Balshi Blog

Top Dermatologist Recommended Skincare Ingredients

Ever walked into an Ulta or Sephora and been immediately overwhelmed by the skincare options touting even complexion, skintone, anti-aging benefits, clear skin, smaller pores, etc.?

Yeah, you’ll be relieved to hear, so do a lot of dermatologists!

An effective skincare routine doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, regardless of what the market tells you. You don’t need to possess different oils, face cleansers, masks, creams, or anything in combination to look youthful and healthy. What actually works out there has been proven to be limited anyway. 

If you were ever wondering what ingredients have been a consistent favorite in the dermatology world-that actually work… Here are a few to consider the next time you find yourself overwhelmed in the anti-aging aisle of a Sephora:

Hyaluronic Acid

You’ve probably heard this repeated many times. Dermatologists will tell you they love Hyaluronic Acid. They are popular! You can find them in facial fillers like Juvaderm and Restylane. However, many people don’t know that it can be applied as a topical. It’s extremely effective and one of the more inexpensive moisturizers. 

Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring sugar in our body that has the ability to hydrate our skin. It can hold 1,000x its weight in water! Hyaluronic Acid draws water from the air and binds it tightly to the skin. This creates a nice barrier on the top layer of the skin. Also leaving your skin dewy and soft. 

Hyaluronic acid works beautifully with other topicals. It can be incorporated into your skincare routine with ease. When it comes to using hyaluronic acids in your daily beauty routine, dermatologists recommend: using it as a moisturizer with other skincare products. Add the additional products first and the hyaluronic acid on top to seal the moisture and other used topicals in. Give it a try!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant found in wildly popular foods like oranges. As well as strawberries, bell peppers, papaya, and kiwi. The best way to get vitamin C is through your daily meals, because it’s not just for the skin but also for the body. 

However, when it comes to topical Vitamin C, it can help give the skin a boost! It helps prevent premature aging and damage caused by the environment. Whether it be pollution or sun UV rays. Vitamin C has also been known as a skin lightener. Which helps patients who deal with hyperpigmentation, boost collagen, relieve dry skin, and fade scarring. Unfortunately, patients who are Vitamin C deficient suffer from poor healing and thickening of the top-most layer of dead skin. Overall, Vitamin C will keep your skin looking brighter and younger. 

However, not all Vitamin C creams are created equal. Popular synthetics you’ll find in skincare products are also labeled as ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, and THD ascorbate. Because Vitamin C is naturally repelled by the skin, so find the best formulations that have the best PH balance to help absorption and prevent premature breakdown. 

Add Vitamin E to enhance the ability of Vitamin C to fight oxidative damage. 

Apply it in the morning after cleansing your face and then add your favorite SPF. Vitamin C as an antioxidant can make your skin more sensitive to the sun so the SPF helps protect your skin a little farther. 


If you’re looking for additional anti-aging defense, Retinoid is some dermatologists’ favorite. The most famous being Retin-A, or tretinoin

Retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A. An essential micronutrient found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, fish, and cheese. Vitamin A most famously found in carrots, are eaten to enhance vision, but also for reproduction and growth. 

Retinoids as topicals were found in the 1980’s and are now used commonly for medical and cosmetic purposes. Retinoids, used as a topical, helps improve fine lines and fine wrinkling, increase collagen production, decrease hyperpigmentation, and for anti-aging benefits. Overall keeping your skin smoother, dewy, youthful and even-toned.

There are two categories of retinoids. Retinols, which you don’t need a prescription for, and tretinoin, which is by prescription only. 

Retinoids are great for people who struggle with sensitive skin and retinoids are great to add to your skincare routine. Retinoids being the most easily accessible. 

As for Tretinoin products that are prescribed by dermatologists. They tend to be 20x more effective but also come with more risks for side effects. Which could range from irritation to dryness, depending on the concentration and formula. Consult your doctor to discuss which version of a retinoid is best for your and your skin care needs. 

Dermatologists recommend using retinoid products at night for the best results. When it comes to people with sensitive skin needs, apply every other day to ensure your skin can handle it before increasing it to nightly. It’s suggested that a pea-sized amount is applied to the face first and then a moisturizer on top.

There are many different prescription formulas and percentages of retinol. Prescriptions and percentages all depends on your complexion and the results you’re looking for. Most cosmetic scientists recommended .4% concentrations for basic anti-aging benefits. Once you find your ideal formulation for your skin, whether it’s an over the counter product or prescribed by your dermatologist, add it to your night skincare routine. If it happens to be a serum, apply after cleansing the face before bed. Or the last step in your evening beauty routine. 

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a derivative from sugar cane. It is an alpha hydroxy acid or, AHA, with the smallest molecules. It’s considered a chemical more than considered an exfoliant. Exfoliants are known to remove the build-up of dead skin through scrubbing. For chemical exfoliants like Glycolic Acid – AHAs – do the same thing but by dissolving and making the process gentler on the skin. 

Considering Glycolic Acid is one of the smallest AHAs, it has the ability to penetrate further and deliver even better results than it’s AHA counterparts. 

So what are the benefits?
The benefits of using glycolic acid can help leave your skin feeling soft and radiant. Giving you a more youthful glow. It also helps to loosen pores and help with deeper more cystic acne and blackheads. It’s also known to help with hyperpigmentation, photo-aging, and help reduce the appearance of acne scars.

You should and can use Glycolic Acid in your everyday routine with low dose products. Most In-office glycolic acid peels have from 20 to 70 percent concentration. 

Like most of your routine ingredients, glycolic acid can be used everyday! You can apply it at any time of day after cleansing your face and before applying a moisturizer. If used in the morning, follow it up with SPF. Glycolic acid can make skin more sensitive to UV rays from the sun. 


Ceramides, although sound scary, are natural. They are occurring lipids in the skin that help form the barrier of the skin. Synthetic ceramides (used to help mimic the natural ceramides found in the skin) can be found in the form of creams and moisturizers that help strengthen and support the skin barriers. 

Ceramides benefit people with lower ceramide levels. People with clear and healthy skin have about 340 ceramide species found in their skin moisture barrier. The people who find themselves with a lower amount of ceramide species are people with skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, acne, dandruff, and psoriasis. Using a ceramide heavy skin product can help anyone who deals with these conditions. 

Really, anyone can use ceramides for their skin. Ceramides hold a lot of water which helps any type of skin hold a more hydrated complexion. 

How to use it: You can find ceramides in almost all moisturizers. Not so much in toners or cleansers. When you add ceramides to your beauty regime, it is easy. Find a ceramide rich moisturizer and use it in the morning and at night after cleansing your face. Apply it after any serums, essences, or toners. 

Remember, when adding these recommended skin care ingredients, make sure to take it slow and have patience. Results show with consistency. So, take your time to incorporate them into your routine. Some ingredients, although can be used daily, could add to skin sensitivity. Most dermatologists recommend adding the super ingredients every other day for the first three weeks before adding it in to your daily routines. 

Call Dr. Balshi About Your Skincare Needs at Balshi Dermatology in Delray Beach, FL

For over ten years, Balshi Dermatology has provided the most exceptional state-of-the-art skincare and cosmetic services to patients of all ages in South Florida. Dr. Thomas Balshi is board certified in both internal medicine and dermatology. His specialties include the aesthetic enhancement of pigmented skin conditions, non-invasive skin rejuvenation, and cosmetic dermatology.

To schedule a preliminary consultation about your skin questions and concerns, call board-certified dermatologist in Delray Beach, contact Balshi Dermatology at (561) 272-6000 or send us a message on our Contact Page to set up your appointment.