"My #1 must-have is an SPF lotion," says Dr. Dara Spearman, Board Certified Dermatologist of Forefront Dermatology in Michigan. "I recommend at least SPF 30 or higher for daily use, year round. I don't recommend only wearing makeup with SPF, because makeup tends to sit on top of the skin and does not penetrate the skin the same way a moisturizer would. Makeup also tends to slightly rub off throughout the day."
CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30 ($13.99, Ulta)
"These are vitamin C based antioxidants and they are one of the only antioxidants on the market that actually penetrate the skin," says. Dr. Spearman. "They help to reverse any sun damage and prevent further sun damage. I'm religious about using these. CE Ferulic is for drier and more mature skin and the Phloretin CF is for oily or acne-prone skin."
Skinceuticals Antioxidant CE Ferulic and Phloretin CF ($162 each, Skinceuticals)
"An emollient will keep your skin hydrated," says Dr. Spearman. "The skin is a barrier and excess dryness will make that barrier break down. This is one of my favorites. A lot of people neglect the skin on their body, which can lead to forms of eczema and other infections."
Cetaphil Cream Moisturizing Cream ($13.99, Ulta)
"I have one of these brushes and I love it," says Dr. Spearman. "Be careful not to overuse it which can cause more inflammation, especially for acne-prone skin. It has a great motor, it's heavy duty and it's going to last you a long time. The interchangeable brush heads are great, too. Just make sure you clean them in between use."
Clarisonic Mia 3 Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($199, Sephora)
"This is one of my favorite scrubs because it's affordable and works really well," says Dr. Spearman. "Massage your skin gently whenever you use a scrub to make sure you're not irritating the skin."
St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub ($4.49, Ulta)
"Glycolic or salicylic acid peels are great," says Dr. Spearman. "For African American skin, it's important that we use superficial peels, as opposed to peels that penetrate deep layers of the skin. One of the number one causes for African American women to visit my office is because of hyperpigmentation. Peels really help with pigment issues because they help get rid of dead skin cells, exposing new skin to give you a nice glow."
Strivectin Labs Dual Phase Peel ($89, Ulta)
"Retinols increase skin cell turnover which helps dead skin cells shed more effectively," says Dr. Spearman. "Beware of any peeling that may occur from using it too frequently. If that happens, just reduce your usage to a few times per week."
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 ($57,00 SkinCeuticals)
Dr. Dara Spearman is a Board Certified Dermatologist at Forefront Dermatology in Michigan. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and her clinical interests include cosmetic dermatology, ethnic skin care and skin cancer treatment.