Here is my morning line-up:
I chose the CeraVe hydrating cleanser because this dermatologist recommended it--it's cheap and non-drying. I don't know if the winter weather has a lot to do with this, but my skin has been pretty dry, so I need products that don't exacerbate this. I think (?) it's pretty similar to Cetaphil's cleanser.
When I know I'm going to be exposed to the sun (even if only from driving in the car), I use elta MDs UV-Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 as my morning sunscreen/moisturizer. It has a high level of zinc oxide, which I prefer over the more chemical-based sunscreens, but it doesn't leave your face white like the old school zinc oxide smear. I know there is a camp of natural health folks who are wary of sunscreen, but I just don't want to mess with too much sun (from a vanity and a health standpoint). I do welcome the input of those of you who may fall in this camp, as I'm certainly not an expert on all of this!
On the occasional rainy day, or if I know I'm not leaving the house (joy), I'll skip that step and just use L'oreal's BB Cream as my moisturizer. I first read about BB creams on Little Green Notebook (I swear, everything I know I learned from Jenny :) and thought I would give it a try. Let's just say I am in love! BB Creams are basically like the new generation of tinted moisturizers in that they moisturize and give remarkably good coverage (I don't use any other foundation or powder!), but they also have skin-regeneration properties. I really do feel like it gives my face a glow! It feels great on my skin too. Definitely check them out if this intrigues you at all (There are lots of different brands!).
In the evening, this is my routine:
I wash again with the CeraVe hydrating cleanser, but this time I do it with my new Clarisonic Mia. I was using the Clarisonic in the morning and night but I felt it was a little too much for my skin. It does a great job of removing my make up (really, just the BB Cream and a little cream blush) and it definitely leaves my skin feeling softer. I know there is a lot of hype about facial brushes, particularly the Clarisonic so I wanted to give it a try. I've been using it for about two weeks now, and I do like it. It's not cheap though. I ordered mine from this site and saved about $25 off the retail price, but I still put down a big chunk of change for this thing. I kind of expect it to blow my mind if I'm going to spend that much, you know? I sort of want to try the facial brushes by Proactiv or Olay to see how they compare, since they are much cheaper.
Every other night or so, I then use the prescription product Retin-A Micro (only a pea size amount to cover my entire face, as it can be drying). Are y'all familiar with the research behind retin-a products? I just thought they were these really strong anti-acne medications that could wreak havoc on your skin. I was pretty amazed to read that the newer retin-a micro products are much less harsh, but still provide the retinol benefits. It can get sort of complicated, so you should definitely do some of your own research if you're interested, but the scientific data behind retin-a is pretty amazing. In addition to treating acne, it's now commonly used to combat wrinkles, improve age discoloration spots, even out skin texture, and fade light freckles (source). The product I'm using is prescription only (a generic tretinoin prescription is pretty inexpensive), but you can get some over the counter products that are similar I believe. Apparently, you really need to wait 8-12 weeks to see the full results and people often give up using it because your skin takes some time to adjust and you are supposed to gradually increase your usage frequency.
Lastly, I apply the CeraVe Pm Moisturizing Cream (after waiting 10-15 minutes for the retin-a product to absorb).
The only issue with me being able to really provide a good review of all of these new products is that I basically started doing them all at the same time (so there's no real control). I think my skin is still adjusting to the retin-a micro gel, so I should probably come back and give another update in a month or so.
Have y'all used any of these products? Has anyone used a retin-A micro product long term? I would love to hear about your experience.
I want to find a good sunscreen to use on the rest of my body as these warmer, sunny days approach...off to do some research :)