Morning and Nighttime Skincare Routine of A Med Student

Hello everybody

Here I am again with a new blog post. Today we are going to talk about a topic I am very passionate about: skincare. As a medical student aspiring to become a dermatologist, I am excited to share with you my knowledge and skincare routine!


A quick disclaimer: I am not a skincare professional yet, so I will only share with you my individual skincare routine and some tips I have found in scientific papers or have heard from dermatologists! If you have any skincare problems, which need to be treated, please consult a board-certified dermatologist!

Another disclaimer: As an Amazon partner I earn on qualified sales.When you place an order, the price stays the same for you and I get a reimbursement of advertising costs. All of the links included from Amazon are affiliating links, which helps me get a small share thus helping with my study costs!

Skincare Basics

Sun Protection 

This is the most important step to youthful and healthy skin! You can skip all other steps, but SPF is a MUST! May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, when interest in skin cancer prevention, detection and treatment is high. Skin Cancer Awareness Month is also a good time to go back to basics. Here’s a very good short article on the major types of skin cancer, if you’re interested.
Check your skin regularly and look out for changes such as these shown in this graphic from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):

Best Sun Protection Tips
  • Wear an SPF of 30 or higher – find a formulation you enjoy, whether it’s a sport spray, a gel or cream and reapply at least twice throughout the day
    • A really good form of reapplication is by using a powder sunscreen such as this one

Clinique Sun – Mineral Powder Makeup SPF30, 02 Moderately Fair, 9.5 g (As an Amazon partner I earn on qualified sales.When you place an order, the price stays the same for you and I get a reimbursement of advertising costs.)

Artdeco Sun Protection SPF 50 Compact Foundation– A better alternative than the Clinique one in my opinion as the main ingredient is zinc oxide and it is much more affordable

What I personally use and love! It can be bought in all DM Stores in Germany and maybe around Europe- Sundance Sonnenfluid Sensitiv LSF 50 (this is a personal recommendation)

Don’t forget the lips! Also from DM, always look out for products without fragrance, including essential oils –Sundance Lippenpflege Sensitiv LSF 50

  • Wear sun-protective clothing
  • Use a spray-tan or self-tanner if you want a tan! Tanning beds are incredibly damaging to your skin health and can speed up aging!

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that all adults do monthly skin self-exams and see a dermatologist annually.

Have a morning and evening skincare routine suited to your skin type

  • You don’t need to wash your face in the morning, but only if you feel like it is especially oily. You can also use a glycolic face wash sometimes as a mild chemical exfoliator in the morning if you are using retinol in the evening.
  • The third step is to target your specific problems:
    • Acne– The main factors involved in the development of acne are the increased sebum production, irregular follicular desquamation, Propionibacterium acnes proliferation and inflammation of the area. Let’s talk about targeting them!
      • Retinoids are the first choice because it has been scientifically proven that they generally control the formation of microcomedones, reduce the formation of lesions and existing comedones (clogged pores), decrease sebum production and normalize desquamation (shedding) of the epithelium (most upper layer of your skin). (Talk to your dermatologist about your options which can be topical retinoids such tretinoin or adapalene. There are also over-the-counter products such as the retinols of The Ordinary or Cerave)
      • Benzoyl peroxide- targets the bacterial proliferation and unclogs pores
      • Azelaic acid– it also has anti-microbial properties, but can also brighten your skin, is more effective when used together with Benzoyl Peroxide
      • Niacinamide– it reduces the oiliness of your skin, leading to less clogged pores
      • Antibiotics and  other prescription drugs – talk to your dermatologist about using those
      • Chemical peels– AHA/BHA peels stimulate skin rejuvenation and can also improve hyperpigmentation and scarring of the skin
    • Discoloration
      • Skin-brightening agents such as Azelaic Acid, Vitamin C, Niacinamide, AHA/BHA serums or cleansers, Retinol, Q10
      • Do not use a lot of actives together, choose one or two and see what works for you
    • Rough and bumpy skin
      • A BHA or AHA exfoliator used in a wash-off form in the morning or in the evening if not using retinol can do wonders
      • Another good recommendation is the Salicylic Acid Line from Cerave
  • Eczema
    • A few good lines to look out for are Avene Xera Calm, La Roche Posay Toleriane and Lipikar
    • Also, pure petroleum jelly known as Vaseline is widely recommended by dermatologists to treat dry areas, can be soothing for eczema-prone skin
  • Anti-Aging
    • Sunscreen is the most important anti-aging product as the last step of your morning routine
    • Retinols, in my opinion, are the second most important
    • Peptide creams as a moisturiser
    • also all of the recommendations above for your skin type
  • Moisturiser appropriate for your skin type
    • For Acne-prone skin look out for non-oily, non-comedogenic formulas
    • For more dry skin choose rich creams and balms, containing emollients such as shea butter, petrolatum, squalane
  • In the morning use a sunscreen of 30 SPF or above before putting on your make-up

My Daily Skin Care Routine

I have almost always had a normal skin type, with a little bit of oiliness in my T-zone. And in my teenage years, I did not struggle with as much acne problems as other people did, I only had a few pimples here and there when I was in my hormonal phase. I believe this has to do with genetics but also largely with the skincare habits my mum instilled in me when I was a child. She showed me how to wash my face and moisturise it every night and to use sunscreen. I grew up watching her take care of her skin daily so this ingrained in me this habit of hers. I almost never skip my evening routine and have recently tweaked my morning and evening routine with the new knowledge I have acquired. But what works for me, may not work for you. So always think about your individual skincare needs first.

Morning

I don’t do much in the morning as I don’t have that much of an oily skin and want to retain the natural oils and moisture my skin has obtained after my night routine. Usually, I splash my face with water and apply my Moisturiser and 50 SPF Sunscreen and lip balm afterwards and put on some mascara and lipstick and that’s it. This simple morning routine is what I do most days. And 2 or 3 times a week it is a little bit more special, but again not complex. Here’s an overview:

  1. Avene XeraCalm Cleansing Oil – I only use this to gently cleanse my face in the morning and don’t double cleanse as I do usually in the evening, I use this cleansing oil only to prep my skin for the glycolic acid toner I use as my second step
  2. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution – glycolic acid is an AHA and a perfect gentle chemical exfoliator. It can help brighten any dark spots and can help with rough skin.
  3. Vichy Fortifying and Plumping Daily Booster with hyaluronic acid and thermal water- this is an alternative to the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Aqua Creme (fragrance-free), which I prefer but ran out of
  4. CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion or DM Tagescreme Med Ultra Sensitive Anti-Falten, depending on what I have. Right now, I use my Cerave Lotion because it is really lightweight and perfect for summer days, and don’t be fooled by the fact that it is a PM Lotion, it is just marketing 
  5. DM Med Sonnenfluid Sensitiv LSF 50 – I love this chemical sunscreen because it is fragrance-free, octocrylene-free (bad for the corals) and very affordable. It also doesn’t feel heavy at all on my skin and does not leave a white cast. A win-win situation! I also put on my lip balm with SPF 50 from the same line, because the lips need to be protected, too!
Evening

My evening routine is a little more elaborate than my morning one, but for me, it is still a simple one and I strive to do it every single night despite being tired sometimes. Even if I came home after parties in the middle of the night, I would still do my night routine. It is all about consistency when it comes to the skin and it has become something like my way of winding down before bed because I find it really soothing. So here is how a typical evening looks like for me:

  1. Avene XeraCalm Cleansing Oil – I use this as my first step to melt down make-up, impurities and sunscreen.
  2. Cerave foaming face wash or the hydrating face wash – this is my second cleansing step to remove all of the oil and impurities from the first step completely
  3. Vichy Fortifying and Plumping Daily Booster with hyaluronic acid and thermal water- this is an alternative to the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Aqua Creme (fragrance-free), which I prefer but ran out of
  4. CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion – this is what I use right now, but I like trying out new products, as long as they are fragrance-free, have beneficial ingredients and are affordable
  5. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid in Squalane 5% – I have started implementing some kind of retinoid derivatives in my routine because I want to start early with anti-aging products so as to delay aging and also to benefit from its peeling properties as I have a few closed comedones on my chin, which I want to get rid of. I sometimes use this before my moisturiser and sometimes after, it all depends on my mood and how my skin is feeling that day
  6. My regular Vaseline (petrolatum jelly) for my lips

WHAT I WANT TO IMPROVE IN MY ROUTINE

I would like to start implementing Azelaic Acid or Vitamin C in my morning routine to help with evening out the skin tone. Also, I have still not decided about implementing a Niacinamide serum before my moisturiser in the evening because my moisturiser already contains it and I am not sure if it will be worth it to spend more money on that. Furthermore, I would love to have a stronger Retinol such as the Cerave one, which cannot be found here in Germany, or Adapalene, which is also not available over the counter in Europe. Trying out more Korean Skincare is also on my list, as I think they have better formulations overall.

My Occasional Self-Treatments

I don’t use face masks that frequently, but when I want to treat myself, I use regular sheet masks with Vitamin C or hyaluronic acid and sometimes mud masks, when I am feeling particularly oily.

I hope this post was beneficial to you! I won’t talk much about what to eat for skin health because this is a topic for another time! Stay tuned! 

Here is a summary of the most important points from this post: use sun protection daily and reapply, use products that are appropriate for your skin type and be consistent! This is my individual view on skincare, so if you have any skin problems consult a dermatologist first!

Stay healthy and until next time,
Mel

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