Gather a skin care routine can be overwhelming. Of cleansers and moisturizers To sun creams and retinols, there are dozens of potential items that could go into your day. Before buying anything, however, it’s important to understand your skin type as well as your individual needs and goals. A product that might be your friend’s holy grail might be a total dud for you if you have very different skin types – and sometimes even if you don’t. Fortunately, here at Strategist, we’ve spoken to many dermatologists and facialists over the years to find out which ingredients and formulas work best for all skin types. Based on the many recommendations we’ve gathered and our own intrepid testing, we’re putting together a new set of routines for oily, dry and sensitive skin. First of all: oily skin.
Oily skin tends to become slippery and oily as the day progresses. People with oily skin may also notice large pores and pimples more frequently, as excessive sebum production can lead to acne. As a general rule, you’ll want to choose oil-free, non-comedogenic products that won’t clog pores, and look for exfoliating ingredients that will remove dead skin cells and excess oil. Oily skin can tolerate more frequent washes and exfoliations than dry skin, but you’ll still want to make sure you’re using a light moisturizer so your skin doesn’t stay dehydrated. All of the products below are approved by strategists to control oil and rash.
Washing off bacteria, makeup, and other pore-clogging dirt should be the first step in any routine. Cleansers come in many forms, including oils, creams, and foams, but when it comes to oily, acne-prone skin, experts agree gel formulas are best. because they’re designed for the deep cleansing that oily skin needs, but they don’t strip the skin, which means you’ll get that crisp clean feeling without any tightness. Facialist Sophie pavitt Love this bestselling K-beauty cleanser because it helps push back pimples. “He has BHA [beta hydroxy acid], an active ingredient that really cleanses the inside of the pores, “but remains gentle on the skin,” she says. It’s also a favorite of contributing strategist Rio Viera-Newton, who says, “If your skin is oily, this cleanser will prepare your skin for the day by providing you with the perfect pH level, which means it ensures a pleasant and soft skin but also preparations for the toner or the essence that you put afterwards.
If you prefer a creamy cleanser with a rich lather, this from French brand La Roche-Posay also contains powerful ingredients, like salicylic and alpha-hydroxy acids, which exfoliate the skin and deeply cleanse the pores. “It loosens dead cells and increases cell renewal to reveal new skin”, explains the dermatologist Sonia batra, a co-host of The doctors. “Acids work to rid the skin of common acne problems such as oiliness, pimples and blackheads.” Tess Adams, facialist and co-founder of New York’s Take care of yourself Spa, agrees that these acids “may be imperative in curing cystic or severe acne”.
Ask any dermatologist to talk about essential ingredients in a skin care routine, and we guarantee vitamin C will be one of the first to appear. It’s an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation, fight free radical damage, lighten skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots. If you are prone to acne, you will need to be careful when purchasing vitamin C serums, as many are packed with ingredients like vitamin E which, while very moisturizing for dry skin, can clog pores. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic is considered the gold standard for vitamin C serums, but dermatologist Julie Russak, founder of the Russak Dermatology Group, says this serum from the same brand is “the best choice for oily skin” because it does not contain vitamin E. It even made our list of the best products for cystic acne because it improves skin tone by reducing skin tone. hyperpigmentation caused by old acne spots.
Retinol is another ingredient that no skin care routine should be without. A form of vitamin A that stimulates skin cell renewal, retinol is considered the gold standard for treating wrinkles and acne. “It has even been shown to increase collagen production and lighten and exfoliate the skin,” explains the dermatologist. Whitney bowe. There are tons of different retinol products out there, but Differin gel is a dermatologist favorite for oily and acne prone skin. “It treats acne deep in the pores and prevents the formation of new acne,” explains the cosmetic dermatologist. DiAnne Davis. The active ingredient in Differin is adapalene, which is actually a retinoid (a stronger form of retinol) which, until a few years ago, was only available with a prescription. Now you can get the same powerful treatment over the counter. Ellen marmur, a dermatologist and clinical associate professor in the Mount Sinai Dermatology Department, adds that Differin is also “oil-free and fragrance-free, so apart from the retinoid, it has no other irritants, which helps oily skin.” .
Since your oily skin makes you more likely to develop pimples, it’s a good idea to keep spot treatment in your arsenal to treat blemishes that appear. This dermatologist-approved treatment attacks acne on two fronts, hence the “Duo” in its name. It contains 5.5% benzoyl peroxide to kill acne-causing bacteria, as well as exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid to clear pores of debris and dead skin cells. Morgan rabach, dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical NYC, says it helps pimples shrink and disappear faster, and dermatologist Samer Jaber, founder of Washington Square Dermatology, praises its beneficial “anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects”.
According to Rio, these patches – an eternal bestseller among our readers – have “truly magical powers” to heal popping pimples. Made from hydrocolloid, the patches treat pimples in three ways: they form a protective seal on open skin, absorb pimple grime and oil, and create a moist environment ideal for wound healing.
When your skin is naturally oily, the last thing you want to do is weigh it down with a thick, oily moisturizer. But you don’t want to skip moisturizer entirely, as oily skin can still become dehydrated, which can actually cause the skin to produce more sebum. Experts say the best options for oily skin are oil-free, non-comedogenic formulas (which means they don’t clog pores). This lightweight hydrating gel checks both boxes. King Hadley, clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College at Cornell University, explains that its key ingredients, glycerin and hyaluronic acid, “are both humectants, so they can hydrate the skin without the need for emollients that can seem too heavy for oily skin. . “
You may not need a night cream if your skin is very oily, but if you are using strong products to treat acne, such as Accutane, Benzoyl Peroxide, Retinol, or salicylic acid, you can dry out your skin. Adding a night cream to your routine, even if it’s just once a week or during the winter, when your skin is drier than usual, can help replenish that lost hydration. Dermatologist Georgina Ferzli of Sadick Dermatology in New York City recommends this water-based option for oily, acne-prone skin. “It’s thick without being occlusive, hydrating, and feels almost whipped and fluffy when it goes on,” she says.
This washable face mask contains AHA and BHA for chemical exfoliation and microcrystals for gentle physical exfoliation. The combination makes it one of our top picks for controlling oil production and preventing breakouts. “Washable acne-focused masks tend to really dry out my skin, but this one left me feeling super soft and smooth,” says Rio. It’s also a favorite of Taryn Toomey, founder of The Class.
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