The Core 5

The Core 5 are a set of guidelines put in place to help you better understand how to achieve healthy and rejuvenated skin.

The Core 5 incorporates five types of skincare products into a daily skincare routine: sunscreen, antioxidants, retinoids, growth factor and moisturizer. MDA recommends these guidelines as a starting point. Your personal skincare regimen should be tailored to your skin type and specific skincare goals.

Wear sunscreen everyday - rain or shine.

It’s a well-known fact that sun exposure increases the risk of developing skin cancer, but overexposure to the sun’s rays can wreak havoc on your skin in other ways, too. Excessive, unprotected sun exposure can cause fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots, scaly patches (possibly precancerous), and changes in overall skin texture. If you do one good thing for your skin each day, wear sunscreen. Be sure to apply sunscreen everywhere, including underneath eyes and on lips. This is some of the most delicate and often neglected skin on our faces.

Start with the daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This kind of sunscreen is especially protective because it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. We recommend SPF 30 for daily protection and SPF 45-50 for more intense prolonged exposure (e.g. outdoor exercise or a sunny vacation).

MDA recommends: Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 (1.7 fl oz, $27); Coola Mineral Matte Tinted SPF 30 (1.7 fl oz, $36); Elta MD UV Lotion SPF 30 (7 oz, $34), Elta MD UV Sport SPF 50 (3 oz, $22); Elta MD UV Lip Balm (0.28 oz, $10); Coola Sport Spray SPF 50 (8 fl oz, $36); MD Solar Science Creme Mineral Beauty Balm SPF 50 (1.23 oz, $39)

Exfoliate your skin on a regular basis.

Exfoliation is one of the most important aspects of your home skincare regimen. Exfoliation is the removal of dry/dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Regular exfoliation may improve many skin ailments, such as acne, melasma, or hyperpigmentation, allow for better product penetration, and increase blood circulation. The most well-known exfoliants are retinoids (ex. retinol or tretinoin) and alpha-hydroxy acids (ex. glycolic acid). Incorporating one or both of these compounds into your skincare regimen can result in a dramatic improvement overtime.

Use a Retinoid.

Retinoids help build new collagen, increase cell turnover and unclog pores. Fine lines and wrinkles are improved, your complexion is brighter, and pores appear smaller. Retinoids can also treat and prevent acne and fade discolored marks that acne can leave behind. Milder strength retinoids (such as retinol) are available in many over-the-counter formulations while stronger retinoids (such as tretinoin, adapalene, or tazarotene) require a prescription. Ask one of our dermatologists about which strength is right for you.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA)

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) can be added to your skincare regimen along with retinoids, or, if your skin is too sensitive for retinoids, glycolic acid can be used in place of them for exfoliation. There acids are naturally occurring, often derived from sugarcane (glycolic acid) or milk sugars (lactic acid). These acids sweep away dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, revealing the healthy skin underneath resulting in rejuvenated, more luminous skin when used regularly overtime. These exfoliants also may help to increase the penetration of other age management products into the skin, improving their efficacy.

If tolerated, you may use a glycolic acid lotion every morning and a retinoid cream every night. AHAs and retinoids shouldn’t be layered together because they will render each other ineffective. Be sure to separate them into AM and PM products. Lastly, be sure you use a broad-spectrum SPF every days as these products may make your skin more photosensitive.

MDA recommends: MDA Alpha 5 Wash (6.7 fl oz, $17); Nia 24 Physical Cleansing Scrub (3.75 fl oz, $38); MDA Retinoid 0.025% Cream (30 gm, $40); Prescription-strength retinoids; MDA Charcoal Scrub (4 oz, $16)

Fight DNA damage with antioxidants.

Well known antioxidants in skincare products include vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, green tea, berries, and cacao, among many others. These compounds neutralize free radicals created by environmental aggressors, like ultraviolet light, pollutants and oxidative stress. These free radicals can damage DNA and initiate the cascade that results in skin cancer, sun spots, wrinkles, and textural changes that are caused by UV radiation. Antioxidants are available in various forms, the most common are serums and lotions. These can be layered under sunscreen and makeup in the morning and/or be used as a part of your nighttime regimen.

MDA recommends: SkinCeuticals C+E Ferulic Serum (1 fl oz, $166)

Strengthen and repair the skin with a growth factor.

Growth factors are small proteins that stimulate the formation of new collagen and elastic fibers promoting the repair of damaged skin. Use of growth factor products can improve the texture and elasticity of the skin. Growth factor products can minimize the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration as well.

MDA recommends: Neocutis Bio-Cream (1.69 fl oz, $160); Neocutis Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Cream (0.5 fl oz, $97)

Keep your skin hydrated with a moisturizer.

Many of the age management products can leave your skin feeling parched, especially in the winter months. It is important to keep your skin barrier hydrated and to choose a moisturizer with proven ingredients to help nourish and repair the skin.

MDA recommends: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 (1.6 fl oz, $128); Avene Xeracalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Cream (6.76 fl oz, $34); MDA Pure Hydration Serum (1 fl oz, $84); Stellafore Body Butter (7.5 fl oz, $26); MDA Ultra Lite Moisturizer (1.6 oz, $28); Nia 24 Intensive Recovery Complex (1.7 fl oz, $118)