How do I put together a more natural skin care regimen that still works?

Hello, I would like advice from a dermatologist. I usually do not use creams, sunscreens or other products for my face. I am 35 years old and for the last few months I observe dark circles around my eyes and my skin is very dry (especially my cheeks). I also have mild rosacea. I would very much appreciate if you could recommend me products: (a) cleanser, (b) moisturizer, (c) day/night/eye cream for my face, for sensitive skin that do not contain strong ingredients & synthetics. Thank you in advance.

I love your question, and just wish I had the perfect answer for you, but I don’t. Many of the products that really work come in a base of ingredients that isn’t so great. And conversely, many of the products that have a truly organic or natural base, really don’t have much effect. This is evolving and I’m hoping in a few years, we can have BOTH! Natural skin care with great results is the ultimate dream. But I can still help you get as close to your goal as is possible with what is currently out there.

Natural skin care product tips:

  • Label fluency: Learn to read the ingredients label on the back or on the box at least a little.  Look for products where at least the top 5 ingredients you can understand. Look for an organic or natural base with a short ingredient list. Long lists of plant extracts are not necessarily giving you much.
  • Natural Bases: Lines like Juice Beauty or Pevonia (natural bases and fragrances, but not organic) are worth looking at. There are many others now, but all are relatively unproven.
  • Active ingredients: Look for lines where they tell you the amount of active ingredient.  Look for a retinol 0.25-1.00% for example. If it says retinol on it, but the retinol is down the list, and there’s no %, you can be pretty sure you are not getting much of it. Avoid products that advertise a specific ingredient but don’t tell you how much is in the product.  Zinc, Vit C, glycolics, retinol, etc ideally list a percentage.

Organic and natural skin care products I recommend and use:

Organic is so great, but not if it doesn’t accomplish your goals. The Eminence line is organic, but it’s confusing. You may just need to try several products to see what works for you. But the products on our shop here are tested by us, and I find them effective for myself and my patients as far as delivering results. I think this could be a good route for your needs, as I really love their cleanser, moisturizer and day / night creams. This Eminence Lemon cleanser is great for sensitive and dry skin like yours. Look into this Blueberry Soy Night Recovery cream. It’s a rich moisturizer (a little goes a long way), contains blueberry extract as an antioxidant and soy which has some estrogenic effects (helps plump the skin). Pevonia’s Evolution Eye Cream is one that I personally use and really like. You can use it morning and night, and it helps with early fine lines and crepeyness. Pevonia uses natural ingredients and makes a point of not using many of the ingredients I mention to avoid in this post. NO SLS, GMOs, PABA, Urea, Lanolin, Cruelty, Formaldehyde, Alcohol, Parabens, Mineral Oil, Gluten, Artificial Colors/Fragrance.

What to avoid in skin care products:

  • Chemicals and Ingredients: Notice if some very long, unpronounceable chemical names are hidden among a long list of plant extracts.   When there are twenty different ingredients, there isn’t much of the last 10-15.  They must list ingredients in order of the amount in the product.  When you’re down the list, there really isn’t much there. Make sure you’re okay with the top 5 ingredents in any skincare product, as they’re going to be the largest amounts contained in the product.
  • Avoid these specifically: Avoid propylene glycol, chemical sunscreen ingredients, preservatives (especially formalehyde releasing),  lanolin/wool wax alcohol, synthetic fragrances, and sulfates, if possible.

Regarding your rosacea, see my article on it here.

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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One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!