Need-to-Know Skin Advice from 11 Dermatologists We Love
Scroll through our outbox and you’ll find countless messages like these asking dermatologists their opinion on everything from acne treatments to the latest TikTok trends. That’s because, no matter how much we Google, only dermatologists with their years of training and field experience know how to cut through the clutter to answer what is scientifically beneficial for the skin (and what can probably be skipped).
We were curious: If dermatologists could give us just one piece of skin advice, what would they say? Spoiler alert: We asked them. Read their responses below.
ALWAYS APPLY SUNSCREEN BEFORE MAKEUP
– Dr. Portela, Board-Certified Dermatologist
“The sunscreen in your makeup is not enough. Even if your makeup claims to have an SPF of 30, it’s likely that you’re not putting on a thick enough layer to actually get that level of protection. I recommend applying a daily facial sunscreen on your skin prior to makeup. This will ensure you’re getting adequate protection from UV rays.”
DON’T BE AFRAID OF RETINOL
– Dr. Nancy Samolitis, Board-Certified Dermatologist and Owner of Facile Dermatology
“Retinol is the one skincare ingredient that has significant scientific data behind it showing improvement in both acne and sun-damaged skin. Most people can train their skin to build up a tolerance to retinol by starting slow and moisturizing often.” If you’re nervous about this active’s reported side effects, try encapsulated retinol instead. Formulated in the Gentle Retinol Serum and Retinol Body Lotion, encapsulated retinol sends the ingredient deep down into the layers of skin without any surface irritation or dryness.
YES, LIP CARE IS IMPORTANT
– Dr. Paula Morgan, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FAAD
“Don't forget lip balm. It's just as important to protect your lips from the sun as it is to protect your face. Plus, as we age, our lips thin out and become more prone to chapping and irritation from dryness or wind.” Soften and strengthen lips with a vitamin E-filled Conditioning Lip Oil. Its slow-absorbing oils ensure long-lasting hydration and a strengthened barrier (yes, the lips have one of those, too). Remember to follow up with a swipe of lip sunscreen afterward.
A STRONG MOISTURE BARRIER IS KEY
– Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, FAAD
“Maintaining a healthy skin barrier is one of the most important things you can do for your skin. To strengthen it, don't skip moisturizing (even if you have oily skin) and avoid over-exfoliation.”
STICK TO THE SKINCARE BASICS
– Dr. Jenny Liu, FAAD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology
“Skincare doesn't have to be complicated to be effective. Focus on the basics of cleansing, moisturizing, and photoprotecting (a.k.a. sunscreen). Exfoliating once a week can also help keep the skin looking healthy, radiant, and smooth.”
KNOW YOUR SKIN TYPE
– Dr. Mahwish Javed, MBBS, FCPS, Board-Certified Aesthetic and Medical Dermatologist
“Having healthy skin starts with knowing your skin type and choosing skincare products accordingly. Many people do not know their skin type (for example, dryness and dehydration are not the same thing) and thus choose the wrong products, which can only exacerbate skin concerns.” To find out the best products your skin type, take our Skin Decoder quiz.
CLEANSE (DON’T WIPE) AWAY MAKEUP
– Dr. Mina, MD
“Ditch the makeup wipes! Makeup wipes don't do a great job of cleaning the skin. Mostly, they smear around whatever makeup, dirt, and dead skin is on the face. Plus, they can contain irritating ingredients.” Opt for a Cleansing Balm to melt away face makeup and stubborn mascara instead; if skin needs it, you can double cleanse by following up with a Gel Cleanser to ensure that all traces of residue get swept away.
WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY, ALL YEAR
– Dr. Daniel Sugai, MD Board-Certified Dermatologist
“Apply sunscreen (with at least an SPF 30+) all year round, even on cloudy days. I recommend a tinted sunscreen or a sunscreen with visible light filtering capabilities, especially if you have hyperpigmentation.”
INSTEAD OF POPPING PIMPLES, TRY SULFUR
– Dr. DiAnne Davis, MD, FAAD, Board Certified Medical and Cosmetic Dermatologist
We all know how important it is to avoid popping pimples, which can worsen breakouts and cause scarring. “Instead, use a spot treatment made with sulfur (like Game Over) or salicylic acid to dry them up. If a pimple is really tender, you can also try a warm compress.”
SKINCARE DOESN’T HAVE TO STING TO WORK
– Dr. Laura Scott, MD, FAAD, Board Certified Dermatologist
“Listen to your skin. An active does not need to sting or burn for you to know that it's working (by the way, you almost never want any stinging or burning)."
ADAPT YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE WHEN NEEDED
– Dr. Elyse M. Love, MD, FAAD, Board Certified Dermatologist
“The best advice I can give is to respect and love your skin individually. It will take a little time to learn what works for your skin and what does not work for your skin, but if you're intentional about selecting skincare products, you'll learn what your skin loves and craves and when your skin loves and craves it. Your skin is dynamic and will have different needs depending on the season, your activity level, your diet, and your stress level, so adapt your skincare routine as needed. “