These experts have access to—and knowledge about—every product and treatment on the market. So what do skin professionals really use to keep their skin luminous? We asked about their routines (and peeked inside their medicine cabinets) to find out.
Noelle Sherber, Maryland-based dermatologist
Exfoliate daily. Alpha hydroxy acids are especially good multi-taskers since they not only remove dead skin cells for an immediate benefit, but they also build collagen in the long term to keep skin firm. Instead of investing in a gentle and a more extreme exfoliator, you can just get one glycolic acid wash that isn't self-neutralizing (this means that the longer you leave it on, the more it will do). I use Jan Marini's Bioglycolic Wash (at $30, it's the most potent I've found at this price point). If I want only a light exfoliation, I leave it on for one to two minutes; if I want a deeper treatment, I leave it on for five to seven minutes.
Steam before you moisturize. Seal your bathroom door by putting a towel across the bottom of the door and take a warm shower before bed—let the steam build up in the room and then apply your skincare for optimal hydration. For dry skin, a few dabs of a dense balm may be more effective (not to mention more cost effective) than slathering on layers of a lighter cream. Darphin's Aromatic Renewing Balm is full of mega-moisturizing organic antioxidant-rich oils, and doubles as soothing bedtime aromatherapy, too. The same applies to moisturizing your body skin right after a warm shower; I like the hydrators in Nivea Smooth Sensation lotion.
Shrink a zit. If I ever notice a red blemish starting, I use a dab of a non-fluorinated steroid (fluorinated steroids can worsen acne) like prescription Desonate gel (or over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream) on the spot to take down inflammation quickly without leaving redness and peeling like traditional zit-scorchers do. For an even more potent treatment, cover the zit and steroid with a waterproof Band-Aid overnight; it's like a DIY cortisone shot. Don’t do this all the time or you’ll risk thinning your skin, but it's great in a skin S.O.S. situation.
Charlotte Prescott, spa director at Canyon Ranch, Miami
Switch to a milky cleanser. I wash my face morning and night with Luzern Pure Cleansing Crème. A light, milky cleanser does double duty as a makeup remover (cutting out a step, saving time and money). I use it with a Clarisonic brush, which leaves my skin feeling flawlessly clean.
Use SPF daily. I live in Miami, so of course I always need sun protection. When I’ll be inside all day, I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF; my favorite is Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15. But when I know I’ll be in direct sunlight for part of the day, I apply a true sunscreen before my tinted moisturizer to guarantee stronger coverage.
Take your vitamins. Acne, rosacea, pigmentation issues, dullness, and loss of elasticity can all be tied to deficiency in vitamins in the skin. I like serums with Vitamin A and C to combat pigmentation and signs of aging; they also maintain the overall health of the skin. Try L’Oreal Visible Lift Serum Absolute, a makeup that contains Vitamin C.
Jeanette Graf, New York-based dermatologist
Be gentle to sensitive skin. Cetaphil face wash is great because you can rinse it off, or if skin is very dry, simply wipe it off without water. When my skin gets stressed and sensitive, I love Avene Thermal Spring Water, a mist I spray on my skin, either bare or over makeup. I also like the Eucerin Anti-Redness products.
Fight wrinkles. I’m a peptide person, so I like Olay Regenerist serum to fight wrinkles. It contains the peptide matrixyl and the serum also has a silky feel.
Moisturize your body the old-fashioned way. I like good old cocoa butter. Some drugstores have generic cocoa butter that’s available in spray-on form, which makes it easy to apply to your back.
Exfoliate the new-fangled way. I recommend exfoliating with the Olay ProX Facial Cleansing Brush for a deep down clean.
What is the best advice your dermatologist ever gave you?