As you may already know, the Chow Center for Facial Plastic Surgery has recently added a clinical esthetician to our staff. Naturally, I immediately took advantage of this opportunity! I sought her out because of a large pimple I had the other day, which I wanted (needed!) to be gone by the weekend. She knows a tremendous amount about cosmetic skin care (she’s been in the field or training since the age of 12), and she gave me some great advice about just what I’ve been doing wrong all these years. I learned some great tips, and I wanted to share some of them with you.

To help you sort out what you need for your skin type, here are some recommendations from Dr. Chow and our clinical esthetician, Anita:

Get the right cleanser. Apparently, I have been using the wrong cleanser all this time, which has contributed to pimples even as I thought I was helping myself get rid of them. Anita emphasized that using the wrong cleanser for my skin type was actually clogging my pores and causing increased breakouts. In general, choose a gentle cleanser that won’t dry out your skin if you have combination or normal skin. Unless you actually have oily skin or have always been prone to acne, avoid using a cleanser for oily skin or acne for an isolated breakout. This was my mistake! I only get occasional, sporadic breakouts of acne, but I was using a cleanser for acne-prone skin, which was drying out my skin and clogging my pores. At the Chow Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, we have several facial cleansers, including those by Vivite and SkinMedica, available.

Get moisturizer with SPF in it. We all know to hydrate and protect our skin, and the easiest (fastest, too!) way to do that is to get a daily moisturizer that already has sun screen in it. One of the biggest wrinkle causers out there is UV radiation from the sun! SkinMedica has a great moisturizer and sunscreen combo called the TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer SPF 20 Sunscreen.

Use a retinol product. There are so many benefits to retinols (anti-acne, anti-aging, etc.) that you will definitely want to incorporate one into your skin care regimen. I have been using the SkinMedica Tri-Retinol, and I have been pleased with the results. I plan to progress to a stronger retinol in the future. I really like that the Tri-Retinol provides time-lapsed release, so I get the same results without some of the irritation that might occur with a Retin-A prescription.

What “must-have” beauty products do you use? As always, feel free to share with us–we’d love to know!