As we age, what is the one thing we should be doing daily to care for our skin? As dermatologists, the one thing that we preach over and over again is the use of a broad spectrum sunscreen, each and every day. The SPF should be a minimum of 30, but 50 seems to be my magical number now. We do about 80% of the sun damage to our skin by age 20, so using sunscreen early, and often, is our best bet to minimize the damage that will show up in our skin as we age over time.
What is the most common skin-related concern among your patients? I see patients of all ages and with many concerns. In the younger population, I see a lot of acne. Acne is the most common skin concern, which we need to take seriously as dermatologists. There are social and psychological issues with many who have acne and we can minimize this and with the wonderful medicines and light sources we use, make acne better faster than ever.
As we age, we see more and more patients with photo damage and wrinkles, as well as pigment concerns on their skin. For these patients, we have new and exciting skincare from many sources, including antioxidants and growth factors, and some newer skin lightening products. In addition, we have numerous energy based devices, like lasers and radiofrequency devices that can reverse the signs of aging and make the skin younger looking and healthy again.
And as we get even older, we see the beginning of pre-cancerous skin lesions, known as actinic keratoses, as well as skin cancers. Having a good skin exam and examining any lesion(s) that have changed in any way is an important factor in maintaining good skin health. We, as dermatologists, are the most qualified to see these lesions and recommend the most appropriate treatment for them.
What should we be doing differently in our 20s versus our 40s when it comes to skincare? In our 20’s, we need to be wearing our sunscreen daily and be careful in how much sun exposure we have. We need to remind our patients to moisturize their skin regularly and to wear make-up that is mineral based over oil based as much as possible. In our 40’s, we already see patients with sun damage, and therefore, we need to be using skincare products that will take care of the concerns that we see and know are coming. We have wonderful new antioxidant products, new growth factor products, and new skin lightening products that can truly make a difference. In addition, we have lasers and light sources that can do wonders with one’s skin – and this can be determined with a consultation on what works best for you.
How do you know which is the best laser to choose for patient’s skin? Do you have a current favorite, and why? Lasers, known now as Energy Based Devices (EBD’s) because we use much more than lasers today – we also use intense pulsed light or IPL’s, radiofrequency (RF), and ultrasound (US) which all do different and wonderful things for one’s skin, depending upon what we are treating. We have over 40 EBD’s in our clinic, we tell patients that it is important for us to pick the right device for them instead of saying, we have a device and we will make it work for you. We use IPL’s for photorejuvenation and these have become much more sophisticated over time and work extremely well. We have both fractional ablative and non-ablative lasers for rejuvenating the skin and improving skin texture and tone. We use RF devices with pins and needles to improve scars and the skin, as well as RF for skin tightening all over the body. We also have (US) for skin tightening and for fat reduction. So we have many favorites – if they are in our clinic, they are there for a reason and we will tailor the EBD to fit your particular skin concern.
What are some of the new emerging trends or technology within the field? The field of EBD’s is constantly changing – with RF microneedling being very popular now as well as the variety of RF and US devices for skin tightening. We are currently working with several of the laser companies on how to improve these even more. In the injectable world, new fillers and even newer toxins will be coming soon – and we have worked on projects with all of them so we are comfortable using the new products once they have received FDA approval. The aesthetic cosmetic space is always growing and on the move and we try to stay ahead of the curve as best as we can, and we do so by working closely with the companies and performing the clinical research that brings these products to market.
What do you believe is the key to beautiful skin? Besides good genes, it is important to work with a board certified dermatologist and their team regarding what makes your skin beautiful. We are truly the experts in skin and we are the ones who know the most about what may concern you, what causes the concerns, and how best to make these concerns a thing of the past.