You depend on their advice, tips, and tricks, but have you ever wondered what dermatologists actually use on their own skin? We asked a group which products and ingredients they trust most, and here's what they had to say.
Serums are lightweight liquids that are smooth, easy to layer, and highly-concentrated with ingredients that target your individual needs, such as dark spots or fine lines. In a nutshell: They hydrate and protect the skin—and pack a serious anti-aging punch.
2. Eye Creams
No one, not even dermatologists, wants bags under their eyes. So to keep her puffiness in check, Rebecca Tung M.D., associate professor of dermatology at Loyola University School of Medicine, uses creams that contain ingredients that encourage cell growth mixed with a little caffeine. Why? The caffeine constricts little blood vessels and helps to deflate the skin.
3. Sunscreen (SPF 30 or Higher)
They know it's as close to the Fountain of Youth as we'll ever get. Seriously. Ninety percent of all visible signs of aging—including blotchy, saggy, and sullen skin—come from daily unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light. And the pros don't just put it on for the beach or pool, they wear it every day even if it's snowing or raining. San Antonio dermatologist Dr. Vivian Bucay says she never leaves home without her Colorescience Pro Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Brush SPF 50 because it's easy to reapply (you should every 2 hours, after all) and she looks beautiful in the process.
4. Fragrance-Free Moisturizers
They may not smell like a bouquet of roses, but a fragrance-free moisturizer is less likely to cause rashes and irritation. Fragrances can really wreak havoc on your skin, especially if you suffer from eczema or rosacea. Tung looks for creams with ingredients like oatmeal and applies them right after showering, because it keeps her skin "radiant and dewy year-round."
5. Vitamin C
This antioxidant warrior is great at erasing wrinkles. "Vitamin C can unwind the damage caused by sun and acts as a booster to sunscreen," says Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, a dermatologist in Long Island, New York. "Since adding a vitamin C serum in the morning and a retinol every other night, my once-sallow skin has become brighter and more radiant. So much so that I make sure I take those 5 extra minutes to add it daily."
6. Glycolic Toners
Toners are great at removing excess makeup and oil left behind even after cleansing. Throw in glycolic acid—a.k.a. the perfect exfoliator—and your pores open up, priming your skin to absorb any rejuvenation products you may be using, such as night creams or overnight face masks. "Glycolic toner really gives my 42-year-old skin the glow it needs, " says Tamella Buss Cassis M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Louisville.
7. Oil-Free Makeup
Oil-based makeup is comedogenic (it can cause acne) and often cakey, which means it accentuates wrinkles rather than concealing them. Pros prefer to skip the oily stuff and reach for oil-free versions that give them great coverage and don't clog pores. Harvard University dermatologist Lynn Drake says she "likes to keep it simple" with oil-free base makeup paired with her signature red lipstick for every day.
Retinol, which is derived from vitamin A, is proven to prevent and reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production and decreasing collagen breakdown. Actually, most dermatologists never go to sleep without it. "Having been a lifeguard, I have a great deal of sun damage—I also have adult acne. And using a topical retinoid daily has helped to solve both problems," says Dr. Allison Hanlon, a dermatologist in Nashville, Tennessee.
Ready for a chemistry lesson? Peptides are links of amino acids that produce the anti-wrinkle protein collagen. They're BFFs with retinols and antioxidants, as they all work well together to keep the skin healthy—and get the job done without irritation. Kimberly Butterwick, a dermatologist in San Diego, says she uses combo products that contain peptides like SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum and Oil of Olay Regenerist to keep her skin healthy.
10. Cooling Masks
If you're always busy and can't spend hours at the spa like a celebrity, you should add one of these to your beauty routine. Why? "Because they're relaxing," says Marta Rendon, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Miami. Even more so because they contain soothing, cooling ingredients like peppermint, seaweed, cucumber, and aloe vera.
You should also check out: