When it comes to caring for your skin, there is an influx of information about the best morning and evening skincare routines. It all can get easily overwhelming (Do you use retinol before or after moisturizer? How many products are too many?) To get this all wrinkled out (pun intended) we went straight to an expert for the most effective steps to take to achieve—and maintain—that youthful glow, plus we pulled together some of our favorite editor-approved products to help get the job done.
According to Dr. Paul Jerrod Frank, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Chief Medical Officer and Founder of PFRANKMD, it is best not to overcomplicate it. “Go back to the basics. All you need is cleanser, moisturizer and sun protection,” he says. “It’s about the rule of KISS, which I discuss in “The Pro-Aging Playbook”—Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Dr. Frank says a common misconception is that you need a myriad of products to achieve your best skin—product excess is actually the number one mistake.
“People are sold skin care products from the perspective of ‘anti-aging’ as if aging is a bad thing,” he says. The result of these negative marketing pressures is that people assume more is always better which he says is simply not true. The truth is it can create other problems with your skin. “A common thread of overuse of products is what we call ‘sensitive skin syndrome,’ says Dr. Frank, who just opened a brand new second location of PFFRANKMD in New York City’s West Village.
“Whether it is skin care, cosmetic procedures, nutrition, exercise or professional endeavors, life doesn’t have to be so complicated to achieve results,” says Dr. Frank. Here are a few useful products to help streamline your skin care in our world of excess content.
Step 1: Start With A Cleanser
First, rinse skin with lukewarm water. Then, apply a cleanser suited for your skin type. Look for a formula with AHA’s for cell turnover for oily or lackluster skin or an oil cleanser for drier skin types, recommends Dr. Frank. Make sure you massage the formula in gentle, circular motions over your face and neck. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
For that pesky dull and congested skin, this lathering cleanser utilizes the exfoliating powers of glycolic acid to leave skin radiant and smooth and help eat away at that top layer of dead skin that often causes a dull appearance.
A cult favorite, this two-in-one makeup remover and cleanser with camellia oil gently melts away impurities—even waterproof makeup—without the harsh aftermath of some aggressive cleansers. The result? Pure, silky soft skin.
Step 2: Apply Moisturizer
“I like hyaluronic acids to boost moisture or rose water for anti-inflammation and to soothe sensitive skin,” Dr. Frank says. “Gently apply to the face in a circular, upward motion.”
The latest and greatest from German skincare brand Dr. Barbara Sturm is this science-backed, luxe moisturizer that works to deliver both immediate and long-term powerful anti-aging results.
A lightweight gel-cream that is powered by advanced hyaluronic acids and time-release hydro-patches delivers up to 24 hours of hydration for dewy, plumped-looking skin—sans irritation.
Step 3: Apply Sunscreen In The Morning
It might seem like overkill, but it is essential to apply sunscreen every morning all year long, even in the middle of winter when the sun is far from shining. Look for a formula that says “broad spectrum,” which means UVB and UVA coverage and SPF 30 or above. Dr. Frank recommends applying sunscreen after moisturizer has soaked in.
A powerful sunscreen is essential to your anti-aging regime. This tinted SPF 40 sunscreen formulated with micronized titanium and zinc oxides contains vitamins C and E for additional antioxidant benefits.
An innovative, antioxidant-rich multitasker has a unique oil-free formula that glides onto skin while providing broad spectrum SPF 40 protection.
Step 4: Apply A Retinoid Or Serum In The Evening
In the evenings, swap sunscreen for a retinoid or a Vitamin C antioxidant serum, recommends Dr. Frank.
Another tried-and-true cult favorite, this vitamin C serum delivers advanced environmental protection and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, and brightens skin’s complexion. In addition, it is clinically proven to reduce combined oxidative damage from free radicals generated by UV, Ozone and Diesel Exhaust by up to 41%.
This clean, cutting-edge formula from incredibly popular beauty brand Drunk Elephant has 1.0% vegan retinol and superfood-rich ingredients to diminish the look of fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage.
Step 5: Make An Annual In-Office Plan
In lieu of an abundance of products daily, Dr. Frank recommends counteracting the effects of sun damage and aging with a yearly in-office treatment like Fraxel, which uses laser to resurface the skin. “Clear skin is always a sign of youth and vitality that I try and give that to patients at any age,” he says. “I’d tell my patients to invest in a yearly Fraxel treatment over a slew of anti-aging products any day.”