Help! I’m confused about my products.

Hi, I recently went to my aesthetician (referred by my dermatologist), and she recommended that I start a new routine. AM- Wash, Moisturize, Sunscreen. PM- Exfoliate, Tone (Toner includes only water, latic acid, citrix acid, aloe vera), moisturize, and use Ziana as needed. My question is, is this too much exfoliation? Would it counterproductive to use Ziana and the Toner at the same time? Also, shouldn\'t there be an antioxidant somewhere? I only use Ziana on a spare basis, should I use a Retinol on a more consistent basis for anti-aging?

I think many, MANY women are confused about products.  So let’s work through this logically.  Let’s think am and pm.  I’m assuming you have some acne because you were prescribed Ziana, an acne topical med that is a combination of clindamycin and tretinoin.

Your am regimen makes sense to me but I would add an antioxidant to it- maybe a good Vitamin C serum.  So it would be wash, serum, moisturizer (noncomedogenic) if needed, sunscreen that won’t clog pores.

Your pm regimen makes less sense to me.  For starters, generally no toner is needed if you are using gentle cleansers that don’t cause pH problems for your skin.  If you rinse thoroughly there’s no need to get cleanser residues off which is sometimes the  reason given for using toners.   I generally view them as a waste of time and money.  You don’t need to exfoliate daily and that often just irritates your skin.  1-2 a week is plenty with a gentle exfoliant.  Also, if you are using a retinoid (remember the tretinoin in your Ziana is just generic Retin A), that speeds the exfoliation process so exfoliating once a week may be plenty.

So for pm, I would recommend wash, your acne med Ziana (which is as good or better than retinol because it has tretinoin and the topical antibiotic clindamycin), and then moisturzizer.  You get that anti aging effect from the tretinoin as long as you sunscreen each am.  If you get irritated from the Ziana, please go back to your doctor for an acne med that is less irritating.  If you have a lot of plugged pores, consider having your aesthetician do a monthly microdermabrasion or light peel.    Hope this helps.  Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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