I Followed a Dermatologist’s Exact Skin-Care Routine — Here’s What Happened
It’s no secret that dermatologists have the best tips for curating a well-rounded skin care regimen. After all, they know the ins and outs of skin care more than anyone in the industry, and serve as the masterminds behind their patients’ routines. But what products or rituals do they turn to for their own skin? To find out, we tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dendy Engelman, M.D. She shared a glimpse into her morning and evening skin care routine, which inspired us to follow it to a T. After all, Dr. Engelman does have flawless-looking skin! But would Dr. Engelman’s routine be just as effective on my skin as it is on hers? The final verdict, ahead.
STEP 1: Cleanse and Tone Your Skin
If there’s one thing I know for sure: cleansing the skin is a must, regardless of age or skin type. I do it every morning. And no surprise, Dr. Engelman does just the same. I began the day by using a gentle cleanser to rid my skin of any dirt, oil or impurities it could have picked up during the day. Dr. Engelman isn’t partial to any specific formula, so I opted for my normal go-to (which I fell in love with after receiving a complimentary sample): La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser. The formula helps removes excess oil — I have oily skin! — and makes my skin feel fresh and comfortably clean.
After cleansing, Dr. Engelman follows up with a toner. Toner is a product that is often misunderstood, but it can help to remove any lingering dirt, oil or grime that your cleanser may have missed. Think of it as your cleanser’s back up plan. Since I have oily skin, I opted for Lancôme Tonique Pure Focus which I received compliments of the brand. It helps promote a more even-looking complexion and reduces the appearance of pores.
STEP 2: Apply Eye Cream
After cleansing and toning, Dr. Engelman turns to eye cream. This step is new to me in the morning, as I usually reserve eye cream for evening use. I have dark circles and a few fine lines here and there, so a morning eye cream can be particularly helpful in combating those concerns.
STEP 3: Apply an Antioxidant Serum
Up next? Vitamin C serum. Dr. Engelman uses cult-favorite SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic every morning, so of course I followed suit thanks to a complimentary sample we received to the Skincare.com offices. The beloved antioxidant-rich serum pairs really well with sunscreen to protect the skin against environmental aggressors and free radicals. I can totally see why experts and editors alike are head over heels for it!
STEP 4: Moisturize Your Skin
Moisturizing is a daily must, so it comes as no surprise that Dr. Engelman hydrates her skin morning and night. Equally unsurprising? The fact that her moisturizer pick changes with the seasons. “I like hydrogels for warmer months,” she explains, “because they have a cooling effect, are not oily and help to calm irritated skin.” In the wintertime, Dr. Engelman opts for heavy-duty face creams and lotions that can combat excess dryness that can result.
STEP 5: Protect with Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
Dermatologists preach about the importance of sunscreen all the time, so of course they use it on their own skin as well! “While I believe in sunscreen all year round, it is very important in the warmer months,” Dr. Engelman says. “Not only are you spending more time outside in general, but the UVA/UVB rays can be more intense.” These UVA/UVB rays can be responsible for anything from sunburns to premature signs of skin aging including wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. As such, be sure to apply broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher each and every day, and reapply at least every two hours.
STEP 6: Apply Makeup
Makeup is the final step in Dr. Engelman’s morning routine. “I have terrible seasonal allergies and will get pretty significant under-eye circles as a result,” she says. “I lean on Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer to help camouflage these away. In addition to excellent coverage, the formula is extremely blendable — plus, it’s water and sweat-proof for up to 16 hours, which is a huge benefit during warmer months.” I struggle with under-eye circles as well, so I was more than ready to put this concealer to the test, and became a fan of its full coverage, velvety-smooth finish that lasted me throughout the work day.
STEP 1: Double-cleanse Your Skin
"In the evening, it’s all about removing the day’s grime and gunk off your face,” Dr. Engelman says. “I follow a double-cleansing ritual.” While there are many different combinations you can follow to double-cleanse, Dr. Engelman sticks to an oil-based cleanser followed by an exfoliating cleanser. “Oil eliminates impurities without drying out your skin,” says Dr. Engelman. “I use an oil-based cleanser first and then a gentle exfoliating cleanser that’s similar to a water-based chemical peel.” Not surprisingly, I did the same.
STEP 2: Apply Serum
The second step of Dr. Engelman’s evening routine involves a serum. “I pick one formulated with antioxidants that help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture and tone,” she says.
STEP 3: Retinol
Last, but certainly not least, Dr. Engelman follows up with SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5. “This vitamin A derivative is the ultimate multi-tasker,” she says. “It helps with fine lines and wrinkles, improves the appearance of discoloration and sun-induced damage.” I’m no stranger to retinol, but I am to this particular product. Our friends at SkinCeuticals sent me a complimentary sample to try, and I couldn’t wait to start!
Editor’s note: Retinol can enhance the skin’s sensitivity toward the sun, so be sure to follow up with sunscreen in the morning. If you’re a retinol newbie like me, start with a lower concentration of the ingredient and work your way up. Since retinol is powerful, it’s better to build your skin’s tolerance first to prevent irritation.
The Final Verdict
After committing to this regimen for a full two weeks, I am pleased to report that my skin feels and looks better than before. I used to stick to three steps in my regimen, but it’s clear to me that that adding those few extra products can make a world of difference when it comes to concerns I have including excess oil and visible dark circles. In fact, my positive results have encouraged me to continue with this routine from here on out! While in some cases a lengthier routine isn’t necessary, and may not produce any additional benefits, it’s worth talking to your dermatologist to find out what’s best for your skin. Who knows, maybe they’ll share their exact skin care routine with you and you’ll be inspired to give it a try as well.