I’m confused by all the products in the “repair” category. What do I really need?

Hi Dr. Irwin - As I'm aging, I hear more and more about products I should be using in the "repair" category. Currently, I use a daily cleanser, an exfoliant/toner, then Skinceutical's CE Ferulic acid, followed by a moisturizer with spf 15. I do this regimen both AM and PM. Now I am developing fine lines on my forehead and around my eyes, an esthetician told me I needed to incorporate retinol into my regimen. However, a friend told me not to bother with retinol but to try lytera instead because it has retinol plus other helpful ingredients in it. I also see from your posts that TNS Essential serum could also be beneficial. Help! Which additional product(s) would you specifically recommend: retinol, lytera, or TNS Essential? Do I still need a separate eye cream if I start using an all=over product that has retinol in it (it looks like you do)? Where would these new product(s) fall in the application regimen? Thank you so much!! Stephanie

I love to talk products but it’s hard when I don’t know what your skin type/history is.   J   Here are some thoughts:

  • Noticing an increase in lines may just be aging or sun damage……….OR is could also easily be product irritation.   If you notice an increase in fine lines or dryness, one strategy (simple too) is to give your skin 2-4 weeks of “skin rest.” Use only bland and non drying products for a minimum of two weeks and up to four if needed.   If you’re skin improves, you’ll know that your regimen is overly aggressive and you can adjust it.  If not, then you can adjust your regimen the other direction.
  • I  know your friend is trying to be helpful but………. “ a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”  J   Substituting a retinoid like retinol 1.0% for Lytera (a plant based lightening cream) is NOT  a good idea.   The concentration of retinol in the Lytera is so low that it’s in an ineffective range.
  • Add one product at a time, for at least 2-8 weeks, so you can correctly judge the effect of it.    Exception is if it’s irritating – then stop it.
  • In order of proven effect on skin ……think this order……high zinc sunscreens, retinoids, quality antioxidants (like the one you’re using), then things like TNS serum ……then much less proven things like stem cells.    No need for Lytera at all unless you’re have pigment problems.

Hope this helps, Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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