A Dermatologist’s Thoughts on a 10-Step Skincare Routine

Skincare Infographic As a dermatologist, I have never really understood the need for a 10-step routine. I have always practiced minimalism using quality active ingredients within my skincare. For me, less has always been more. But as a blogger, I thought I would try a 10-step routine for a month to see what all the fuss was about.

This was my twice daily routine for 30 days:

  • Oil cleanser

  • Foam cleanser

  • Exfoliant

  • Toner

  • Essence

  • Serum

  • Sheet mask

  • Eye Cream

  • Moisturizer

  • Sunscreen or Night Cream

What Happened after 30 Days of a 10-Step Skincare Routine?

Rather than go through a lengthy account of the different stages of switching my routine, I think it’s best to skip to the end and let you in on a little secret…

Nothing changed!

That’s right. The reality is NOTHING happened. My skin looks exactly like it did with my daily 3-step routine. It does not look worse, but I do not think it looks any better either. The only real thing that happened was that I did not have time to eat my breakfast for 30 days. And my husband was asleep by the time I got to bed after my night routine.


You do not need to practice a 10-step skincare routine to get the results you want. Skipping breakfast and missing out on night-time chats with people are not worth it…especially because your skin may look even better with only a 3-step routine.

Reasons to Declutter Your Skincare Routine

1. The Products May Not Be Working

When you are using a multi-step skincare routine, it is hard to understand what is working and what is not. If you are using products that are not making a difference, then what is the point?

I recommend taking a product out one at a time for a month to see if you notice a difference. If you miss the product after a month, add it back into your regimen. If you don’t miss it, then don’t start using it again. This is a good way to start simplifying your regimen.

2. The Products May be Making your Skin Worse

The more products you use on your skin, the more likely one of them is going to irritate your skin. Combining a lot of different products on your skin is also an easy way to get irritation. The point of abiding by a skincare routine is to improve your complexion, not make it worse. Right?

I have seen a lot of clients who have developed redness, sensitivities, and even allergic rashes after combining multiple products on the skin. If your skin tends to break out in acne, using oils can clog your pores and make your acne worse. If you have sensitive skin, harsh ingredients and fragrances may make your skin red and itchy.

By slowly removing products from your regimen, you will learn what works and what doesn’t.

3. Time

Every minute in the morning counts for me. Adding a 10-step skincare routine in the morning means that something will probably get cut out, especially because of my “snooze button habit.”

A simpler skincare routine is more realistic to use every day. And your skincare products are only going to work if you actually use them every day. You will notice better results from a consistent 3-step routine versus an inconsistent 10-step routine. I think about it like going to the gym — you will more likely find better results if you are going regularly versus just going once a month.

4. Cost

Buying products on a 10-step skincare routine is not inexpensive…I’ve been in conversations with patients who have told me that they are spending hundreds of dollars a month on their skincare.

So let’s make sure the products are actually working before you keep buying them over and over again.

I typically recommend investing in a few dermatologist-recommended ingredient products instead of buying multiple products that may not be working.

My Recommendations for a Skincare Routine


  1. Cleanser

  2. Antioxidant Serum with Vitamin C and E

  3. Sunscreen


  1. Cleanser

  2. Retin-A cream

  3. Moisturizer

At NorCal Dermatology Group in Berkeley, we believe in the importance of simplicity in any skincare treatment or regimen. Our experience in skincare allowed us to custom tailor solutions for patients to help them maintain healthier, simpler skin.

At NorCal Dermatology Group, we provide:

  • Cutting-edge skincare treatments.
  • Weekend appointments.
  • Short wait times.
  • Personalized care and attention.
  • A wide range of accepted health plans.

To book an appointment or to learn more about NorCal Dermatology Group, call 510-646-8065 today!


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