At some point, many of us realized that splashing water on our face at the end of the day wasn’t enough care for our skin. Some folks love to experiment with products and routines, for others, those extra steps in the bathroom are standing between us and our morning coffee, or us and our pillow at night. But keeping skin healthy is simple once you find a routine that works for you. This is an example routine that we recommend to many of our patients. It focuses on keeping the skin clean, protected and moisturized. Try it!

- Dr. David



1 / Start with a gentle cleanser.

Bonus: You can use your cleanser with a Clarisonic Brush for a deeper cleanse and gentle exfoliation.

Products: Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser, Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash [note: this has salicylic acid, not safe in pregnancy]

2 / Apply a few drops of antioxidant serum and massage evenly over the face.

Products: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

3 / For normal to dry skin, apply a facial moisturizer that layers well under sunscreen and makeup.

Products: Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream, Glossier Priming Moisturizer

4 / Use a facial sunscreen.

Products: EltaMD UV Clear, EltaMD UV Daily


1 / Remove makeup and dirt with micellar water (or if you prefer, stick with your AM cleanser).

Products: Bioderma Sensibio H20, Simple Cleansing Micellar Water, SW Basics Cleanser

2 / Apply a thin layer of topical retinoid.

[see the Good Files: Retinoids post]

3 / Layer on a facial moisturizer.

Products: CeraVe PM Moisturizer, SW Basics Cream, Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream, Embryollise Lait-Crème Concentre, Avene Skin Recovery Cream

4 / For normal to dry skin, add a few drops of face oil to your nighttime moisturizer OR apply face oil and then layer moisturizer on top.

Products: Aesop Fabulous Face Oil, SW Basics Oil Serum, Tata Harper Face Oil



We get so many questions about dry skin – we all know it's important to keep ourselves hydrated, inside and out – but how do we maintain moisture? Once we really understand how our skin works to hold on to moisture and why, integrating a few new behaviors into our routine is easy. It's not all about products, although some are important. Don't worry about the perfect routine everyday, find what works for you and stick with it. I could talk about this all day – and sometimes I do. Please reach out to me if you want to learn more.

– Dr. DeLuca


  • You can hydrate your skin from the outside and the inside.
  • Hydrated skin is healthier because it’s less prone to injury & irritation.
  • Hydrated skin looks younger because it’s reflecting light better.
  • Hydrated skin is less itchy and feels better.


1 / Cool

Use lukewarm water when you wash your face and body. Hot water feels soothing and opens up pores but it also zaps moisture from the skin. Limiting your showers and baths to once a day (or even less often) will also help.

2 / Calm

Use gentle, fragrance free soaps and moisturizers. Additives, like fragrances, are often skin irritants. And the dryer the skin, the more prone it is to irritation. Irritation causes your skin to have what’s called a local inflammatory response: redness, itching, and general skin discomfort.

3 / Slather

Slather on a plenty of moisturizer after showering. Moisturizers work for two reasons. They draw water from the air into the skin (using organic compounds – ingredients like lactic acid and urea). And they lock in moisture (using natural and some manmade chemicals – ingredients like petrolatum, mineral oil and dimethicone). Both creams and oils work well. (Lotions tend to be thin and not as effective).

4 / Scrub & Smooth

Occasionally exfoliate and peel. Dead skin cells prevent your moisturizer from being absorbed as much as it can be. If your skin isn’t too sensitive, try using a scrub in the shower once a week. A moisturizing peel will go one step further (using ingredients like glycolic & lactic acids, also known as AHA’s) by evenly reducing the outermost layer of your skin so newer, more even skin is exposed.


Retinoids. We recommend them all the time. It’s because these topical formulations, when used correctly, are skin rejuvenators. Our skin, unlike other organs in our body, is always regenerating. The problem is that often our old cells are in the way of the new ones and sometimes, especially as we age, our skin doesn’t rejuvenate at the rate it once did it starts to slow down. Retinoids help our skin to turn over new cells more quickly. So, learn a bit more about how to safely integrate retinoids into your skin care routine.

– Dr. Tan


  • The term retinoid describes a large class of drugs, all derived from Vitamin A.
  • Topical retinoids were traditionally used to treat acne, but are now much more broadly used because incorporating one into a skin care regimen will lead to younger looking skin.
  • Retinoids help to minimize the look of pores, improve uneven pigmentation and stimulate collagen production to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
  • The major downside: retinoids can be irritating, causing redness and flaking, especially in the first few weeks of use.
  • Topical retinoids are considered unsafe in pregnancy, and women should discontinue use of a topical retinoid at least one month before family planning.


Over the Counter Retinoids

Over the counter retinoids are less effective than prescription retinoids because they contain retinol, which is a weaker retinoid. But these can still be effective and worth using. Differin gel is now an FDA approved over the counter medication.


1 / Use at bedtime after using a gentle cleanser or micellar water to clean off everyday dirt or makeup.

Retinoids are most evenly effective on clean skin.

2 / Start by applying it only once or twice a week and build up tolerance.

Some people’s skin may not be able to tolerate retinoids more than once or twice a week (your face stays red, flaky and irritated), and that’s ok. You’ll still see and feel the benefits if you only use it once a week. If you don’t have irritated or dry skin with once or twice weekly use, try increasing to every other day, or even everyday use.

3 / Apply a thin layer over the entire face.

Place a pea-sized amount of cream/gel onto your index finger and dab onto the forehead, cheeks and chin, then smooth out over the entire face to create a very thin layer that acts equally on all parts of your skin.

4 / Apply it along with a moisturizer.

Try mixing your retinoid with an equal amount of moisturizer, or apply the retinoid and then put moisturizer on top – it won’t impact the effectiveness. Almost everyone will need a facial moisturizer to combat the drying nature of topical retinoids.