“You have to be very clear about what your goal is. Sometimes you may have expectations that may not match up with what a product can do,” said Dr. Brooke Jackson, a practicing dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “If you are 50 or 60 and have never done a thing for your skin, you cannot look at a jar of moisturizer and think that it’s going to do anything for you. The more you need, the greater the likelihood that you’re going to have to involve some procedures.”
As you build your routine around your lifestyle, don’t ignore considering some new steps. Busy moms or women working long hours may not have time to follow a 10-step program every night, but there are some components every woman should have in her skin-care arsenal. A mild facial cleanser is one, as well as an all-over moisturizer. Consider choosing two moisturizers, one lighter for warmer, more humid months, and a thicker one for cold, dry seasons.
It is also worth using retinols and topical antioxidants if you don’t already, Rostan says. Retinols are sold over the counter to combat problems such as acne and wrinkles, while antioxidants are preventive medicine, fighting free radicals or damage-causing molecules that age the skin. Using peptides and growth factors that stimulate collagen production and promote tissue repair is also helpful for women to add to their skin-care routines, Rostan said.
Don’t worry about being brand loyal. Many skin-care companies urge customers to buy an entire line, saying that the products build on each other. That’s usually not true, our experts said. “It’s a marketer’s dream,” says Jackson. “It’s certainly OK to cross the aisle and mix it up a little. Don’t feel afraid to cross-pollinate.”