All products featured on Vogue are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
There’s no doubt that discovering the best skin-care routine is quite the undertaking—whether you’re a long-time enthusiast or novice. Even those with years of experience will share that the journey to clear, glowing skin was not without a bit of trial and error.
Even more, there seems to be an endless amount of skin-care advice out there nowadays, especially now that many of us can learn new tips and tricks on TikTok. But how do you know what to trust? As we look to answer that question ourselves, we thought to take a peek into the routines of our favorite dermatologists. They are, after all, the ultimate experts in the space who can provide medical guidance on achieving your best skin yet. And while it may seem obvious, they, just like us, have the typical skin-care concerns like acne, sensitivity, eczema, hyperpigmentation, and more.
So, we asked three top dermatologists to share their actual skin-care regimens from morning to night. Below, read on to shop their beauty cabinets and discover some helpful insights to inform your routine.
Dr. Karen Kagha
- Meet The Expert: Dr. Karen Kagha is a Los Angeles-based, Harvard cosmetic and laser fellowship trained dermatologist who specializes in hyperpigmentation, acne, and skin of color.
- Skin Type: “I am naturally more oily, acne prone,” explains Kagha. “With my skin type, mild hyperpigmentation can arise.”
Step One: “In the morning, I use a gentle wash. Depending on how my skin is doing, I alternate between CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser, Senté Exfoliating Cleanser, and Revision Skincare Brightening Facial Wash.” While Senté and Revision Skincare’s formulas are powered by exfoliating acids to brighten and slough away impurities, CeraVe’s is infused with benzoyl peroxide to remove excess dirt and oil and prevent new breakouts.
Step Two: “Then, I apply a vitamin C serum; I’m currently using SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF.” Formulated with oily, acne-prone skin in mind, this features a cocktail of silymarin (milk thistle extract), l-ascorbic acid, ferulic and salicylic acid, to reduce oiliness, breakouts, and skin texture.
Step Three: Next is moisturizer, which at the moment is the Alastin Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer. This is packed with linoleic acid, oat kernel, and silver mushroom to soothe and nourish skin.
Step Four: “Finally, I apply sunscreen. Currently, I am using EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44,” she says of the tinted mineral sunscreen, which provides universal sheer coverage to most skin types, along with protection against UV rays. “For fancier days, if I want more coverage, I may mix a drop of Dermablend Flawless Creator foundation with my sunscreen.”
“At night, I alternate between the same washes mentioned in my morning routine,” she says. “I then use a small pea-size amount of Arazlo 0.045% lotion. Finally, I apply a moisturizer, which is sometimes La Roche-Posay’sToleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer.” This coveted French pharmacy find is known to be incredibly gentle, and nourishing thanks to its featured ceramides, niacinamide, and prebiotic thermal water.
More to Know: “Depending on active breakouts, I do have prescription benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin lotion that I apply intermittently to problem areas,” she said of what supplements her routine. In light of her specialties in aesthetics and lasers, she often treats her diverse clientele and her own skin with this approach. “One of the most common complaints of my personal skin type is hyperpigmentation,” she notes. “For this, I enjoy combining other less frequent in-office options, including nonablative fractional lasers and chemical peels for more stubborn areas. I always encourage patients to take a more preventative approach and begin caring for their skin early for better results.”
Dr. Whitney Bowe
- Meet The Expert: Dr. Whitney Bowe is a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of her eponymous beauty line, which looks to address concerns from both the inside and outside.
- Skin Type: “My skin is sensitive, dry, and I am prone to occasional breakouts,” says Bowe.
“My morning skin-care routine is consistent and streamlined—I do not skin cycle in the morning,” she explains. “My goal is to protect my skin from the daily stressors that can generate free radicals, like ultraviolet rays and pollution.”
Step One: “Cleanse using a gentle cleanser and warm (not hot) water,” she advises. “One of my long-time favorites is La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, which is milky and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and nourished, not stripped and tight.”
Step Two: Next up, vitamin C serum. “I’ve been using SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF because their CE Ferulic tends to break me out, but I’m really excited about the newer, more stable vitamin C derivatives like tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate because we know that L-ascorbic acid, the more traditional form of Vit C, is highly unstable.”
Step Three: “I moisturize using Bowe Glowe Microbiome Nourishing Cream, which was clinically tested using an instrument called a Tewameter to measure “TEWL” or “transepidermal water loss,” meaning, how much water is evaporating from the surface of the skin,” she says. “It’s powered by a proprietary blend of deeply hydrating and restorative ingredients including prebiotics, postbiotics, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and squalane.”
Step Four: For sun protection, she reaches for Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun Rice + Probiotics Sunscreen, a lightweight K-beauty cream powered by rice extract and grain fermented extracts to be ultra moisturizing. Otherwise, she likes Supergoop!’s Glowscreen for a dewy, sunkissed glow.
Step Five: “The last and final step of my morning routine is drinking my Bowe Growe,” she says to target inner skin care—what she considers the missing layer of your skin-care routine. “Bowe Growe is a vegan elixir made with a blend of polyphenols which are powerful plant-based nutrients that help rebalance your gut microbiome and support healthy skin from the inside out. I treat the skin from the inside-out and from the outside-in as part of my 3-dimensional approach to skin health, and although I eat an incredibly healthy diet, I also believe in smart, strategic supplementation.” Bowe drinks one to three drops of the elixir in four ounces of water once per day.
“My nighttime routine, called Skin Cycling, has gone viral on social media in the past few weeks,” she explains of her approach to a balanced nighttime regimen. “I introduced skin cycling as a ‘less-is-more’ approach, being thoughtful and deliberate about your skin-care routine. Rather than adding more products on top of one another, skin cycling encourages you to use products in a strategic way to complement one another and set you up for success while dialing down unnecessary irritation.” Her skin cycling routine consists of four nights, then repeats: exfoliation, retinoid, then recovery.
Night One-Exfoliation: “I reach for chemical exfoliating products over harsh physical scrubs. This type of exfoliation gives your skin an immediate glow but also preps you to get the most out of night 2, retinoid night,” she explains. “On top of your exfoliating product, you want to apply a fragrance-free moisturizer that specifically rebalances the skin microbiome and repairs the skin barrier, but you [also] don’t want to use a product that is too heavy or greasy because that can drive the exfoliating acid into the skin unpredictably and create unnecessary irritation.” For the same reason, cautions against using Vaseline or occlusive oils (like coconut oil) on exfoliation nights as the skin is more vulnerable. “Bowe Glowe moisturizing cream is an ideal final step on exfoliation night, after any tingling sensation from the exfoliating serum subsides.”
Night Two-Retinoid: “One of my favorite retinol products (I have sensitive skin) is Dermalogica’s Overnight Retinol Repair,” she says. The retinol treatment is also infused with peptides, amino acids, vitamin C, and ceramides to target fine lines and improve firmness. Then, she’ll lock in moisture with her Bowe Glow Cream. “It boosts hydration and repairs the barrier with nourishing ingredients like squalane, ceramides, and sunflower seed oil without creating that heavy, occlusive effect that you want to make sure to avoid on retinoid nights.”
For very sensitive skin, Bowe would recommend applying the moisturizer first to act as a buffer, allowing your skin to adapt to your retinoid. “If your skin still feels tight or dry after applying your retinoid, you can apply another layer of your moisturizer on top,” she says of this “sandwich technique.”
Nights Three & Four-Recovery: “On my recovery nights, I skip active ingredients like exfoliating serums or retinoids,” she says. “For me, recovery nights are all about hydration and repairing the skin barrier.” Here, she’ll again reach for the Bowe Glow Cream to rebalance the skin microbiome and boost hydration. “I use this cycle, in this order, to allow my skin to experience the benefits of these actives while minimizing irritation for optimal results.”
More to Know: “I use a silk sleep mask over my eyes at bedtime to block out light and help me sleep more soundly throughout the night,” she says. “Beauty sleep is real, and getting quality, deep, restorative sleep each night is critical when it comes to maintaining the health of my skin.”
Dr. Chris Tomassian
- Meet The Expert: Dr. Chris Tomassian is a Los Angeles-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of The Dermatology Collective.
- Skin Type: “My skin type is combination with oily skin in my T zone, and dry to normal skin on the rest of my face,” he says. “It does change with the weather and typically becomes drier in the winter. I personally have rosacea with primarily redness and flushing on the cheeks.”
“My morning routine consists of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, moisturizer, and sunscreen – in that specific order,” explains Tomassian. “I like to keep my routine simple and focused on key ingredients.”
Step One: “In the morning, I usually jump in the shower and skip the cleanser. I start my routine with vitamin C. I love using SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic for its antioxidant properties. This product helps to boost collagen to fight fine lines/wrinkles, and also helps fade any hyperpigmentation I might have from a breakout,” says Tomassian. He continues that: “When picking a vitamin C, I typically look for products with L ascorbic acid (active vitamin C) around 10-25% that is also coupled with vitamin E or ferulic acid to help stabilize the vitamin C. Some other great options that I recommend that may be more budget-friendly include the new L’Oréal Revitalift Pure Vitamin C Serum, Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C, Cosrx Vitamin C 23, and the Maelove Glow Maker.”
Step Two: “For hyaluronic acid, I primarily use RoC hyaluronic acid capsules. I love the capsules because it makes it easy to know how much you should be using and the capsules are great for traveling. Hyaluronic acid is a great hydrating device as it can hold up to 1000x weight in water and really hydrate the skin. I typically look for hyaluronic acids with both high and low molecular weight HA so it can hydrate the top of the skin and penetrate to hydrate deeper. Important reminder: Always apply HA on damp skin so it can hold on to the water!” He’s also partial to Vichy Mineral 89 hyaluronic acid as well as Osea’s Hyaluronic Sea Serum, which he describes as a thicker serum that sits nicely on the top of the skin and boosts hydration.
Step Three: “I switch between two moisturizers, the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Moisturizer and the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. The FAB Ultra Repair Cream has a cloud-like consistency and is very soothing, with ingredients like colloidal oat and allantoin. I use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream when my skin is feeling dry. The formula includes squalane and glycerin for deep hydration. I love how the lightweight formula easily blends into my beard, with no pilling or white cast.”
Step Four: “My current sunscreen is Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen which is a chemical sunscreen. I love to recommend this product because it has a clear finish. (This is great for me, especially because I have facial hair.) I also like the MDSolarSciences Daily Perfecting Moisturizer SPF 30. It’s lightweight and takes care of two steps in my morning routine. I often recommend this to people who want to simplify their morning skin-care routine.”
“My nighttime routine consists of cleanser, retinoid, and moisturizer,” he says of his three-step regimen. “I keep my evening routine even more simple than my morning routine! Less is more in skin care.”
Step One: “I start my evening routine with either the CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser or the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser. Both are hydrating, not stripping and remove all my previous products without leaving a residue. My fiancé can attest that both of these cleansers do a great job of removing makeup.”
Step Two: “I have a compound prescription retinoid by skin medicinals. It is formulated with tretinoin 0.1%, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, as well as turmeric and vitamin C. I recommend a similar formula for my patients as a compounded prescription helps make the prescription more tolerable. Tretinoin is only available as a prescription and is the most well-studied anti-aging cream. It helps with not only wrinkles but also acne and dark spots too,” he explains, though he advises one to consult with their dermatologist if they are interested in a compound prescription retinoid. Otherwise, he’d recommend Kiehl’s Retinol Fast Release sans prescription, which has a 0.3% retinol to combat signs of aging, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Step Three: “I finish my routine with the La Roche-Posay Ultra-Soothing Moisturizer because it is super hydrating and great around the eyes. If I feel like I need deeper hydration like in the winter, I use the Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair instead.”
More to Know: “My typical skin cycle consists of my retinoid six times per week and then exfoliation on Sundays. I’m lucky to have built my retinoid tolerance up, but if you’re new to retinoids, take your time and start with three times a week.”
For exfoliants, he may reach for The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Peeling Solution, which features a “good combination of both alpha and beta hydroxy acids to exfoliate the skin.” Or, Versed Doctor’s Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask: “[This has a] jelly consistency which gives a nice feeling when applying, [and] uses both chemical and fruit extract enzymes for exfoliation.” Otherwise, the Paula’s Choice peel that’s powered by “a high concentration of alpha hydroxy acids to help with texture and skin brightening as well as BHA to penetrate pores and help with blackheads.”
Occasionally, he’ll incorporate the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Face Mask or slugging with Vaseline or Aquaphor into his routine if his skin needs a hydration boost.
“For dark [circles] and puffiness, I will use Good Molecules Caffeine Eye Masks, which I keep in my skin-care fridge for the cooling sensation,” he says.