Dr. Viv's Skincare Routine

Skin health is a reflection of a healthy body. Oftentimes people get hyper-focused on skincare products and outside tools, when they should be fixing internal root causes like inflammation, gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, or an overburdened liver/hormonal imbalance.

There is no doubt that external tools like serums/creams, gua sha, and red light therapy CAN help with that glow, texture, and appearance of the skin, but if you have skin issues like eczema, acne, psoriasis - remember skincare is only part of the equation. Please work with your healthcare professional to address root causes too, or everything else will simply be a bandaid fix. 

With that said, let me share my skincare routine with you!

Note: my skin type is oily, acne-prone, and NOT sensitive (glycolic acids or AHA don't even make my skin tingle) - so this may not work for you if you have sensitive skin.

I used to have severe cystic acne and still have large pores and some scarring - which I have to report, my LUMEBOX has helped improve by about 50-60%. I only started noticing the difference after 8 weeks though - so persistence is key! This is the case with most skincare products/tools like retinol, anything you do on your skin takes a while to show up as the bottom layers move up to the surface. 

P.S - I am an affiliate for some of the products I share below. I only sign up to be an affiliate for products I use at home and truly love, so it is a win-win where I can get you a discount code AND earn a commission to support the creation of my educational content. Thank you for using my links and supporting my educational efforts. 

Morning routine:

1. Cleanser - I use either the Dime Gentle Jelly Cleanser, or their Foaming Facial Cleanser (use code vivianchen for 20% off). 

2. Vitamin C - is a must for me daily! I like Dr. Youn's CE antioxidant serum because it has a stable form of Vitamin C, combined with vitamin E which are synergistic. I also like Osea Antioxidant serum which contains Vitamin C + peptides. 

3. Facial oil or moisturizer - if my skin is hormonal and congested, I use this: Dime Blue Facial oil (code vivianchen for 20% off). But most of the time, I use this: Osea Dayglow oil (this is what I use during the day). 

When it's hot and humid e.g. travelling, and I don't want an oil on my face, I use the Osea Seabiotic day cream or Blemish balm. (Use code Platefulhealth10 for 10% off on your first order of Osea)

4. Red Light Therapy - This has become a MUST in my skincare routine, and I've gotten so many compliments on my skin since adopting this practice. Red light therapy has been studied to support collagen production, modulate inflammation in the skin, and reduce breakouts, and it has also helped me with scarring. It took me 8 weeks of consistent use before seeing a difference though.. it's a slow change, not overnight. 

Because LUMEBOX is powerful, I only need to do 6-10 minutes on my face and neck at approximately 5 inches away. Less is more when it comes to red light + skin. If you overdo it (i.e. deliver too much light to the skin, you might notice some dryness/irritation, which should quickly go away once you stop). 

I prefer to use my LUMEBOX in the mornings (and before sunscreen) because it lifts my mood, and gives me an energy boost, AND this paper hypothesized it might protect against UV damage if used in the mornings. I like to take one or two "rest" days from RLT, usually, the mornings after I use retinol (more on that below).

A common question I get is - Do I like LED face masks? Yes and No. They are usually underpowered - which is fine if all you want is to use it for your skin, which requires only around 10J of light energy. But red light therapy has ALSO been shown to support joint/muscle health, soothe inflammation, and aid the body's ability to heal (e.g. cuts/scrapes, injuries), so I wanted a device that could do ALL of these things - get more bang for my buck, since a quality LED facemask can set you back $350-450 already! So I prefer LUMEBOX which I now call my Wellness Swiss Army Knife - not only is it fantastic for my skin, but it also helps me with achy joints/muscles, bruises/scrapes, and so much more. 

5. Sunscreen - currently loving Dime's Tinted Sunscreen [vivianchen for 20% off]- very important if you use retinol, which increases the skin's sensitivity to sunlight. 


1. Double cleanse - I use an oil like Jojoba to oil cleanse and remove sunscreen and makeup, followed by the Dime Jelly cleanser or Dime foaming cleanser (vivianchen 20% off). There are also other oil cleansers out there that turn to a milky emulsion, like Dr. Youn's, if you don't like taking it off with a towel. 

2. I like to use an active at night that helps cell turnover (i.e. gets new skin cells to the surface) and also supports collagen. Retinoids are the actives of choice for that, but most retinol on the market either a) contain very little actives, because they break down so easily or b) contain harmful preservatives like BHA/BHT which are endocrine disrupters.

The retinol that I LOVED sadly has been discontinued because the company went out of business, but I have been trying Osea's new collagen night cream (code: platefulhealth10) and loving it! 

It contains a bio-retinol (derived from algae) which is not a Vitamin A derivative but still acts on the retinoid receptors to deliver similar results. The major advantages are a) it does not cause any redness or irritation and b) it can be used daily and be layered with other actives like AHA, which I love using to de-slough dead skin cells. 

It also contains plant-based collagen rich in amino acids. It has helped plump my skin and given it a radiant glow. 

And since I can use the night cream daily now, I no longer need to skin cycle like I used to. So here's my NEW nighttime routine:

  1. Double-cleanse with an oil first and then a foaming cleanser. 
  2. Spritz of a moisturizing mist - I like Maya Chia Optimist or  Osea Mineral Sea mist (code platefulhealth10), followed by Osea hyaluronic sea serum, and then the new Osea Collagen Dream Night Cream last. 
  3. Twice in the week, I will use swap out the hyaluronic sea serum for the Osea Seaglow Overnight Serum BEFORE the night cream and then wash with the Seaglow Face Scrub the next morning - this combo makes my skin BABY soft and glow like nothing else. 

Although I prefer to red light therapy my face in the mornings, I still use my LUMEBOX at night - but I mainly use it in NIR mode at the back of my neck while I do a 10 minute meditation or yoga nidra to help me sleep. 

There is also no harm in incorporating RLT in your evening skincare routine if that is what works best for your lifestyle - just be sure not to use it after a traditional retinol since the two do the same things to your skin so there is a risk of irritation. 

>>> You can get LUMEBOX at $260 off here: http://www.thelumebox.com/drviv <<< (P.S. we have a sweatshirt promo coming March 8th so be sure to check back then if you want to get a LUMEBOX) 

For a roundup of all of my personal care favorites, click here.