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Skincare Advice from a Nurse Practioner

Happy Friday, everyone! I am very excited about today’s post because my friend, Jordan Harper, is joining me to answer a few questions from a skincare expert’s opinion. I love learning anything and everything about skincare but I also am fully aware I’m not an expert or a licensed professional. I was recently in Charleston staying at the beautiful The Restoration & Jordan came to hang out for some girl time. And when I say girl time I mean me bombarding her with 100,000 questions and making her look at and dissect every stray line and bump on my face. I thought it would be fun to get her to answer a few skincare questions and have her give you her expert advice.

You can read more about Jordan on her site but let me tell you that she is the BEST in the game. If you have skincare concerns it is worth taking a trip to Charleston and booking a consultation with her asap! She also shares a wealth of information on her instagram account. A lot of the items she is recommending are expensive because like it or not the expensive products are legit and what actually work. She does recommend that if you want to save money do it on a cleanser like Cetaphil or an in-expensive eye moisturizer because you should be investing in your serums & retinoids. One of the sites that I love buying these items from is Dermstore. Let’s talk about everything you should buy, shall we!

skincare guide for 20s, 30s, 40s

Q&A With Jordan Harper, FNP-C

CC: What are the bare minimum products everyone should be using?

JH: Everyone should be using these three products daily: a vitamin c serum, a sunscreen, & a retinoid.

CC: I use these three products that Jordan recommended every day. First, I wash with my Tula cleanser (save 20% w/ code CRISTIN), then I apply this vitamin c serum. If I’m very dry I follow it up with this face oil. After that I use this sunscreen which also acts as a primer for my daily cc cream. If I’m wearing my foundation instead of a cc cream I will apply this primer after the sunscreen. I night I again wash my face with my Tula cleanser then I apply a prescription retin-a from Obagi. I will also use eye creams and serums depending on the condition of my skin. I tried a sample of this serum from Jordan and I really want to invest in the entire bottle which I would use after my retin-a. – Cristin

CC: Why is vitamin C good? Is there a cheaper vitamin c you recommend

JH: Vitamin C is a skincare staple because it provides UV protection by making sunscreen more effective, fights premature aging by fighting free radical damage, stimulates collagen production, prevents and fades skin discoloration/pigmentation, and improves the texture of the skin. The reason why Vitamin C is so pricey is because the PH has to be 3.5 or lower or the product won’t penetrate the skin. So thats why the majority of Vitamin C aren’t worth spending money on because they can’t guarantee the PH while remain stable over time once it has be opened and exposed to oxgyen.

Gold standard Vitamin C: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

Prone to break outs: Phloretin CF by Skinceuticals

The BEST cheaper alternative that actually works: Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+E (with Ferulic Acid)

CC: Is eye cream necessary? What is a good expensive one and a good cheap one?

JH: Eye cream is not necessary, its better to have the core 3 (a vitamin c serum, a sunscreen, & a retinoid) than an eye cream. Add an eye cream once you already have those three as staples in your routine.

Good expensive: NeoCutis Lumiere

Good cheap: Vaseline/aquaphor or Avene Retrinal EYES

CC: What are your favorite at-home devices?

JH: My absolute favorite- Tinkle razors. I’m a dermaplaning / face shaving junkie. I’ve been using the GloPRO for about a month, I haven’t noticed any difference in my skin but I do like using it. I also like the ZOE for cleansing.

CC: What is dermaplaning and why do you do it?

JH: Dermaplaning is basically just a fancy name for shaving your face. Tinkle razors are a super affordable DIY way to dermaplane. In office treatments are around $100/treatment. Benefits include: Exfoliation for the face. Increase skincare product absorption & allows makeup to go on smoother. Removal of peach fuzz. Minimizing appearance of fine lines/wrinkles. Makes your skin look glowy and amazing.

CC: What is the Zoe and what does it do?

JH: ZOE is a silicone cleanser, facial massager, and used for deeper application of skincare products all in one device. This is an awesome replacement for a Clarisonic. No changing of brush heads either which is awesome and much easier to keep clean. When you use it with serums it prevents the product from being absorbed by your hands and because our hands harbor bacteria it keeps our skin cleaner as well. You can get 25% off and free shipping using code JORDANHARPER

CC: When we were at dinner the other night you were blowing my mind talking about exfoliating. Tell everyone why exfoliating is CRUCIAL.

JH: You should be exfoliating because old skin cells can get stuck on top of the skin surface, which causes the skin to look dull and can cause breakouts. A good rule of thumb is if you’re in your 20’s: exfoliate twice a week; 30’s: 3 times/week.

There are three types of exfoliators that are available in stores:

  • Chemicals // The first type is referred to as chemical exfoliators. These usually have Glycolic Acid, AHAs and BHA. They seep deep into the skin and exfoliate by destroying old skin cells. A good one is M61skincare PowerGlow Peel
  • Scrub // Unlike chemical exfoliators, scrubs contain grainy substances that remove dead cells from the surface of the skin. I recommend Zoskinhealth Exfoliating Polish
  • Enzymes // Exfoliators with enzymes usually contain papaya or pineapples and are usually used by people with sensitive skin or rosacea. They dissolve the dead cells without scrubbing. Naturopathica Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel is awesome!

For normal skin type, the best treatment will be mild and alcohol free, usually a chemical exfoliator. If you have oily skin, a scrub will work best for you. Dry skin will need a chemical treatment that tightens the skin and reduces fine lines. Enzyme treatments are proven to be the best exfoliators for people with sensitive skin.

CC: What are good moisturizers that won’t break you out?

JH: I’m not a huge fan of moisturizer. A lot of times we really don’t even need it and because of that using it can clog pores, especially if prone to breakouts. I use EltaMD UV Clear as my sunscreen and moisturizer for the majority of the year. I’ve recently started using Intensive Daily Repair by Suzan Obagi which is a moisturizer and exfoliator which is great for preventing breakouts and gentle enough to use as a daily exfoliator. In lieu of moisturizers for people prone to breakouts I recommended a hydrating serum. Skinceuticals HA intensifier or SkinMedica HA5 are amazing. They are pricey but both should last 5 months if used as directed.

CC: What can you do for rosacea?

JH: Rosacea can be managed by avoiding triggers like: spicy foods, alcohol & sun. A daily sunscreen and vitamin c serum are crucial for people with rosacea because you need as much sun protection as possible. We do a series of in-office IPL treatments (3 treatments spaced 2-3 weeks apart) followed by 20 min under the red light and people generally have resolution of their rosacea for about a year. If you are looking for a good sunscreen that will defer heat from your face then try Obagi Sun Shield. Basically it blocks the heat so it doesn’t allow your skin to get too hot which triggers a rosacea flush.

CC: What can you do for acne scars?

JH: Best thing for acne scars is Microneedling with PRP

CC: A lot of my readers messaged and wanted to know what they can & can’t do if they are pregnant or breastfeeding?

JH: Retinoids and Injectables are not safe while pregnant/breast feeding.

CC: What is your am and pm skincare routine?

JH: Your skincare routine should look something like this:

AM Routine

Cleanse: I use Skinceuticals Foaming Cleanser or Obagi Foaming Cleanser

Tone: I use ZO toner, (Sometimes I just use toner in the AM and don’t wash my face)

Serum: Vitamin C should go on the skin 1st before any other serum. (Ideally waiting 5 minutes before apply your moisturizer to allow the serum to fully dry.) I’ve been using Skinceuticals Phloretin CF for a few years and last week started Obagi 20% Vit C–  so it’s too soon to do a comparison between the two. (*OPTIONAL: I use Skinceuticals AOX eye gel which is an eye serum that provides environmental protection.)

Moisturize/SPF: I use EltaMD UV Clear as my moisturizer and SPF com

PM Routine

Cleanse: I use Skinceuticals Foaming Cleanser or Obagi Foaming Cleanser

Tone: You don’t have to use a toner but I have been using one for years and love it, especially if my skin feels dry after cleansing. Toners help to balance the PH in the skin and allow for better product absorption

Retinoids: There is a lot to say about retinoids. If you’re in your twenties and struggle with break outs Differin is a great affordable option you can get at any drugstore. If you’re in your 30’s my favorite retinoid is Obagi 0.05% gel. Which can only be purchased through a medical provider, unfortunately. But its awesome.

Moisturize: I generally always moisturize with my retinoid because I get to dry. Currently using Obagi Hydrate. In the winter I used Skinceuticals Triple lipid Restore but now that we are getting to the warmer months I don’t need that heavy of a moisturizer.

Thanks for reading everyone! And a huge thanks to my friend, Jordan Harper, for answering all of these questions. You can access all of my other skincare posts on this page and make sure to visit Jordan’s site & follow her on her Jordan’s Instagram for more valuable skincare information! I’m working on another skincare post for next week with every single product I like + all of the latest and greatest skincare gadgets and trends I’ve been reading about. If you have a specific question ask it below in the comments!


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Skincare Advice for 20s and 30s

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  1. catherine says:

    Hi! Is there a good alternative to retinoids if pregnant?

  2. Aj says:

    While pregnant what product would you recommend to replace retinoids in the pm?

  3. Kelly says:

    Curious to know her thoughts on the Tula cleanser?

  4. Colby says:

    Great post! Very informative!

  5. Elissa says:

    Is there a specific product she would recommend to shrink pores?! Thanks!

  6. Karen says:

    For the facial sunscreen, what is the rule of thumb for SPF? EltaMD has 46, 40, and 30 SPF.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been using the M61 Peel and so far like it. On the nights I use it, I don’t put anything else on my skin. Is that right?

  8. Ashlea says:

    I know you are a fan of Sweetgrass in Charleston but who do you recommend in the Greenville area?

  9. Adrian says:

    We agree that the Zoe from Qyksonic is a marvelous powered cleanser which is why we carry it at What we love most is when you combine it with our GX-Life Skincare collection the results speak for themselves which is why we decided to launch our skincare range and have the Qyksonic team along with us at the Beverly Hills event this year.

  10. Holly says:

    All the great questions I would ask! So great!!

  11. […] three items. First is the use of Retin-A which I have been using for over 12 years. Second is my friendship with Jordan Harper and getting laser treatment from her. Third is that I dermaplane at home. Dermaplaning is […]

  12. […] Cooper and her friend, who is a Nurse Practitioner with a speciality in aesthetics. They did a blog post together all about skincare and Jordan gave some amazing advice! Jordan also has a blog explaining what […]

  13. […] a 3 in 1 because you could use it as your moisturizer, too! It was recommended to me by my friend, Jordan Harper, and is a great product to have on […]

  14. […] SKINCEUTICALS PHLORETIN CF // My Vitamin-C serum. You can read more about this serum and why you should be using Vitamin-C here! […]

  15. […] for those with acne prone skin (like myself). I personally use the Skinceuticals one, but my friend Jordan Harper recommends this one as […]

  16. Adam Keith says:

    I have Bought the vitamin c serum from deppatch ( and its result was good

  17. Ashley says:

    Thank you! I always forget the order so this is great!