Of course, there are products and habits that dermatologists recommend, and then there are those that they use themselves. Recently it struck us: Why have we never forced our favorite, most trusted dermatologists to reveal exactly how they take care of their own skin?
First, we decided to focus on nighttime skincare routines. So, we contacted four top dermatologists and asked them to walk us through their honest nighttime skincare regimens. To our surprise, unlike some celebrities (or even ishonest editors), their routines were delightfully simple. Read on to find out exactly what top dermatologists use on their skin each night.
1. Remove every stitch of makeup (but gently)
A dermatologist going to bed with makeup on would be like a vegan chef eating a steak: It just wouldn't make sense. Dermatologists know that when cleansing your skin at night, you should have one goal in mind: to make sure all the makeup, dirt, and buildup on your skin is completely gone, while not stripping it of moisture. Cream cleansers with gentle, simple ingredients will be your best friend here—board-certified dermatologist Nancy Samolitis, MD, founder of Facile Dermatology, is a fan of brands like Cerave and Cetaphil, while Donell hydrating cream wash is a go-to for dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care. You'll never find a dermatologist using a fussy, overpriced foam cleanser filled with synthetic fragrances or preservatives.
2. Reach for a clinically tested anti-aging treatment
Dermatologists are serious about anti-aging, and they don't mess around with ingredients that aren't extensively backed by science. Retinol, glycolic acid, and antioxidants are among the ingredients you'll find in their nightly serums and treatments.
Beverly Hills dermatologist Lisa Chipps, MD, alternates between a retinol serum, to boost collagen production, and a product to repair pre-cancerous sun damage, like DNA Night Renewal.
Tanzi swears by Epionce's glycolic Renewal Facial Lotion, which gently exfoliates for brighter skin. Dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, recommends Elizabeth Arden's antioxidant-packed Prevage Daily Anti-Aging Serum.
3. Make the eyes and lips a priority
It's a truth universally acknowledged among dermatologists that by the time you're in your 30s, the delicate skin around your eyes and lips needs extra nourishment. Under her eyes, Chipp's likes to use RoC's Retinol Correxion Eye Cream, a tried-and-true drugstore product. Tanzi swears by Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment.
For the lips, try something super hydrating—ishonest editors are big fans of Make Marine Salve.
4. Never forget the neck
A dermatologist's work doesn't end at the borders of their face, and neither does their personal skincare routine. "The neck is an often neglected area and one of the places that can disclose age," says Engelman, whose favorite neck cream of the moment is Is Clinical Clinical Neck Perfect Complex. The product contains "hyaluronic acid for hydration, mixed fruit extracts to enhance exfoliation, white willow bark, which is a source of salicylic acid, and vitamin B5," Engelman explains. (You can always trust a derm to look closely into ingredients.)
5. Use a no-frills moisturizer
Just like cleanser, moisturizer is another product that dermatologists know not to splurge on. Anti-aging products with clinical studies to back them up are where they spend their money. But the point of moisturizer is simply to seal the moisture barrier, so most derms opt for something super basic. Cerave Moisturizing Lotion is a dermatologist favorite, as is this Neutrogena pick, which contains hyaluronic acid for a little extra hydration.
Next: See which products a celebrity dermatologist threw out of one editor's skincare routine.
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