I asked a dermatologist how to fix my hormonal acne, and he suggested changing the order I use my skin products

I asked a dermatologist how to fix my hormonal acne, and he suggested changing the order I use my skin products
Maria Del Russo/Insider

Maria Del Russo, a Style & Beauty Guides editor at Insider Reviews, bravely volunteered to get her skincare routine publicly roasted by board-certified New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel.

As a 30-year-old with combination skin, Maria's biggest skincare concern is hormonal acne on her chin.

Sobel reviewed her entire routine, and told Insider everything she's doing right, wrong, and the products she should switch out.
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Maria needs to swap out her cleansing water for gel

Sobel told Insider that Maria starts her day off with the wrong step, cleansing her face with Sensibio H20 micellar water, a type of product that forms spherical chemical structures that pull dirt from your pores.

"The first mistake Maria is making in her skincare routine is in her very first step," Sobel told Insider. "Maria begins her morning routine with Sensibio H20 micellar water when she should really be using a cleansing gel."

While michellar water and cleansing waters like it are a gentle way to strip away makeup, Sobel says they don't thoroughly cleanse the skin and clogged pores of dirt and debris.
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Adding a cleansing gel first thing in the morning, and after she takes off her makeup at night, would provide a deeper clean to target and prevent hormonal acne.

She should switch the order of her routine and put her eye cream before toner

Maria's next step in the morning and at night is to tone her skin with Embryolisse Eau de Beauté Rosamélis. While there is nothing wrong with this product, Sobel told Insider that Maria should consider switching the order of her routine and use her Neutrogena's Hydro-Boost Gel Eye Cream before her toner.
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"She should start with a moisturizer as this helps seal in the hydration of the ingredients used prior," Sobel said. "She'll get the most benefit of the eye cream if she uses it right after cleansing."

Always apply toner before serums

According to Sobel, the next step after eye cream and toner should be applying Vitamin C serum and hyaluronic acid serum.

Vitamin C helps protect the skin from free radicals which can cause premature aging and skin damage and hyaluronic acid helps the skin maintain moisture throughout the day.
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"After patting in eye cream, Maria should follow with toner, Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and moisturizer," Sobel said. "She should always use the toner before applying serums and apply serums before moisturizing."

Sobel said if Maria wanted, she could cut the hyaluronic acid entirely if she switched her moisturizer for something that contained it.

She should opt for a higher potency retinol

At night, Maria typically adds a retinol after her serums. While this is the correct order, adding in a stronger retinol would be more effective for skin cell turn over.
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"I'm glad Maria is using retinol in general, however she should consider switching to a higher potency, which will also have great soothing properties," Sobel said.

Maria should replace her face oil with a moisturizer

Normally, Maria follows up her serums with Holifrog Galilee Antioxidant Dewy Drop face oil rather than a moisturizer.

Sobel says while the order of this portion of her routine is fine, she should switch the face oil for a more traditional moisturizer in the mornings and at night.
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While oil is a humectant and will seal in moisture, it won't add any moisture or benefits to your skin. Moisturizer, meanwhile, seals in existing moisture, but also adds in additional moisture, keeping the skin better hydrated for longer.

If Maria were to keep the oil in addition to a moisturizer, it could clog her pores. "It is so important to moisturize before going to bed because it not only hydrates the skin, but it also seals in the hydration and active ingredients from the products used before," Sobel said.
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Applying SPF as her final morning step is perfect, she shouldn't change that

Maria's final step in her morning routine is applying Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40 to protect her skin from damage.

"That is exactly how she should end her morning routine before heading out for the day or putting on makeup," Sobel said.

The verdict

Overall, Sobel likes many of the components of Maria's routine, but would swap the steps to make them more effective and replace some of the products with higher potency ones.
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