Each week we ask an expert for their take on essential skincare do’s and don’ts plus get them to answer one of your most burning questions. This week we have Dr. Gina Charles; board certified family physician and the owner of Serenity Aesthetics & Wellness in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Charles weighs in on the makings of a good skincare routine and how to clear up melasma.

What  are the essential products for a good skincare routine?

This is a frequently asked question in my practice. A good skincare routine should include products for cleansing, nourishing, moisturizing and protecting. For example, in the morning, start by cleansing the face and neck with a gentle cleanser then pat dry with a clean towel. Next, nourish by applying serums. Typical nourishing serums include an antioxidant like vitamin C. Next, no matter the skin type, apply a moisturizer. Lastly, protect the skin by applying a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF30 or higher.

What 3 things must you never do to your skin?

1. You should never go to bed wearing makeup because leaving makeup, dirt, and grime on your face overnight can lead to breakouts.

2. Never skip sunscreen. Sunscreen is one of the best forms of protection against skin cancer and it is an effective anti-aging product.

3. Never pick at pimples/ acne because that can lead to hyperpigmentation.

What is the one thing you wish people knew about skincare that most don’t?

Be patient and consistent with your skincare regimen. Things like acne and hyperpigmentation take time to improve. Most people see optimal results after about 8 weeks of use.

What are your top 3 tips for taking care of your skin through the fall and winter?

1. Use products with humectants such as hyaluronic acid to increase your skin’s hydration.

2. Although the temperature is dropping, wear sunscreen daily.

3. Do not over-exfoliate.

What is a good treatment for melasma?

If the melasma is related to pregnancy or birth control, it can fade on its own, once the baby is born or discontinuation of birth control. An effective skincare product for melasma is Retinol or Retinoids, as they increase cell turnover. An effective treatment procedure for melasma is a chemical peel.