Dermatologists prescribe products to their patients all day long, but have you ever wondered which ones they personally use? Welcome to Derm Diaries, a new series where dermatologists share their skin woes—and solutions—so you can steal secrets from their skincare routines.
After suffering through a period of nodulocystic acne (severe, painful cysts) in high school and college, Elyse Love, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology in NYC, is pleased that she no longer has to deal with it. But, she does still choose her skincare products with her oily, acne-prone skin in mind. If you’ve ever suffered from acne, you know that the fear of those pimples popping back up never escapes you.
On top of that, Dr. Love also looking for a regimen that will help with dark spots. “I have a condition called melasma that causes pigmentation on my cheeks and upper lip,” says Dr. Love. “When I’m not adherent to my skincare routine, any tiny pimple or trauma creates dark pigmentation that takes weeks to months to clear up.” Keep reading for all her tips.
Dr. Love’s product lineup:
She rotates her cleansers depending on how her skin feels.
“I rotate face washes quite often but it’s always a gentle formula that effectively cleanses my skin but isn’t too harsh. Although my skin is naturally oily, the medicated treatments I use bring it back to a normal composition. In the winter, I like moisturizing cleansers like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gentle Cleansing Lotion and Cerave Hydrating Cleanser that use hyaluronic acid. In the summer, I rotate in either our Glamderm Glycolic Clarifying Cleanser or PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash for extra oil control.”
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gentle Cleansing Lotionulta.com$11.99SHOP NOW
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanserulta.com$14.99SHOP NOW
GLAMDERM Glycolic Cleanserglamderm.com$38.00SHOP NOW
PanOxyl Foaming Acne Wash target.com$9.49SHOP NOW
She applies a hydrating serum before drying prescription topicals.
“Vichy Minéral 89 Face Serum is formulated with hyaluronic acid and a proprietary mineral-rich water only found in Vichy, France. I was doubtful of the claim to enhance the skin barrier and minimize irritation, but I really have noticed a difference in my skin tolerability when I use it. I’m also in general pretty into anything French beauty.”
Vichy Minéral 89 Face Serum ulta.com$29.50SHOP NOW
She uses prescription-strength azelaic acid.
“Azelaic acid is one of my favorite ingredients for pigmentation because it prevents over production of pigment without affecting your normal pigment production. This helps to create an even skin complexion without artificially lightening your natural skin tone. In the winter, I can maintain results with just a few times a week with just applying it in the mornings but in the spring and summer, when my skin naturally tans very easily, I use it twice a day.”
She relies on oil-free Vitamin C serums.
“Vitamin C is a great adjunct for skin brightening, but I’ve had a hard time finding a good one for me. Many are formulated in oil-based formulas that break my skin out. I really love this one because it has a smooth glide like an oil but is actually oil-free and non-comedogenic.”
Obagi Clinical Vitamin C+ Arbutin Brightening Serumsephora.com$90.00SHOP NOW
She rotates her moisturizer depending on how her skin feels.
“Like my cleanser, I rotate moisturizers depending on what my skin needs. I really try to stick with products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic which means they won’t clog my pores or cause acne. For that reason, I typically stick with brands I consider to be ‘derm friendly’ like La Roche-Posay, Neutrogena, and SkinBetter Science just to name a few. Often, the more higher end products have numerous oils which makes them feel really nice but not the best option for acne-prone skin.My favorite heavier moisturizers right now are La Roche-Posay Double Repair, SkinBetter Science Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment, and Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (yes, I use it in the AM). In the summer, I like something light like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel.”
La Roche-Posay Double Repair Face Moisturizer UV SPF 30dermstore.com$19.99SHOP NOW
Skinbetter Science Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatmentskinbetter.com$135.00SHOP NOW
LANEIGE Water Sleeping Masksephora.com$25.00SHOP NOW
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gelulta.com$24.99SHOP NOW
She never goes a day without SPF.
“A good SPF is the most important part of a pigment centered routine. I wear Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection SPF 50 on most days because it has high UVA, UVB, and visible light protection—all of which can worsen pigmentation.”
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50 dermstore.com$65.00SHOP NOW
She alternates between prescription and over-the-counter retinols.
“I normally alternate between 0.06% and 0.08% retin-a-micro (prescription) every night year round, but my skin has been extra sensitive and dry during social distancing, so I’ve transitioned to an over the counter retinol (Obagi Clinical Retinol 0.5% Retexturizing Cream) most nights and my retin-a-micro a couple of times a week.”
Retinol 0.5 Retexturizing CreamObagi Clinicalsephora.com$55.00SHOP NOW
She skips a PM moisturizer in the summer.
“In the warmer months, I don’t use a moisturizer at night because my skin doesn’t need it, but my skin has been especially dry lately, so I’m alternating between Vichy LiftActiv Peptide-C Anti-Aging Moisturizer and Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.”
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