November is Healthy Skin Month, so there’s no better time to re-evaluate your skincare regimen—and make sure you’re giving your skin everything it needs to look and feel its best. But if you’re not willing to take our word for it, we asked six dermatologists to weigh in as well, and here are the essentials for keeping your skin in tip-top shape.
If you still haven’t committed to applying SPF each and every morning, 365 days a year, you’re doing your skin a major disservice. “Damaging UV rays can penetrate clouds and windows, so your skin is vulnerable regardless of season,” warns San Antonio, Texas dermatologist Dr. Vivian Bucay. Still not convinced? Accumulated sun damage leads to wrinkles, dark spots and skin cancer that can become an issue years from now. “I recommend a daily SPF of no less than 30 regardless of season because the skin is at risk for environmental damage year-round,” says Dr. Bucay.
Product to try:EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
Sunscreen most definitely shields your skin from UV rays—but not the damage caused by free radicals. “A daily antioxidant picks up where sunscreen leaves off to protect against these unstable molecules, which are generated by the sun and pollution as well as other environmental and lifestyle factors,” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Judith Hellman. “Vitamin C is a great one because it offers skin-brightening and collagen-boosting benefits in addition to neutralizing free radicals,” she says.
Product to try:Vitabrid C12 FACE Brightening Powder
Perhaps the most extensively studied—and proven—anti-aging ingredients out there, over-the-counter retinol and prescription-based retinoids are a must for healthy skin. According to New York City dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, “It’s never too early to start using one of these products. They are key for preventing and improving fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and dull, lackluster skin.”
Product to try:Differin
“With time, it takes longer for fresh, new cells to reach the skin’s surface, but regular exfoliation helps prevent the buildup of dead cells and keep skin looking youthful and radiant,” explains Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Sameer Bashey. There are many ways to exfoliate, including acid-based products, physical scrubs and even skincare brushes, but the best one for you depends on your skin type and level of sensitivity.
Product to try:ZO Skin Health Offects Exfoliating Polish
#5: Strengthen your skin’s barrier
Weather changes, harsh products and even stress can compromise the skin’s barrier, which leads to a variety of skin issues ranging from dehydration to irritation. Chicago dermatologist Dr. Amy Taub explains, “The skin barrier is responsible for holding moisture in and keeping irritants out, so it’s very important to ensure it is functioning optimally.”
Product to try: EpiCeram (available by prescription)
Our skin is home to billions of “good” and “bad” bacteria, and a balance between the two is integral for skin health. “Research has begun to uncover the role that this bacterial ‘microbiome’ plays in a variety of common skin conditions,” says New York City dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. Oral probiotics have been proven to improve digestion, so why not supplement your skin as well?
Product to try:LaFlore Probiotic Serum Concentrate
NOTE: Vitabrid products were sent complimentary for review. All other products were purchased or sampled in-store. Opinions are my own.