dermatologists skincare routine

Photo: Courtesy of Ranella Hirsch

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The One Who Loves Drugstore Cleansers
Ranella Hirsch, a board-certified dermatologist in Boston

Her skin issue: Dryness. "I have really sensitive skin, and I'm just getting back into using a retinoid because this is the first time in 10 years I haven't been pregnant, trying to get pregnant or nursing," says Hirsch. (Experts recommend avoiding vitamin A derivatives like retinoid and tretinoins during pregnancy and nursing.) "I'm only using it every third night right now, and I'm peeling like crazy." That means her medicine cabinet is filled with ultra-hydrating products to help counteract that dryness and irritation. "You don't need a ton of stuff, but I probably play around with different products more than other people do."

Her Routine

Morning
1. Hirsch cleanses with a basic cleanser, "usually something you can find at the drugstore" she says. The three in her rotation right now: Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser and Dove Beauty Bar Sensitive Skin.

2. She applies sunscreen, and, yes, she really does use it every day. "My skin is basically translucent," she says, so she only uses products with SPF 30 or greater. Her three favorite sunscreens: Shiseido Ultimate Protection Lotion WetForce for Sensitive Skin and Children, EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (she likes to mix this untinted sunscreen into her BB cream for protection and coverage) and La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid. She also frequently borrows Babo Botanicals Nutri-Soothe SPF 15 Lip Treatment from the diaper bag.

Night
1. She cleanses again, usually with the same cleanser she used that morning.

2. Every third night, she applies a prescription retinoid called Refissa ("the gentlest retinoid you can get," she says) to address aging-skin concerns like fine lines and pigmentation. But every night, she puts on a double dose of skin soothers: first, Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, then First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. "When I finish up the Repair Cream, I'm going to swap it for Fresh Elixir Ancien," she says, a hydrating face oil that also minimizes wrinkles.

Extras
"Every now and then, if I'm feeling motivated, I'll use a moisturizing mask or an eye treatment like Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask," she says. Or she'll apply a bit of Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil Purified Squalene Treatment, another, you guessed it, hydrator.

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