Kondo Your Skin Care Routine: The Essentials
"Things always become obvious after the fact." - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Being a dermatologist that is also a minimalist requires restraint and constant mental calculation. It is far harder to dig through the muck that is the beauty industrial complex and find those few gems than it is to succumb to all the shiny new products coming at you from all directions, all of which claim to give you the skin of your dreams.
After years of hoarding products bought on a whim and those given to me in that hopes I will promote it to patients, I decided to scale down the products cluttering up my medicine cabinet to those that serve a purpose beyond being in a pretty bottle and bring me joy by ACTUALLY WORKING. I have recently Marie Kondo-ed my closet and for those of you who have done the same, the feeling of lightness after the fact is incredible. Rather than getting caught up in the new "must have" products this summer, spend some time streamlining your regimen so each tube, jar, and bottle serves a distinct and definable purpose for your skin.
To help you on your own journey to achieving the life-changing magic of simplifying your skin routine, I have compiled two lists: one with items your skin should not go without and other items you may consider giving the boot.
- Gentle cleanser
- I use a Una Biologicals oil-based cleanser
- Medicated cleanser
- For my adult acne (more on that later), I use Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash
- CETAPHIL CREAM IS THE BEST!
- Tinted moisturizer with sunscreen
- Appropriate medications from your favorite dermatologist
- Tazorac and Aczone are my anti-acne dream team
- AHA exfoliant
- To get that glow with minimal trauma to my skin, I use Glytone Mini-Peel weekly
*May feel/smell/look good but have not been shown in convincing studies to make a measurable impact on skin appearance
- Eye cream
- Masks of any kind (including and especially charcoal)
- Scrubs or mechanical cleansing brushes
- Your skin is a living organ, not a tile floor. Be gentle!
**Despite being a skin care realist, I firmly believe in tiny luxuries and keeping the things that make you feel like a goddess, whether it be a spritz of rose water or that emoji sheet mask. Although the products in the "unnecessary list" have little proven benefit (and I promise I will delve into more detail about why not in subsequent posts), if it truly makes you happy, get it.
While this is only a brief guide on only using the most effective and necessary products, stay tuned for more real talk on skin care as I delve into the science behind optimizing your regimen.