and 80 min. water resistant – it takes you from surfing to zooming without missing a beat!
- EltaMD UV Restore: 15% zinc is ideal for anyone combatting pigment challenges. AND vitamin C and E, antioxidant powerhouses.
GREAT ADDITIONS TO YOUR ROUTINE
This product is intended to help improve pigment – think sun damage or melasma. The idea is that it helps break up the appearance of pigment, keep new pigment from forming and brighten the skin. It’s often paired with Retinol for more effective fading. If you’re using a pigment corrector, apply sunscreen.
Here are a few pigment ingredients / skin brighteners you might see, though there are many out there. Many products highlight individual ingredients, such as Vitamin C, while others combine multiple products. Each ingredient may act differently with the same goal in mind. You might see in products: hydroquinone (which we don’t prescribe), kojic acid, alpha arbutin, Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine, Phenylethyl Resorcinol. Pronunciation might be a challenge!
🧡 SkinBetter Even addresses not only pigment, but also the redness and yellow that usually occur with pigment.
HYALURONIC ACID (HA)
HA is a hot topic. It’s naturally occurring throughout our bodies, with half of HA occurring in our skin. This plentiful substance also decreases as we age.
You can find HA included in all types of products, including fillers. It can attract 1000x its weight in water, so it plumps and hydrates. If the HA in a product is large (higher molecular weight), it can’t penetrate the skin, and sits on top, creating a barrier to seal in moisture. A smaller HA (lower molecular weight) can penetrate the skin. Both, over time, can help trigger the production of our own HA (yay!). Many products now include multiple sizes of HA.
TIP: If HA seems to dry out your skin, apply it to damp skin, then “seal” it in with a moisturizer on top. This gives it moisture it can attract, rather than drawing it from your skin.
A common ingredient to look for in HA products is Sodium hyaluronate. “Hydrolized” likely means low molecular weight.
🧡 My personal fave is SkinMedica HA5, which includes 5 sizes of HA for 8 hrs of hydration.
GROWTH FACTOR AND PEPTIDES
Growth factors are receptors that tell the skin to heal, stimulate collagen. Including them in products helps to treat tone and texture of the skin by helping to improve hydration, and elasticity. Check out the research.
Peptides penetrate deeper to address the firmness of the skin.
These powerhouse products are worth the time and energy to be included in any skin rejuvenation routine.
🧡 If you like serums, NeoCutis BioSerum Firm is what we prescribe to ourselves and all our BFFs. Way worth the splurge, and see results in 6 days.