If you just haven’t paid attention to your skincare regimen your entire life, it’s never too late to get on the bandwagon and make meaningful changes that will positively impact the health of your skin.
Unfortunately, there are consequences to neglecting your skin, and the longer you go without meeting its needs, the more work you have to do to reverse the damage. Whether you’re not careful with sunscreen, have trouble remembering to remove your makeup at night, or your skin has never seen a drop of moisture, eventually you’ll start to see the effects of neglect and abuse.
Dr. Shari Sperling, a board-certified dermatologist at Sperling Dermatology in New York and New Jersey, told HuffPost that problems like acne, pimples, dryness, dermatitis and signs of aging can develop as a result of neglect, including falling asleep without washing you sight. This can lead to clogged pores and breakouts and compromise your skin’s natural repair process, which in turn can lead to premature aging. Alarmingly, she also mentioned that you can even get eye irritation or infections if you don’t remove the eye makeup.
In addition, Dr. Brendan Camp, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York, notes that maintaining a regular skincare routine is a healthy habit akin to exercising: aging, like fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, and conditions like acne.” Like Sperling, he also emphasized the importance of washing your face, adding that “by not washing your face, you’re not removing excess oil, dirt, and pollutants that can irritate the skin or cause inflammation.”
Ideally, Camp recommends developing healthy skin habits early in life, encouraging teens to develop a basic regimen that includes cleansing, medication, and moisturizing, and people in their 20s to incorporate anti-aging steps into their routines.
And while problems like the impact of sun exposure can’t be reversed on a cellular level, that doesn’t mean you can’t start a skincare routine later in life. “It’s never too late to start a skincare routine,” Camp explained. “The skin has different needs at every stage of life. Whether sooner or later, simple changes in the way you treat your skin can affect both your physical and mental health.”
It’s a relief to know that all is not lost, and it’s always worth it to help restore your skin to its former glory. You can even start baby steps as you get into your skin care comfort zone. Sperling said that “it doesn’t have to be complicated, but properly cleansing and moisturizing the skin and wearing SPF daily can make a difference.” But if you still want to add a few more effective and restorative elements, she recommended ingredients like retinol (which can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, while boosting collagen production and helping to even out skin tone) and vitamin C (an antioxidant) . which protects the skin from oxidative damage and can help improve texture and complexion).
Below, I’ve rounded up Camp and Sterling’s skincare reset recommendations, and they cover everything from cleansers and moisturizers to serums and masks. They come in a variety of price ranges and are packed with the healing ingredients they mentioned, and more. Choose one for yourself and treat your skin as it deserves.
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CeraVe moisturizing cream
“This is a great affordable option for people with dry skin. It’s very hydrating and goes on easily on the skin. It’s formulated with ceramides, which help restore skin’s natural barriers.” — sperling
First Aid Beauty moisturizing serum with hyaluronic acid
Supergoop City Serum SPF 30 Sunscreen
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum
La Roche-Posay Toleriane moisturizing gentle cleanser
Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Eye Serum
CeraVe make-up removing cleansing balm
Image Skincare Vital C moisturizing enzyme mask
Ilia C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40
I had to throw this pick into the mix myself, as it’s perfect for those who are just starting to dip their toes into skincare. It’s a multitasking serum that’s packed with delicious active ingredients recommended by Camp and Sperling, like vitamin C and niacinamide, while also functioning as both an SPF and a foundation, adding a pop of color to the skin.
Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46
Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic 15% Firm & Bright Serum
“Retinol helps promote cell turnover, boost collagen, reduce discoloration, and restore your skin’s natural texture and tone. Differin, which used to be prescription-only but is now available over the counter, is a great product for acne and anti aging.” — sperling
Cetaphil daily facial cleanser
Keep it simple with this affordable and accessible cleanser recommended by Camp. It’s great for those with oily skin, other skin conditions, and those looking to repair past damage. It is gentle and does not irritate even the wickedest skin.
Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Serum For Dark Spots
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
“This cream is formulated with peptides, hyaluronic acid and ceramides to deeply hydrate the skin while renewing the skin’s natural barrier overnight.” — sperling
Avène Retrinal Ceramide Lipid Replenishing Balm
“Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids in the skin that help retain moisture and maintain skin barrier integrity. Including ceramides in a skin moisturizer helps skin stay smooth and hydrated.” — Camp
U Beauty The Barrier Bioactive Treatment
This highly concentrated overnight treat is a pick from the HuffPost editors that we couldn’t pass up. It uses bioactive marine ingredients that promote skin renewal and can soften, renew, revitalize and strengthen the skin.