It’s not uncommon for patients to be surprised when I suggest they skip toner or scrubs. Sometimes they feel a little crestfallen when I politely suggest they’d be better off without a particular oil they were quite attached to. It got me thinking about my own fairly uncompromising approach to skincare and the ‘rules’ that I stick to when creating a skincare plan for myself and my patients. Now, of course, I use the term rule lightly – there are multiple different paths to great skin and you must find the right person to guide you in accordance with your personal values and preferences, whether on YouTube or in the clinic setting. But these are the ‘rules’ that I’ve found to be effective and have stuck to over time.

1) No Foaming cleansers 

Our skin barrier is an incredibly useful thing. Start depleting it and you wind up in a tangle of sensitivity, redness and it’s ability to tolerate Actives becomes much lower. In order to clean your face, which is ultimately the main objective, a gentle non-foaming cleanser will do the job without harm. If it’s not doing the job, take a careful look at your make-up practices rather than escalating to lather.

2) No Physical exfoliants

For the same reason above – skin does not need grit and power tools to be effectively exfoliated. We have a vast array of chemical exfoliants, and the great news is most of them do a lot more than just exfoliate.

3) No Oils

When you’ve seen as many oil users as we do in the clinic with bumpy, spotty skin, it’s clear it’s a high-risk category of skincare. There is no mechanism for oils to ‘feedback’ to regulate your skin’s own natural oil levels, despite what you’ve been told. And we have sophisticated moisturisers formulated with correct ingredients to keep water in your skin and maintain a supple, resilient complexion.

4) No Spray on Sun screens

My main bug bear with these is dosing. It’s so imprecise. I’ve yet to see one that gives clear instructions on pack to indicate exactly how many squirts you’d need to use to get the promised SPF on the label, and how can you know how much ends up in the air and how much on skin?

5) No Fragrance

Zero benefits, common allergen. Nuff said.

Ultimately, I find that most of us quite like structure and guidelines – it helps us engage with a plan and stick to it. And that’s the easiest route to success with skincare.