3 main goals of the right skin care regimen for you

Hi Dr. Irwin - I'm 43, with dry and sensitive skin and occasional eczema, but pretty even skin tone and minor wrinkles I'm totally fine with. I live in Miami, Florida. I'm interested in long-term maintenance of my skin and prevention of wrinkles and other age-related issues, and I'm confused about what I need to use! At night, I use Adapalene gel (Differin) 0.3% nightly - have for years to treat pimples and ingrown hairs. Over this, I layer Dr. Jart Ceramidin Liquid, and some type of moisturizer. What type of moisturizer should I be using? Should I also use any other anti-aging product at night? What should my daytime routine look like? Currently, during the day, I start with Caudalie Polyphenol [C15] serum, which I tolerate well. I follow with Ceramidin Liquid, then either moisturizer or facial oil on the extra-dry parts of my face. I top it all off with some type of tinted moisturizer with SPF, because I've never found an SPF without color that didn't irritate my face (when outside, I add a big, floppy hat). But my eyes and the area around my mouth both look dry and tired about 3/4 of the way through the day. I hope for your help!

In my opinion, there are 3 main goals in using good skincare products. It’s the, “Why are we spending time and money on these anyway?”

3 main goals of skin care products:

  1.  Preventing further damage both from light/sun and the environment to our skin;
  2.  Keeping our skin looking beautiful by optimizing hydration, barrier function and cell turnover, and minimizing irritation
  3. Helping to repair past superficial damage to skin. You cannot repair deep damage to skin with skin care products. They don’t go deep enough.

So let’s go back to your questions. Here’s where I would start. You’ll need to let go of past assumptions and question things. Remember most 43 year olds, even those with acne, do not have oily skin any more except in the T-zone.

Creating the right skin care regimen

First go back to the basics and in this order:

  • AM  – gentle cleanser, antioxidant, moisturizer if needed, high zinc sunscreen
  • PM –  gentle cleanser, moisturizer, retinoid cream
  • Stop everything else and don’t add any else, until you are sure your skin is happy with these, then you can try adding one product at a time a few weeks apart.
  • See a dermatologist if you have persistent acne, rosacea, eczema, etc despite doing the above

For you specifically, ask these questions:

  • Differin is very drying and the gel is formulated for young, oily skin. Could you be irritated by it now and do you need to consider a different retinoid product – there are many options?
  • The Dr. Jart Cermidin Liquid is doing what exactly for you? Sounds like you are dry and irritated. Consider taking a break entirely from it. Try a midweight moisturizer that is noncomedogenic.
  • What percentage is your antioxidant polyphenol (or for others Vitamin C, etc). The better antioxidants tell you what percentage they are. Most of these have too little active in them to do much.
  • Does your sunscreen contain at least 10-18% zinc? You live in Florida!!!

You can see more from my own skin care Regimen here.

Hope this helps,   Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate. That’s why I write these skin care tips and guides.

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