What constitutes “essential” skin care?

I love injectables. They are amazingly effective and comprise the vast majority of what I do every day in the office. But even I must admit that at-home skin care is equally important. For without “good” skin, even the best office procedures will not live up to their full potential.

You might have, for example, great (natural or enhanced) cheekbone structure or perfectly pouty lips. But the average person observing you is likely to look at your face — and the skin that covers it — as a whole. Pigmentation, crepiness, or fine lines can distract from the beauty of your other features. On the other hand, taking good care of your skin at home will enhance the results of your in-office treatments.

As many of my patients know, I’m the first to label products and treatments as “not worth it.” I’m skeptical of most new things that come to the aesthetic market. However, there are some products that are indeed worth your time and money. I’ll list my favorites below.

First and foremost: Sunscreen. Above all else, find a sunscreen that you like enough to put on every. single. morning. Sunscreen has come a long way since the days of greasy, white goop, so there’s no excuse! Sunscreen should be part of your daily morning routine.

Second: Retinol. If there’s one thing you put on your face every night, let it be retinol. This Vitamin A derivative increases skin cell turnover and collagen production. Retinol is much less irritating than its sister medication, Retin A, so most people have little problem tolerating it. Medical-grade retinols, such as those from SkinMedica, are best.

Third: Eye cream. The skin around the eyes is thin and highly mobile, so it tends to get crepey. Products for the rest of the face may irritate or damage the skin in this area, so a cream formulated specifically for the eye is best.

The rest: Products with growth factors (TNS), hyaluronic acid (HA5), and moisture are also important to have in your armamentarium. As with all skin care, you should use medical-grade products, as these are the held to the highest safety and efficacy standards. The same cannot be said for over-the-counter products.

By Lisa Leung, Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner