It is very easy to get caught up in the world of skincare. Everywhere you go online, you see a new type of chemical you “need” to add to your routine. From hyaluronic acid to vitamin c and everything in between, you may find yourself doing a ten-step skin care routine, twice daily. But is that actually helpful in your goal of achieving clear and flawless skin?

There are now women online who are combating the need for several products at once in their skincare regimen. Some are even saying that the use of just one to two products alone helped them get the skin they dreamed of. So what is the truth? 21Ninety spoke with dermatologist, Kendra Joseph, PA-C of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City to get some answers.

The Run Down on Skincare Products

21Ninety: Why do you think the trend of having a multi-step skin care routine has become so popular?

Joseph: Social media influencers-with the advent of social media, sharing information very quickly has become trendy. The “grwm” and “glass skin” clips have become so popular that everyone wants to try what their favorite influencer is using. Influencers may be incentivized to promote multiple brands and products, which may create a lengthier routine. Brands also monetize by marketing several “must have” products with trendy ingredients.

It is considered an anecdotal approach instead of evidenced based findings. If your friend or someone on social media uses a specific skincare routine and has great healthy looking skin, it does not mean you will get the same results with the same method. Taking into consideration your medical history, genetics and the use of evidence based ingredients for a specific concern is important for gaining results.

Self-care skincare rituals have been used as a coping mechanism for the current instability of the world. Having a skincare routine promotes mindfulness, gives one a sense of control and relaxation which are known to improve mental health status. It may also release feel good hormones which may cause someone to lengthen their routine.

21N: Are all of the products that people use in their skincare routines needed?

Joseph: Each step/product should have a unique purpose without the need for redundancy. A cleanser cleans. A moisturizer hydrates, a sunscreen protects etc. Due to the advancements in science, formulations have become more sophisticated. We often have a two in one product such as moisturizer with sunscreen or a hydrating antioxidant where complimentary ingredients are combined for maximum results. One can still achieve great results with a simple 3-4 step routine.  

Tips To Getting Your Skin Right Without the Trends

21Ninety: What would be the most simple skin care routine for someone who struggles with problems like dull skin, dry skin and acne?

Joseph: The most simple skin care routine that anyone can follow would be to: cleanse, treat, moisturize, and protect with the “treat” portion targeting the specific concern of that individual. For example if you have acne, you may use a gentle cleanser, retinoid, gentle moisturizer and sunscreen.

If your skin is dull you may want to use a gentle cleanser, an antioxidant, moisturizer, sunscreen. If your skin is dry, gentle cleanser, a hydrating serum, moisturizer and sunscreen. It is ok to skip the treat step and just cleanse, moisturize and protect your skin with sunscreen if you don’t have any specific concerns. It is best to keep things simple as this way you can track what works and what does not without confusion. If one gets a rash or allergic reaction during a ten step routine, figuring out which one caused the reaction will be more challenging.  

21N: What is your best advice for people who turn to social media for their skincare hacks?

Joseph: Be careful. Skincare should always be personalized and tailored to you! Your favorite skincare enthusiast or dermatology professional on social media has not evaluated you. What is trendy may not address your specific concern.

For example if you are concerned about hyperpigmentation and commit to a ten step routine that focuses on hydration because its trendy, your goal of having even skin may not be reached. Your lifestyle including your budget, time available for routine, and so many other factors should be taken into consideration when choosing your skincare routine.

As your skin is the largest organ of the body with many roles, choosing products to keep it healthy should not be haphazard or based on a trend. Teaming with a skincare professional and having a tailored plan can allow you to find the right routine for you.