Ask a Dermatologist: Are There Any Ingredients You Would Consider “Essentials” in Most Skincare Routines?

Dr. Courtney Rubin, our Chief Medical Officer, weighs in on your most pressing skincare questions.

Sunscreen—always! Sunscreen is the most important step everyone can take to prevent the development of skin cancers and pre-cancerous skin lesions, along with signs of photoaging, such as skin discoloration, wrinkles and depletion of collagen. Aside from sunscreen, a good, basic moisturizer with ingredients like ceramides, squalane, glycerin and hyaluronic acid is great for daily, consistent use. Actives like vitamin C and retinoids are not essential but are smart choices for those who are hoping to boost collagen production and avoid signs of photoaging. 

Is there a skincare 101 rule that gets forgotten in most routines?

I think the most important thing to remember is that the best routine is one that you stick to and are consistent with every single day. In the same way that dental health requires daily brushing and flossing, good skin health requires daily use of products like cleansers (never forget to remove your makeup before bed!), sun protection and the right cocktail of active ingredients for your specific skin concerns. Skincare doesn't cause miracles overnight, but consistency with a solid skincare routine, over a long period of time, will yield great benefits, including preventing skin cancer, breakouts (and subsequent scarring and discoloration), wrinkles and loss of collagen.