Treatments + Products to Increase Collagen Production

Treatments + Products to Increase Collagen Production

The fact that your skin changes over time comes at no surprise—but do you know exactly how?

There are two important components that contribute to this change; they are collagen and elastin.  These components of your skin help keep facial lines and wrinkles at bay and improve the quality of your skin. When you improve the quality of your skin, it will appear healthy and youthful.

There are many cosmetic treatments to help with the aging process, like Botox (and other neurotoxins) that stop muscle contraction to reduce wrinkles, or dermal fillers that replace volume that we lose over time.

However, here I describe ways to help your skin appear more radiant that can be done with or without volumizing fillers and toxins.  It’s all about improving the health of your skin!

What is collagen and elastin?

At the core of skin health is collagen and elastin. Collagen is the main structural protein, which acts like scaffolding and provides plumpness to your skin. Elastin allows your skin to be flexible and helps it keep its shape even after stretching or pinching. Both of these proteins are important to maintain skin quality and integrity. This is why collagen and elastin stimulating treatments are considered both preventative and corrective in anti-aging terms

Why does collagen and elastin decrease in our skin?

Collagen is produced throughout our lives, but the amount begins to reduce in our 20’s.  Elastin production stops around puberty.  Some factors can increase the breakdown of collagen, like excessive sun exposure, pollution and smoking.  This loss makes your skin appear thinner and have less structural support, which is why people begin to notice drooping or sagging of their skin. For youthful skin, it is important to both preserve the collagen you have and stimulate your skin to produce it faster.

What are in-office treatments you can do to boost collagen and elastin production?

There are many treatments at our office that work to stimulate collagen and elastin production.  Which one you choose may depend on your specific concerns, downtime, cost, or what your goals are.  Here is some great information about how in-office treatments improve the quality of your skin, but if you are not sure which one is the best choice for you, come in for a cosmetic consultation.

Here are 6 in-office treatments that can increase collagen and elastin:

Radiesse was approved by the FDA as a facial filler at the end of 2006 and has been used as a volumizing filler since. However, it can be used as a biostimulant in your skin rather than just a filler when saline and lidocaine are added to Radiesse.  This mixture triggers the body to produce new collagen and elastin so that you get immediate results plus long-term improvement. The benefits of this treatment are skin tightening and thickening, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crepiness. Overall, skin tone, texture and elasticity can be markedly improved!

Microneedling is a procedure where a device with fine needles is moved across your skin.  The needles puncture the top layer of the skin and create a controlled skin injury to improve skin texture and promote collagen growth. Once this micro-injury is created with the needles, your body is stimulated to produce new collagen to fill them in as part of the healing process. This new collagen can make your skin look smoother, tighter, and more youthful.  It can also help diminish acne scars.

PRP therapy is used in many aspects of medicine. PRP is a serum that results from your own blood that can amplify the natural growth factors in your body and stimulate the growth of new cells. At Evolution Dermatology, we use PRP as injections and topical application to diminish wrinkles, improve skin quality and help treat acne scars

This procedure uses fractionated plasma energy to resurface your skin and deliver effects similar to a deep resurfacing treatment without the downtime. The Opus device uses both radio frequency energy and plasma to create fractional injuries on the surface of your skin tissue regeneration and collagen remodeling

Sofwave is a clinically-proven, non-invasive approach to rebuilding collagen and elastin to tighten and improve facial lines and wrinkles. This procedure uses ultrasound energy to pass through the surface of your skin, heating the mid-dermal tissue at just the right depth to stimulate new collagen and elastin production. With no downtime, Sofwave works to enhance and rejuvenate your skin quality and firmness.

These use hydroxy acids (like glycolic, lactic acids) to boost skin cell turnover, which in turn stimulates collagen production. You can see immediate benefits from chemical peels, as they can help with tone and texture, giving you an instant glow.  These are best done in a series done monthly to get the most collagen regeneration and longer lasting results.

What skin care products can help?

These clinically proven skin care products are a great way to add nourishment to your skin and promote healthy collagen and elastin.

Here are the 3 main topical powerhouses…

1) Prescription Tretinoin (known by the brand name Retin-A):

Applied in the evening to your skin, this vitamin A derivative upregulates genes involved in collagen production while it exfoliates to encourage collagen and new healthy skin cells. Tretinoin and retinoids have been proven for years to be a gold standard in anti-aging skin care as stated in this publication here in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Just ask when you are in the office if this might be a good skin care topical treatment for you!

2) Vitamin C Serum:

Protect collagen with topical vitamin C.  Slather on a vitamin C serum in the morning. This vitamin is a strong antioxidant that protects the collagen in your skin against UV damage. More than that, it triggers collagen formation and stabilizes the collagen proteins in skin. Has been studied for years proving its effectiveness.  At Evolution Dermatology we have a vitamin C serum that also has ferulic acid and vitamin E to add antioxidant power with a hydrating hyaluronic acid base.

Evolve Vitamin C Serum from Evolution Dermatology in Boulder CO
Evolve Vitamin C Serum

3) Sunscreen:

Sunscreen is vital for skin cancer prevention — but also for keeping skin young and springy. UV exposure can lead to the breakdown of collagen, which can lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so you’re never too young to start wearing sunscreen every day. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and don’t forget to cover your neck, ears and chest too!

There is no magic bullet when we talk about aesthetic treatments and skin care.  No one treatment or product does everything. It is about combining treatments and products depending on your skin type and your specific goals.

5 Back to School Tips for Teens and College Students

5 Back to School Tips for Teens and College Students

This is for all of you heading back to school this fall.  As you gear up to hit the books again, don’t forget to give your skin some TLC too. Here are five practical skincare tips that will have you looking fresh and ready to conquer the new school year.

1) Choose the right cleanser for your skin type (and wash your face twice a day!)

The trick here is finding your perfect match. Just like finding the right study group, finding the right cleanser for your skin type is essential. Oily skin? Opt for a gentle foaming cleanser. Dry skin? Cream-based cleansers are your go-to. Choosing the right cleanser can make all the difference in limiting irritation and keeping those breakouts at bay.

Here are some great options:

Sugar and Coconut Foaming Cleanser

Gentle Foaming Cleansers if you are prone to acne or have oily/normal skin.  Enriched with plant extracts, this helps to soothe and protect your skin.  Aloe vera calms the skin while coconut oil derivatives gently wash away impurities. (Available for purchase only in our office).

Evolve Sugar and Coconut Foaming Cleanser at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Evolve Sugar and Coconut Foaming Cleanser

Epionce Gentle Foaming Cleanser

This gently cleans surface impurities including makeup without leaving the skin feeling tight, dry or stripped; cleanses without irritation; helps smooth and refine texture; leaves skin feeling hydrated.

Epionce Gentle Foaming Cleanser Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Epionce Gentle Foaming Cleanser

Epionce Lytic Cleanser

For a little extra exfoliation, this spa-like cleanser contains salicylic acid to remove impurities and calm problem skin without unnecessary irritation or dryness; refreshes and calms problem skin; and removes stubborn dirt, oil and makeup.

Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser

Nutriance Organic Cleansing Milk

Cream Cleansers for dry/sensitive skin: This is a silky emulsion enriched with marine and botanical ingredients to gently remove impurities, dirt, surface oils and makeup residue.
(Available for purchase only in our office)

Nutriance Cleansing Milk Recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Nutriance Cleansing Milk

Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser

This soothing cleanser is effective without harming, irritating or causing unnecessary dryness in the skin. It helps calm redness and scaly texture; leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized; and non-foaming formula for sensitive skin.

Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser

2) Moisturize Day and Night

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize.

Imagine showing up for a pop quiz without studying – that’s your skin without moisturizer. Moisturizing twice a day after cleansing keeps your skin’s hydration game strong. Repairing your skin barrier with moisturizer can keep wrinkles in check and irritation at bay. Even if you are acne prone, moisturizer is important.

Here are some suggestions:

Acne Prone

Evolve HA Serum

This serum draws moisture into your skin with no oils, and contains squalene, coenzyme Q10, and peptides to repair your skin barrier.

(Available for purchase only in our office)

Evolve HA Serum made my Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Evolve HA Serum

Cetaphil Gentle Clear Mattifying Acne Moisturizer

This lightweight moisturizer with acne-fighting salicylic acid, helps breakouts while soothing acne-prone, sensitive skin. Hydrates for 48 hours, and improves skin tone and texture

Cetaphil Mattifying Acne Moisturizer recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Cetaphil Mattifying Acne Moisturizer


Evolve Peptide Moisturizer

This contains hyaluronic acid, shea butter and non-comedogenic jojoba oil in addition to botanical actives to help promote elasticity and firmness to your skin.

(Available for purchase only in our office)

Evolve Peptide Moisturizer Made By Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Evolve Peptide Moisturizer

Dry/Sensitive skin

Nutriance Organic Rejuvenating Rich Cream

A luxuriously nourishing marine botanical-based cream with antioxidants to improve skin firmness and decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (Available for purchase only at our office)

Nutriance Organic Rejuvenating Rich Cream Recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Nutriance Rejuvenating Rich Cream

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream

Ultra hydrating facial cream with 4.5% Squalane has a unique lightweight texture and lasting 72-hour hydration to leave skin softer and visibly healthier. Formulated with Squalane, Glacial Glycoprotein and Pro-Ceramides, this non-greasy, lightweight moisturizer is clinically demonstrated to hydrate 15 layers deep for softer, smoother, and healthier looking skin.

Kiehl's Ultra Moisturizing Cream Recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Kiehl’s Ultra Moisturizing Cream

3) Use an Eye Cream

Say goodbye to panda eyes with a good eye cream.

Late-night study sessions can leave you with dark circles that resemble panda eyes. Enter eye cream – your sleep-deprived savior. Bid adieu to those bags and welcome a fresher look.

Evolve Brightening Probiotic Eye Cream

This is moisturizing with probiotics, kojic acid, botanicals and caffeine to reduce puffiness and dark circles. (Available for purchase at our office only)

Evolve Probiotic Eye Cream Made By Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Evolve Probiotic Eye Cream

Epionce Renewal Eye Cream

This product is great for adding moisture and antioxidants around your delicate eye area.

Epionce Renewal Eye Cream Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Epionce Renewal Eye Cream

4) Make Sunblock a Daily Non-Negotiable Habit

Consider sunblock getting your face dressed every morning.

Just as you wouldn’t go to class without a backpack, don’t step out without sunscreen. The best way to use it is applying it every morning – in fact it can be what you use for your moisturizer. Rain or shine, sunscreen is your shield against premature aging caused by the sun. Trust me, your future self will thank you.

Here are some great choices for your face and neck that are not pore clogging and are easy to use:

COOLA: Rōsilliance® Tinted Moisturizer Organic Sunscreen SPF 30

Mineral tinted moisturizer! A lightly hydrating formula with antioxidants and mineral blocking zinc and titanium dioxide.

COOLA Rosilliance Tinted Organic SPF Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
COOLA Rosilliance Tinted SPF

Epionce Daily Shield Tinted SPF 50 Sunscreen

This one offers more moisture, a sheer tint, with zinc and titanium dioxide for Broad-spectrum SPF 50 UV protection; Light, quick-absorbing anti-oxidant rich sheer formula; Water Resistant (80 minutes)

Epionce Daily Shield Tinted SPF 50 Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder Colorado
Epionce Daily Shield Tinted SPF 50

If a tint is not your thing:

COOLA Mineral Sun Silk Crème Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30

This is not your usual white zinc sunblock. It is much more sheer, oil-free, and great for every day.

COOLA Sunsilk Mineral SPF 30 Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder Colorado
COOLA Sunsilk Mineral SPF 30

5) Consider a Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serum – your skin’s BFF.

Want that lit-from-within glow? Vitamin C serum is about to become your skin’s best friend. It fights dullness and dark spots like a pro. It is a powerful antioxidant that can both repair and protect your skin. Start a habit of beginning your day with this serum after washing. You won’t regret the resulting healthy glow!
Choosing the right vitamin C serum is important to make sure the active ingredient is stable and it is able to appropriately penetrate your skin without irritation.

My favorite vitamin C serums:

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum

This serum has been a gold standard for years, the only setback is the price tag (usually around $180). 🙂

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum Recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder Colorado
SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum

Evolve 20% Vitamin C Serum

This potent antioxidant contains ferulic acid, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid to repair the effects of sun exposure, lighten age spots, and smooth and brighten skin. (Available for purchase only in our Boulder office)

Evolve Vitamin C Serum from Evolution Dermatology in Boulder CO
Evolve Vitamin C Serum

So, as you embark on your academic adventure, remember that taking care of your skin is just as important as acing your exams. Incorporate these tips into your routine, and you’ll strut through the halls with confidence.

Happy studying and happy skin-caring!

The Skinny on Exfoliating for the Best Skin Ever

The Skinny on Exfoliating for the Best Skin Ever

The Skinny on Exfoliating for the Best Skin Ever

Exfoliation is one of my most favorite skincare steps. I love getting my skin back to its natural state – free of sunscreen, dead skin cells, make-up, and any pollutants from the day. It’s such a clean, refreshing feeling!

These days there are so many exfolitating options of scrubs, cleansers, masks, facials, dermaplaning, retinoids, and in-office peels.

With all of these choices you might be wondering what to choose! Then there is the questions if why exfoliate and how often should you exfoliate?


Remember this?!

Remember this? St. Ives Apricot Scrub.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this today, but my first exfoliating facial scrub was St Ives Apricot Scrub when I was a teen trying to help my acne. This was before I even knew anything about exfoliating and I was scrubbing my skin to the point of redness in hopes to control some unruly pimples! Now that I’m older, I am using more sophisticated products that are gentler and more targeted for keeping my skin smooth and fighting fines and wrinkles.

Officially, exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool.

Mother Nature does her own job of exfoliating and your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days or so.  As the new skin cells mature, they travel from the lower layers of your skin to the top epidermal layer. Once they make it to that outer layer, the skin cells are dead.  And eventually, they’ll slough off as the newer cells will come to the surface. If dead cells don’t shed completely on their own, it can result in a dull skin tone, flaky patches and clogged pores.

Exfoliation helps your natural sloughing process along.  When done correctly, using an exfoliant can help clear off the dead skin cells and unclog pores, revealing newer, younger skin cells below.  That glow and brightness you are looking for…exfoliating can help you get that!



Those frustrating clogged pores, that ultimately can turn into acne pimples, are the result of dead skin cells (along with other surface debris) getting trapped in your pores instead of being shed into the environment.  If you suffer from acne, your skin creates and sheds dead skin cells faster than someone who doesn’t break out. Someone with normal skin will shed about 30,000 – 40,000 dead skin cells AN HOUR. Acne sufferers’ skin can shed up to 5X that!

Sweeping away those dead skin cells and debris with exfoliation stops them from making their way into your pores and causing stubborn whiteheads and blackheads.  Someone who is prone to acne can greatly benefit from exfoliation at home and in a professional dermatology setting. I will typically recommend things like a topical retinoid prescription and/or an AHA cleanser for my acne patients to use and home.  Additionally, I love seeing the benefits of faster results and smooth skin when they come in for in-office glycolic and salicylic acid peels (see What’s Up with Chemical Facial Peels).


Just the process of exfoliating can stimulate blood flow to the surface of your skin. This promotes collagen production, encourages healthy cells, and brightens your skin.


Exfoliating your skin will help skincare products like antioxidant serums and moisturizers penetrate deeply into your skin to work more effectively. Removing those extra dead skin cells will get your skin to a state of maximum absorption, so those products that you really want to be workhorses for anti-aging penetrating deeper in the skin so that they can work their magic!


When your skin gets exposed to the sun, it makes a chemical called melanin to protect itself against further UV damage. Repeated exposure can cause a clump of melanin to form, which shows up as a flat brown or black spot By exfoliating, you can help fade these dark spots by encouraging new skin cells and improving the tone of your skin.


Exfoliating increases your skin cell turnover rate. This means that it will promote new, healthy cells at the surface, and break down and remove the dead, dry, or dying ones. The result is soft skin, smooth texture, a more uniform appearance and a glow that we all strive for!


Collagen is a protein that acts as the structure for our skin and helps with elasticity.  It is what we are all trying to get more of (and keep from losing) in our skin to avoid lines, sagging, and wrinkles.

Continued and regular exfoliating over time has been shown to increase collagen production in your skin. Resulting in a complexion that is more plump, tight and young-looking.  Amen to that!



It sounds complicated, but they are doing a similar thing in different ways. Some people prefer chemical exfoliants over physical ones and vice versa, but it’s up to your specific needs. I actually use both!


This is the type of exfoliation that involves you or someone else doing all of the work with either manual scrubbing, rubbing or shaving (in dermaplaning).

The skincare products in this category include: cleansing scrubs (containing beads, sugar, salt and other rough particles), body brushes (that you used by hand or motorized, like Clarisonic), loofahs, exfoliating mitts, and in-office microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, and microneedling.

Physical exfoliation can be effective, but care must be taken.  It is easy to overuse them or use them too harshly and cause redness, irritation and even pimples.  Make sure to use these gently and look for tiny scrubbing particles that won’t scratch or damage your skin. One tip is to follow up with a humectant moisturizer or hyaluronic acid serum to minimize irritation and lock in moisture.


This method uses different chemicals, including acids, retinoids, or enzymes.  The benefit of these is that they not only exfoliate the surface dead skin cells away, but also to break the bonds between cells to renew your skin even further and offer more dramatic results.  Chemical exfoliants might come in a wash labeled for acne or anti-aging, in a serum, in an at-home peel, or a peel at your dermatology or esthetician office. The difference between a peel at an esthetician office and derm office is strength.  In a derm office we can go deeper and do stronger peels. I love doing peels and we have a big variety to choose from!

Some examples of chemical exfoliants include:

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) – glycolic (from sugar), lactic (from milk), citrus (from citric fruits), mandelic (from almonds) and malic acids (from apples).

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) – salicylic acid (from willow trees).

Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHAs) – gluconolactone (made from an acid found in fruit, honey and wine) and lactobionic acid (a sugar acid).

Retinoids – over-the-counter retinol and adapalene (Differin gel), and prescriptions including:  tretinoin (Retin A), tazarotene (Tazorac) and alitretinoin (Altreno).

Enzymes – common ones are from fruits including: papaya, pineapple, blueberry, or pumpkin.

I realize that there are a lot of chemical choices out there.  Take care choosing, because just as with physical exfoliation, chemical exfoliation can irritate the skin if done incorrectly. If you’re unsure about how to incorporate a chemical product into your skincare routine, make an appointment for a little guidance.


Believe it or not, you can exfoliate TOO much!  The satisfaction of scrubbing the negative and wrong doings off your face cannot be denied.  At times it’s tempting to be aggressive and over exfoliate. But taking too much of that protective barrier on your skin’s surface can result in a red and irritated face.  The best way to know you are on the right track is to see the glowing results without irritation. Slow and steady is the key! It sounds simple, but ultimately you can exfoliate as often as your skin will tolerate it.

The best way to see what your skin can tolerate is to start with an exfoliator once or twice a week, preferably introducing a chemical exfoliator before a physical one. Chemical ones tend to be less intense and more evenly applied.  Physical ones like scrubs tend to cause more irritation if used too aggressively – which is tempting to do at first.

If it feels like your skin can handle more without reacting, then it’s okay to slowly increase as your skin allows. If you notice that your face is stinging and red, or otherwise angry afterward, it’s time to take a step back.  You may need to decrease the frequency of use, decrease pressure with your physical exfoliant, or switch to a milder chemical formulation (like lactic or glycolic acid rather than a retinoid). It’s also worth considering your whole skincare routine and avoiding using other potentially irritating products right after you exfoliate. Normal skin can typically handle 5 to 7 times a week with a gentle exfoliant.  I like to use my chemical exfoliant wash in the evening to totally remove dirt, oil, make-up and sunscreen from the day.

However, if you have more sensitive skin or rosacea you may only be able to exfoliate once a week.  If you know you are sensitive, don’t overdo it! Stick to a gentle exfoliant and make sure to moisturize immediately after to lock in moisture and limit irritation and redness.

Benefits of exfoliation on the skin


Your over-the-counter options for exfoliating are almost endless.

Picking a product that will work for you depends on your skin type and your major concerns. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you might have problems tolerating harsh scrubbing products, while someone with oily or acne-prone skin would be able to tolerate them more easily.  Here a few suggestions that I tend to reach for…


lytic gel tall.jpg

Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser

This cleanses without irritation or over-drying with botanical anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients like: Willow Bark Extract (a botanical source of Salicylic acid), Date Fruit Extract, Orange Fruit Extract and just the perfect touch of Menthol to make you feel like you just went to the spa!

sc micro scrub.jpg


With hydrated silica beads are used to exfoliate instead of micro plastic beads of the past so that it is better for the environment.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub .jpeg

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub

This scrub is fabulous for all skin types, especially great if you struggle with both breakouts and dry, sensitive skin. It contains jojoba beads that are a gentle way to exfoliate, and the addition of willow bark is an excellent way to naturally fight pimples.


lytic tx.jpg

Epionce Lytic Tx

Apply this product at night to help with fine lines and wrinkles as well as fight those stubborn pimples with both Salicylic acid and Azelaic acid!

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SkinCeuticals Retexurizing Activator

This hydrating serum contains 20% glycolic acid for fabulous exfoliation without drying out your skin. I alternate this one with my prescription Retin-A/tretinoin cream at night for anti-aging superpower without irritation.

sc blemish.jpg

SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age

This is a fun combination of 2% dioic acid with alpha and beta hydroxy acids prevent blemishes while diminishing hyperpigmentation and reducing wrinkles and fine lines. You can even use this one to spot treat pimples!

retin a.jpg

Prescription Only Retin-A/Tretinoin Cream

This is the cream of the crop for exfoliating and collagen production! But watch out for possible irritation with this one. It’s worth asking your derm about this one for great skin texture and tone.

The Secret to Healthy Skin: Take Your Fish Oil!

The Secret to Healthy Skin: Take Your Fish Oil!

The Secret to Healthy Skin: Take Your Fish Oil!


We all have heard about fish oil (AKA Omega-3 oils) for heart health, for improving our joints and for brain health. So it might surprise you to learn about some serious skin benefits too!

When it comes to healthy skin, most of us concentrate on what we are applying on the surface. But what you put in your body can be just as important as what you put on it. Taking Omega-3 fish oils can help with everything from acne and eczema to wrinkles!


Fish oil contains 2 main types of Omega-3 fatty acids (though there are 8 total types): docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA works to keep the brain functioning at its best and is a structural component of your skin, a crucial element in maintaining healthy cell membranes. EPA specifically benefits your skin by acting as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and regulator for oil production.




Benefits of Fish oil on your skin

Omega-3 oils are amazing at skin hydration from the inside out. As you get older, your skin thins and holds less moisture resulting in dry, flaking skin. Omega-3 oils allow your skin cells to retain water more efficiently to keep your skin hydrated, pump and soft.


  • More youthful looking skin by reducing fine lines and wrinkles caused by dry skin and overuse of irritating products

  • Relief from eczema! Even kids with dry skin and eczema issues can benefit from Omega-3 oils



Omega-3 oils naturally exist in the membranes of immune cells and are important for your immune system. Inflamed skin can result in redness, itching and scale. Boosting your intake can reduce inflammation in your body and your skin!


  • Improvement in inflammatory issues like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and eczema

  • Soothing skin that is inflamed from a dry or harsh environment (think everything from snow skiing to chlorinated swimming pools or even a day at the beach with the sun, salt water, and sand)


benefits of fish oil is smoother skin

Omega-3 oils prevent hyperkeratinization. What is this you ask? This is when skin cells stick together and clog your pores/hair follicles (FYI: your pores and hair follicles are the same thing!).


  • Improvement in the appearance of those little red bumps you may get on the back of their arms or thighs, known in the derm world as keratosis pilaris

  • Unclogging of pores and smoothing out the skin’s surface, giving a glowing appearance


Fish oil can help with acne

Acne is an inflammatory condition. Even if you have acne that doesn’t look inflamed (think clogged pores and blackheads), research has shown that it has markers for inflammation.

Omega-3 oils work as a serious anti-inflammatory and also help to regulate the production of oil in your skin.


  • Both of these factors help in reducing those frustrating acne breakouts!


fish oil can help reduce acne

Eat your protection. EPA is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, working to repair cells that have been damaged by environmental toxins and protect your skin against UV damage. EPA has been found in studies to block the release of the UV-induced enzymes that eat away at your collagen. Yes, there are bad enzyme reactions that can destroy your healthy collagen!


  • Reduction of UV damage to skin.

  • Protection against aging from sun damage.

    But don’t forget your sunscreen!


fish oil can help slow down the aging process


This combined with their anti-inflammatory properties make these essential fatty acid superheros that boost your skin’s collagen production.


  • Increased production of healthy collagen

  • Strengthening structure and firmness of your skin, preventing lines and sagging

Is There a Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products?

Is There a Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products?

Is There a Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products?


Don’t you just love the right product that makes your skin feel soft and smooth? Or even better, one that is full of antioxidants or a sheer zinc-based product that protects you from the harmful rays of the sun? But if your routine has two or three or five products it can be tough to decide which goes on first (or second or third)!


You want to be sure your products to penetrate into your skin and do what they are meant to do. This can be a problem if you’re putting thin, fluid or water-based products on top of thick, creamy or oily ones. The richer products will form a barrier on your skin that will prevent the other products from getting through.

This in turn can make your products less effective.  If certain products aren’t able to absorb into your skin properly, you’re likely not getting their full benefits.

Skincare Products?


Water-based before oil-based products:

Start with your water-based products, such as toners and serums. Heavier, more moisturizing creams and oils come next, followed by sunscreen.

This makes sense because as we all know, oil and water don’t mix.  Oil acts as a barrier and will block a water-based product from penetrating into your skin.

Thinnest to thickest texture:

Apply lighter products before heavy ones.

If you have a couple of water-based products or serums they can be layered on top of each other, and there shouldn’t be an issue with the penetration of one versus the other.  When applying your moisturizing oil-based products begin with lighter lotions, then thicker moisturizers followed by oils.

In other words, apply those water-based products in any sequence you like, then oil-based products afterward.  Think of oil-based products as the icing on the cake!


Once you throw prescription medications into the mix, application order becomes more important. Topical prescriptions such as retinoids, steroids, and antibiotics beat out cosmetic products every time, and you need to ensure you’re getting the full dosage of your topical medication. Any topical medication that has been prescribed for you should go on first after you cleanse (and tone – if you use a toner) because medicines are absorbed best when the skin is damp, and when there’s nothing between the skin and the medicine.

Applying a serum or moisturizer before a topical prescription medication basically dilutes your medication. That said, if you’re using something that’s known to be irritating (such as a retinoid, like retinol or Retin-A/tretinoin), and you have sensitive skin, I recommend mixing it with your moisturizer or putting it on after moisturizer to soften the blow a little.

An important side note that also pertains to prescription retinoids, is that some over-the-counter active ingredients can interfere with the effectiveness of retinoids when used during the same routine. In particular, benzoyl peroxide can deactivate certain retinoids when used at the same time.  If you use any benzoyl peroxide product and a retinoid, apply one in the morning and one at night.


Most medical experts and scientists agree that sunscreen is always the final step in your daytime skincare routine. This is exactly how sunscreens are tested to earn their SPF rating: Nothing goes over them. Any skin care product you apply over a sunscreen dilutes and reduces its effectiveness.

Sunscreens are divided into two camps, physical and chemical. They work in two different ways, like a sponge or like a shield.

  • Physical sunscreens contain minerals (like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) that create a barrier on your skin to block out harmful rays.

  • Chemical sunscreens (look for ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, or octinoxate) absorb the sun’s rays.

When you mix your SPF with another medium like moisturizer, you run the risk of diluting your sunscreen’s effectiveness or canceling it out altogether.

I know I said oils go on last, but technically, sunscreen is the absolute last step. Your other products are working to penetrate and treat your skin, but sunscreen does not need to penetrate into your skin.  It’s there to protect your face and act as armor against the outside world.

Just make sure you are using an SPF of 30 or higher!


It is true that a foundation or tinted moisturizer will hide imperfections or discolorations on your skin best if it is the last thing you apply.  I’m often asked if applying foundation that doesn’t contain sunscreen over the sunscreen you’ve just applied will diminish the sunscreen’s ability to protect skin. It won’t if you follow these guidelines:

  • Wait 3–5 minutes for the sunscreen to set before applying foundation.
  • Apply the foundation in smooth, downward motions (no rubbing back and forth). You can also use a sponge or brush to gently press the foundation on.
  • Do not use excess pressure or over-blend.


Here are some of my favorites:



Step 1: Cleanse and/or exfoliate. You can learn more about exfoliating here.

Step 2: Use a toner, spray or essence

Step 3: Apply eye cream

Step 4: Use any topical prescriptions or spot treatments

Step 5: Apply antioxidant serum or retinol/Retin-A/tretinoin (night only)

Step 6: Apply moisturizer (thinnest to thickest)

Step 7: Apply face oil

Step 8: If in morning – apply your SPF/sun protection. Learn more about sun protection here.

Step 9: If wearing – gently apply makeup as to not disturb SPF


Best to focus on products that “protect” your skin—SPF, primers, BB and CC creams—for the morning time, and “correct” your skin in the night, such as heavier moisturizers and retinol products. The “correcting” or treatment products will stay on your skin longest with nighttime application. And your skin needs the protective products during the day to help fight against damaging sun rays and pollutants.

BTW – antioxidant serums both protect and correct, so they can be used morning or night! I use a vitamin C serum (Evolve 20% Vitamin C Serum) in the morning and Evolve HA serum twice a day.

Evolve Vitamin C Serum

Evolve 20% Vitamin C Serum

(with ferulic acid, vitamin e, and botanical HA)

Evolve HA Serum

Evolve Advanced HA Serum

(with antioxidants and organic green tea extract)

Learn more from Dermatologist Pauli Morrow from Evolution Dermatology

Pauli Morrow, MMSc, PA-C

The bottom line…

Using skin care products should be gratifying and make you feel good about your skin! Don’t stress about it too much, sticking to a precise application order ultimately won’t make or break your skin-care routine.

If you are using a prescription product, always check with your derm provider before introducing a new product to make sure it’s compatible with your topical meds. You want to ensure that your prescription will most effectively treat what it is intended to!

If your routine is just for fun or self-care, just do your best and don’t agonize over the details too much!