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Skincare 101 Morning Routine by Dr. Stephanie Cotell

One of the most frequent questions I get from patients, friends and family is, ‘How do you recommend I take care of my skin?” In this blog, I am going to share my recommendations that can be used for both men and women for their morning routine. Of course, before you incorporate any of these tips, see your dermatologist or dermatology provider if you have specific concerns or underlying skin conditions. Here are my super simple skin care routine recommendations. This should take less than 3 minutes every morning. I find that one healthy habit generates other healthy habits!


Step 1: Cleanse. Gentle cleansing is the name of the game! We want to get our skin clean and ready for the day. It can be done simply with drug store gentle liquid cleansers or wipes. I especially like micellar water wipes. These gentle wipes remove makeup and clean skin thoroughly. These are great for quick cleansing and do not require rinsing off after application. They are also great for a quick skin refresher if on the go or traveling! I also love store-bought gentle liquid cleansers such as Cerave, Cetaphil and Aveeno cleansers. Be sure to wash gently using your fingertips, splash with lukewarm water and pat dry in order to avoid any irritation. For patients who want to add some facial rejuvenation/exfoliation to their cleansing regimen, I love Glytone Gel Wash or Glytone Creamy Wash with glycolic acid from our office or Jan Marini C-Esta Cleanser with Vitamin C to incorporate antioxidants and skin brightening.

Step 2: Protect your skin with a Vitamin C serum, such as Jan Marini C-Esta Serum at our office. Vitamin C serums are antioxidants designed to protect our skin from free radical damage that we get from environmental toxins and pollution. Vitamin C serums help us to protect our skin, just as Vitamin A retinoids at night help to repair our skin. Vitamin C helps to boost collagen to repair fine lines and helps fight hyperpigmentation. It is anti-inflammatory and may help to reduce redness. This is an area where purchasing a high quality product may be more reliable. The serum should come in dark glass or non-see through container in order to prevent oxidation and breakdown in the bottle. Some Vitamin C serums may have an odor, but Jan Marini C-Esta Serum smells amazing!

Step 3: Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30 sunscreen or higher is the single most important step you can take to prevent aging, wrinkling, brown spots and skin cancer. This should be done 365 days a year, even on cloudy days. Many people balk at this suggestion at first, thinking they will smell like the beach or have thick white goop on their skin. Distinct from routine sunscreens made for pool and beach, daily facial moisturizers with SPF are formulated to provide light hydration, while providing the needed sun protection factor. Choose one labeled ‘broad spectrum’ to block both UVA and UVB rays. My favorite store brands are Neutrogena, CeraVe and La Roche-Posay. It may take some experimentation to see which brand or type you prefer. My very favorite (I’m obsessed!) is sold at our office or online: Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 in both tinted and original formula. This one is especially great for those with rosacea, acne, sensitive skin and hyper pigmentation. The hyaluronic acid moisturizer in it results in a silky smooth application (no white color, no sticky feel and the Vitamin B3 Niacinamide reduces redness. as a bonus!)

For women, now apply your makeup if desired.

Additional Options

Additional options: Simple exfoliation with a drug store salicylic acid or glycolic acid cleanser may be done twice a week to remove dead skin cells and prepare skin for all the wonderful products discussed above. Alternatives would be clay masks. Exercise caution in using masks with scrubbing particles, as sometimes those can be too irritating to the skin.

Stay tuned for evening recommendations!



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