My Personal Skincare Philosophy

Hello, my beauties! Remember when we used to call this show the Millennial Doc Podcast? That seems like so long ago! Now, the newly rebranded The Dr. Nikoleta Show is on its 50th EPISODE (50!!). What started as my desire to motivate my colleagues (and other superwomen who are in the same journey as me) back in residency has truly come such a long way. 

Of course, the Dr. Nikoleta Show wouldn’t be such a success without YOU! I’m doing this for you, after all. So, thank you. Thank you for trusting my experience and expertise as a board-certified Dermatologist. I know that, as a go-getter superwoman, you want fast and reliable information for taking care of your body – thank you for trusting me to deliver. 

Thank you for sticking with me, committing to the healthy skin journey, and taking action towards achieving the best version of yourself! Truly, I am proud of you. 

So, in honor of this milestone, I want to share my personal skincare philosophy with all of you. 

The Skin Success Framework

Let’s take a step back to Episode 25 where I discussed my 5-step Skin Success Framework. This framework is the basis of all we discussed and are going to discuss in this healthy skin journey. It’s highly important that you keep this in mind. 

Remember: the steps in this framework are generally all you need to achieve healthy, glowing skin. I cannot emphasize this enough but there’s no need to overcomplicate your skincare routine. Effective and efficient skincare routine shouldn’t involve 13, 14, 15 steps – that’s too expensive and excessive. Worst of all, your skin would have a hard time adjusting to a plethora of products – leading to acne spots, perioral dermatitis, eczema, and other results of disrupting your skin barrier. Bottomline: stick to what you need.

As your go-to Dermatologist, I’m telling you that all you need for a standard reliable skincare routine are Sunscreen, Antioxidants, Retinol, Moisturizer, and Cleanser:

  • Sunscreen for Photoprotection
  • Antioxidants to brighten your complexion
  • Retinol for Collagen production (a.k.a. reversing the years on your skin)
  • Moisturizer to prevent irritation of the skin barrier
  • and Cleanser to rid your skin of accumulated dirt and grime – allowing better absorption of the other four products

Instead of acquiring an overwhelming number of other skincare components, it’s best to invest in the proper incorporation and use of these 5 products. Keep it simple, my beauty – save those creative juices and energy for your business, career and family. 

My Skincare Philosophies 


1. Whatever Changes, Skincare Should Start with The Skin Success Framework

I’ve tackled the basics – and my foremost philosophy when it comes to skincare – my Skin Success Framework. Now, let’s dive deeper.

Remember how I said that the steps in the Skin Success Framework are “generally all you need to achieve a healthy, glowing skin”? Operative word: general. Even though the framework works for the majority, there are some who need to go beyond – to use more ingredients or products to address specific skin concerns or achieve specific skin goals. 

For instance, I discussed in episode 40  how a Beta Hydroxy Acid Chemical Peel would help people with Rosacea exfoliate. These products outside of the Skin Success Framework aren’t considered excessive since they’re essential to help alleviate symptoms of certain skin conditions. 

Furthermore, our skin is subject to multiple changes from time to time and it’s alright to switch up your skincare routine to accommodate these changes. To fully succeed with your skincare routine, it’s integral to assess your geographical location, the season you’re currently in (starting Retinols in the Fall is a great example for this), how much stress you’re dealing with, your age, your skin type, your budget, your lifestyle – take all these things into consideration when selecting products to use (or avoid).

Again, skincare should always reflect skin, environment, or weather changes BUT it should always start with the Skin Success Framework. 

2. Skin Care is Personal, Not Universal 

As I mentioned, we all differ in lifestyles, climate, environment, budget, and stress levels, among others. With that, I truly believe that skin care needs to work specifically for your skin – what works for others doesn’t always matter. 

If a product works wonders on your favorite influencer’s skin, don’t immediately expect it to work for you the same way. We all benefit from different types of active ingredients. It’s important to consider which ingredients or products make sense for your skin needs or goals.

Let’s take Retinols for example. As a Dermatologist (and someone who has been using Retinol for long now), I’m a strong believer in Retinol’s ability to allow the skin to age gracefully. We all want that right? We also want a continuous rebuilding of collagen in our skin. That’s the main importance of Retinoids. 

However, when I discussed Retinols in episode 47 (where I talked about why Fall is the best time to start using Retinol),  I didn’t advise you to use Retinols every single evening, even though I do so myself. Nor did I recommend you use high-strength Retinoid prescriptions. 

The lesson here is that even though we could all benefit from using Retinols, it’s important to understand that incorporating it in your skincare routine takes work. Your skin needs to adjust – you need to adjust, AND that adjustment varies from one person to another. It took me years to work my way up the Retinol percentages before I could use the 0.08% Retinoid percentage I use now. 

If using Retinol only once or twice a week (instead of every night) works for you, then by all means, stick to that schedule. You don’t have to do it every night, especially when you’ve just started. The reason I can do it nightly is I’ve stuck to my skincare routine for years now. I moisturize every morning and night – I’ve gotten very good at replenishing my skin barrier which allowed me to eventually tolerate higher-strength Retinols. Before, when I first started using Retinols, the 0.03% was still difficult to use for me. My consistency with skincare paid off.

Now, you don’t have to raise your Retinol percentage if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. What you shouldn’t do, however, is stop using it at all. Remember: some is better than none in the long term. That goes for all components of the Skin Success Framework as well. So, listen to your skin and your skin only – take what your skin needs, nothing more. It’s the best way to build a sustainable and effective skincare routine in the long run. 

3. It’s the Active Ingredients that Matter

Whenever a skincare product blows up online or anywhere else, the first thing you should do is take a step back and examine the new product’s Active Ingredients. Ask yourself, “will this really help my skin?” or “do I really need to add this active ingredient to my existing skincare routine?” Remember philosophy #2.

I’m not telling you to ignore all and any new skincare trend. I am telling you, however, to pay attention to whether the ingredients of such a product (or any product you’re considering) is beneficial or harmful to your unique skin. For example, if you’re someone who has Eczema and the new trending product contains Salicylic Acid, then you should avoid using the product. Again, it’s the ingredients that matter – not the fame nor the number of people recommending a product. 

4. Skincare is like a Workout Routine

This last philosophy stems from both my love of trying out new skincare products and the fact that my skincare routine helps maintain my mental health every day. 

Story time. I used to attend conferences for the American Academy of Dermatology and there, we talked to various skincare companies. With that, I get to try various new products – not only because I love doing so but because I want to know which ones really work. 

Before recommending any skincare product, I make sure to understand the scientific data behind them. Unless I’ve tried and am convinced of a product’s effectiveness (or have weighed its pros and cons), I don’t endorse them. Of course, trying out a product is another way to find out which ones work best for my skin as well. 

You see, skincare involves trial and error – it could take a couple of products before you’ll find the best ones for you. Just like with working out; some people love to run (like me), others love Yoga, and so on. Like workouts as well, skincare is selfcare. Doing my routine in the morning and evening truly helps me unwind and – like getting drenched after a workout – it makes me feel A-MAZING. 

Skincare for You, By You

We’ve come a long way together, my beauties. I hope you incorporate everything I teach in The Dr. Nikoleta Show in your healthy skin journey – your skin success means the world to me. For that, be sure to stick with the Skin Success Framework; don’t get lost in all the different trends and other noise in the beauty world. Always, always, listen to your skin. 

Don’t worry, I’ll also be here to make sure you have a solid foundation to simple but effective skincare – to protect, improve, and transform your skin to its best version. So, continue with consistency and remember that as with all things, choose quality over quantity. You can still have great skincare while saving money. Need help with this? Go check out the waitlist application for the first round of The Healthy Skin Blueprint.

Also, if you forget to apply your sunscreen in the morning, or totally forget to wash your face and apply Retinol and night cream at night, text “PODCAST” to 480-530-8187 to get skincare routine reminders and healthy skin affirmations directly from me.

If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to let me know on Instagram! You can tag me, @drnikoleta, with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways. I’d also really appreciate it if you would subscribe and leave a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts — that helps us share the podcast with more people like you who are looking to achieve the skin of their dreams! 

Until next time, Step Out with Confidence® and go get that glow in your healthy skin journey! 

Dr. Nikoleta


I am a board-certified dermatologist, CEO and Founder of Healthy Skin Blueprint, an acclaimed podcast host, best-selling author, and nationally recognized skin, hair, and nails expert. Welcome to the Skin Talk with Dr. Nikoleta blog.


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