5 Ways to Simplify Your Skincare Routine for Great Skin

Anti-Aging Medicine
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Anti-Aging Medicine
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  • Complicated, multi-step skincare routines are popular on TikTok.
  • But dermatologist Dr. Heather Kornmehl says overcomplicating your skincare can be bad for your skin.
  • Here are her tips for keeping your skincare simple for better skin.

If you’re on the skincare side of TikTok, you’ve probably seen people sharing their myriad-step, expensive skincare routines full of acids, toners, and serums.

But these complex routines aren’t actually recommended by dermatologists, and people are starting to strip back the number of products they are using, according to one TikToker.

Dr. Heather Kornmehl, a board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer surgery fellow in Philadelphia, explained on TikTok that skincare really doesn’t have to be so complicated.

She said: “there is nothing that drives me crazier than seeing all these people here on Tiktok overcomplicating skincare.”

Insider spoke to Kornmehl about her tips for simplifying your skincare routine.

You only need to use sunscreen and cleanser

Kornmehl said that the only steps that you actually need in your skincare routine are applying sunscreen in the morning, and cleansing at night.

Putting sunscreen on in the morning protects you from sun exposure, which Kornmehl said is the main cause of skin aging.

Cleansing at night removes all the sunscreen and makeup you may have applied from your skin, which clears out your pores and prevents acne.

Use an active ingredient if you have acne

Kornmehl said you can add active ingredients to the basic skincare routine of sunscreen and cleanser if you have acne, to keep your skin clear.

She recommended using a benzoyl peroxide wash of less than 5% strength to prevent irritation, and adapalene gel over the top. This will reduce the number of pimples and help them heal faster.

Moisturizing is optional

Moisturizing isn’t actually necessary, according to Kornmehl, but it can be beneficial if your skin feels dry or you live somewhere really cold, because it can replace the moisture that the weather draws out of your skin.

She also recommended using a moisturizer if you’re using other products which are drying, like some acne medications or a retinoid.

“Your skin will let you know what it needs,” she said: if your skin barrier feels disrupted, moisturizer is probably the right way to go, but if you don’t feel dry after applying sunscreen, it’s fine to skip the moisturizer.

Add retinoids to your routine to slow aging

Using retinoids nightly can have anti-aging benefits, according to Kornmehl, but start slowly. She recommended using a retinoid once every third night at first to build up your skin’s tolerance.

Although they can be irritating if you go too strong, too quickly, Kornmehl said that retinoids can be used on most skin types. Speak to a dermatologist if you have psoriasis, eczema, or rosacea, for advice on different application methods to reduce irritation.

Introduce new products slowly

One of the biggest mistakes Kornmehl sees is people trying out different active ingredients (such as salicylic acid, azelaic acid, or benzoyl peroxide) at the same time, or in quick succession, and not giving them long enough to work.

“You need consistency with one routine, rather than trying 20 different things for short periods of time,” she said.

She recommended using products for at least eight weeks to see results. Introduce one new active product at a time so that you can see what is working — unless you have acne; then you can introduce the benzoyl peroxide and adapalene gel at the same time she said.

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