My skin has been extremely high maintenance lately. Let me explain why. I used prescription-strength tretinoin for years and dried out my skin religiously, thinking it would clear up my acne—of course, it did not. In some ways, it actually made matters worse because I was left with serious moisture-barrier damage that I’m still correcting (you live and learn). Now that I’ve ditched the tretinoin (and any retinol-derivative, for that matter), my skin is extra sensitive and dehydrated and needs gentle products that won’t dry it out.
Because of this, it definitely hasn’t been easy finding the right skincare routine for my current needs, but luckily, I have celebrity estheticians on speed dial that can help. I decided to ask celebrity facialist Shani Darden for a few tweaks to my routine because she’s truly a wizard of her craft. She recommended two serums and a moisturizer which made a huge difference. I’ve also used some of Darden’s products for years because I consider her formulas some of the best on the market. If you also have acne-prone skin and want a few product recommendations from Darden, keep scrolling. She shared all her favorites below.