Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Anjan (Journalist)  on 15th Aug 2020

Daily beauty routines of dermatologists in India for healthy skin

Skincare Routine of experts

Putting together your skincare routine can be a daunting task. The sheer volume of products available to us is incredible but can also leave you confused about what’s really worth your money.

Dermatologists and skincare experts spend their days researching the best of skincare and helping people achieve their best skin ever. But what do they use on their own? We reached out to five of India’s best dermatologists and got them to share their everyday skincare routines. After all, the pros do know best.

Read on for a peek into the ingredients and concoctions trusted by the experts. 

Dr. Malavika Kohli

Dr. Malavika Kohli – Mumbai-based celebrity dermatologist

Morning

Dr. Kohli’s morning routine consists of a few products that she considers essential for skincare.

“I believe that a Vitamin C serum (20% L-Ascorbic acid), preferably with hyaluronic and ferulic acid, is a must-have. I’ve been using sunscreen religiously for the past 25 years and never miss using it. New sunscreen formulas that are broad-spectrum with SPF50 don’t only protect against UVA/UVB light, but also visible infrared and high energy (blue) light. This protects my skin from indoor lighting and outdoor rays — it’s the best investment I’ve made to ensure good skin health.”

She also uses eye serums as part of her a.m. routine based on what she needs on the day.

“I do use a light serum around my eyes in the morning that may either contain hyaluronic acid with stem cell extracts or one with niacinamide, green tea, and caffeine with hyaluronic acid. Vitamin K if I’ve had a few tiring days with high usage of gadgets.”

Night

“I never retire for the night without a good application of a stem cell and hyaluronic acid cream. Thrice a week, I use retinol creams, and the other nights I use a brightening cream. I rotate the retinol cream after three months, wherein I stop it and use a glycolic acid-based moisturizer instead. Creams with peptides are great for the eye area, hydrate the neck, and work best for younger people.” 

Dr. Harshna Bijlani

Dr. Harshna Bijlani – Mumbai-based celebrity skin expert and Medical Head at The AgeLess Clinic

Morning

Her morning routine consists of all the essential steps and a few tweaks keeping in mind the current global health scenario.

“My morning routine starts with cleansing using a Cleansing Gel, followed by Toner, then followed by the Idebenone serum with hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide serum, and finally the most crucial step – sunscreen.”

She advises not to miss sunscreen, especially while using active ingredients in your routine as your skin is more susceptible to sunburn.

“I use the Crystal Tomato Beyond Sun Protection sunscreen due to its HEV/blue light protection filter. “

She also has advice for acne due to wearing masks throughout the day during COVID!9

“However, off late due to wearing my PPE kit all day, I’ve been getting acne on my face in the areas where my mask covers my face. So, in my serum step (before my sunscreen), I’ve been using a clindamycin-based gel on the masked areas with active acne, while using my idebenone serum for the rest of my face.”

Night

Dr. Bijlani’s night-time routine starts with a thorough cleanse to rid her skin of the day’s tiredness and pollution.

“Due to the heat and humidity, my skin has changed from dry during winter months to oily, greasy, and acne-prone in these summer-monsoon months. I absolutely swear by the Korean double cleanse. I usually start with a Cleansing Gel, a heavier, oil-based gel for my stubborn eye makeup and SPF, followed by a milder amino-acid-based foaming cleanser for a complete cleanse and to get rid of any impurities that may have been left behind after the first cleanse.”


Then, she allows her skin to breathe for a few hours before going into her bedtime routine. Twice a week, she does exfoliation.

“For exfoliation, I use an exfoliator that uses glycolic acid instead of beaded exfoliants that tend to damage the skin.”

Her night-time routine consists of products with her favorite active ingredients.

“I start with my serum, which is lighter – I use Idebenone serum, followed by the Skin Clarity Cream combined with vitamin supplements (taken during the day). This anti-pigmentation, the antioxidant-rich combination works on brightening my skin, reducing the little pigmentation I tend to develop on and off on my cheeks and providing anti-aging benefits. I love this combination because it has some amazing ingredients like arbutin, kojic acid, l-ascorbic acid, retinyl palmitate, glycolic acid, and so much more. So, it becomes easy for me to apply one super product with all these ingredients than look for various products that can give me all of them because I feel like I’m always pressed for time. I generously apply these products to my face, under my eyes, and not forget my neck, which we often overlook.”

Finally, she uses a hydrating, fragrance-free, and paraben-free moisturizer on her arms, lower legs, and her feet to combat dryness. 

Dr. Madhuri Agarwal

Dr. Madhuri Agarwal – Founder and Medical Director, YAVANA Aesthetics Clinic, Mumbai

Morning

Dr. Agarwal makes sure to use products that work for the weather and her age — her current routine is made up of the ones that tackle humidity.

“I start my morning routine by washing my face with a moisturizing cleanser — I use the A-Derma Soothing Foaming Gel. Since I have normal to dry skin, this cleanses my skin without drying it thanks to the oat milk and moisturizing glycols that don’t irritate. Then, twice a week, I do chemical exfoliation. This contains salicylic and lactic acid with antioxidants.”

Next up: a heavy-duty serum and a whole lot of protection.

“After cleansing my face, I apply the Ferulic Acid. This potent antioxidant combination of Vitamin C, ferulic acid, and phloretin protects my skin from light and sun damage and reduces pigmentation. Then, I use the Moisturizing Cream containing natural lipids, glycerin, and Vitamin E to hydrate my face. I love that it does not feel very sticky and is well absorbed by my skin. I complete the routine by applying the Heliocare Color Sun Touch SPF50 sunscreen that protects my skin from sunlight and visible light.”

She reapplies her sunscreen over the day (as we all should) by first refreshing her skin with the hydrating and soothing Avène Thermal Spring Water mist and then using her Heliocare sunscreen.

Night

She’s also an advocate of double cleansing at night to go to bed with a clean slate.

“Along with an oil-based cleanser for makeup, I use the same A-Derma cleansing gel as the morning.”

For her night moisturizer, she alternates between two favorites.

“After cleansing, I use the Ojas Glow Replenishing Night Beauty Balm. I alternate it with the serum-containing hydrogenated retinol and peptides. These ingredients are powerful epidermal and dermal life-givers. I also use a long stay lip balm with cocoa and kokum butter with beeswax.”

Eyecare is absolutely essential for her, especially at night.

“I use eye creams containing peptides, flavonoids, and pro xylene to deal with dark circles and puffiness. It has added optical light-diffusing pigments that brighten the eye area as well.”

Treatments

“Masking is an important part of my skin routine. My two favorite masks are the Yavana Organic Silk Mask, a clay-based mask with the benefits of rice water. The other one is the Litmocee Charcoal Face Mask, which is infused with 24-carat gold.” 

Dr. Jaishree Sharad

Dr. Jaishree Sharad – Mumbai-based celebrity dermatologist and Medical Director at Skinfiniti Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, Mumbai

Morning

Dr. Sharad’s skin type is dry yet acne-prone making it important for her to cleanse without over-drying or clogging her pores.

“I use a Cleansing Cream as a face wash — it has a soap-free cleansing base with physiological pH that gently eliminates all impurities. It’s one-third nourishing milk which preserves the skin's hydrolipidic film. Thanks to its gentle lipid-replenishing agents and Thermal Water, it protects the skin against the drying effects of hard water.”

For hydration, she chose 2% Hyaluronic acid-based serum.

“I use the Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier, which contains a high concentration of pure hyaluronic acid, pro xylene, and botanical extracts of licorice root and purple rice which hydrate the skin, making it firm and smooth. My choice of sunscreen is the Fotoprotector ISDIN Fusion Water SPF50+. It’s the ideal water-based, oil-free, and non-comedogenic sunscreen. No greasy feeling and melts in the skin with no white residue. It doesn’t feel cakey on my skin if I apply make-up over it. It comes with Broad spectrum UVA & UVB protection and is water-resistant.”

Night

Cleansing is the most important skincare step and is essential to avoid new skin concerns from sprouting up.

“I start my night-time skincare routine with the 4-in-1cleansing solution. It removes makeup, cleanses, tones, and hydrates the skin all at once. It’s safe to remove face and eye makeup, including waterproof products, without altering the skin’s natural barrier, making it safe for those with sensitive skin. I use the cleansing cream from my morning routine after.”

Next up: Eye care and vibrant night cream.

“The creams with Vitamin K oxide encapsulated in liposomes which reduce the build-up of blood pigments to improve the appearance of the dark circles. I also use plant-based active ingredients, camphanediol, pinanediol, hyaluronic acid, and organic silica to improve microcirculation in the area and help correct the signs of aging in the eye contour area, such as bags and wrinkles. I end my night routine with the nourishing cream. It’s formulated with sodium hyaluronate that restores hydration and photosomes for cell rejuvenation. It also contains soothing oats and Canadian willowherb extracts, antioxidants like oxysomes (Vitamins C and E) and coenzyme-Q10, and retinol to maintain skin elasticity.” 

Dr. Kiran Sethi

Dr. Kiran Sethi – Delhi-based integrative skin, aesthetics and wellness expert, and founder of Isya Aesthetics 

Morning

Dr. Sethi begins her morning skincare routine with the hydration to start her day with a fresh canvas. She then uses the Brightening Serum with azelaic acid to work on her skin over the course of the day.

Next, she uses the moisturizer and the Mediderma Revitalising Fluide together to nourish and hydrate her skin.

Her choice of sunscreen to end her routine is The Z Screen Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Gel SPF50+.

Night

Before tuning out for the night, Dr. Sethi starts with cleansing her skin using the same cleanser as the one in her morning routine.

She then uses two serums together: The Ferulic + Retinol serum for wrinkles and the NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1.

She ends her day with the moisturizer, which is also a part of her morning routine.

Treatments

She swears by the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask and Lip Sleeping Mask based on when her skin needs an extra boost of nourishment. 

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc

₹ 595
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5

₹ 595
Granactive Retinoid 2% (Emulsion)
Granactive Retinoid 2% (Emulsion)

Granactive Retinoid 2% (Emulsion)

₹ 695

Key Takeaway

After speaking to India's top Dermatologists, we found that certain ingredients are the center of every skincare routine.

These include Hyaluronic acid for hydration, Benzoyl peroxide for acne, Salicylic acid or Glycolic acid for exfoliation, Retinol for anti-aging, Kojic acid for hyperpigmentation, and Vitamins (C, E, K) for skin brightening and moisturizing.