Keeping Skin Care Simple

Darla Hobbs, MPAS, PA-C, with Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology advises tried and true products
Darla hobbs
Darla Hobbs, MPAS, PA-C, Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology

Simplicity is often bliss. In a world of many choices, it’s nice to strip it down to the essentials. For those looking to keep their skin care simple yet effective, Darla Hobbs, MPAS, PA-C, with Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology has the right combination that fits most every skin type.

With so many products on the market, it can be hard to know what’s what and what should be stocked in your bathroom cabinet.

Morning and night, Hobbs advises cleansing your face. For over-the-counter dermatologist-approved brands, she suggests Cerave or Cetaphil cleansers. For a high-end gentle cleanser, Hobbs likes ZO Skin Health.

In the morning, after cleansing your face, apply a thin layer of vitamin C serum. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that brightens the complexion, prevents sun damage and improves the appearance of dark spots and acne. As an antioxidant, it helps to prevent the absorption of free radicals which break down the collagen and elastin of skin.

The final step of the morning routine is to apply a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. Hobbs advises seeking sunscreen that contains the physical blockers titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as these elements reflect sunlight and prevent absorption of the damaging UV light.

A better option is a tinted sunscreen, which provides a hint of glow while containing antioxidants that prevent sun damage and aging.

Hobbs loves Elta MD UV Broad-Spectrum SPF 50, preferring the stick form because it slides on clear instead of white, transports well in bags and is easy to swipe on, especially for little ones.

No matter where your day takes you, Hobbs encourages sunscreen use if you are spending any amount of time outside or near windows.

“We live in a beautiful region, so I never discourage my patients from going outside,” said Hobbs. “Instead, I tell them to be safe and be smart about their sun exposure. Apply at least 30 SPF, if not 50, reapply often and invest in SPF clothing.”

While you can nix the sunscreen from your nighttime routine, you want to remove it with a gentle cleanser. After cleansing, Hobbs suggests a chocolate chip sized drop of tretinoin or retinol. 

Tretinoin and retinol are most commonly used for conditions such as acne, fine lines, wrinkles, melasma and dark spots. Retinol and tretinoin are both retinoids that combat the effects of aging and sun damage, but the strength of the two is the defining factor.

Tretinoin is significantly stronger than retinol and is available by prescription only.

Because retinoids can cause dryness, Hobbs suggests the ZO Skin Heath hydrating cream for added hydration.

With many patients seeking cosmetic products devoid of chemicals and preservatives, Hobbs cautions that, since cosmetic products are not regulated by the FDA, the term “clean” on a label does not guarantee it is natural, but to instead think of the product as a “cleaner” version.

Hobbs does not think your skin care routine needs to be from the same line, unless you are pleased with the routine. Many patients elect to mix and match over the counter products with luxury lines available in dermatology offices.

“Each person’s skin and preferences are different. This helps me to determine the best option for you,” said Hobbs. “There are multiple components that go into finding the right product for you such as your wants, needs, tolerability and consistency of a product.  At Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology we can help you keep it simple and cater to your needs.”

For more on skin care products provided by Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology, visit

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