Searching for an effective, yet efficient skin care regimen can be a daunting task for many. Below is my skin regimen and recommendations for a daily skin routine:
“Brush your teeth, wash your face”—how I typically start my day and recommend my patients to do as well. Finding a gentle face wash for oily and/or acne-prone skin may pose as a challenge for some. The key is to find a face wash that is gentle and maintains hydration while not being too drying or leaving a greasy residue behind. There are numerous facial cleansers that claim to be excellent for acne-prone and oily skin; however, consumers may find these products irritating , drying and contain natural botanicals that may trigger a rash (allergic or irritant dermatitis).
My recommendations are to find a product that contain safe ingredients and gentle for patients with sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin. Cleansers that contain zinc pidolate— an ingredient that effectively cleanses debris and debris on the face while maintaining the skin’s natural pH. Hydrating face washes that contain hyaluronic acid provide that extra boos needed to maintain skin moisturize and integrity of the protective skin barrier while effectively removing excess oils. Apply a thin layer of the cleanser on the face, leave the cleanser on for 2-5 minutes and gently wash the cleanser off the face —avoid scrubbing the face with towels or cleansing cloths too aggressively.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is quintessential in one’s skin care regimen as it prevents sun damage, increases collagen production, brightens the skin and most importantly, improves skin tone. The key to choosing a Vitamin C serum is to look for serums that contain L-ascorbic acid, the most active form of Vitamin C. Consumers should be mindful of packaging—an air tight bottle to prevent oxidation by UV light is vital. Apply 2-3 drops of the serum on the forehead, cheeks and chin and gently rub the serum on the face every morning.
To maintain that youthful glow at any age and prevent hyperpigmentation, fine wrinkles, and sun spots, daily facial sunscreen use is key. Sunscreens containing ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are essential for protection from both UVA and UVB. With numerous facial moisturizers containing SPF on the market, choosing the best sunscreen for your skin can be overwhelming. I find that a lightweight liquid formula, a buildable texture, non-greasy, noncomedogenic product is ideal for both darker and lighter skin types. Finding a daily moisturizer with SPF above 30 with ingredients that are safe and above all else provide optimum hydration, both of which are favorites among my skin of color patients with acne-prone skin.
Skin thinning is most apparent for many around the eyes where the skin is the thinnest and most fragile. Eye creams are essential in skin hydration and plumping in this delicate area while masking under-eye darkness. Apply a pea sized amount of the eye cream daily in the morning and evening—less is more, avoid applying greasy, thick eye creams to avoid leaving behind an oily residue. This step can be done before or after the daytime moisturizer.
Those who suffer from acne, topical retinol is a top recommendation of mine for all skin types. Retinoids are chemically derived from Vitamin A and greatly contribute to regulating cell growth and proliferation. Retinoids have been used since 1971 for treatment of acne, skin aging as well as treatment of certain types of cancers of the skin and psoriasis. Retinoids help promote and hasten skin turnover, thus aiding with evening out skin tone, dyspigmentation and non invasively smooth fine lines and wrinkles overtime. There are various types of topical retinoids including tretinoin, tazarotene (Tazorac) and adapalene. Despite the benefit of retinoids, every day use is limited by skin irritation, peeling, drying and burning. Some tricks of the trade to help with tolerating retinoids include—shorter contact time (applying at dinner and washing off at bedtime), mixing with a nighttime noncomedogenic moisturizer and starting 1-2 nights weekly and increasing to nightly as tolerated.
Though retinol creams provide noninvasive wrinkle-prevention, evening out complexion, promoting increased cell turnover and reducing pore size, retinol use is often limited by dryness, peeling, and skin irritation—all of which are drawbacks for those with sensitive skin. Residual hyperpigmentation from the peeling and skin irritation is a concern for darker skin types. My top pick is a topical retinol is a product that is lightweight, non-greasy that provides hydration with the benefits of a pure retinol.
Following up a retinol with a nighttime moisturizer is essential to maintain hydration. I find that a lightweight liquid formula, a buildable texture, non-greasy, noncomedogenic product is ideal for both darker and lighter skin types. Apply a thin layer of a moisturizer to the entire face —the key is to not see a thick layer of the moisturizer on the face. Find a facial moisturizer that is gentle, noncomedogenic and are indicated for facial use.
Optional (Day or night):
Skin hydration and restoring the protective skin barrier are best achieved with ingredients such as Vitamin E, oils, and hyaluronic acid. My top recommendation is a face mask infused with hyaluronic acid—boosts skin hydration , improving the elasticity and cohesion of the skin barrier while not leaving behind an unwanted greasy or oily residue. Hydrating face masks provide a cooling sensation in addition to the added benefit of a rich moisturizer—quintessential for a morning or nighttime face mask.
Exfoliating your skin can be tricky and controversial —over exfoliating may be drying and irritating to the face. There is a frictional component of acne and over exfoliating may trigger acne breakouts. At-home exfoliant masks include physical masks (clay) and chemical ingredients (peels) that gently remove dead skin off the top layer of the epidermis and promote cell turnover. Limited contact with exfoliating masks is key as they may be dry and irritating. Following an exfoliating mask, apply a thin layer of either a daytime or nighttime noncomedogenic facial moisturizer to maintain skin hydration.
***The step to not miss is the first step—washing your face! I find that most of my patients are over-concerned with use of prescription and/or over-the-counter topical medications for acne or anti-aging; however, they often admit to forgetting to use a cleanser either in the morning or in the evening.
Using a gentle cleanser is essential to maintain a healthy glow devoid of excess greasy residue. Our face is in contact with various “contaminants” throughout the day —including our mobile devices, head scarves, pillow cases, etc. It is important to get in the habit of using a gentle cleanser to wipe away any excess grease or debris from the skin to help prevent any unwanted facial breakouts. Remember: acne prevention is just as important as treatment—take an active role in maintaining healthy, acne-free skin by using a gentle facial cleanser.