How Often Should You Change Your Skin Care Regimen?

Cynthia Bailey, MD|April 7, 2016

Regimen Change_main

The question of when to change your skin care regimen can be complex. The simple answer is that you often need to change your skin care regimen. But, the longer answer helps you understand why, when and how your skin care regimen needs to change.

What are some of the most common reasons your skin care routine needs to change?

Seasonally harsh weather will be harsh on your skin. Like bundling up in warm winter clothing, your skin care routine needs to protect your skin from the elements too. For your complexion to stand up to harsh, cold and windy weather, you need to enhance the barrier strength of your skin. You also need to more deeply hydrate your skin to compensate for moisture lost to these elements.

Dr. Bailey Advice for Seasonally Harsh Weather

Use only gentle cleansers and lather just the parts of your skin that really need it. Apply deeply hydrating products within 3 minutes after toweling off. Here are the product options that I like to add to winter skin care:

For Your Body:

Dr. Bailey Body Recommendations

Dr. Bailey Body Recommendations for Your Skin Care Routine

For Your Face:

Dr. Bailey Face Recommendations

Dr. Bailey Facial Recommendations for Your Skin Care Routine

Summer or warm climates bring you outdoors more. With this, you can expect more sun exposure. You need to understand your sun exposure risk and be certain to apply the right sunscreen as often as needed. Our sunscreen comparison chart can help provide you with the guidance you need when selecting sunscreen. You may also need to stop using exfoliating skin care products when you expect extreme sun exposure.

Dr. Bailey Advice for Summer or Warm Climates 

buy a good sun hats Effective Sun Hats[/caption] Be sure to use a water resistant product for wet and sweaty activity and reapply after swimming and/or every 2 hours for prolonged sun exposure. Also, add a hat and sun protective clothing. Our Pinterest board has some great options for fashionable AND sun protective clothing. During times of extreme sun exposure, you may need to stop using exfoliating skin care products such as scrubs and rough cloths, retinoid products and even glycolic acid products so that your skin can thicken up to better deflect UV rays. Conditions that provoke flare ups of your skin problems require you to change your skin care. Examples include the seasonal flare of rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis (a.k.a., dandruff) and psoriasis. Athletic and sweaty activities may exacerbate a form of sweat-induced acne called pityrosporum folliculitis. Stress, poor eating, hormone changes and a lot of other triggers that we may never identify may exacerbate acne. When these types of skin problems plague your complexion, your skin care routine obviously needs to change ASAP. Sometimes, you can predict the change and make a preemptive strike to control it before it is out of hand. At other times, your routine will change when the problem crops up.

Dr. Bailey Advice for Conditions That Provoke Flare Ups of Skin Problems

Times when you want to intensely focus on anti-aging skin care goals. Beyond the use of daily broad spectrum sunscreen, there are times when your activities and exposure to harsh climates or UV rays are lessened - this is when you can ramp up your anti-aging skin care regimen. The two best ingredients to fight the signs of skin aging are glycolic acid and retinoids. Both of these exfoliate skin and are best used when you can protect your skin adequately. Vitamin C and antioxidant products, on the other hand, are best used year round.

Dr. Bailey Advice for Anti-Aging Skin Care Goals

best vitamin a antioxidant skin care product Retinol Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream[/caption] Use a broad spectrum sunscreen daily, and a retinoid at night such as Retinol Night Cream. Add a glycolic acid cream during the day or at night along with the retinoid IF your complexion can tolerate it. Continue with antioxidant products such as Green Tea and Vitamin C Serum. Use the Instantly Luminous Serum mentioned above to counter any skin dryness. If pigment problems are an issue you can add Skin Fading Pads.


How often do you change your skin care regimen? What signs do you look for to know when to start a new routine? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!  




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hello.  with green tea therapy serum. will it oxidize brown on the surface as the day goes on from the light and oxygen in air? Or does it penetrate below surface avoiding that? same question but with
l -ascorbic acid and turning skin yellow.

second, can you apply l ascorbic acid and then wait 5 minutes and apply green tea serum? or will the acid breakdown the green tea or they cancel each other out etc incompatible?

finally, if using 5% AHA serum 3.2 ph ,  10% l ascorbic acid serum , green tea serum . is it better to use antioxidants at night so they build up in skin and last longer? and use this regimen. since cant use aha and vit c same time

1. 5% aha lactic acid serum
2. waiting 5 minutes then illuminating serum
3. spf

1.-l ascorbic acid
2.- waiting 5 minutes then green tea serum
3. normal oily cream

By jackie on 2016 12 18

Excess green tea and Vitamin C can oxidize to a slight golden color. I recommend putting very little on. They are compatible and I typically have people apply Green Tea, wait until dry then Vita C. I don’t combine AHA with vita C, they are applied one in AM and one in PM.  Your routine is good. I reverse the Vita C and Green Tea though.

By Cynthia Bailey, MD on 2016 12 19

How much of each are you suppose to apply for full face ? So if you don’t apply excess it won’t show discolored on skin when I assume eventually the air light or sun oxidizes it below surface after it is absorbed ?

By Jackie on 2016 12 19

I read antioxidants are broken down by acids . Does that mean layering vit c with green tea the green tea will breakdown or you are not suppose to layer both those antioxidants at once ? Second , the illumating serum would be layered before or after vit. C and green tea ?

Finally for person able who asked . Do antioxidants always change color on skin. If I apply green tea or vit c and wait 10 minutes for it to absorb and dry . Then I go outside and let sun hit my face . Does that mean the green tea or vit c will show yellowish from vit c or brownish from green tea on my skin ?
The Green Tea and Vitamin C Serum are compatible products. Oxidation and yellowing is due to contact with oxygen. Sunscreen should always be applied to prevent UV and resultant free radical formation. I recommend Illuminating Serum first, right after toweling off, then Green Tea, wait to dry then Vita C, wait to dry then Sunscreen. Use only a thin layer of the first three. Apply enough sunscreen to get adequate protection. CBMD

By Nicole on 2016 12 28

Hello Jackie,
I have used these products for years personally and helped many patients use them.  I recommend applying a half pump of these products. I recommend letting them dry a bit before layering the next product.

By Cynthia Bailey, MD on 2017 01 03

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