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What is it about January that makes us want to shake up our whole skin care routine? It could be that winter and the holidays have wreaked havoc on our complexion, or we’re just ready for all that new, new in this fresh year. Either way, we’re in need of a major overhaul, so we sat down with five skin care experts to discuss all the best dermatological ingredients to look out for in 2020. Vitamin C has nothing on these unsung heroes.

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Niacinamide

“Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 (niacin), one of the eight B vitamins your body needs for good health,” says Manish Shah, M.D.,  a board-certified plastic surgeon and anti-aging skin expert. “Niacinamide works with the natural substances in your skin to help visibly improve enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dullness and a weakened surface. Other helpful benefits are that it helps renew and restore the surface of the skin against moisture loss and dehydration by helping skin improve its natural production of skin-strengthening ceramides.”

Electrolytes

“Electrolyte-infused topical products are able to aid moisture levels above and below the skin’s surface, delivering a hydration boost that your average moisturizer probably can’t,” says Dr. Shah. “The minerals found in electrolytes are electrically charged when combined with the water in your facial pores to create a healthier, more energized appearance.”

Magnesium

“Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 cellular reactions throughout the body,” says Erica Walters, M.D., medical director at Park Avenue Skin Solutions and cofounder of Tribeca Wellness Collective. “Our office finds that most of our patients are deficient even when regular blood tests show normal levels. Magnesium is crucial in DNA repair, muscle function, healthy nerves and bones, and assisting in clearing out damaged or old cells. Taking it as an oral supplement is key, but topical magnesium provides tons of benefits to the biggest organ in our body: the skin. Topical magnesium has been shown to improve acne and rosacea with local anti-inflammatory action, protect skin’s DNA from harmful pollutants (which can then decrease the risk of wrinkles), boost fatty acids in the skin to improve elasticity, and of course soothe sore muscles and relax the body. I’ve been using The Nue Co. Magnesium Ease Spray daily because it delivers a whopping 45 milligrams per spray (I aim for about 300 milligrams) and it’s full of calming lavender oil and rich arnica oil for extra anti-inflammatory action.”  

Bakuchiol

“Bakuchiol is a plant-derived ingredient that is not a retinol but provides similar benefits on skin. While bakuchiol does work the same way as a retinol in helping new collagen formation and lessening the appearance of dark spots and fine lines, it does not decrease oil gland production, so it tends to cause less dryness than a retinol can,” explains Naissan O. Wesley, M.D., FACMS and Arbonne scientific advisor. 

Glycolic Acid

Jared Jagdeo, M.D., a board-certified New York City dermatologist and medical director of Ever/Body predicts, “One of the leading products for 2020 will be home use of glycolic acid topicals for a ‘no-peel home peel,’ meaning that you get all the benefits of a peel without the classic downtime associated with in-office peels. I recommend my patients use SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight in between procedure visits to accentuate the wonderful results obtained at EverBody.”

Monolaurin

“This ingredient has been around for a long time but is often forgotten about behind the sparkle of newer, sexier ingredients,” says Cindy Kim, cofounder of Silver Mirror Facial Bar and Peach & Lily. “Sometimes though, tried and true is the way to go, which is why I want to bring this one back into the mix for 2020. This coconut-derived ingredient does at least three key things for your skin: 1) It gently lifts dirt and oil from the skin, leaving it squeaky clean but deeply hydrated and supple. 2) It has antimicrobial properties (studies show that it is as effective as 70 percent isopropyl alcohol at banishing micro-organisms), which means it is great for acne-prone and oily-skin types. And again, instead of stripping the skin, it leaves it calm and moisturized. 3)It is hypoallergenic and soothing, which makes it the perfect ingredient and solution for sensitive, angry skin types, especially those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.”

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