London-based Dr. ALEXIS GRANITE on the simple regime that calms her breakouts and controls her pigmentation
My skin is tricky and super-sensitive, so I have to be careful. I break out very easily and have done since my twenties, and I also have melasma (skin discoloration). I always cleanse with Natura Bissé Oxygen Mousse, then apply Ketrel 0.05% Tretinoin Cream – a prescription-only treatment that I use for acne, anti-aging and pigmentation. When the Ketrel cream is dry, I follow with SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier, which is a hyaluronic acid serum, and a moisturizer – I’m currently using the Shiseido Essential Energy Moisturizing Gel Cream. This serum-and-gel-cream combination works really well, as it doesn’t make me break out. I also use Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis Eye Recovery cream. My skin is too sensitive for peels, so I try to use the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro mask three times a week instead. That’s it for my face; I don’t have this big, long routine. However, I am crazy about moisturizing my body so, while I’m waiting for each layer to dry on my face, I moisturize some part or other with Aesop Rind Concentrate Body Balm.
During the months of higher UV levels, and when my melasma’s acting up, I use Pigmanorm – a prescription-only cream containing 1% hydroquinone and 0.1% retinoid, which is one of the better treatments for pigmentation. I apply it to specific areas, such as the upper lip, where I literally have a moustache of melasma. I tend to alternate (one night of this, one night of Ketrel) for a month and then repeat it two or three times a year. I’ve struggled with breakouts and have used a retinoid-based product in some shape or form since my twenties, except when I was pregnant. As a result, I’ve built up a slow tolerance to it over the years, even though my skin can be sensitive.
A good routine is about finding the products you and your skin like (texture and scent are so important) and sticking with it, because they take time to work. You don’t need 1,000 actives – just be dedicated to using a retinol, then later a prescription retinoid, plus something to hydrate and moisturize.
New York’s Dr. ROSE INGLETON on why consistency and a few key products are her secrets to good skin
I’m a person of habit, and that’s been crucial over the years. The minute I walk through the door each evening, I don’t speak to my family – I go straight to the bathroom to wash my face and rid my skin of the city. The day has to come off. For me, it’s very much a mental thing and part of my unwinding process. But the removal of dirt is very dermatologic, too, as it’s removing all the particles that end up on my skin after a long day at work.
I then put on my treatment products for the night. Usually it’s just two steps: my Rose MD Skin Complexion Brightening Booster (I have some areas of discoloration around the sides of my face and I like to keep my skin as even as possible) and my Signature Moisturizer. I do this five nights a week. Twice a week, I use my Retexturizing Booster formulated with retinol instead. My skin doesn’t tolerate prescription-grade retinol, so that’s part of the reason I created my own line – I needed a non-irritating regimen. Great skin is about consistency and finding the right products that target exactly what you are trying to improve, then sticking with them to give them a chance to work. So many people give up after a few weeks, but it takes a minimum of one month to tell if a product is working or not.
Manhattan-based Dr. DENDY ENGELMAN on the power of double cleansing and her radiance-boosting regimen
Cleansing used to just be something you did, but now we know it’s a very necessary and important step for skin health. Today, cleansers do what they say they do, so the choice is down to the texture you like. I’ve always liked to double cleanse, even before it was a trend, because I like to wear makeup and I want to know I’ve got everything off. The first cleanse takes off the day and makeup; the second one cleans the skin. I’ve been using the Eve Lom Cleanser for years, followed by the Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser. You can use the same cleanser, or one that’s gentle and a second product that’s a bit more active, but most people benefit from double cleansing.
We all have areas of concern – such as fine lines or crepey under-eye patches – and, even though I don’t have pigmentation, I will be 45 this year, so it’s more about skin texture for me. To boost radiance, I use a prescription-only retinoid tretinoin cream at night, which resets my skin to the 28-day cell-turnover cycle I had when I was young (this gets up to a 40-day cycle by the time you’re in your fifties). I came off it when I had my children, but now I use it every night, as my skin is not particularly sensitive. I am quite aggressive with my own regimen, but my skin is pretty tough. I apply the tretinoin, let it dry down, then always moisturize on top to counter any dryness. I like Skinbetter Science Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment, as it has three different types of hyaluronic acid and it makes my complexion feel incredibly smooth in the morning. I also love Elizabeth Arden’s Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum if my skin’s feeling dry.
Once a week, I swap retinol for Ambari’s PM Active 12 Serum, which contains a 12% blend of AHA/PHA and a ton of actives. It’s perfect for a mid-week peel and keeps my skin looking radiant. I love sheet masks and use Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Rose Gold Eye Masks plus Derm Institute Anti-Oxidant Hydration Gel Masque once a week, when my skin feels dry or if I’m flying. I also like Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream and La Mer The Concentrate, which I sometimes use like a mask at night. Finally, if I’m not too tired, I’ll try to do a quick LED mask or use the Lyma Laser while I watch the news at night.