The Best Skincare Routines and Products Dermatologists Actually Use

There’s no doubt that discovering the best skincare routine is quite a challenge, whether you’re a long-time enthusiast or a novice. Even those with years of experience will share that the journey to clear, glowing skin hasn’t been without some trial and error.

There seems to be an endless amount of skincare advice out there these days, especially now that so many of us can learn new tips and tricks on TikTok. But how do you know what to trust? As we seek to answer this question ourselves, we thought we’d take a look at the routines of our favorite dermatologists. They are, after all, the ultimate experts in the field who can provide medical advice to get your best skin yet. And while it might seem obvious, they have the typical skin issues like acne, sensitivity, eczema, hyperpigmentation, and more, just like us.

So we asked three top dermatologists to share their morning-to-night skincare regimens. Below, read on to shop their beauty cabinets and learn some useful information to light up your routine.

Dr. Karen Kagha

Dr. Karen Kagha

  • Meet the expert: Dr. Karen Kagha is a LA-based and Harvard-based cosmetic and laser fellow trained dermatologist specializing in hyperpigmentation, acne, and skin color.
  • skin type: “I’m naturally oilier, prone to acne,” Kagha explains. “With my skin type, slight hyperpigmentation can occur.”

Morning

The first step: “In the morning, I use a mild detergent. Depending on the condition of my skin, I alternate between CeraVe Foaming Acne Cream Cleanser, Senté Exfoliating Cleanserand Revision Skincare Brightening Facial Cleanser.” Senté and Revision Skincare formulas are powered by exfoliating acids to brighten and remove impurities, and CeraVe is infused with benzoyl peroxide to remove excess dirt and oil and prevent new breakouts.

CeraVe Foaming Acne Cream Cleanser

Revision Skincare Brightening Facial Cleanser

Second step : “Then I apply a vitamin C serum; i am currently using SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF.” Formulated for oily and acne-prone skin, this serum contains a cocktail of silymarin (milk thistle extract), L-ascorbic acid, and ferulic and salicylic acid to reduce oiliness, breakouts, and skin texture.

SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF

Third step: Next comes moisturizer, which is currently the Alastin Ultra Nourishing Moisturizing Cream. It contains linoleic acid, oat kernel and silver mushroom to soothe and nourish the skin.

Alastin Ultra Nourishing Moisturizing Cream

Fourth step: “Finally, I apply sunscreen. Currently, I use Elta® Broad Spectrum SPF 44 UV ElementsKagha says. The tinted mineral sunscreen provides universal sheer coverage for most skin types, as well as UV protection. “For fancier days, if I want more coverage, I can mix in a drop of Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation with my sunscreen.

Elta® Broad Spectrum SPF 44 UV Elements

Dermablend Flawless Creator Lightweight Foundation

Night

“At night, I alternate between the same washes mentioned in my morning routine,” she says. “I then use a small, pea-sized amount of Arazlo Lotion 0.045%. Finally, I apply moisturizer, sometimes La Roche-Posay Toleriane double repair moisturizing face cream.” This coveted French drugstore find is known to be incredibly gentle and nourishing thanks to its ceramides, niacinamide and prebiotic thermal water.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

More to know: “Depending on active breakouts, I have a prescription benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin lotion that I apply intermittently to problem areas,” Kagha said of what completes her routine. In light of her specialties in aesthetics and lasers, she often treats her diverse clientele and her own skin with this approach. “One of the most common complaints of my personal skin type is hyperpigmentation,” she notes. “To do this, I like to combine other less common options in the office, including non-ablative fractional lasers and chemical peels for more stubborn areas. I always encourage patients to take a more preventative approach and start early. take care of their skin for best results.

Dr. Whitney Bowe

Dr. Whitney Bowe

  • Meet the expert: Dr. Whitney Bowe is a New York-based, board-certified dermatologist and founder of her own line of beauty products, which seeks to address concerns from the inside and the outside.
  • skin type: “My skin is sensitive, dry, and I’m prone to occasional breakouts,” says Bowe.

Morning

“My morning skincare routine is consistent and streamlined — I don’t do a morning skin cycle,” says Bowe. “My goal is to protect my skin from everyday stressors that can generate free radicals, like ultraviolet rays and pollution.”

The first step: “Clean with a mild cleanser and warm (not hot) water,” she advises. “One of my longtime favorites is La Roche-Posay Toleriane gentle moisturizing cleanserwhich is milky and leaves my skin hydrated and nourished, not stripped and tight.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Gentle Moisturizing Cleanser

Second step : Next, the vitamin C serum. “I used SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF because their CE Ferulic tends to break me, but I’m really excited about newer, more stable vitamin C derivatives like tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate because we know that L-ascorbic acid, the most traditional form of vitamin C, is very unstable.

SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF

Third step: “I hydrate with Bowe Glowe Microbiome Nourishing Cream, which has been clinically tested using an instrument called the Tewameter to measure TEWL, or transepidermal water loss, which is the amount of water that evaporates from the surface of the skin “, she says. “It’s powered by an exclusive blend of deeply hydrating and repairing ingredients, including prebiotics, postbiotics, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and squalane.”

Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty Bowe Glowe Microbiome Nourishing Cream

$95

DR. WHITNEY BOWE BEAUTY

Fourth step: For sun protection, it reaches for Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun Rice + Probiotics Sunscreen, a lightweight K-beauty cream made with rice extract and fermented cereal extracts to be ultra hydrating. Otherwise she likes Supergoop’s bright screen! for a dewy, sun-kissed glow.

Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun Rice + Probiotics Sunscreen

Super goof! Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40

Fifth step: “The last and final step in my morning routine is to drink my bowe grow,” she says. The elixir targets inner skincare, which she considers the missing layer of your skincare routine. “Bowe Growe is a vegan elixir made from a blend of polyphenols that are powerful plant-based nutrients that help rebalance your gut microbiome and support healthy skin from within. I treat skin from the inside out and outside in as part of my three dimensional approach to skin health, and while I eat an incredibly healthy diet, I also believe in intelligent and strategic supplementation. Bowe drinks one to three drops of the elixir in four ounces of water once a day.

Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty Bowe Growe Pomegranate Microbiome Water Enhancing Elixir

$49

DR. WHITNEY BOWE BEAUTY

Night

“My nighttime routine, called skin cycling, has gone viral on social media over the past few weeks,” Bowe says of her approach to a balanced nighttime diet. “I introduced the skin cycle as a less is more approach, being thoughtful and deliberate about your skincare routine. Rather than adding more products on top of each other, the skin cycle encourages you to use products strategically to complement each other and set you up for success while easing unnecessary irritation.Her skin cycle routine is four nights, then repeats: exfoliation, retinoid, then recovery.

First Night, Exfoliation: “I look for chemical exfoliants rather than harsh physical scrubs. This type of exfoliation gives your skin an immediate glow, but also sets you up to get the most out of night 2, the retinoid night,” he explains. “In addition to your exfoliating product, you want to apply a fragrance-free moisturizer that specifically rebalances the skin microbiome and repairs the skin barrier, but you [also] I don’t want to use a product that’s too heavy or greasy because that can drive the exfoliating acid into the skin unpredictably and create unnecessary irritation. For the same reason, Bowe cautions against using petroleum jelly or occlusive oils (like coconut oil) on exfoliation nights because the skin is more vulnerable. “Bowe Glowe Moisturizing Cream is an ideal final step during the night of exfoliation, after the disappearance of any tingling sensation caused by the exfoliating serum.

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