Skin Care Routine Basics

By Dr. Allen Foulad

A proper skin care routine is critical for promoting healthy and youthful appearing skin. I have three fundamental principles when creating a Foulad MD skin care regimen.

The first principle involves preventative measures for reducing sun damage. The UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds destroys vital skin structures leading to premature aging. Sun exposure causes wrinkles, texture irregularities, and dark spots. In addition, sun exposure breaks down your skin’s defense and increases the risk of skin cancer. This photo published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the aging effect caused by 28 years of sun exposure to the left side of a truck driver’s face. In order to reduce sun damage to your skin, you should limit sun exposure and use a sunscreen. In addition, antioxidants can be used help reduce the damaging free radicals caused by UV rays.

The second principle involves immediate skin improvements. This entails keeping the skin clean and hydrated. By removing debris from the surface of the skin and infusing the skin with hydration, you will encourage healthy and fresh skin.

The third principle involves obtaining structural skin benefits through the gradual improvement of collagen and elastin. Collagen provides the strength and foundation of the skin. Elastin allows the skin to bounce back if it is stretched. Together, collagen and elastin keep our skin firm. A decrease in these building blocks of the skin can lead to wrinkles and aging skin. The production and remodeling of collagen takes time, but is critical for any skin care routine. Retinoids are one of the most widely proven topical skin care products that promote collagen and elastin.

We are all unique and there is no single routine that is optimal for everyone. However, I will review a basic skin care regimen that provides a good foundation for many people. My goal is to keep the skin care regimen as simple as possible, but achieving the greatest results. The skin care industry is booming and consumers have an overwhelming amount of skin care options to choose from. Some of these products are proven through science, while others may just be marketing hype.


Morning Skin Care Routine

Wash Face
I recommend a face wash that cleans deeply, but is gentle. You do not want to strip all the essential oils from your skin. You want to promote micro-exfoliation, without visible skin sloughing or drying out the skin.
[Foulad MD product: Cleanser]

Apply Antioxidant
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. There are many forms of Vitamin C, some more effective than others. An excellent form of Vitamin C that is potent and stable is L-ascorbic acid. Ferulic acid and Vitamin E are also excellent antioxidants that boost the powers of Vitamin C.
[Foulad MD product: Antioxidants]

Apply Hydrator and/or Moisturizer
A hydrator improves the water content within your skin cells. Typically, hydrators are absorbed into your skin and do not leave a residue at the surface of the skin. A moisturizer forms a barrier over the skin’s surface and seals in moisture. If you use both products, it is important to use the hydrator first, and then apply the moisturizer.
[Foulad MD product: Hydrator & Moisturizer]

Apply Sunscreen
Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays that damage the skin. There are two categories of sunscreens, chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens contain compounds (such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone) that are absorbed into your skin and block UV rays through a chemical reaction. Physical sunscreens contain minerals (such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) that lay over your skin and “physically” block and reflect the UV rays. Each type of sunscreen has advantages and disadvantages. Physical sunscreens are less likely to irritate the skin, clog pores, and enter your blood stream. In addition, they are safer for the ocean ecosystems. A significant disadvantage of physical sunscreens is that they are usually thicker and can form a white residue on the skin. Advanced formulations have reduced the downsides of physical blockers so that they are not as thick. Also, the addition of a light universal tint helps avoid the white cast. Some sunscreens may also contain hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, which may be sufficient for your skin without the need of separate products.
[Foulad MD product: Tinted Sunscreen]


Evening Skin Care Routine

Wash Face
You can use the same face wash that you use in the morning.
[Foulad MD product: Cleanser]

Apply Retinoid
Retinoids, such as retinol and tretinoin, are excellent for promoting collagen and elastin. Retinoid 101 is an article that reviews the incredible benefits of retinoids.
[Foulad MD product: Retinol 0.5% & Retinol 1%]