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Skin Q&A - Ask The Doctor

Which beauty products should I splurge on?

Unless you have sensitive skin or common preservative allergies, there's no need to splurge on a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, or mineral sunscreen; these are readily available at the drugstore. I advise patients to invest in products with active ingredients like Retinol for reducing fine lines and building collagen, as well as those containing antioxidants such as vitamin C or E. Higher quality versions of these products often feature superior packaging to

maintain stability and enhance effectiveness over time.

What are your favorite “Drug Store” products?

Aquaphor is an excellent product, especially for treating cracked lips, providing effective relief that I find unparalleled. Additionally, it works wonders for dry and cracked hands. I

prefer Cetaphil non-foaming facial cleanser for its gentle effect that doesn't strip natural oils, preventing the need for excessive moisturizing and potential pore clogging. For an over-the-counter alternative to prescription Tretinoin, I recommend LaRoche-Posay's Effaclar, specifically the version with adapalene, a less irritating molecule. It provides a

middle ground between gentler retinals and stronger prescription options. Additionally, for mild dermatitis or itchiness, over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone, like Cortaid, applied

twice a day, is effective in resolving most issues.

What is the most important skin care product to use?

SUNSCREEN. And it's important to choose the right one. Mineral sunscreens, with zinc or titanium as active ingredients, are now technologically advanced, eliminating the chalky feel. They effectively block all types of light, protecting against aging, brown spots, collagen

degradation, and melasma. Consider a daily moisturizer with a mineral component for sun protection, even if staying indoors. The emphasis on SPF remains vital for skin health.

If you're seeking a product beyond sunscreen, retinol is a game-changer. Consistency matters more than strength. Using a milder retinol daily is more beneficial than sporadic use of

a stronger one. Contrary to popular belief, retinol doesn't inherently make skin sun-sensitive. Applying it in the morning is acceptable, though it's less photostable. Retinol's side effects, like irritation, may have contributed to the misconception. Retinol is like exercise – it is most effective when used regularly.

How important are facials?

My quick answer would be that I have never had a facial before in my life, so that should tell you how important I think facials are! Facials encompass a wide range of treatments, from relaxing massages to more specialized procedures. While a standard facial can be

enjoyable during a vacation, individuals with sensitivities might experience adverse reactions, such as allergic dermatitis or breakouts from oils used. However, when performed by welltrained aesthetic providers, facials can be beneficial. Treatments like the hydrafacial, a mild and wellmarketed option, offer a gentle approach similar to medical-grade microdermabrasion. It facilitates better penetration of pharmaceuticalgrade products into the skin, enhancing their effectiveness. Caution is necessary, as increased product penetration may lead to irritation. Facials by qualified providers, especially those addressing clogged

pores, can be useful on a monthly basis. They contribute to unclogging pores and reducing their prominence. However, facials are not effective for addressing concerns like brown spots,

fine lines, redness or skin tightening.

I look so old. What are your tips for looking refreshed and younger?

As a dermatologist, addressing concerns about looking older is a nuanced process. It's crucial to identify specific issues rather than merely addressing the general perception of aging. Individuals often pinpoint certain areas, such as under the eyes where darkness or volume loss can occur, contributing to a tired appearance. Others may express concerns about sagging skin, loss of jawline definition, or facial drooping, which can be addressed

with injectables. Additionally, skin texture issues, dullness, brown spots, or redness fall into the category of a "skin envelope problem." Improvements can be achieved through treatments like lasers, chemical peels, or enhancing at-home skincare routines.

I don't want to do anything invasive. What other options can I try?

It depends on what you are trying to achieve. Beyond injectables, there are various non-invasive options for addressing skin concerns. Laser treatments offer different levels of

effectiveness, including skin-tightening lasers for collagen remodeling, those targeting specific issues like brown spots or redness, and others that enhance overall skin texture. Some patients, especially those with darker skin or conditions like melasma, may opt for

light chemical peels, providing a few days of mild peeling for improved skin smoothness and pigment.

Micro-needling, a technique involving a stamping device, induces a controlled wound response in the skin, promoting collagen production. Radiofrequency micro-needling combines the effects of heat (radiofrequency) and microneedling to address fine lines, texture,

and pores. These alternatives provide a range of choices for individuals seeking non-injectable solutions for their skincare needs.

Does dermaplaning work? And if yes, what's the best way to do it?

Dermaplaning is effective for specific concerns, functioning like a squeegee to remove superficial dead skin and peach fuzz. At-home dermaplaning tools, available at places like Sephora, are suitable but require caution due to their sharpness. Professional dermaplaning

involves using a straight blade without cutting, providing a form of exfoliation. While dermaplaning can be beneficial for gentle exfoliation, not everyone needs it. Avoid it if your skin is dry and cracked, as exfoliation may compromise the skin barrier. Instead,

focus on hydrating and repairing the skin barrier in such cases. However, for those looking for occasional, gentle exfoliation to enhance makeup application and skincare product

penetration, dermaplaning can be a suitable option. Additionally, it is effective for removing peach fuzz or facial hair that cannot be treated with lasers due to its color.


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