Dermatologists Reveal Their Skincare Secrets
Have you ever wondered what creams and serums make up a dermatologist skincare routine, in the privacy of their own homes? We were curious too, so we spoke to the top skin doctors and experts in the field.
In this article, top dermatologists share their skin care routine tricks and secrets about the best products for a clear complexion with few blemishes, lines, or wrinkles. We share the best morning skin care routine and the best evening skin care routine, according to dermatologists. Read on to find out exactly what top dermatologists use on their skin each morning and night.
The simple skin care routine (morning and night) dermatologists recommend. Image/Shutterstock
What Do Dermatologists Use on their Skin?
We wanted to find out which products they use on their skin, what are the most enriching ingredients, and what their top recommendations would be for each of the skincare routine steps. The results were enlightening and provided some luxurious suggestions for the best skincare products on the market to enhance your complexion.
Dermatologists outlined some of the skincare routine steps they think are most important, and at which time of day. Many pointed out that day and night care differ, as skincare routine products for the daytime focus on protection. However, active skin repair, intense moisturizing, and serums are more important at night.
Many dermatologists pointed out the importance of a skincare routine for men. There are many men who see skincare products as being solely the domain of women. However, it’s just as important for men to take care of their skin and protect it from the elements.
In this article, we’ll give you the best advice dermatologists have to offer about what products you should include in the best skincare routine.
Dr. Kristy Bailey, MD, FRCPC, DABD
Double-Board Certified Dermatologist, FCP Dermatology, Toronto, ON
General advice: Keep it simple! Use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. Must haves in your skin care are a vitamin C serum with 10-15% L-ascorbic acid, professional strength retinol, and sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen alone has been shown to make you look 25% younger!
- Skin Ceuticals soothing cleanser – a great gentle cleanser
- Skin Ceuticals Phloretin CF – to protect my skin from harmful UV rays, air pollutants, and even from the blue light coming off our phones and computers! Bonus – the phloretin help with any old post-partum pigment
- Skin Ceuticals Face Cream – a mild moisturizer
- Elta MD Tinted Clear Sunscreen – the best sunscreen I have EVER tried. Goes on with a slight tint, great for weekends when you don’t want to wear make-up (for light coverage). Lightweight, non-comedogenic, feels amazing.
- Skin Better Smart Tone Compact – with SPF 68: For added coverage, can layer it for more coverage, goes on like make-up, protects like sunscreen
- Colourscience – Total Protection Colour Balm: I use it as a blush and on my lips for a pop of colour, bonus it has SPF 50. A cream blush, easy to put on and looks great
- Colourscience Lip Shine – for a lip gloss, has SPF 35, hyaluronic acid to pull in moisture, and a slight plumping effect. I have tried for years to find a lip gloss with SPF, finally one has arrived!!
Ready to go with a dewy look and a hint of colour while protecting my skin and treating pigmentation.
- Soothing cleanser – keep it mild!
- Skin Medica TNS Advanced Serum – the only serum with human growth factors derived from neonatal foreskin. Did you know that if you biopsy a fetus in utero they have scarless healing! TNS advanced serum uses these powerful growth factors to help fight the signs of aging while you sleep!
- Skin Medica Retinol 0.25 – My skin tends to be more sensitive, so I opt for the lower Retinol concentration and in a cream base (versus a gel). Retinol is a must have for everyone! It stimulates collagen production, helps eliminate wrinkles, reduces pigment and can even help prevent skin cancer!
- In the winter months I top this with Skin Ceuticals Triple Lipid for an extra moisture boost and to add more ceremides to my skin barrier to help it better retain water
Dr. Kristy Bailey is a Double Board-Certified Dermatologist in Canada and the U.S. She is a recognized expert in cosmetic injectables and minimally invasive procedures. She is hyper-focused on professionalism, precision, and perfection. Dr. Bailey is the Medical Director and Founder of FCP Dermatology, a world class facility located in the heart of the financial district in downtown Toronto, where precision meets luxury.
FCP Dermatology, 100 King Street West, Toronto, ON, M5X 1A9
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Radha Mikkilineni
Board Certified Dermatologist/ Dermatopathologist, Clinical Assistant Professor- Weill Cornell Medicine
Dr. Radha Mikkilineni has 20 years of experience in dermatology and practices the full range of medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. With a background in biophysics and physiology, epidemiology and dermatopathology, Dr. Mikkilineni has a keen understanding of the science of the skin. Her key interests are in the fields of telemedicine and integrative dermatology, particularly regarding the management of chronic skin disease, wellness and anti-aging. She is a graduate of the Learn Skin Integrative Dermatology Certificate Program and CEO and Founder of a mobile digital software application, Skinsage, Inc. She is committed to combining the best of traditional and alternative dermatology and adapting the digital space to better serve doctors and patients.
Dr. Mikkilineni received her medical degree from Georgetown Medical School. She completed her internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, her dermatology residency at Case Western Reserve-University Hospitals of Cleveland and her dermatopathology fellowship at New York University. She holds two master’s degrees in Physiology and Biophysics as well as in Biostatistics and Epidemiology (The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine). She is board certified in Dermatology and Dermatopathology and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Cornell Medical School, New York Presbyterian Hospital. Prior to moving to New York City she was the medical director of a private, group specialty dermatology practice in downtown Washington, DC and an Instructor of Dermatology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Radha Mikkilineni, MD, MSc
Clinical Assistant Professor Weill Cornell Medical School
Dept. of Dermatology, New York Presbyterian Hospital
900 5th Avenue, NY, NY 10021
54 New Hyde Park Road, Garden City, NY 11530
Radha Mikkilineni, MD (FB)
Finding the right skin care regimen can be overwhelming and there is no one size fits all. A few skin care products on the market though are truly reliable and for me they have worked wonders and are a mix of drugstore and medical grade products. One caveat is that I have sensitive, and, yes, rosacea prone skin and cannot tolerate retinols or tretinoin. Other essentials to focus on are cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating and sleeping 8 hours, plus eat a clean diet full of vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean proteins and drink tons of water.
Morning Skin Care Routine:
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser followed by Avene Hydrance Moisturizer and a tinted sunscreen toggling between ISDN, Alastin and Oxygenetics. The iron oxide affords that extra boost of protection against visible light! I also take care to moisturize from head to toe daily using Weleda or Aveeno Moisturizer. In the summer, I use Vichy SPF 60 for exposed areas. It’s light, moisturizing and non-greasy! Every morning I add a scoop of CodeAge Collagen (bovine) to my coffee. They have capsules as well as marine collagen which are also great.
Nightime Skin Care Routine:
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser followed by Revision Vitamin C serum 30% three times a week. The other nights I opt for Burts Bees Serum or Cream with Bakuchiol, depending on my level of dryness. Bakuchiol is a retinol alternative that is far less irritating, but with the same benefit.
Additional items: Clarins Orange Exract Exfoliating cleanser is amazing. I use this weekly instead of my normal cleanser and sometimes use it on my chest, arms and legs for gentle exfoliating and smoothing. A little bit goes a long way. Ashgawanda, Amlaki and Gotu Kola have rejuvenating properties for the mind and body. I alternate these once or twice daily and my go to brands are Banyan Botanicals or Arthreya Herbs which are certified and trusted sources of herbs. They are also sold as extracts and sometimes I simply add drops to my water as an easy alternative.
Yolanda C. Holmes, M.D. Skin Care Routine
Assistant Professor at The George Washington University
About Dr. Yolanda C. Holmes - I am a Board-Certified and Fellowship trained Dermatologist with hands-on clinical experience in private practice, hospital, and residential / long-term care environments. With an extensive research, presentation, and publication history, I am a strong presenter accustomed to engaging both clinical and non-clinical audiences at conferences, professional associations, and other venues.
I am an early riser so most days I do a 30-minute ride on my stationary bike. My favorite shower gels are Dr. Teal’s body wash- Eucalyptus Spearmint which is very invigorating. I also use Dove’s gentle exfoliating Nourishing Body Wash with Sea Salt. My favorite body moisturizers are Cerave Body lotion and Laura Mercier Souffle’ Body Cream.
My AM facial regimen involves washing with Skinceuticals LHA cleanser which does not aggravate my skin even when I use other skincare products. Because my skin is very oily, I use Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner. I follow with Obagi Vitamin C Serum. My favorite moisturizer is YH ultra-light moisturizer. I use Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Liquid Sunscreen. It does not cause allergic reactions. I use MAC Studio fix Concealer under eyes, and Color Science Brush on Tinted Sunscreen to set all products. My highlighter is by Fenty Beauty- Carmel Cutie. My eye products are eyeliner- Sephora Kohl pencil and mascara -Benefit’s BAD gal.
PM. My nighttime routine is simple. I use Neutrogena Makeup Remover Facial Towelettes, wash with YH Skin Wash off Cleanser, and apply Arazlo alternating with YH Skin Glycolic 10% Cream on the other night.
MD, FAAD (Board Certified Dermatologist In Florida, United States)
About Dr. McGetrick - Experienced board certified dermatologist who specializes in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. Practicing in Florida means that sun protection and skin cancer prevention are at the forefront of tailoring all skincare regimens.
The basics of every morning routine should include a cleanser and a sunscreen. There are many great skin care products out there for cleansers, and this is not an area where you need to spend a lot of money on your product. I personally prefer SkinMedica’s AHA/BHA cleanser, but have used many good basic products over the years. I do apply treatment products (antioxidants) in the morning, but this is a bonus step. I use antioxidants from SkinMedica’s TNS serum and Lumevive AM to help combat the UV exposure we get here in Florida. I then follow with a Hyaluronidase based moisturizer, SkinMedica’s HA5. This step can be combined with a sunscreen if you want to simplify and use a combination product of a moisturizer with sunscreen (there are many out there). The most important part of your morning routine is last, the sunscreen. My personal favorite is EltaMD clear tinted sunscreen. I have tried many sunscreens over the years and always go back to this one. Using a sunscreen with some tint actually provides some additional protection. Remember that all of these products should be brought onto your neck and décolletage as well.
For my body, I use Eucerin Daily Hydration Body Cream with SPF 30 every day. If I am going to be outside at the beach or swimming, I add EltaMD Active SPF 50+ about 30 minutes prior to going out. I keep Colorescience Unforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50 in my purse and my car for touchups.
The most important parts of your nighttime routine are making sure that you take off your makeup and use a retinoid. I use the same SkinMedica AHA/BHA cleanser at night after using Neutrogena oil free makeup remover. I follow this with antioxidants again (remember that these are bonus), specifically SkinMedica’s TNS serum and Lumevive night. I then use either prescription strength Retin A or SkinMedica Retinol depending on what I have at the time. I finish with SkinMedica’s HA5 again as a moisturizer. For the eye area, I apply SkinMedica TNS illuminating eye cream.
Remember that if you are new to retinol, start out only using it a few nights a week and then increase as tolerated. Again, the most important part of your night routine is taking off your makeup religiously every night and trying to get retinol in at least a few times a week!
MD, MBE, FAAD (Board Certified Dermatologist In Pennsylvania, United States)
About Erum - Experienced Dermatologist with a demonstrated history of caring for patients. Skilled in Medicine, Administration, Teledermatology, Research, Bioethics, Fashion Design, Healthcare, and Healthcare Management. Dr Ilyas has built a practice of over 30,000 patients in addition to creating and launching a line of women's contemporary clothing with sun protection in every textiles and adaptive features.
The basics of my skin care routine are very simple: cleanser and sunblock in the morning, cleanser and retinol at night.
For a cleanser, most days I choose CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. If I do find that my skin is a bit more on the oily side at times, I may use Neutrogena’s Oil Free Acne Wash.
Every morning I apply a sunblock. I tend to choose Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue for my face and the Mineral Sunscreen Lotion by my line, AmberSkinCare by AmberNoon for my body. For days that I will be in the sun and not just at work I will often use my Tinted Sunscreen Lotion from my line as well for my face.
At night, I use retinoids. Most times of the year I use the prescription strength version but in the winter my skin can get too dry and irritated. I tend to use CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum in the winter when this is the case. If I do use this at night, I may supplement the effects with Oil of Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 in the morning.
The other add-on’s, especially with mask wearing, are Niacinamide containing serums on the days I work. I find it can help lessen the irritation and maskne I have been experiencing. I use The Ordinary’s Niacinamide Serum in the morning and the Detox Night Wear cream by my line, AmberSkinCare by AmberNoon at night. I also get irritation around my eyes from wearing a mask and find the Cucumber Herbal Eye Gel from my line as soothing.
By keeping my routine simple and straightforward and focused on the needs of my skin at the time, I avoid excess use of unnecessary products!
Renata M. Block, MMS, PA-C
Dermatology PA-C at Advanced Dermatology & Aesthetic Medicine, LLC. Greater Chicago Area
About Renata - I am a Board Certified Physician Assistant who has been practicing in dermatology since 2004. I have experience in managing and treating dermatological conditions such as acne, rashes, warts, eczema and psoriasis. I am highly skilled at detecting and treating skin cancers. I enjoy cosmetic procedures including skin tightening treatments and lasers. I am an avid believer in patient education and enjoy teaching patients about skin care, cosmetics and product use including anti-aging formulations. Please visit my blog at savvydermdiva.com
Waking up early in the morning for my workouts, I make sure I wash my face with water and follow it up with an RX Onexton Gel with BPO and clindamycin before breaking a sweat.
Once my workout is finished, I wash with a gentle cleanser such as Dove Bar soap to face, and Dermalogica’s Body wash with the perfect aromatic oils combination; both have been a favorite of mine for 20 years. My skin routine is essential to me, and I never miss a beat in the morning when prepping with a powerful Vitamin C Serum such as ISDIN's Flavo-C Ultra Glycan, a powerful antioxidant with moisturizers to help fight free radical damage from UV radiation, pollution, and stress. Eye cream is a necessity for delicate skin, and my current fave is Lumiere Firm Riche formulated with growth factors to help boost repair. ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless then follows a rich moisturizer such as EltaMD Ceramide and Enzyme repair, a tinted 100% Mineral Sunscreen formulation to help protect me against UVA/UVB and Blue Light while repairing my skin with a patented enzyme formulation. Lastly, Epionce Lip Balm is my current go-to for lip hydration and protection.
My Nighttime skincare routine is always my favorite because it is the most time I spend on my routine, and I consider it a pampering session. If I wear make-up during the day, it gets washed off immediately when I get home with Olay Cleansing Cloths which takes it off beautifully. I follow this with my ISDIN Sunscreen. I have a separate routine before I go to bed with a SkinCeuticals hydrating cleanser, followed by an RX Arazlo lotion 0.045% to my full face for my acne, pores, oil-control, and anti-aging, of course. Eye cream is vital to the skin, and I never skip it due to the eye area being very delicate; and when applied before my Arazlo, it can help buffer the migration of the product to the area, which can cause dryness. I repeat my EltaMD moisturizer, and voila, I am ready for my beauty sleep. Sleeping on a special pillow to combat wrinkles such as Sleep and Glow helps me keep the wrinkles at bay.