I'm a 25 year-old with dry skin and dark spots. A dermatologist explained what's wrong with my skincare routine and which products are worth keeping.

Jade-Ashley Thomas/Insider
  • Jade-Ashley Thomas, 25, is a subscription marketing senior associate at Insider. She volunteered to have her skincare routine reviewed by Dr. Roberta Del Campo, a dermatologist in Miami, Florida.
  • Jade's biggest skincare concerns are light acne and dark spots on her face.
  • Del Campo told Insider the back-to-back use of hydroxy acids from her face wash and toner could be irritating to the skin, so swapping for something gentler would be better.
  • Del Campo also said she could use vitamin C in the morning, but not at night.
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Jade-Ashley Thomas, a subscription marketing senior associate at Insider, bravely volunteered to get her skincare routine roasted by board-certified Miami-based dermatologist Dr. Roberta Del Campo.

As a 25-year-old with dry skin, Jade's biggest skincare concerns are light acne and dark spots on her face.

Del Campo reviewed her routine from steps to product ingredients and told Insider everything she's doing right and the products she should ditch.
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Jade starts her mornings by using an acne wash, but Del Campo says she can ditch it for something gentler

To start off her day, Jade said she washes her face with La Roche Acne treatment gel acne wash.

Because she follows up the wash with Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Toner with Rose Water + Witch, Del Campo told Insider she should swap the La Roche cleanser with something gentler.

Both items contain hydroxy acids, which are meant to smooth, brighten, and tighten your skin by turning skin cells over at a faster rate. However, using too many can strip your skin of important oils and even cause irritation or chemical burns.
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"The back-to-back use of hydroxy acids can be too irritating," Del Campo said. "It can strip natural oils and lead to worsening dark spots if any inflammation occurs."

If she swaps her facewash, she can keep her toner

Normally, Jade would follow up her facewash with her toner after she patted herself dry. Del Campo said if she exchanges her cleanser for something more basic that doesn't contain hydroxy acids, Jade can keep using her toner to remove any last traces of morning dirt or dead skin clogging her pores.
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The vitamin E serum has to go

After she tones, Jade applies Truskin's Vitamin C, E & hyaluronic acid solution with a jade roller that has been sitting in the fridge all night as her final step to moisturize her face.

While vitamin C serums can be a great way to protect your skin from damage and UV exposure and hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it maintains your skin's moisture levels, the vitamin E in the Truskin serum can actually cause more acne.

"With acne-prone skin, even mild vitamin E Oil can be comedogenic (block the pores) so it can make acne-prone skin worse," Del Campo said. "I instead recommend vitamin C with ferulic acid or hyaluronic acid but not vitamin E."
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Ferulic acid can protect your skin from UV damage while also preventing premature aging.

Vitamin C can stay in the morning, but not at night

While Del Campo says vitamin C in the morning can be good as an antioxidant, which protects your skin from free-radicals that cause premature aging, using it at night doesn't do much for Jade.

"Vitamin C can also be stopped at night and replaced with the retinol as it works best during day as a topical antioxidant," Del Campo said. "Adding a mild retinol 2-3 times per week at night will help build collagen and keep skin strong and resilient."
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Retinoids is an umbrella term that describes products that boost your production of vitamin A — the most common forms being retinol and adapalene. They work by turning over your skin cells more quickly, preventing premature aging and helping with acne.

Del Campo suggests adding a sunscreen

Because UV damage can cause premature aging, even from inside a car window, Del Campo highly suggests Jade's final step be a sunscreen, whether it be mineral or chemical.

"I recommend she add a sunblock to prevent dark spots from getting darker with sun exposure (even sunlight through a car window can cause worsening)," Del Campo told Insider.
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The Rose Oil Collagen serum and jade roller can all stay

At night, Jade likes to apply the PearlEssence Overnight Recovery Serum Rose Oil Collagen after cleansing and toning.

Collagen serums are meant to fight premature aging, plump up your skin, and overall keep it youthful and hydrated. Del Campo said Jade can keep this and the jade roller she uses for application.

Instead of Palmer's Cocoa Butter, Del Campo suggests a lighter nighter moisturizer to reduce clogged pores

As her final step at night, Jade users a little Palmer's Cocoa Butter to help moisturize. Del Campo said this can be a bit heavy for face skin and cause clogged pores, so using something lighter could be beneficial in preventing acne.
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"I recommend a switch to a basic gentle cleanser such as Cerave or Cetaphil and I would rather her use a ceramides-based moisturizer such as Cerave PM which is actually more hydrating and will not block pores," Del Campo said.

The verdict

Overall, Del Campo cut down a number of Jade's products that contained hydroxy-acid and products that are prone to causing clogged pores like vitamin E or heavy moisturizers.

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