Starter Acne Regimen


  • Benzoyl Peroxide Wash (4-5%): Use in the morning.
    Note: Your towel may get bleached, so use one you don’t care about.
  • Follow with moisturizer and sunscreen.


  • Use a gentle cleanser without any exfoliating or irritating ingredients.
  • Apply your starter retinoid.
  • Finish with moisturizer.
  • For spot treatment, use a hydrocolloid patch like Mighty Patch overnight.


  • Discuss How to Use Retinoids: Video
  • How to Apply Minoxidil: Video
  • Sun Protection Strategies: Video

Product Recommendations


The best sunscreen is the one you like enough to use every day. When considering sunscreens, try out several and consider whether you enjoy the smell, feel, and appearance (is it matte or dewy?) enough to use daily. Chemical sunscreens are more transparent/invisible but can be irritating for people with rosacea or other causes of sensitive skin. Tinted sunscreens are better for preventing hyperpigmentation because they have iron oxide.


  • ISDIN – has photolyase, DNA repair; need to shake emulsion; blends very well, has fragrance. 

  • La Roche Posay UVmune – contains mexoryl/MCE.

No Cast, Cosmetically Elegant:

  • Supergoop Unseen – feels like primer
  • Biossance – squalene, mineral; excellent feel and look
  • Pavise

Oily/Acne-Prone Skin

  • EltaMD UV Clear


  • Thinksport

Multiple Shades

  • Colorescience


You can apply a thin layer of moisturizer before your retinoid if it is still too irritating after a month of use.

  • La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
  • Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer
  • CeraVe PM Facial Lotion
  • La Roche Posay Lipikar


Consistency is more important than intensity. It is better to use a weaker retinoid that you can tolerate daily or every other day than a stronger one you only use weekly or less.

  • Prescription Retinoids: Adapalene 0.1 or 0.3%, Tretinoin 0.025%, Arazlo, Altreno.
  • OTC Retinoids: Hydrating vehicle retinoids for dry skin: Olay Regenerist, RoC Corexxion Cream.
  • Body Retinol: Versed Retinol Body Lotion.

If even weak retinoids irritate you, as a last resort, you can do short contact therapy – leave the retinoid for 30 minutes, then wash it off.


  • Green-tinted makeup can camouflage redness. One example is Dr. Jart’s Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Cream or Camo Drops.
  • Topical medications like oxymetazoline and brimonidine can improve redness temporarily for 4-8 hours.

Lightening Agents for Dark Spots or Patches:

  • Cysteamine Mask
  • Alastin Aluminate
  • Faded by Topicals (Not the best odor)
  • Emergency Spot Treatment: Hyperfade by Zitsticka – opaque, $$$, micro dart.
  • Hydroquinone: “The best lightening agent in my opinion. Hydroquinone does not increase the risk for skin cancer. The ‘threefold increase in skin cancer’ statistic comes from a retrospective study with a large data set where they did not define hydroquinone exposure and did not control for the confounding variable that patients with sun damage are both at greater risk for skin cancer and more likely to use hydroquinone to lighten the sun damage.” – Dr. Raheel Zubair

LED Devices:

These can help with fine lines, radiance, plumpness, hair growth, and inflammation.

  • Wavelengths: 633 nm (red) and 800 nm (near-infrared)
  • Fluence (dosing): 18J/cm²
  • Irradiance (power density): 30 mW/cm²
  • Frequency: 10 minutes, 3 times/week.

Recommended Devices:

  • HAIRMAX BAND 655 nm

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