A woman looking in the mirror and doing her make up.

You think it’s hard to squeeze skin care into your already crammed schedule? So does Dr. Josie Pielop, MD, dermatologist at Memorial Dermatology.

With three kids ages 6 to 13 and a dermatology practice at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, “I’m busy. So my skin care routine is pretty short and simple,” she says.

And, like many of us, Dr. Pielop uses a high-low blend of name brands, prescriptive products and drugstore bargains.

Morning Routine

6:15 a.m.

Dr. Pielop starts her day by working in Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser, which contains a gentle exfoliant, glycolic acid.

“I apply it with a damp wash rag to spread it more evenly—though fingertips work just as well—and massage it in, in small circles on the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. I rinse that off in the shower.”

6:30 a.m.

Post-shower, Dr. Pielop moisturizes and protects her face and hands with double-duty ELTA MD UV Clear SPF 46. One to two pumps of the untinted version are enough to coat her entire face with a thin layer, and a third pump protects the back of her hands.

“I use it every day – even if I’m only going to be in the office,” she says. “You’re exposed to the sun in your car and through windows. That low-grade day-in and day-out sun exposure adds up.”

6:35 a.m.

She follows with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20.

True Confessions:

That’s it. “I don’t have time for four-to-five steps each morning,” she says. “It’s more likely I’ll be consistent if I keep it simple.”


3-7 p.m.

If she plans to spend time outside playing tennis or joining her children at games or sports practices, she covers any exposed skin with her Elta MD broad-spectrum sunscreen, reapplying every two hours.

True Confessions:

“I grew up in Florida with fair skin and had way too many sunburns that I’m seeing the effects of now,” the 43-year-old says. “As a dermatologist I see what sun exposure does 20-30 years down the road. My goal with my children is to get them in the habit of applying sun protection till it’s second nature. There’s only so much sun damage we can reverse.”


9-10 p.m.

Before bed she cleans her face with Neutrogena Makeup Remover towelettes.

“I use a light pressure, no scrubbing.” She follows with her morning Glytone cleanser if she takes a shower or a mild CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.

9:15 p.m.

Dr. Pielop uses Retin-A (tretnoin), a prescription-strength retinoid.

“It evens skin tone, reduces fine lines, treats breakouts and is a great maintenance product to reverse some photo-aging.”

She dots a small pea-sized amount on her forehead, cheeks and chin—everywhere other than around the eyes.

“Some people can use it every night, but I can use it only two-to-three times a week or my skin will flake or peel.”

Differin gel is an alternative, a less irritating retinoid available over-the-counter.

9:20 p.m. (or so)

She finishes with a moisturizer (and dermatologist favorite), Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream.

“My routine is short and sweet, but it addresses the two most important skin care basics: consistent sun protection and (unless you’re pregnant or nursing), nighttime retinoid as often as you can tolerate it.”

True Confessions:

“At some point, I may step up my routine, perhaps intermittently adding a bleaching cream to lighten brown spots from the sun.”

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