Why Derms Swear by the ‘Leapfrog Method’ To Ensure Skin Is Getting What It Needs

When your skin-care cabinet is overflowing with products, it can be tough to figure out which ones to use on a daily basis—and tempting to slather them all on at once to ensure you're getting the most bang for your hard-earned buck. But in order to avoid sensitizing your skin while also ensuring it's getting exactly what it needs out of its a.m. and p.m. routines, derms suggest implementing the "leapfrog" approach with your actives.

In the latest episode of Dear Derm, board-certified dermatologists Alicia Zalka, MD and Mona Gohara, MD, sat down to chat about their skin-care routines. The biggest takeaway from the conversation? Instead of relying on the exact same regimen day after day, they rotate their products to ensure their skin is getting exactly what it needs on a regular basis. "I call it the 'leapfrog' approach—I use one product one day, then I go to the other," says Dr. Zalka, explaining that if she washes her face with SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser ($38) one morning, the next she'll use La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser ($20). For her part, Dr. Gohara alternates between  Senté Exfoliating Cleanser ($46) and the Dove Beauty Bar ($8).

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This, they explain, helps to keep their complexions clear and smooth without irritating them with actives. Considering many products contain exfoliating elements that you may not even realize are there, it's easier than you might think to over-exfoliate your face. Because of this, it's important to limit how many of these actives you're putting on your face on a daily basis—which is exactly what the "leapfrogging" method helps with. Overdoing it with exfoliants can break down your skin's protective barrier, exposing deeper layers of your skin and leading to issues like inflammation and irritation. Plus, it comes with the added risk of disrupting the cellular turnover process, which is imperative to the overall health of your complexion.

In addition to helping you avoid over-exfoliation, the leapfrog method can also help you address different skin concerns over the course of your week. So, for example, during the day Dr. Zalka alternates between a hydrating facial oil and an antioxidant-rich vitamin C serum, and at night she targets signs of aging with either retinol or peptides.

Check out the video above to see exactly which steps are in each derm's routine, and give your go-to products a much-needed night off by trying the leapfrog method out for yourself.

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