As soon as I announced to friends and family that I was planning to specialize in dermatology, I’ve been bombarded by questions about skincare and what daily routine I think is best. Now, I am not yet a dermatologist, but I have picked some things up along the way. Here are a few staples that I think could benefit almost everyone.
- A gentle, non-irritating cleanser
Every good skincare routine should begin with a solid cleanser. For most people, you want to pick something gentle that won’t dry out or irritate your skin. In my personal opinion, there’s no reason to overspend on this step as there are plenty of great, affordable options. I use Cetaphil Redness Control Daily Foaming Face Wash for my redness-prone skin, but the two cleansers below will work just fine for most.
- For Attendings: CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash for Dry Skin, Amazon, $12
- For Residents: Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin, Amazon, $19 for pack of 3
- A protective antioxidant serum
If I had to guess, this is the step that most non-skincare enthusiasts don’t know about. After cleansing, I apply a protective antioxidant serum to ward off skin-damaging free radicals in the environment. I use Skinceuticals C E Ferulic as a staple in my skincare regimen. However, I have also heard great things about the Drunk Elephant serum, although I have not personally tried it. I know there are lots of them on the market, so shop for one that fits your budget, and remember, a little goes a long way!
- For Attendings: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, Skinceuticals.com, $166
- For Residents: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, Sephora, $8
3. A hydrating moisturizer
A simple, hydrating moisturizer is another essential in any skincare regimen. With an overwhelming number of these on the market, I tend toward simple, easy-to-wear products that blend well under makeup. Your dermatologist may have recommendations tailored to your specific skin needs, but below are two favorites of mine. (And believe me, I’ve tried more than my fair share!)
- For Attendings: Skinceuticals Daily Moisture, Dermstore.com, $62
- For Residents: Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Face Moisturizer, Amazon, $14
- An easy-to-wear daily sunscreen
This is a must for everyone of all ages and skin types! As a natural blue-eyed blonde, this has been in my regimen since I was a teenager, but it is never too late to start using a daily sunscreen. I’ve tried all kinds of different brands of sunscreen; the key is finding something smooth and light enough that you won’t mind (or better yet, will enjoy) wearing it every day. Once you find something that fits your budget and lifestyle, you’ll be well on your way to the myriad benefits of daily sunscreen use, such as protection from skin cancer, aging, and discoloration.
- For Attendings: EltaMD UV Daily Facial Suncreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 40, Amazon, $26.50
- For Residents: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 100+, Amazon, $9
5. A topical retinoid
Retinoids, a form of topical vitamin A, are beneficial for anti-aging and acne, among other skin conditions. They make skin softer, smoother, and clearer over time and are a crucial part of my skincare routine. However, they are not for everyone (including women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding) and I strongly recommend talking to your dermatologist before adding one to your skincare regimen. There are lots of over-the-counter retinols and retinoids on the market and more potent ones available with a prescription. But again, since I recommend these for many people but not absolutely everyone I will not link any products here. I will, however, say that I personally use Retin-A Micro 0.06% since I find it to be effective but not overly irritating on my sensitive skin. I leave it to your and your physician to find a retinoid that works for you!
Hope that gives you a place to start. What are some essentials in your skincare regimen? Comment below!