Ask Dr. Parks, Skin Care

Top Skincare Questions from DermWarehouse Customers

Whether you’re new to skincare or have had a routine for years, there are always new products and methods coming out. No matter how seasoned you are in the skincare world, there will always be questions that you have – and we’re here to help answer them! Below, you’ll find the most common questions we receive from customers and our best answers for them.

In what order should I apply my skincare products?

This is one of the most common questions we see being asked by our customers and in the general skincare world. Oftentimes, your skincare routine depends on your skin type and personal preference, but there is a general order in which applying your skincare products is the most effective. A good rule of thumb is to apply your products from the lightest consistency to the heaviest. For example, when it comes to your morning routine, you’ll want to start with your cleanser to get rid of any makeup, excess oil, or dead skin. Next, if you use a toner, this where you’ll use it, to make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and balance its pH. Next up is your serum. Most people tend to use a Vitamin C serum in the morning, so this is the time you’d want to use it or whatever serum you prefer for your mornings. Next, if you use an eye cream, you’ll want to use it at this time so it can soak into your eye area before your moisturizer. Next is your moisturizer, followed by sunscreen. If you use a combination moisturizer and sunscreen, then this will be your final step (unless you use an oil in the morning!) When it comes to evening skincare, the order is fairly similar, except you’ll use your spot treatments before your moisturizer and you likely won’t be using sunscreen. You might also use some sort of facial oil at night, which should be applied after moisturizer or night cream due to its heavier composition. For more information, check out our blog on What Order to Apply Skincare!

What is the best product for anti-aging?

There are so many products formulated for anti-aging, and you might use a combination of a few to achieve your desired routine. However, if you’re only going to use one product, we would recommend the SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum because of the combination of ingredients (growth factors, peptides, natural botanical extracts), clinical studies that show efficacy, and overall results we’ve seen from customers. This product delivers a wide range of benefits and using this is like using multiple products in one. If you want a whole regimen to address signs of aging, we recommend the Jan Marini Skin Care Management System (either normal/combination or dry/very dry). Each individual product in the kit is excellent and combined, they cover a wide range of benefits. The kit includes the Bioglycolic Face Cleanser, the C-Esta Serum, the Bioclear Lotion, The Transformation Face Cream, and the Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant SPF 33.

When should I start using anti-aging products? Is it too late or too early?

First off – it’s never too early or too late to start using skincare products. Your skin will have different needs at different ages, so it’s important to choose products based on your concerns at the time. You can start using anti-aging products at any time in your life, whether you’re in your 20s or your 70s. In your 20s, it’s considered preventative care, as you may not show too many signs of aging yet, and as you age up anti-aging products will help keep your skin healthy and beautiful. Check out our blogs for skincare routines through the decades to find a sample routine that will work best for you!

Skincare Routine for your 20s

Skincare Routine for your 30s

Skincare Routine for your 40s

Skincare Routine for your 50s

Skincare Routine for your 60s

Skincare Routine for your 70s

How long do I need to be using my product before I start seeing results?

Typically, you’ll start seeing results after a few months but it depends on what the product is, what it’s for, what ingredients it contains, and the condition of your skin. For hyperpigmentation/dark spots, for example, these products can take months before you start seeing results. You’re trying to make improvements on sun damage that’s been building up over a lifetime, so this can take a while. Another example, if you’re someone who has never used a professional-strength skincare product and all of a sudden you start using even one thing, chances are you’ll see results pretty quickly after going from 0-100. If you’re 28 years old and don’t have any concerns, you may not really see any results right now, but the products will be protecting your skin as it ages. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent with each product or ingredient you’re using. If you often start and stop new products, you may not see the results you desire.

What’s the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen?

When looking for a daily sunscreen to use, you may see different products described as “physical” or “chemical.” Both formulas protect your skin from the sun, but each one has its own unique characteristics. With a physical sunscreen, minerals in the formula sit on top of the skin and reflect the sun’s rays. This type of sunscreen can be used by all skin types, but is especially useful for those with sensitive or post-procedure skin. You’ll often see it described as a mineral sunscreen as well. It utilizes zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as its main ingredients. A chemical sunscreen protects your skin by absorbing the sun’s rays and turning them into heat that doesn’t harm your skin. This is the typical sunscreen that you’ll see used, as its lightweight and usually not noticeable on the skin. Chemical sunscreen can generally be used on all skin types as well and is recommended for those who are more active and may need to reapply more often. When choosing between these two types, it comes down to your preference. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to go with a mineral sunscreen, but otherwise, your choice purely depends on what you’d prefer along with the advice of your dermatologist. One of our favorite physical sunscreens is the Elta MD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40, with hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated and protected. A great chemical sunscreen is the Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant SPF 33, enhanced with antioxidants to protect skin and help it heal from current damage.

What is the most important product I should be using?

Sunscreen! You should be using a sunscreen every single day, even if it’s cold or not sunny. 90% of skin aging comes from the sun, so you could be spending thousands of dollars on skincare every year, but if you’re not protecting your skin from the sun, then you’ll still experience the negative effects. Check out our blog on choosing the right sunscreen from one of our favorites, Elta MD!

Explain the difference between all the different retinol strengths (why are some called 0.1 and some called 1.0?)

If you’re looking for anti-aging help in your skincare, retinol is likely the first ingredient you’ll hear about- and for good reason. It’s proven to help prevent signs of aging and helps to heal current concerns by helping to chemically exfoliate the skin. You might notice retinol (Vitamin A) called by different names, including retinoids, which is just the overarching terms for all Vitamin A derivative products. Within each product, the strength of retinol can vary all the way from .025 to 2.0, and it can be confusing to determine which strength is right for you. It’s important to consider your skin type when choosing a retinol strength. If you have particularly sensitive skin, but still want some anti-aging help, you’ll want to use a really low concentration of retinol- something like 0.025%. If your skin is more normal or combination, you can use a higher concentration of retinol, around 0.25% (notice the additional zero between the first concentration and this one!) As your skin adjusts to this concentration, you can move up to higher concentrations, like 0.50% of retinol. For skin types that are tougher, darker, or have more damage, you should start with a concentration of around 1.0%, and move up gradually to 2.0% as your skin adjusts.

What should I be using for thinning hair/hair loss?

You can use a conditioner, shampoo, and supplements for thinning hair/hair loss. The Retress and Elon products are both really good. The ReTress shampoo and conditioner have essential oils and a proprietary complex of ingredients that support blood flow to the scalp and support anchorage of the hair, helping to keep hair strong and healthy. The ReTress serum has essential oils and a patented biotin tripeptide complex that helps the follicle and supports natural anchoring of the hair, in addition to herbal soothers to soothe the scalp. Elon not only has products for hair loss like shampoo and conditioner, they also have great supplements like the Matrix 5,000 complete that contains essential building blocks for strengthening your hair and helping prevent thinning.

What are the most important products to be using in my regimen from start to finish?

Many times, the most important products you use depends on your skin type and concerns. However, in general, there are a few steps that are important to never skin- including cleanser, treatment product depending on your concern, eye product, and sunscreen. Whether you have acne or signs of aging, it’s important to remember to use your treatment or serum after cleansing your skin of oil, dirt, and makeup. It’s also important to keep the delicate area around your eyes hydrated and healthy, and as always, never forget your sunscreen.

Do I need a specific product for my eyes?

Yes. The skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face, which means it can also be more sensitive. Be careful putting your regular face products right around your eyes. Also, eye products are specifically formulated for specific eye concerns (dark circles, crow’s feet, puffiness), so you’ll want to use a product that has ingredients to target those specific issues.

What are the best products for hyperpigmentation and how long does it take to start seeing results with these?

Some of our favorites are the SkinMedica Lytera 2.0, the Clinicians Complex 6% Skin Bleaching Cream, the PCA Pigment Gel HQ Free, and the Clinician’s Complex Skin Bleaching Hand & Body Lotion for the body. These products can take months before you start seeing results. You’re trying to make improvements on sun damage that’s been building up over a lifetime, so this can take a while, especially if the sun damage is very severe. But don’t give up- you will see results eventually!

If you have any other questions you’d like us to answer, let us know!

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About Dr. Alan J. Parks

Dr. Alan Parks is a board certified dermatologist. Dr. Parks founded his practice, Eastside Dermatology, in 1986 and has been practicing there ever since. In 2016 Dr. Parks launched DermWarehouse, an eCommerce website selling professional strength skin care products to customers across the United States.