The Best Skincare Routine Has 3 “Ingredients”

Dr. Liia Ramachandra, Pharm.D., Ph.D. is a serial entrepreneur and healthcare executive. Dr. Liia is the Founder and CEO EpiLynx, Gluten-Free Skin Care and Cosmetics Brand. She comes with vast experience in Global Medical Affairs, Global Ethics and Compliance, Clinical Research, and Global Publications. Dr. Liia drove the development of the strategic vision and mission for the national field-based medical program, the development of publication plans, the planning and management of medical activities at scientific congresses, the development of programs resources for Regional Medical Liaisons, and Biopharmaceutical Representatives. She has worked with multiple companies like Takeda, Pfizer, and Astellas. Dr. Liia holds a Master’s degree in Pharmacy and Doctorate in Pharmacy from Groningen University, the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. from the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. Haute Beauty expert Dr. Liia discusses the best skincare routine made up of 3 essential "ingredients."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The best skincare routine has 3 essential "ingredients." Although these aren't specific ingredients in a formula like hyaluronic acid or retinol, it is in fact necessary that we pay specific attention to these "ingredients" or products that our skin will benefit from on a daily basis. Here are the items that we should ALWAYS abide by:

  1. Moisturize morning and evening
  2. Apply sunscreen throughout the whole year
  3. Stay away from the most common allergens (Wheat, gluten, dairy, nuts, etc.) 

What should we look for while buying sunscreen?

Always look at the ingredients first. Preferably buy ones with active mineral ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. If you want to buy something with a higher SPF (higher than 30%), you will find one or two chemical active ingredients in there. Please see below for possible toxicities.

I would always suggest sticking with the sunscreens with the mineral ingredients, even if it only gives you SPF 20, and reapply every few hours while outside. And always stick with the cream formulation and not the spray. Spray formulation uses nanoparticles, meaning that they may clog your pores and, more importantly, be absorbed into your body, causing all kinds of side effects. Even the spray formulation of zinc oxide and titanium oxide can be harmful due to the possible inhalation when using the spray. 

What are the ingredients we should avoid?

There are a few ingredients we should avoid. Here is from worst to least worse.

  • Oxybenzone: Oxybenzone causes allergic skin reactions and behaves like an endocrine disruptor (such as can cause early puberty in teens; basically it is a hormone disruptor). Researchers found that adolescent boys with higher oxybenzone measurements had significantly lower total testosterone levels (Scinicariello 2016).
    Three other studies reported statistically significant associations between oxybenzone exposure during pregnancy and birth outcomes. Female exposures to oxybenzone and related chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of endometriosis (Kunisue 2012). 
  • Oxtinoxate: It is readily absorbed into the skin and continues to be absorbed after the sunscreen has been applied. It has been found in blood 16 times above the proposed FDA safety threshold (Matta 2019, 2020). Octinoxate can also cause allergic reactions after exposure to ultraviolet light (Rodriguez 2006), which usually happens when you go in the sun.
  • Homosalate: Homosalate has been found to penetrate the skin, disrupt hormones and produce toxic breakdown byproducts over time.
  • Octisalate: A case report showed that the chemical has been linked to allergic contact dermatitis (Singh 2007) (similar to eczema).
  • Octocrylene: Studies have found that octocrylene causes relatively high rates of skin allergies (Bryden 2006). It has been linked to aquatic toxicity, with the potential to harm coral health (Stein 2019), and it is often contaminated with the known carcinogen benzophenone.
  • Avobenzone: Because avobenzone is not stable, it must be paired with other ingredients that act as stabilizers to prevent it from breaking down in the sun. Breakdown products of avobenzone can cause allergic reactions (Nash 2014). Avobenzone can also disrupt the endocrine system and has been shown to block the effects of testosterone in cellular studies (Klopcic 2017). Plus, obviously, avoid the ones that are now recalled due to being contaminated with benzene.

What are the safest types of sunscreen for kids?

Again, I always stick to mineral sunscreens for my kids. I do not like the spray ones since they most likely contain nanoparticles that may clog your skin. This will be incredibly unpleasant when your face skin is clogged. Always stick to mineral sunscreens and reapply often. 

Suggested read: Skincare Ingredients: The Good and The Bad Ones

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The big no-no's

Skincare cannot directly reduce internal inflammation, but it can combat the inflammation that you see on your skin as a result of it. Some of the anti-inflammatory ingredients to look out for are: licorice extract, green tea, turmeric, colloidal oatmeal, chamomile, resveratrol, CBD oil–hemp seed, alœ vera, neem oil, and Centella Asiatica. 

Hence, ALWAYS read labels on your skincare and cosmetics products. 

It is important to use skincare free of fragrances, and 14 known allergens (per FDA—the 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten [such as barley and oats], crustaceans [such as prawns, crabs, and lobsters], eggs, fish, lupin, milk, mollusks [such as mussels and oysters], mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulfur dioxide, and sulfites).

Photo Credit: ShutterstockWhat goes in shows up on your skin. Make sure to truly nourish your mind, body (with the right diet and lifestyle), and good allergen-free skincare and cosmetics routine.

Dr. Liia Ramachandra, Pharm.D., Ph.D. is a serial entrepreneur and health care executive. Dr. Liia is the founder and CEO of EpiLynx by Dr. Liia, a gluten-Free, allergen-Free, and medically clean skincare and cosmetics brand. She comes with vast experience in global medical affairs, global ethics, and compliance, clinical research, and global publications. She has worked with multiple companies like Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc, Pfizer, and Astellas. Dr. Liia holds a master’s degree in pharmacy and a doctorate in pharmacy from Groningen University, Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry and drug development from the University of Utrecht. Dr. Ramachandra is the CEO of EpiLynx Skincare and Cosmetics. 

For more information, visit Dr. Liia Ramachandra's social media: