How To Downsize Your Skin-Care Regimen, According To Dermatologists

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While springtime provides the opportunity to give your makeup bag that much-needed clean, it never hurts to give your skin-care regimen the same treatment, as they too have expiration dates worth considering.  However, spring cleaning your skin-care regimen also extends to simplifying it, as while detailed ten-step regimens may work for some people, too much product can spell out trouble for others. 

To downsize your routine correctly, we tapped Birmingham, AL dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD to break down four skin-care rules (and staples!) every beauty minimalist should be following. From sun protection factor (SPF) to consistency, read on below to discover a no-nonsense routine your skin will probably thank you for. 

Find A Good Sunscreen Moisturizer
While a hydrating moisturizer is a key part of any skin-care regimen, Dr. Hartman advises selecting a moisturizer product enriched with sunscreen, as he explains that it is a necessary component for every skin type, skin color or ethnicity. 

“You’ll definitely want to find a moisturizer with adequate sun protection factor (SPF),” he says. “We know that besides genetics, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the most significant determinant of how our skin ages.” 

And yes, the SPF number of your product does matter, as a 2018 article published by the Skin Cancer Foundation reports that higher SPF products can offer longer protection. For example, the article suggests that in using SPF 30 products, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all. 

And though darker-skinned people have inherent SPF by virtue of the melanin in their skin, Dr. Hartman added that this natural SPF is only in the range of SPF 5-8. This makes it important to stick with products in the SPF 30-50 range, as he suggests they offer the most adequate protection. 

Look For Topical Antioxidant Products 
Excessive exposure to UV light (emitted from electronic devices and the sun’s harmful rays) causes release of free radicals in the skin that destroys collagen, which leads to sagging skin and wrinkles, according to Dr. Hartman. 

And because our collagen production peaks at age 22 (and decreases after that), Dr. Hartman says it’s important to preserve remaining collagen content as much as possible. To do just that, he suggests investing in a good topical antioxidant product, as some supercharged facial serums and oils work overtime to protect the skin against harmful free radicals. 

There are several non-negotiable components that comprise every skin care regimen, and are the foundation of any good skin care system.

Corey L. Hartman, MD

“Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid and melatonin scavenge free radicals, and prevent breakdown of collagen,” Dr. Hartman explains.

Similarly, Coenzyme Q10 is another skin-boosting antioxidant to consider, as a 2015 study published by the Brazilian Society of Dermatology concluded that it preserves collagen content of the skin and reduces the production of free radicals. Additionally, the study suggested that resveratrol (a compound derived from plants) can be equally effective in combating free radical damage, as it inhibits UV-induced oxidative and mutagenic action to DNA. 

Grab Some Retinol 
The last key component of a simple, yet effective skin care regimen is a retinol product, said Hartman. “This group of vitamin A derivatives are the main part of a successful acne regimen, but they also help with correction of fine lines and wrinkles.” 

Retinol, he added, also promotes an even skin tone by lightening dark spots, and can be equally effective in controlling excessive oil production, prevention of precancers and reducing pore size. 

To use retinol products effectively, published literature from Harvard Medical School advises using them only every other day at first, and then gradually working up to nightly applications, as this ingredient can be irritating for some users. 

But while the first few weeks of using a retinol may produce increased peeling, Hartman said that any scaling and redness is only temporary, making it crucial to stick with any product you decide to use. However, should your skin be extremely sensitive, Dr. Hartman advises consulting a dermatologist before you use any kind of retinol product. 

Always Be Consistent 
While investing in the right products is essential in maintaining healthy skin, Dr. Hartman stresses the importance of being consistent with any products you use. That’s why you’ll want to keep your regimen as simple as possible, as doing so will help you stay on track, he says. 

“The easiest way to ensure consistency is to keep the regimen simple,” Dr. Hartman tells NewBeauty. “There are several non-negotiable components that comprise every skin care regimen, and are the foundation of any good skin care system.”

Once the key elements of your routine have been established and are firmly in place, Dr. Hartman explains that it is okay to target a problem area that a person may be experiencing. Though the overall key to remember here is to build consistency with the products that are proven to be most effective, he added, and then add as necessary or as desired.

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