The Most Important Thing My Doctor Taught Me About Skin Care

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Everyone is supposed to wash their face twice a day, right? At least, that’s what the general understanding is. But maybe that’s not always the best advice for all faces.

Three months ago I would wake up in the morning, wash my face with a harsh cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide, and not follow it up with lotion or sunscreen. Then I would repeat again in the evening before going to bed.

Then one day I saw my doctor, and he pointed out to me the error of my ways. I was skeptical when he said all I needed was a basic cleanser like Cetaphil, sunscreen, and Retin-A (tretinoin) at night. Before that appointment (which was for something altogether different), I had been very much on the fence about what the best approach to skincare is. Particularly because nothing seemed to be helping clear up my mild yet persistent breakouts. So, is it lots of lotions and potions, and no nonsense cleansers, or is it quitting a conventional routine altogether, I wondered.

The following night I dug out my bottle of Cetaphil from the back of my closet. After washing my face I applied a small amount of the tretinoin. The following morning there was really no difference in my skin.

But as the days went on, I started to notice the tretinoin doing its job. My skin was definitely improving.

Fast forward three months, and I’m still following my doctor’s advice. Turns out he was right. I’m even using sunscreen! But most days I do not wash my face with cleanser in the morning. Instead, I just wash it with a warm, damp washcloth and follow up with sunscreen. That’s it.

I have not noticed any breakouts from not washing my face in the morning, and my skin seems to be doing really well with not being washed twice a day. I think by not removing its natural oils, it is keeping itself healthier. But what do I know!

Ladies (and guys!), if you’re feeling like I was, consider seeing your doctor. Also consider the fact that you don’t necessarily need a bunch of different creams, lotions, etc. Because sometimes those can exacerbate the problem.

So, I believe the answer to my question is this: the best routine for me is a healthy balance between leaving my skin the hell alone, and giving it the basics of what it needs-cleansing, moisture, and protection. Could this be what your skin needs?

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