One of the THE most common questions I get from patients is, "What skincare products should I use?" I get it -- it is completely, 100% overwhelming trying to figure out what we should and shouldn't be using on our skin. For starters, the shelves in the drugstore are full of different brands. And that's just the drugstore! Then there are the department store counters, the specialty skincare stores, and now the online vendors. How in the world do you choose?
In a series of posts, I am going to break down skincare. This series is going to take awhile, so hang in there -- but know that everyone will be able to learn something useful from this series.
The first, absolute, number one thing you need to figure out first is your skin. This can actually be fairly complex. You need to start paying attention -- is your skin oily? dry? a combination? Are you prone to developing acne? Do you have rosacea, even in a mild form? Is your skin really sensitive? Is your skin easily irritated? Do you have any history of eczema?
And secondly, what are your problem areas? Do you have a lot of sun damage and brown spots/uneven pigmentation that you are trying to correct? Are you concerned about fine lines and wrinkles? Are you concerned about skin laxity? Is loose skin around the eye an area of concern for you? Are you concerned about pore size? Blackheads? Are you losing volume or plumpness to your skin? Do you have hormone-induced changes to your skin such as hyperpigmentation?
Once you have a sense of the answers to these questions, you can start to pick the right products. Because ultimately, there are a lot of amazing skincare products out there, but if you aren't picking products that are targeting your skin type and your problem areas, you will not be getting the results that you want and you MAY even be making your skin worse in the process.
For example, I have sensitive, acne-prone skin, which is a tough combination. There is a popular prescription retinoid (retin-a type product) that is designed for anti-aging and is also designed to be moisturizing, which I thought might be great for me since my skin is so sensitive. However, when I tried it on my face, I got CYSTIC ACNE. It was simply much too moisturizing for my acne-prone skin. It is still a great product -- but just not for me.
And that is the crux of choosing skincare -- choosing the right products for you.