Skincare routines and things we’ve finally figured out

Oh skincare…its a whole thing and the beauty industry is not shy about constantly marketing to us with loads of promises!  Add in the dermatology/aesthetics industry selling us plumping and potions and it can quickly become overwhelming.  Its too easy to find ourselves feeling like a squirrel, trying to figure out what we need or don’t need, trying different things and of course spending a lot of money…you only get one face after all!  Haha  Over the years I’ve definitely fallen for a few marketing stunts but I have noticed as I’ve gotten older I crave simplicity and have been able to dial in on the foundational things that are an absolute in my skincare routine.  I don’t claim to be an expert of any kind and of course, we all have very different skin but I do think the foundation is applicable across all skin types so here is what I’ve figure out over the years.

Obviously the first step of any skincare routine is to cleanse.  I like a double cleanse and I think this is supported by the dermatologists.  Double cleanse however you want but I have really grown to love a cleansing balm first, followed by a second cleanse with my face wash.  I have dry skin so the cleansing balm also serves to help me feel a bit more moisturized and I feel like it really gets the makeup and ick from the day off of my skin.  I’ve tried a few cleansing balms and while Elmis cleansing balm is quite amazing, it’s also a bit more pricey and I have been very happy with the Cereve brand that I can grab off the shelf at almost any store! Regarding face wash, I’ve always felt hesitant to spend much money on face wash since it spends almost no time on my face!  It needs to do a really good job but in my opinion, save your money for the things that stay on your skin for a long time!  I love the Trader Joes face wash because its safe for the eyes as well.  If we run out of that then I grab a Cereve face wash which has worked well.  

After cleansing, I try to follow a skin cycling routine (evenings) which was made well known by Dr. Whitney Bowe.  I adapt it to my needs but go look her up on the socials!  Her Instagram account has everything you need to know.  She has created her own products but you can use whatever suits your needs.  This is basically a cycle of exfoliation, retinol, and recovery with quality moisturizers, with the goal of keeping our skin barrier healthy.  She has various schedules and some have more retinol nights than others depending on what your skin can tolerate but I have found that this works really well for me and sets forth a very straightforward plan!  A plan is always so helpful!  For exfoliation night I have really liked Tonic by Skin by Blair (follow her on IG too!).  My bottle has lasted a very long time and its not overly harsh on my skin.  There are a million options out there and I always prefer a chemical exfoliator (something with acids!) so find what works for you.  For the Retinol night…oh man, this feels like a can of worms I know.  I have Tretinoin from the dermatologist.  It works great for me and I can use it multiple nights in a row.  You can even easily obtain an RX for it online these days but I know not everyone has success with it and its something to have a chat with a dermatologist about but if you aren’t ready for that, find a really good quality retinoid.  Again Skin by Blair has a very good option but its a bit pricy and Dr. Bowe has a retinal version which also is a bit pricey so if your budget (like mine!) needs something easy and approachable, grab the Cereve brand option.  You cannot go wrong with Cereve!  For recovery nights, you just need a good oil or moisturizer!  I prefer an oil these days and this one  by Biossance seems to be the bottomless bottle of oil haha!   We will see what I choose to purchase when it runs out.  So just to recap, the night time routine for my skin cycling is night 1- exfoliation, night 2 – retinol, night 3 – retinol, night 4 retinol, night 5 – recovery with only the moisturizer!  If you have more sensitive skin you would just have more recovery nights  and less retinol nights.  

Morning routines are a bit more simple but I feel like its even more important to me because it involves my sunscreen!!!  I cleanse, apply a vitamin C serum (year round…its so important!) and then apply my sunscreen which also acts as a moisturizer and a makeup.  I have now used Revision Skincare Intellishade for several years.  I always wait for their BOGO sale and thats when I buy it.  This stuff is magical because it is one shade which means no decisions or getting it wrong and its bizarre but yes, it works for all the skin tones.  I don’t wear a lot of makeup so this is the perfect “foundation” for me and it feels good and has a bit of a dewy finish.  On days that I don’t need any makeup I have a jar of Super Goop’s daily hydrating cream that we all use in my house!  

Something new I’m experimenting with is a DNA repair serum.  I recently listened to a podcast called Estrogen for your face, with Dr. Kelly Casperson (also a great IG follow!!) where she talked with a dermatologist about various skincare points of interest. They discussed some good results for damage repair using the DNA serums so for those of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s…this may be for you.  The things we didn’t know and the things we did to our poor skin.  Our kids will thank us when they are older for giving them a sunscreen routine starting at age 12!  haha

A few thoughts on procedures and botox.  I’ve heard it said multiple times by many dermatologists, in office procedures are great but if you don’t have a good skincare routine in place at home, you need to establish that before anything else and be consistent in it.  I have not had many in office procedures so I am far from an expert on the matter.  I have done micro needling and it was great but in the end I have concluded, based on my reading, that this is something that offers the most benefit if you can afford to do it routinely throughout the year.  The one in office procedure that I felt was very much worth my time and money was a series of 3 BBL treatments.  I had a lot of sun damage from earlier years in life and this removed the majority of my brown spots!  It is not the most comfortable treatment but it is short and you are really only red for the remainder of the day.  They recommend doing this in the fall or winter when we are not in the sun as much. Most derm offices will run specials on this type of treatment as well. Regarding Botox, there is no cream or lotion that will replace it or mimic it.  It comes with a price tag which I know we are all aware of but it is quite effective.  I first had a bit of Botox several years ago because I had developed some 11 lines between my eyebrows and was scared of looking mad for the rest of my life haha!  After a few treatments, thankfully they have never returned!  I have had times where Botox has fit into my budget and times it has not.  I do recommend and enjoy it (the results that is) if it works for your budget.  In my current phase of life I have some other financial goals and Botox does not fit into the budget so instead I am using Frownies!  I apply them after my evening skincare routine and sleep in them every night.  Frownies are a long game and all about training your muscles and lifting the skin.  I’ve used them for a few months now so we will see in the long run how they work!  I’m committed to experimenting with them for a while so stay tuned!

We could certainly go on and on with the skincare topic but in summary, what I’ve learned is to establish a really solid foundational routine.  The common advice is to make sure this includes, at a minimum, a moisturizer, exfoliator, vitamin C, retinol of some form, moisturizer and sunscreen.  Everything else is just fluff and glitter.  And remember, my grandma slathered suave hand lotion all over her face every single night and she has the softest skin ever so don’t take it all too seriously! 







Skincare routines and things we’ve finally figured out

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