4 Simple Steps to Better Skin

Sep 14, 2012 | Healthy Living | 5 comments

Healthy skin doesn’t seem like a big deal… unless you don’t have it.  And if you don’t, it’s so hard to hide.  After all, we all want to take a break from makeup once in awhile, right?  And if you’re a guy, you don’t even have the makeup option to hide behind.

But there are so many skin care products out there!  How do you know which ones to use?

Simple steps to better skinHere I break great skin down into four easy steps.  And while I would love to take credit for this knowledge, this is a summary of some great advice I got from Dr. Dee Anna Glaser at Saint Louis University Hospitals.  She’s an excellent Dermatologist, and you may have seen her on the  Latisse® commercials.

Step 1: Keep your skin clean

Between makeup, pollen, and everyday dust and dirt, your face is exposed to a ton of grime, visible and invisible.  Give your skin a break and clean that layer off in the morning and at night.  Even I’ll admit to sometimes just rinsing my face with water in the morning, but I always take my makeup off at night.

Step 2: Even out skin tone

Freckles (the polite term) and age spots (the less-polite term) develop as a result of sun damage.  Instead of producing even color, the little cells that make our pigment start clumping together.  This results in brown spots.  Hydroquinone causes these cells to stop making melanin, and over time the brown spots fade and skin tone becomes more even.  Hydroquinone is available over the counter as a weak formulation in many bleaching creams, but these often have irritating fragrances and additives.  I recommend obtaining prescription strength hydroquinone from a physician.

Step 3: Increase Collagen Production

Retinoids such as tretinoin (a.k.a RetinA) thin the rough outer layer of our skin, resulting in a brighter look.  They also increase collagen production, which improves the appearance of fine lines.  They can be very irritating, so they are usually started at a low dose, every other night.  As your skin becomes used to the tretinoin, you use it every night.  Again, various retinoids are added to many over the counter skin care products, but the best result will be from a prescription-strength product.

Step 4: Prevent Future Damage

 This step is most important- SPF 30 sunscreen, every morning.  Bonus points if you reapply at lunchtime, but even I’m not that good.  Another optional product is an antioxidant such as Vitamin C, which will help prevent DNA damage from the sun.

Some skin care lines, such as Obagi’s Nu-Derm® line, have all of these elements, plus a few other products to boot.  They are touted to work together to improve the end result.  And while I Iove (and use!) Obagi, it can get complicated and expensive.  If you find a cleanser and sunscreen you love at Walgreens or CVS, and get hydroquinone and tretinoin from your doctor, you will still see results.  But skin care is like a gym regimen- results don’t happen overnight.  Expect to see changes after 6 weeks of regular use.


Below you can see my results after using a couple Obagi products and tretinoin with over-the-counter Cetaphil cleanser and Oil-of-Olay moisturizer with SPF 30.  I won’t lie- I have pretty good skin to start will.  But after 12 weeks of regular use it was softer, smoother, brighter and more even.

12 weeks of skin care regular use

  1. dianacm1

    What about antibiotic stains on your face? They say it’s not possible to get rid of them.

    • Greer

      While I really can’t give specific medical advice over the internet, very generally speaking, some antibiotics such as tetracycline or minocycline can stain the teeth or skin if given in high doses over a long period of time. Staining of the teeth is best addressed by professional bleaching by a dentist. And while there are no specific treatments for skin staining, it does tend to fade over several years once you are off the medication.

  2. dianacm1

    Thanks. I do know if there was a way, you’d know it or find out about it. It was very long term minocycline twice a day, then tetracycline in very high doses for an infection.(I’m allergic to penn.,sulfa,cipro) It stained my upper and bottom lip areas, it will probably go away in about 20 years! So basically in medical terms” I’m —–!” And it has to be the only thing that I’m upset about out of everything else. Maybe a face replacement?

  3. Erin Cronin

    Howdy!!! What brand of cosmetics do you recommend for healthy skin? More specifically, in a foundation or powder? I already use a foundation with some SPF protection in it, but I didn’t know if there was something better out there.
    FYI, I love reading your blogs. Please keep writing them! I’m going to buy a new face moisturizer with RetinA. The sunscreen I will keep doing 🙂

    • Greer

      I change up my moisturizer pretty frequently, based on whatever is on sale. Right now I’m using Neutrogena Age Shield Face, in SPF 70, which is what my husband picked up at the store for me 🙂 The sunscreens with a physical screen like titanium dioxide or zinc do offer better protection than the chemical sunscreens, so look for a product that offers a titanium or zinc. I do find that the higher the SPF, the more they seem to sit on your skin without really absorbing.

      In terms of makeup, I currently use the Bare Minerals line, and have for about 8 years now. I think it is SPF 15, and they do offer an SPF 20 product, but I would still layer a moisturizer with SPF 30 under that. Glad you’re enjoying the blog!


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