New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may have been the MVP of the Super Bowl last Sunday, but multi-layer dip was the real star of parties across the country. When the ingredients are in perfect balance, the gooey deliciousness of cheese, salsa, beans, sour cream, lettuce, olives and tomatoes can’t be beat. By the same token, a multi-step skin care regimen garners the best results when product application and device usage are correctly calibrated. Otherwise, like disappointing dip, it’s just a gloopy mess.
Sonia Batra, a dermatologist based in Santa Monica, Calif., has a handy rule of thumb for proper skin care product layering: work from lightest to heaviest. Delicate serums should kick off regimens that mount toward thicker creams. “If you use a heavier, more rich cream first, it’s going to keep everything else from penetrating as well,” she explains. “The more you have product that is just sitting on top of your skin, pilling and preventing the penetration of other product, the less useful it will be.”
Batra’s skin care recipe calls for skin care devices to be weaved into a regimen in between products. After slathering on a serum, for example, take a break and treat the face with a skin care device such as JeNu, which utilizes ultrasonic technology to drive products into the skin. Device or no, a breather before moving from one product to the next is an effective strategy. “You should give it a minute. Sometimes, if you are using too many things in a row, they pile up on the skin, and they are not being absorbed,” warns Batra.
Amy Gardner, a licensed aesthetician and education director for LightStim, an LED light therapy device intended to build proteins and regenerate skin cells, pegs the right moment to deploy the LightStim as following serum application. “The reason is our LEDs are designed to help penetrate product. They have a gentle warmth associated with them that warms up the dermal tissue to help with product absorption,” she says. “If it were daytime, you would then apply your moisturizer and sunscreen. At nighttime, you would apply your nighttime moisturizer.” Gardner advises the LightStim be used for 20 minutes or so five to seven days a week.
Gardner recommends visiting an aesthetician to develop a personalized course of skin care products and services. On rare occasions, products, services or devices don’t mesh. LightStim shouldn’t be paired with certain peels reactivated by warmth. When it comes to lasers or injections, though, Gardner suggests LightStim is an appropriate treatment partner. “LED fits into that because it will help skin heal from all those procedures and maintain the homeostasis in the skin,” says Gardner. Generally speaking, she finds the biggest problem with skin care routines, including those incorporating devices, is when people don’t stay with them. “It has to be part of your lifestyle,” asserts Gardner.
Batra believes sticking to three basic steps is practical. She details the ABCs of a successful skin care product routine feature an antioxidant product (vitamin C or vitamin E serum), a sunblock (titanium dioxide with at least SPF 30), and a cell turnover agent (over-the-counter retinoid or prescription Retin-A). Batra estimates her patients spend no longer than five minutes smearing on their skin care products. “The more complex you make it, the harder it is to remember and take the time to do,” she says. Throwing extra ingredients into a multi-layer dip doesn’t always make a better dip. However, let’s be honest, guacamole is a welcome bonus. Free from doctoring, Batra got to sample some with guac over the weekend. She exclaims, “It was so good.”