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Skin Pharm How to Build a Skincare Routine

No matter what your skincare needs are, building and adhering to a skincare routine can be daunting. If your bathroom drawers are filled with half-used products that are irritating, underwhelming or ineffective, it’s probably time for a skincare reboot. We’re here to help!

Here’s a guide to our six-step skincare routine get you started (for the TL;DR types, watch this short video about our Skin Pharm “hero products” here):

STEP 1: CLEANSER

Skin Pharm Papaya Enzyme Cleanser

Properly cleansing your skin is an essential step as it removes impurities from makeup or the environment (yes, pollution affects your skin). This is the obvious first step in your skincare routine each evening. We like Papaya Enzyme (for normal to oily skin types) or Gentle Soothing (for those with dry, sensitive skin) by Skin Pharm. In the mornings, you can use a cleanser if you like, especially if you’re hitting a morning workout and want to freshen up before you apply makeup. If you worry that cleansing could irritate your skin, you can substitute micellar water or gentle towelettes. Also, a couple of times a week, add in an exfoliating step to your cleansing routine. We like Clarifying Brightening Polish by Skin Pharm.

STEP 2: TONER

Skin Pharm Clarifying Pads

Don’t fret if you’ve skipped this step in the past, or if you haven’t used a toner since you were a teenager. Most cleansers made today are pH balanced and do not require a toner immediately after. This step is more-so an opportunity to apply a solution to your skin that will target main concerns (i.e. appearance of pores, dull appearance). And don’t be afraid, because today’s toners are nothing like the stinging, harsh formulas you may recall from your adolescent years. We recommend the Clarifying Pads by Skin Pharm for every skin type. Sensitive skin types should use as a weekly micropeel, while oily skin types can tolerate once or twice daily.

STEP 3: SERUM

Skin Pharm Youth Serum

Serums help nourish your skin, promoting healing and fighting the visible signs of aging. These go on before moisturizers for maximum absorption. Be sure to pick a serum that can deliver the powerful punch of ingredients you need for your skin type and skincare concerns. If you have extremely damaged skin, you may want to use a serum both morning and evening. We’re partial to our Youth Serum and Antioxidant Boosting Serum by Skin Pharm. The hyaluronic acid and peptides in our Youth Serum provide intense hydration and noticeable plumping, while the vitamin complex in our Antioxidant Boosting Serum helps repair damaged collagen and build new collagen.

We recently launched one of our new favorite products, our Retinol Drops, a potent yet gentle treatment to refine pores, reduce the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles, and improve skin texture. This lightweight formula is the key to glowing skin, packed with retinol, Vitamins C and E, sea whip extract and bisabolol, which helps calm the anticipated reaction of retinol so you can use it every night. (Sensitive skin types may want to alternate with their nightly serum — check with us if you’re not sure!)

STEP 4: EYE CREAM

Skin Pharm Youth Eye Complex Open

The skin around your eyes is more delicate than the rest of your face, so it’s important to choose a product that is gentle but capable of addressing your main skin concerns, such as wrinkle prevention, puffiness or dark circles. We created Skin Pharm Youth Eye Complex, a fast-absorbing gel, for AM and PM use. Like our Youth Serum, the Youth Eye Complex is packed with peptides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to decrease puffiness and treat fine lines, wrinkles and decreased elasticity. Depending in your individual needs and concerns, you may need a different product in the AM than the PM. For example, a gel that quickly absorbs before makeup application is ideal for morning use, while a heavier cream is appropriate in the evening. For AM use, Total Eye by Colorescience has SPF and is lightly tinted, providing protection and hiding dark circles from the world. 

STEP 5: MOISTURIZER

Step 5: Moisturizer

In the morning, you’ll need a formula that absorbs quickly and provides a good base for cosmetics. We like Renewal Lite Facial Lotion by Epionce or Skin Pharm’s Youth Serum. As for your last product in the evening, we recommend Biotherapy Cream by Skin Pharm or the thicker version of the above mentioned Epionce product, Renewal Facial Lotion. If you’ve been relying upon your moisturizer — or your makeup — to be your sun protection, I advise that you add a separate SPF product to your skincare routine. Which leads me to the most important thing you can put on your skin each day …

STEP 6: SPF

Skin Pharm Mineral Tinted SPF 44

Patients often ask me what the most important skincare product is, and my answer is always the same: SPF. The best care is preventive care. No matter your age, applying a product with SPF — I recommend at least SPF 30 — on a daily basis is the single most effective way to protect your skin from damage and the signs of aging. We carry options for every skin type, and our favorites are 100% Mineral Tinted SPF or  Sheer Defense SPF by Skin Pharm, and Brush-On by Colorescience. 100% Mineral Tinted SPF is best for dry, normal and sensitive skin types while Sheer Defense is best for those who are oily. The Colorescience brush-on is ideal for re-application (especially during warmer months) and is great for all skin types.

If you’re going to be in direct sunlight during the day (any time of the year — not just summertime), you will need to reapply your SPF every two hours, or each time it’s rinsed off with water. And remember, the SPF in your makeup does not count as a reapplication, as you’re likely not applying enough makeup to get the full benefit from the SPF coverage.

QUESTIONS?

Starting a new skincare routine can be intimidating, but we promise that it gets easier once you make it part of your daily ritual. If you get confused about what order to apply products in, remember that the general rule of thumb is to apply the thinnest products first, and then work your way up to the thickest product. The one exception is your retinol product, which should be applied after cleansing and toning and before your moisturizer. I recommend talking to a dermatology provider to determine the best retinol product for your skin type, and how often you should use it.

The feedback that I get from my patients is that it’s worth finding the products that work best for you, and sticking with them until you see results. (We’ll talk more about that in another post, so watch this space!) We’re always here to guide you so you feel confident to face the world each day. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 615-582-6726 or schedule an appointment here

If you know what you want, check out our online store!

Skin Pharm - How to Build a Skincare Routine Infographic

It’s hard to say goodbye to summertime, but it’s also easy to say hello to boots, scarves, plaid flannels, PSLs and everything else that’s great about fall. But before you run outside and jump in a pile of leaves, there’s something else you need to move to the top of your to-do list: updating your skincare routine.

But I have a skincare routine. Now I have to change it?

Even if you’ve consulted with a Skin Pharm provider and you’re using our recommended 6-step skincare routine, you may need to tweak your routine when the seasons change. Higher humidity helps skin retain moisture, and we find that many of our patients need extra hydration in the fall. In Nashville, the hot, humid days are gone and cool, dry air is affecting everything from our skin to our static-filled hair.

How do I get extra hydration?

If you’re not already using Skin Pharm Youth Serum as part of your AM routine, this is the perfect time of year to add it (and if you’re only using in the AM, you may want to double up and apply in the PM, too). The lightweight formula absorbs quickly but hydrates and soothes skin.

During your nighttime routine, consider adding Skin Pharm Biotherapy Cream, a lightweight moisturizing cream that combats fine lines and wrinkles, nourishing and repairing your skin while you sleep.

My skin is already really dry. Help!

We are huge fans of masking at Skin Pharm — we apply masks to our freshly washed faces on planes, road trips, or when we’re sitting on the couch at home. Our favorite hydrating mask is Epionce’s Enriched Firming Mask, which instantly (OK, it takes 5-10 minutes) calms red, irritated skin and improves the visible appearance of elasticity and firmness of the skin. Powered by hyaluronic acid, shea butter and willow bark extract, this mask is suitable for all skin types. If your skin is super stressed and needs some extra TLC, leave the mask on instead of rinsing it off (this is a great way to hydrate skin during long flights, too).

Is there anything else I should do?

If you’re regularly using exfoliants like our Skin Pharm Clarifying Brightening Polish or retinoids like our Skin Pharm Retinol Drops, you may need to reduce frequency in the fall and winter months. Be sure to discuss any irritation or redness you’re experiencing with your Skin Pharm provider so we can tweak your routine and figure out how to keep your skin clear and glowing year-round.

Speaking of clear and glowing …

If you really want to keep your skin looking its best year-round, don’t even think of going outside without your SPF. Whatever formula you’ve been using in the summer should work fine for fall or winter. If you haven’t tried our SPF products yet, you can read more about them here.

Still not sure which one is right for you? Ask us at consultations@skinpharm.co.

We’re not here to give you exercise advice — although as medical professionals, we certainly recommend that you find an exercise routine that works for you — but we do have some tips on how to take care of your skin no matter when you work out.

Morning Workout

After you wake up, wash your face with water (if you have dry skin) or with your preferred cleanser (if you have oily skin). Apply a lightweight moisturizer, like Skin Pharm Youth Serum, which absorbs instantly but packs a power punch of hyaluronic acid and peptides to keep your skin hydrated during your workout. If you’ll be exposed to sun — we’re talking to you, outdoor exercisers — be sure to apply SPF (Skin Pharm Sheer Defense is ideal) before you head out the door. After your workout, cleanse your face as soon as possible and follow your prescribed morning skin care routine.

Afternoon Workout

If you work out in the afternoon, you’ve already done your normal skin care routine in the morning, and you’ll need to wash your face with cleanser to remove all makeup before your workout. Then, apply a lightweight moisturizer. Again, if your workout is outdoors, apply SPF. After you exercise, cleanse your face as soon as possible (sound familiar?) and then you’ll do your entire morning routine again.

Evening Workout

If you prefer to exercise in the evening — or maybe that’s your only option, so kudos on choosing that over happy hour — you’ve already done your normal skin care routine in the morning, and then you’ll wash your face with cleanser to remove all makeup before your workout (yep, that also sounds familiar) before applying a lightweight moisturizer. Cleanse your face as soon as possible.

Whether you work out in the morning, afternoon or evening, you’ll follow your prescribed skin care routine in the evening. 

If you’re asking why you have to wash your face so much, keep reading …

We get it, it’s hard enough to find a time to exercise each day, so you’re probably thinking, “Do I really need to wash my face that much?”

Sorry, but yes, you do. It may be tempting to sneak in a quick sweat session in without washing your face, but as you exercise, you’re activating your sweat glands and opening your pores. A face full of makeup can irritate skin and clog pores, causing breakouts. So, even if it’s just by using a cleansing wipe (we like Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes), be sure to remove all makeup from your skin and apply lightweight moisturizer to hydrate your skin while you sweat. And that post-workout wash is just as important — you need to remove the germs and sweat and whatever else you picked up from the gym or studio off your face ASAP.

This will be easy — and worth the effort — once you make it part of your routine, just like your workout.

Good advice for exercising (and for life)

How did I even get into nursing?

Thankfully I was good at science. I didn’t love math or history, so I joke that science was the path of least resistance. After taking (and enjoying) a Human Anatomy and Physiology course, I received clarity, and continued on with my pre-nursing requirements to become a RN (registered nurse), and eventually a Family Nurse Practitioner.

So no, I did not dream of being a nurse when I was  6 years old (I was too busy singing Spice Girls), but I did find this path organically. And we’re all about things happening organically at Skin Pharm.

While in undergraduate school I discovered that I had a huge interest in the heart — literally, in the human heart. I took a job on congestive heart failure, and on that unit I was amazed at how an ill heart could present visible symptoms in the skin with weeping, oozing wounds. Perhaps this was where my interest in skin was piqued, but it still took several years for me to find my path to what would eventually become Skin Pharm.

Upon graduating, I knew the ICU would be great opportunity for me to exercise being a critical thinker, and to apply my knowledge of how to treat a sick patient when any or all of the body systems are failing. The experience I received was invaluable, but I knew it wasn’t my forever job.

I took a job with a plastic surgeon who focused on reconstructive surgery, which was partially a continuum of what I was previously doing, but more specialized. He didn’t have much of an interest in cosmetic plastic surgery, but he offered me the opportunity to learn injections and lasers. Once I realized how much I enjoyed medical aesthetics, I read every article, watched every video, went to every course, and asked for every trainer to visit the office.

I was also studying to earn my Masters Degree at this time and found a particular interest in a course called Clinical Decision Making for the Family Nurse Practitioner. This course emphasized the utilization of evidence-based practice and integration of technology into primary care — all coming together now, right?

I was 24 years old and just beginning to pay off student loans, so I found myself amazed by the money people would spend on their faces.

But I also realized that the people siting in the chair — who were investing a great deal of money in themselves — took their consults very seriously. They took my advice about how to take better care of their skin, and their overall health.

So, when I said, “Buy SPF before you even start Botox,” they would. And they’d use it — I could see the difference in patients I’ve been seeing for several years now, and it’s still my number-one piece of advice for patients. When I said, “Get out of the tanning bed and then come back for lip filler,” they really did it!

I was doing cosmetic procedures, which some may view as superficial treatments, but I was also playing a part in helping people make positive changes that didn’t just impact their appearance, but their overall health. When you can help someone make a healthier choice, there’s nothing superficial about that.

Launching Skin Pharm — and then the Skin Pharm skincare line — was a big leap, but I knew it was the right one.

We quickly outgrew our first office, landing at our current spot on 21st in Nashville, where I work alongside my dream team each day.

But my job is never really finished. There’s always new medical research for me and my team to learn about, or innovative technologies and treatments to consider bringing to Skin Pharm. I do my best to balance my work with everything else in life — like spending time with my husband and two kids, hanging with friends, or traveling — but I wouldn’t change anything. Well, except maybe having more hours in the day!