Many consumers find the process of putting together a cohesive skincare routine to be intimidating. No one wants to accidentally cause an adverse reaction or worsen an existing skin concern due to mixing products or ingredients that could potentially cause more harm than good. We spoke to RealSelf Contributor Dr. Michele Green to find out how she advises her clients when it comes to creating a routine that targets their concerns safely and effectively. Here are all of her tips to ensure you can give your clients the best advice possible to help them build their skincare regimens.
What ingredients or products do you advise against mixing?
You don’t want to mix ingredients that could be too irritating. All too often I find patients have been prescribed Retin-A for their skin and drying lotions or gels such as those which contain benzoyl peroxide. The result is drying out the skin and too much irritation. Then they have acne and dryness and irritation instead of just acne and their acne appears worse. It is even worse if drying washes and pads that have salicylic acid are added to the mix. That is why I try to review everything that a patient uses from the soaps to the moisturizers. A patient who has very dry skin needs a rich moisturizer and an acne prone skin needs a lighter formulation that is non-comedogenic.
Products that contain Retinol and Vitamin C can be helpful for a lot of different skin types. It can help with patients who have redness or who have fine lines or even sensitive skin. Vitamin C serum helps also will dryness and pigmentation in all skin types. It is no wonder that is the number one most popular product in my office.
For patients who have very sensitive skin or dry skin or eczema, I tell them to stay away from Retin-A since it is too irritating for them to use.
Serums can be layered and that is why I like them - they absorb quickly and work really well and are not irritating. The last product in the routine should be sunblock or moisturizer (even if it is not sunny). At bedtime, it is usually a Retinol with or without a moisturizer.
I inform patients by having everything written down for them in a pre-printed handout in my office. I have developed my own MGSKINLABS line of products to help with this to choose the ingredients carefully and have them ready for the patients in my office. My line was patient-motivated so that I could have different products ranging from cleansers to moisturizers to anti-aging products to bleaching creams for all different skin types and problems.
Ingredients that are too irritating can make the problem worse like using “too much of a good thing.”
I recommend patients consult a dermatologist to have the best skin care routine. They can analyze your skin and decide what is the best combination to use. If you have a patient who is concerned about wrinkles and can tolerate Retin-A they may use that but someone who has more delicate skin might accomplish this with Retinols and serums and have great results and avoid irritation.