National Skincare Awareness Month


My name is Stephanie Cwik, a Licensed Esthetician with the Christie Clinic Department of Dermatology. With 12 years of experience in dermatology, my focus has been on caring for our cosmetic and medical patients to ensure their skincare needs are met. With medical-grade skincare, lasers, microneedling, Hydrafacials and more – I can help our patients reach their desired skin health outcomes. September is National Skincare Awareness Month, and I am excited to share with you some helpful tips on how to care for your skin on a daily basis to ensure optimal health.

Just like exercising, choosing healthy foods, combing your hair, and brushing your teeth; your skin should be cared for twice a day, typically with a regimen in the morning and evening. While this will help the hydration of your skin, staying in a routine is also beneficial to ensure consistency. Schedule a few extra minutes each morning and night to care for your skin and use it as a time to check in with yourself or meditate.

With ingredient information and fads circulating online, skincare can be overwhelming to choose from and to simply understand. A great rule of thumb is to keep it simple for starters with three steps:

  1. Cleansing
  2. Moisturizing
  3. Protecting

Then, if desired, you can add other products specific to your individual needs, such as antioxidants or exfoliants.

Cleanse. This should be the first step in your routine. A gentle daily cleanser will help rid the skin of makeup, oil and other impurities setting a clean foundation for what is to follow. If you have oily skin, a lightweight foaming cleanser would work well to rid the skin of excess sebum (oil) and breakdown dirt whereas a more dry, mature skin type might opt for a cream-based cleanser to clean while also locking in moisture.

Moisturize. No matter your skin type, you should have a skincare routine that includes moisturizing. Moisturizing can prevent both extreme dryness and oiliness; however, the type of moisturizer makes a difference. Oily or acne-prone skin may find that a lightweight, oil-free lotion moisturizer works best; whereas dry skin types may benefit from a rich, cream-based moisturizer. Not only can moisturizer help with dryness and breakouts, but it can prevent wrinkles. Moisturizing can give your skin the boost it needs to repair itself and stay healthy.

Protect. Did you know the best way to protect your skin from advanced signs of aging is by wearing sunscreen?  Sunscreen prevents damage to the collagen and connective tissue in your skin leading to loss of elasticity causing wrinkles and sagging. In consultations, I am often asked how to correct hyperpigmentation or sunspots and sun protection is key. Look for sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide with an SPF of 30-50. Sunscreen should be worn daily to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Even on a cloudy day, our skin is susceptible to the sun’s rays and even if you are someone who does not burn, the damage can come up later in life. Re-application should occur every two hours and more frequently if swimming. Consider a wide-brim hat and sunglasses with UV protection for eyes, as well.

If you already have the basics down, consider adding a serum in between your cleanser and moisturizer for your specific skin needs. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E can improve wrinkles, volume loss, and brighten the skin while helping with uneven skin tone and discoloration. Adding a hyaluronic acid prior to moisturizing for extra skin hydration may also be necessary depending on the individual. Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in the body, but it tends to deplete as we age so a topical can help restore your moisture barrier while plumping fine lines and wrinkles.

If you have questions regarding a skincare regimen specific to you or you are looking to add skin care treatments to your routine, consider a skincare consultation in the Christie Clinic Department of Dermatology's Cosmetic Suite. We are here to help!

- Stephanie Cwik, Licensed Esthetician