No matter what brand of skincare products you are using, your regimen can be broken into 3 components: cleansing, treatment and protection.


This first stage comprises the cleanser and toner or astringent.

The cleanser must be effective at removing dirt, sebum, oil and makeup but gentle enough to avoid stripping the skin completely of oils or irritating the skin. Products that are too aggressive at removing oils and sebum actually stimulate an increase in sebum production and irritation. High quality cleansers like Vivier’s Hexam or Foaming Cleanser, in addition to cleansing the skin, have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and pH-balancing effects.

The toner or astringent restores the acid mantle of the skin, an important protective function. Vivier’s Refreshing Toner and Deep Cleaning Astringent also contain botanicals with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.


The Treatment step comprises all of the products that are used for a specific beneficial physiological effect on the skin, such as the serums, prescription ointments and eye creams.

I wrote about Vivier’s Vitamin C serum here and will devote future articles to other important and effective treatments.

The Treatment step is the one that you should back off on first if you find that your skincare products are making you red and/or flaky.


Moisturizer and sunscreen make up the final stage of a good skincare regimen. Sunscreen is important all year around and you need to make sure you are using a good product that is active against UVA waves. Read more about sunscreens here.

Combining your moisturizer and sunscreen in one product is efficient if the product is providing the correct level of hydration, and if your moisturizer requirements are pretty constant. Good examples of combination products include Vivier Daily Moisturizing Shield SPF 30 and Elta UV Daily SPF 40 with hyaluronic acid.

Your nighttime routine does not require a sunscreen. You can use your combination moisturizer/sunscreen if you want to, for instance, if you don’t want to buy a separate moisturizer. Again, the important issue here is that the product is providing the level of hydration that suits your skin. If you have very dry skin, I would recommend something like Vivier’s Nightly Renewal Cream, which combines ingredients that promote growth and healing of the skin as well as increasing the skin’s ability to retain moisture.

You may have detected a pattern with all of these products. Excellent skincare lines like Vivier use every step of the regimen as an opportunity to improve the health of the skin. A cleanser isn’t just a cleanser, it’s also an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and growth promoter. All of the products work in concert to improve the physiology of the skin.

Another key factor that differentiates drugstore brands from physician-only brands is the way the products penetrate the skin. For instance, you can buy products at the drugstore that are chockfull of Vitamin C but if it doesn’t penetrate the skin, what’s the point. Vivier has the research and the formulations that ensure that the active ingredients penetrate the skin and produce measurable improvement.