How To Put Together a Basic Skincare Routine with Prescriptions
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How To Put Together a Basic Skincare Routine with Prescriptions

by: Sammy Draper

Education

How To Put Together a Basic Skincare Routine with Prescriptions

by: Sammy Draper

Putting together a skincare routine can seem pretty daunting in this day and age. From extreme celebrity routines (ahem 30-steps, who has the time?) to an overwhelming amount of products to choose from, finding what works for you can seem downright exhausting. What’s toner? What do all these impossible to pronounce ingredients mean? But, there’s no need to stress. Keeping a simple, consistent routine can yield great results. And going back to basics means you’ll be more likely to stick to it.

How to Begin a Routine

We know it can seem daunting to start a skincare routine, especially if you’ve never had one before, but there’s no need to panic. You don’t need a cabinet filled with tons of products and an hour-long bedtime routine. Here are some basic tips to set you up for success: 

Treat your skin gently. Overwashing and harshly exfoliating can damage your skin barrier and aggravate your complexion. 

Don’t go crazy with products and stick to ones that work for you. In a world of endless skincare products and promises of youthful, glowing complexions, it’s easy to go overboard quickly. However, that’s a surefire way to get irritated, stressed skin, leading to breakouts, irritation, and dryness. You only need a few products in your corner that really work. 

Slowly but surely. Start slow and introduce one product at a time. Pay attention to how your skin reacts, or do a patch test by applying a small amount of the product to a clean area of your skin and wait 24 hours to see if you have an adverse reaction, like any itching, swelling, or redness. If your skin looks normal after 24 hours, you’re in the clear. 

More expensive doesn’t mean more effective. You don’t have to break the bank to create an effective skincare routine. Look for simple products backed by science, and be wary of product claims that seem too good to be true. Always do your research. 

Choose products without fragrance or essential oils. If you have sensitive, easily irritated skin, avoiding these two ingredients can help prevent irritation.  For extra help, check out our list of recommended products from our dermatologists. 

We also asked Dr. Aimee Paik some common questions around skincare routines:

How will I know that my skincare routine is working?

"It’s important to give your skincare routine time to work. Improvement in acne typically takes 2-3 months. I would listen to your skin and back off on your prescription topical if it’s too irritating. Your other products should be supportive and not cause any additional irritation."

Do I really have to do a skincare routine every day, or can I just do it a few times a week? 

"It’s important to perform your skincare routine every day!  Don’t be tempted to skip a night. Always wash your face and apply a moisturizer twice a day. You should apply your prescription topical nightly as tolerated."

Your 3-Step Morning Routine

  1. Cleanse. Start the day with a gentle cleanser suited to your skin type. Lather and rinse with lukewarm water, and gently pat dry. If you have oily or combination skin, choose a lightweight gel cleanser. If you have dry or sensitive skin, choose a cream cleanser or cleansing balm to infuse moisture. If you have really dry skin, keep in mind that foaming cleansers tend to be drying. 

    Look for: Cleansers by Cetaphil, CeraVe, or Neutrogena. Ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid provide gentle moisture. 

  2. Moisturize. Dried-out, irritated skin can lead to breakouts. No matter your skin type, don’t skip this crucial step. Even oily skin can be dehydrated or dry when using prescriptions.  Look for: A lightweight oil-free and fragrance-free moisturizer. Look for ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, and if you’re acne-prone, choose non-comedogenic moisturizers. 

  3. SPF. Arguably the most important step of your routine is applying SPF. If you’re using retinoids, you especially don’t want to forget this step since they can increase your sensitivity to the sun.  Look for: A label that says broad-spectrum coverage. Choose a formula with Zinc Oxide for non-irritating protection, and don’t forget to reapply every two hours! For daily use, you don't need a water-resistant sunscreen. But if you're going to be swimming or sweating excessively our dermatologists recommend a water-resistant formula.

👀 Bonus Points: Apply an antioxidant serum before your moisturizer to protect the skin from environmental elements and free radicals, like pollution, smoke, etc. Look for: Ingredients like vitamin C and ferulic acid to improve the skin barrier and counteract oxidative stress

Your 3-Step Nighttime Routine

  1. Cleanse. Wash off the dirt, grime, and makeup of the day with a gentle cleanser. You can use the same one for morning and night. 

  2. Apply your Apostrophe Topical Formula on clean, moisturized skin. Check out our guide on how to incorporate tretinoin into your routine. If you have dry skin, you can also apply your prescription after moisturizer.  Tip: Avoid Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA’s), which are exfoliants that can irritate your skin while you’re using your prescriptions. 

  3. Moisturize with a night cream to hydrate, repair and soothe. If you have acne-prone or oily skin, try an oil-free, lightweight moisturizer.  Look for: Ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide for overnight hydration.

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