As I Dermatology PA, I talk about skin ALL DAY. (And I love every minute of it!) People come to me to discuss everything from acne to more serious conditions like skin cancer. No matter what reason for the visit, the question of skin care often comes up. Keep reading to hear the most common questions I get in my Dermatology practice – along with the answers, (no copay needed!)
1. How should I apply my skin care products?
The hard-and-fast rule for laying your skin-care products is to start with your lightest product and work your way up to thicker, richer textures.
For example, you would cleanse then apply serum, eye cream, and moisturizer. Finally, you can top if off with a facial oil to seal it all in. If it is morning, sunscreen takes the place of the oil as a last step.
2. What can I do for dry skin? Lotions and creams are not working.
This is all too common. This is especially true for my older patients. They swear they are slathering on lotion but their skin is still dry, scaly, and sometimes even itches.
My first question for them is “what do you use to wash?” Often they are using something very harsh because there is a misconception that if it does not lather up, it must not be getting you clean. Not only is that a myth, but soapy products often strip the skin of oil which leads to dry skin.
My advice is to use a gentle cleanser (not soap) and follow immediately with a cream (not a lotion).
Keep in mind that as we age we lose moisture. If you are especially dry, I suggest a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Both of these ingredients are depleted as we age so replacing them can work wonders on dry skin.
3. What should I use for dark spots?
The blanket term for discoloration on the skin is called hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is a fairly universal skin issue. While hyperpigmentation can take many forms and vary from person to person, one of the most common types of discoloration is known as dark spots.
Dark spots, which are caused by melanocytes (cells responsible for skin’s color) depositing excess pigment into deeper levels of the skin, are often difficult to treat.
But just because it’s troublesome to fade hyperpigmentation caused by previous breakouts, sun damage, or hormonal changes, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to treat dark spots. I usually recommend a combination of over-the-counter and prescription therapies formulated with brightening ingredients, such as vitamin C, licorice root, and kojic acid. For the right candidate, I recommend laser treatments, chemical peels, and /or a retinoid. No matter what caused the discoloration, I recommend sunscreen and sun protection such as a wide hat for every one and every single day of the year.
4. Is my skin condition caused by stress?
If you have ever had a terrible acne flare during finals you may have already realized stress does have some effect on skin conditions.
Stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It can also make it harder for skin problems to heal.
Since stress is unavoidable, I simply suggest trying to manage your stress. I also advise that you continue your usual skin routine during times of stress. So often, people change their routine or simply give up when life is stressful.
5. How can I get rid of the dark circles under my eyes?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Unfortunately, while there are many products to help soothe and de-puff. There really isn’t a lot you can do for dark under eye circles. There is a strong genetic component to dark circles, which is out of people’s control. There are some things that can make them worse such as smoking, rubbing the eyes, and not getting enough zs. There are some medical cosmetic procedure that may help but I would suggest seeing a Cosmetic Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon to discuss your options.
If you are like my patients, you have some of the same questions. I hope this has helped point you in the right direction. If you have other skin care related questions or concerns, I am happy to help! Simply schedule a 20 min Zoom consultation and we will discuss your skin concerns and come up with a custom designed skin routine including product recommendations.