Then, to keep breakouts at bay, Levin uses a prescription medication called Aczone 7.5%, a gel-based treatment that targets adult acne. “I apply it to my entire face once daily before moisturizing with Avène Eau Thermale Hydrance Emulsion,” she says.
Depending on the day, Levin also sometimes likes to use Isdin Flavo-C Ampoules to provide antioxidant protection. “This formulation is sealed in a glass ampoule to ensure stability and potency and is easy to use for travel,” she says. “I especially love it for the winter since, in addition to the L-ascorbic acid, it also improves skin moisturization due to hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans.”
Dr. Levin finishes with a healthy dose of the Isdin Eryfotona SPF 50. “It’s an elegant, lightweight-but-effective pure mineral blocker with 11 percent zinc oxide and DNA repair enzymes.”
Dr. Levin’s nighttime regimen is largely the same, save for a few steps. To remove makeup and debris, she uses La Roche-Posay Micellar Water on a clean cotton pad. “I love micellar water because it’s minimal in the number of additives and relies mainly on water and oil, which gently remove the residue off of the skin,” she says. For cleansing, she favors either Alastin Gentle Cleanser or Neostrata Resurface Foaming Glycolic Acid Wash Cleanser. “I use Neostrata as an effective exfoliating cleanser since it contains 18 percent glycolic acid and lactobionic acid to exfoliate, smooth irregularities, and brighten skin,” she explains.
Then, before moisturizing, she uses a combination of antioxidant- and retinol-containing serums. “I use Isdin Melatonik for its unique combination of melatonin, bakuchiol — a naturally derived botanical with retinol properties — and vitamin C,” she says. For retinol, she alternates between Differin Gel and SkinBetter Science Intensive Alpha Ret (both of which Allure has revered in the past).
Lastly, Dr. Levin uses two moisturizers: a prescription cream called Ceracade, which contains a ton of ceramides to help repair the skin barrier, topped with Dermalogica Ultracalming Serum Concentrate. “The latter has oat kernel oil, which is chock-full of healthy cholesterol, linoleic acid, ceramides, and sterols,” she says.
For Levin, caring for her neck and chest is just as crucial as caring for her face. “I teach my patients that the face, neck, and chest is one unit that should be treated, which is why I use Alastin Restorative Neck Complex as it’s an antioxidant-based firming and tone-correcting cream that addresses crepiness, horizontal necklace lines, and discoloration.”
Carlos A. Charles, MD, New York City
As far as routines go, New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Carlos A. Charles, MD, is about as bare-bones as it gets. “My routine looks like this: In the morning I wash with a gentle cleanser, such as CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, followed by a generous layer of EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46, which doubles as both my sun protection and moisturizer,” he says. Dr. Charles adds that sometimes he’ll also use a vitamin C serum to ward off free-radical damage, which helps with his hyperpigmentation. Lately, he’s been using — wait for it — SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. Anyone surprised?
In the evening, Dr. Charles says, he sometimes swaps out CeraVe’s original Hydrating Cleanser for its foaming option, as he says it works better at removing the dirt and grime from the day. “Then I moisturize with CeraVe PM Face Moisturizer, and twice a week I’ll use a gentle retinoid cream on top to assist with cell turnover and collagen production,” he says. “I usually go with the tretinoin 0.025 percent cream.”
Dr. Charles says he always, always uses a fragrance-free soap on his body (such as Dove or Aveeno) and makes sure to apply a generous amount of moisturizer from head to toe right after bathing.
Mona Gohara, MD, Hamden, Connecticut
After washing with a gentle, nonsoap cleanser, the first thing that Dr. Gohara reaches for is a vitamin C serum. “Often I’ll use Obagi’s Medical Fx C-Clarifying Serum with hydroquinone to deal with my melasma [and] over that, I’ll layer hyaluronic acid, like SkinMedica’s HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator.”