What are three things you’d tell to a skincare newcomer?

You’ll want to take claims that sound too good too be true with a grain of salt; products may be effective but often take time to work, may give results but not WOW! kind of results, and some claims just seem super fluffy. You don’t need a routine with 20 products in it; it’s better to start with a few basics (like moisturizer/SPF/cleanser) and add in based on your skin’s actual needs. If you really want to get into skincare, you’ll want to spend time actually learning and researching about ingredients, especially any that seem like current buzzwords.

— Christine
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21 Comments

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The idea that you have to use all the products from the same brand to get good results is absolutely marketing nonsense.

Price doesn’t always equal quality (there are good and bad products at all price points so if you can, get a sample first before laying out big bucks).

WEAR SUNSCREEN!

Request a sample — 2 weeks worth. These products are incredibly expensive. Select as carefully as you can. What may be wonderful for someone else may not (probably not?) be wonderful for you.

Be gentle with your face (e.g. pat dry vs. wiping harshly). Don’t neglect moisturizing the rest of your skin in general, bur especially the neck. Wear SPF every day, on your face & the back of your hands and arms/legs if exposed. Simplify the routine to make it easy to stay consistent.

1 – SUNSCREEN! Physical (Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide) is best, essential for Rosacea sufferers.
2 – Avoid fragrance ingredients. This includes essential oils. It may smell nice, but it’s causing cellular damage that you’ll pay for later. Also avoid denatured alcohol and other chemical irritants.
3 – Look for antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients in high amounts (the closer to the top of the ingredient label, the better), and look for stable packaging (no air or exposure to light) to keep their potency.
Educate yourself! Beautypedia is a great online resource.

Only 3? I have so many! But I’ll stick to the instructions 🙂
1. Always wear sunscreen. That is always first and foremost.
2. Drink lots of water. Skincare is also from the inside out, so watch out for certain foods that may be contributing to breakouts or blemishes. Stress may also play a factor.
3. Do the research and see what ingredients will actually help with your needs. These things may change over time and by environment/climate, but make sure to give products the time they need to do what they are supposed to do.

T1. keep it simple. Start with gentle fragrance free basics like cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen.

2. If needed add one product in at time for at least 2 weeks and make sure you don’t react badly

3. Don’t fall for the pressure to add every new hot ingredient. There’s only so much you can incorporate in your routine without having to worry about interactions between ingredients and formulations.

Everybody gave amazing advice, but yours hit closest to home for me, as a sensitive, acne-prone skin haver. I especially love #2. Continuing on from yours I’d add:

4. Use the products you need only on the areas of your face that need them.
Maybe your nose needs a potent BHA tonight. Go for it, but if your cheeks are sensitive and don’t look dull, scaly, or clogged, you might skip application in that area. If you’re combo-sensitive, you could even try a moisturizing mask just on the cheeks.

5. While bad reactions can often develop pretty quickly, good results in skincare generally take time to develop and aren’t flashy.
Skin cells don’t usually turn over fast enough to become instantly glowing or totally acne-free overnight. In fact the strong products that promise those kind of results can be too harsh for sensitive skin to tolerate.

Keep it clean & simple; sometimes, the fewer ingredients, the better, as long as you’re diligent with your routine. Skincare doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, and often “luxury” brands are so full of fragrance & irritants, they can actually be more detrimental.

Again, diligence is key; cleanse & moisturize day & night, and always remove your makeup.

Sunscreen; regardless of skintone, even if you don’t burn, a minimum SPF 30.

1.) No matter how great your anti-aging genes are; use a good sunscreen daily. I do, and I’m half Native American. I’m sure it has delayed most of the signs of aging I may have been prone to from either parent!
2.) Protect your eye, neck and lip area by keeping these specific areas well hydrated and cared for from your 20’s onward. (Make sure to wear UV protection sunglasses, too)
3.) All “natural” ingredients don’t necessarily mean effective. Neither does a hefty pricetag! You can absolutely find excellent skincare products that do the heavy lifting at low and medium price ranges. No need to buy into all the hype of certain high end brands! However, some HAVE earned that hype, ie; Drunk Elephant. Look into candid reviews of whatever it is you are thinking about trying out. Makeup Alley is a good place to start. Get a generous sample, if possible, to test out how a specific product works on YOUR skin.

1. Use sunscreen and/or cover up. Drink plenty of water. Don’t smoke.

2. Pass on luxury products. Most are gimmicks, have BS claims, and are way overpriced.

3. Start skincare young and actually do it, and regularly. Don’t be dumb like me and do it half-assed for most of your life. Wash the makeup off your face every night!

1. Sunscreen everyday. You can never use enough sunscreen. Follow guidelines for applying. Many people do not apply enough and don’t reapply as needed to get the full benefit. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin.
2. Do your research. Study product components and really learn what they can and cannot do. Once you have a handle on the major components that are prevalent in skin care, you will be better able to choose products that are actually going to work and not cause any long term harm. Remember science changes and something that is touted as being safe to use on your skin may turn out to be not so good so keep up on what is happening with components.
One of the few products out there that has been proven to delay signs of aging is Retin-A. There are quite a few studies proving it’s long term effectiveness. I really think that it should be used starting in your 30’s at the latest.
3. Change any habits that are working against your products, such as, no smoking, no straws, no excessive sun bathing.

I love everything you wrote here, especially point #3. Sun damage can undo such diligent work applying anti-aging products, or even make skincare counterproductive to anti-aging if some components are photosensitizing.

Nothing reallly. I could tell them what works for MY normal skin but I’m not a dermatologist or ethetician. I’m a nurse and that goes beyond my scope of practice to advise on skin care.

I am curious where you practiced or are practicing nursing, Janine? I am a registered nurse and practiced the bulk of my 45 year career in California and just the last couple of years in Montana. In both states patient education is a mandated scope of the nursing license. Of course we cannot prescribe but patient education regarding best practice is a requirement. I don’t know anything about any other state licenses though.!!

Hi Deborah I’m a nurse in St Louis Mo. You have a few yrs on me I’ve only been an RN for 37 years. My soecialty is critical care for many decades and I’ve been doing acute dialysis for 4.5 yrs.

I don’t have a problem advising or educating patients on something I know about but skin care is not one of them. I’ve been into the makeup thing a couple of years and I wash my face and moisturize and the occasional mask. It’s not something I’ve ever been into.😝 so yeah I would never advise anyone.

Now how to code someone in cardiac arrest.. I gotcha!!

I was always interested in trying dialysis but just never found the time. I started out on a medical ICU step down unit back in the early 70’s. Then I did Oncology for about 2 years, Cardiac Surgery step down unit, Neonatal Intensive Care, Neonatal Transport, Neuro Surgery unit, about 14 years as Administrative Nursing Supervisor of a 428 bed hospital in Sacramento, CA and 3 years managing two units. One was a 34 bed surgical unit and one was a 38 bed medical unit. I was charge nurse on the oncology unit, the medical step down and the neuro unit. I was also in charge of all the staff education on the neuro unit. I retired then moved to Montana and then wanted to help my daughter with her education costs and the only positions available were on Rehab and LTC. I did a year on Rehab and then another year on LTC. I really dreaded LTC as I always considered myself “too good of a nurse to work LTC” what a twat I was. I really learned to love it and enjoyed working with the same patients everyday. Getting to know them, having the time to really make a difference in their care. Unfortunately, I suffered a rather bad back injury after falling on the job and was forced to quit. I really wish our local hospital had a dialysis unit or even one that traveled through once a week or something. Currently all of the dialysis patients have to travel to Missoula to have dialysis and depending where you live in the valley that is about 3 hours each way. It is very hard on them. My Dad did it for almost a year before he passed away. It would take him all the days between dialysis to make up for day of and he just couldn’t do it anymore. We had planned to start peritoneal on him and he had had the shunt placed but he suffered a heart attack before they could actually start. He went for Cardiac Bypass under CPR and while he lived through the surgery, he never recovered. Nursing is such a complex profession with so much responsibility that I enjoyed while I was young but frankly, I am happy to be out of it now. It has changed so much and I do feel sorry for young nurses given all they are expected to accomplish in a shift. Anyway, glad to know there is another makeup loving nurse out there!!

1. Price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. Luxe and high end brand name costs are usually more about packaging and marketing and heavily retouched advertising material than actual ingredients. Do your research – you can often find more affordable alternatives to try out and make sure it works for you before splurging on something super duper expensive.

2. Consistency is key – regular cleansing and moisturising is a good first step, develop your routine from there. You don’t NEED serums, eye creams and masks but by golly, they are there if you want them 😉

3. Understand how moisturisers work – knowing the difference between humectants, emollients, and occlusives and what water, silicones and oils do for your skin can make choosing the right products a lot easier!

The advice I would give to a skincare newcomer is this:
1. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get the best results. A lot of DS and indie brands offer really good, affordable skincare items that suit you. If you have skin issues, such as acne – seek professional advice.
2. Make sure you use your cleanser at night to remove your makeup and apply a moisturiser (or an oil) before bed.
3. Wear a moisturising sunscreen under your makeup during the day.

Hey guys, I’m a dermatologist. This is what I’ve told patients over the years:

1) sun protection: wear sunscreen daily or stay out of the sun. Some people break out from sunscreen. Others don’t want chemicals on their skin. I get it. You can wear sun protective clothing. Don’t forget sunglasses. You don’t have to wear sunscreen as long as you’re super careful about your exposure. We actually need sun on our skin to convert cholesterol to Vitamin D so some sun is good for us. We probably need it for other processes that we just haven’t defined yet. After all, we evolved over millions of years in sun exposure. It’s probably a lot more important to us than we even realize. Some people get depressed without sun. So sun isn’t all bad – just don’t burn. Most people can be outside 10-20 minutes in the sun before they start to burn. Redhead and albino skin types are the exception. If you don’t understand the big deal about sun protection, google image “twin studies sun”.

2) hydration: this should be intuitive but hydration is super important to making your skin look good. Your lips will look plumper and your eyes shinier. If your pee is yellow (and you’re not taking vitamin C supplements which make your pee radioactive yellow), you’re dehydrated. Rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces. Say you weigh 128lb. You should drink 64oz or 1 gallon of water a day. And that’s just baseline – if you’re not working out, sweating like a pig in hot yoga or whatever.

3) vitamin A derivatives: this is hands down the ONLY skin care ingredient that will turn back the clock. Retin-A revolutionized acne treatment when it came out 40+ years ago. It turns over your skin cells faster than they would in their own. Anything in the retinoid family of creams will remove spots, tiny bumps, and fine lines. Retinol is super weak and overpriced. You’ll come out ahead if you go to your dermatologist, get a script for tretinoin (retin-A) or tazarotene (tretinoin on steroids) and use it as prescribed. Just be careful with it during sunny season because it can actually cause discoloration. In this case, I would insist you use sunscreen. The retinoids are potent and oh so worth it. You might need a moisturizer if you experience dryness. Ponds cold cream is the OTC La Mer and works just as well. I’ve seen a whole generation of women who used it religiously with incredible results. If it’s too heavy or breaks you out, try Oil of Olay Regenerist serum. It’s the best OTC stuff at an amazing price point, compared with what you’d spend at the department store. I’m also fond of various face oils but again, it’s not for everyone. Get samples at sephora or your derm office before you commit, or small travel sizes and give anything 90 days of consistent use to decide whether it’s “working”. If you’re using multiple products, there is zero chance you’ll know what’s working because different products and ingredients take variable amounts of time to work. Retin-a, for instance, takes 6 weeks to kick in. But it’s literally the best stuff you can put on your face, other than sunscreen (if you use one).

That’s it. I know that was sort of 4 but meh. Here’s hoping this is useful 🙂

1- Wear sunblock every day. (the only thing that truly prevents wrinkles.
2- Hydrate., both internally and externally. Drink at least a liter of water daily and get yourself a product with hyaluronic acid in it. (oils are NOT moisturizers but are emollients)
3 – Look for products that ‘normalize’ the skin’s protective barrier by maintaining its natural pH balance (4.5 to 5.5). No matter what your skin’s issues are if you use overly harsh products (highly acidic, highly alkaline, or that completely strip the skin of natural oils) you degrade that naturally protective acid mantle and your skin will worsen. Maintain or restore that acid barrier and your skin will most likely heal itself.

Trial/Travel size: Never shell out money for a full size tube or tub without giving it a try for a few weeks. I’ve had too many big jars of expensive stuff that just didn’t work for me that just sat on my shelf, half-used up.

Pay no attention to that blog/magazine/influencer: Everyone’s skin and skincare needs are different. Just because it was recommended by someone who’s opinion you value still doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Have patience: You need to give a new product a certain amount of time to know if it fits with your regimen and skin type. Don’t use it for week then chuck it because it had “no effect”.

Go professional: Before you start some crazy skincare routine try to go to a dermatologist, if you can. Explain to them your skin concerns. If it’s something like acne, eczema or psoriasis then it’s not a beauty issue— it’s a medical issue that needs to treated and healed. I see way too many young women (and men!) on social media with serious skin issues pouring on serums and slathering on masks. That stuff isn’t going to help. If you can afford it or you have healthcare, go to a good dermatologist.

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