Which is better, a comprehensive skin care routine or keep it simple?

Taking care of your skin is often advised by skin specialists and promoted by the cosmetic skin care industry. The idea behind this is to restore and improve the daily wear and tear of your skin. Your skin is influenced by various external and internal factors (nutrition, hormonal, stress, lack of sleep). A study was recently published about what the best care routine is for your skin: simple or extensive.

So many routines and choices?

There are so many different products and skincare routines out there. Think of different trends on social media, I-learned-it-from-my-mom and from your dermatologist: just apply vaseline routine. What should I do, do I keep it simple or is an extensive ritual better? Fortunately, research has been done.

Swedish research, which is better?

Research published in 2020, Swedish researchers attempted to answer this question. Forty-nine women aged between 25-55 years young were divided into two groups.

Group 1 (AR), advanced skin care routine 5 steps: cleanser / toner / eye cream / serum / day or night cream, in the morning and evening.

Group 2 (SR), simple routine: a Cleanser and a Day Cream once a day.

At the start of the study and after 4 weeks, several parameters were documented, superficial and deep skin hydration, pigment, wrinkles (crow’s feet and nasolabial facial folds) and skin pore size.

Conclusion of the study

Skin hydration, pigment spots, wrinkles and skin pores were measured at baseline and after 4 weeks.

The results showed that an extensive skin care routine twice a day was better than simple care. Skin hydration was improved by 92% in the advanced (AR) group versus 16% in the simple (SR) group.

Pigment spot reduction was 11.7% less in the AR group and -2.7% in the SR group.

Wrinkles (crow’s feet and nasolabial folds), in the AR crow’s feet group there were 7.3% less wrinkles versus 2.5% more wrinkles in the SR group. Nasolabial folds decreased in both groups, 10.7% in the AR and 8.3% in the SR simple routine group.

And finally skin roughness and pore size. In the AR group, the skin was – 9.1% less rough and – 14.4% less large. The differences were smaller in the SR group. -1.7% Less rough skin and – 1.2% fewer large pores.

The study showed a skin improvement on all points when you care more intensively and the women in group 1 were also more satisfied with their skin than group 2.

An extensive routine is better than simple skin care

Side note by Dr. Francis Wu.

This study provides more insight into skin improvement if you treat the skin more intensely by expanding the routine. Not many studies have investigated this. However, there are some caveats.

The study groups were small, only 49 people in total. I am also curious what the skin results would be if the period had been longer, for example after 3 months instead of 4 weeks. Collagen stimulation in the skin then starts to get better.

One cosmetic ingredient is not the other. The question is whether the results would have been different if you had examined other skin care ingredients. Silicone gives an instant reduction of your wrinkles by filling the superficial (epidermal) skin wrinkles. While you prefer to have a collagen stimulation in the dermis. A measuring camera on the skin cannot make this difference. An invasive skin biopsy, on the other hand, is possible, but that in turn causes cosmetic objections.

And personally, in addition to a larger group, I would also like to include a heterogeneous female group. An Asian woman has different skin characteristics and wishes than a white woman. This also applies to women from the Middle East or women with dark skin.

Skin Care Routine Results Iconic Elements


Messaraa C, Robertson N, Walsh M, Hurley S, Doyle L, Mansfield A, Daly L, Tansey C, Mavon A. Clinical evidence of benefits from an advanced skincare routine in comparison with a simple routine. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Aug;19(8):1993-1999.

About Francis Wu

“In my dermatology practice, people often ask me about skin-enhancing products. Because I want you as a user to be able to rely on the product you are applying, I have developed my own skincare line: Iconic-Elements. A complete skin care line that stands out because it works (evidence-based)!

While you are here

Parabens do not have a good reputation and during my consultation hours I regularly get questions about this.

Parabens are preservatives, also known as preservatives. A synthetic substance made by reacting carboxylic acid with alcohol (esterification). Parabens hardly occur in nature. It is a misleading claim that parabens can be obtained from fruit and vegetables. Parabens are mainly used as preservatives in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, food and others. Their antimicrobial properties are most effective against fungi and gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus Aureus. For more: Parabens, what’s the problem?

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Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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