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. I only sign up to be an affiliate for products I use at home and truly love, so that 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. 


1. Cleanser - I use either the Dime Gentle Jelly Cleanser, or their Foaming Facial Cleanser (use code vivianchen for 20% off). I also like the Plantkos Exfoliating Cleanser (I get it from NakedPoppy - use the code Platefulhealth for a discount!)

2. Vitamin C - is a must for me daily! I like Maya Chia, Plantkos, or Mara - all listed here.

3. Facial oil or moisturizer - if my skin needs some TLC, I will use Nakedpoppy organic facial oil, or the Osea dayglow oil. When it's hot and humid, and I don't want a greasy face, I use the Osea Seabiotic day cream or Blemish balm. (Use code Platefulhealth for 10% off!)

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 prevent breakouts, and it has honestly done WONDERS for my skin. It took me 6-8 weeks of consistent use before seeing a difference. 

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, 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 those 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 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!

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 either Nakedpoppy Nourish or Karin Gran oil cleanser (linked here) to help me remove sunscreen/makeup, followed by the cleanser I use in the AM. 

2. Skin Cycle - Based on the idea of 'skin cycling' popularized by Dr. Whitney Bowe, I like to rotate through the following products throughout the week. The idea is that this regimen helps the skin resurface while supporting collagen production so that in 4-6 weeks, more youthful, brighter skin comes to the surface. This is not set in stone, and honestly not been scientifically studied - it's based on mechanisms around how the skin works, but has worked well for me. P.S. with skin, patience is key. Don't expect overnight transformations... it took me 6-8 weeks to really see a difference in my skin with red light therapy: 

  1. Night 1: Retinol - Nakedpoppy Renew (possibly the best, clean, retinol I've found to date) - I personally don't need a moisturizer on top of this, but you may if you have dryer skin. The next morning I usually take my LUMEBOX "rest day" as mentioned above - i.e. I don't use it as part of my skincare routine, I do still use it as needed on other parts of my body. 
  2. Night 2: Exfoliation - Osea Seaglow Sea Serum (code platefulhealth gets you 10% off), followed by Nakedpoppy facial oil
  3. Night 3: Rest night - This night I use no 'actives' - only Osea Hyaluronic Acid followed by Nakedpoppy facial oil
  4. Repeat!

Do I still use my LUMEBOX at night? Definitely - I use it to relax and improve the quality of my rest! I find it so relaxing to put it in NIR mode and rest it at the back of my neck while I'm in bed. 9 out of 10 times, I fall asleep before the 12-minute cycle is even up!

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 retinol! 

>>> You can get LUMEBOX at $250 off here: http://www.thelumebox.com/drviv <<<

(P.S We will be having a huge birthday sale next week, so make sure to check my email on May 3rd for details). Subscribe here so you don't miss it!

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