Q. How important is cleansing?
A. Cleansing is the basis to healthy skin and is necessary to remove oils, grime, pollutants, etc. from the skin that can cause sensitivity or congestion, leading to breakouts. It also helps pave the way so that beneficial actives can penetrate the skin. The secret is to use a cleanser formulated for your specific skin condition and to moisturize immediately after. We always recommend at The International Dermal Institute that one use a non-soap cleanser; soap is alkaline and it strips the natural barrier lipid layer from the skin, which can lead to dehydration and sensitization.
Q. What is the most common mistake people make with their skin?
A. We self-prescribe when we should be relying on a skin care professional to properly analyze our skin. Most people don’t realize that they can have multiple skin conditions on their face. For example, you may have congestion and excess oiliness in the T-zone, dehydrated cheeks and hyperpigmentation on the forehead. Each of these areas is a different skin condition. Without proper analysis, you may not realize that you in fact have dehydrated skin that is oily.
People also don’t realize that skin adapts to micro-climates and environments. You need to be aware that the environment indoors can impact your skin as much as a change in seasons or weather outdoors. Likewise, people don’t realize that stress can lead to skin sensitivity; this is an area we have studied extensively at The International Dermal Institute. A professional skin care therapist can help you to understand the relationship of all of these factors and the role they play in your skin condition.
Q. What steps must you be sure to include if you’re short on time?
A. Cleanse and moisturize. As we said earlier, clean skin is the basis of healthy skin. Within one minute of patting the skin dry after cleansing, apply a moisturizer that hydrates and seals in hydration. Ideally, use a moisturizer with a built in SPF to protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage for daytime.
Q. What is your best tip for face and body during winter, when many experience dry and sensitized skin?
A. Keep skin hydrated! You have one minute after bathing or cleansing to trap moisture into the skin. Spray a hydrating mist over the skin and immediately lock in with a very emollient moisturizer. Follow with sunscreen. Don’t forget to use a physical sunblock around the eye area (chemical sunscreens can be irritating to the eyes). Once or twice a week, exfoliate to remove excess dry cells that accumulate on the surface of the skin.
Q. What’s the difference, the benefits and the negatives of synthetic ingredients vs. natural ingredients?
A. So many people think that using natural ingredients in skin care products means they must be healthier for you, when the truth be told, there is no proof of that. As a matter of fact, speaking as a cosmetic chemist and a plant biochemist (this is my Ph.D.), I can tell you that plant extracts, as wonderful as they may be, can cause a higher degree of skin reactions than synthetic ingredients when used in cosmetics. Just consider the number of people with hay fever and other plant allergies. The biggest advantage of using a naturally made cosmetic vs. one that has many synthetic ingredients is the marketing hype you can associate with the product and the public’s perception that natural must be better for you. There is simply no proof of this assumption.
Personally, some of my favorite ingredients for high performance efficacy are ynthetically made. For example, peptides and retinoids are all synthetically made and are by far more effective than any natural or plant-derived active.
Q. Will scientists ever find a cure for rosacea?
A. There are many factors that contribute to rosacea and scientists are learning more and more yearly. Like anything else, the more we understand, the greater the potential for developing a treatment for this condition. As a sufferer with mild rosacea, I certainly hope they find a “cure.”
Q. Mineral Oils and Parabens are widely discussed and criticized today. What is your opinion?
A. Mineral Oil is an inexpensive solvent that readily removes make-up from the skin and provides an emollient feel when used as part of a cream emulsion. Unfortunately, it can cause milia in many people, especially when used around the eye area. I always think of Mineral Oil as an oil that just sits on the skin and doesn’t really provide any benefit. There are so many other wonderful oils that I would prefer to use.
As far as the Paraben mess goes, I am very disappointed that the public perception has been misled by certain groups determined to blame Parabens for breast cancer and endocrine disruption; the truth be known even the author of the original research said her work was misconstrued. I have no reservations about using Parabens on myself – that’s how strongly I believe people have over reacted to this.
Q. What can we expect to see in the future in the skin care industry?
A. As scientists make further advances in research understanding how the skin responds to the environment and physiological changes (such as aging, vascular conditions, sebum production, etc. ), we will develop and discover new ingredients that can be used to treat these various skin conditions – no doubt in conjunction with advanced laser technology .
Q. How particular are you about your own skin?
A. I follow the basic principles of “cleanse, hydrate and treat the condition.” Because I travel quite a bit lecturing around the world, I am forever subjecting my skin to dehydrated environments (like airplanes) and fluctuations in climate and humidity. All of these factors can trigger my rosacea and can create what I call transient skin conditions. Fortunately, I have access to just the right products to treat a rosacea flare-up or dehydrated skin, Also, being over fifty,I am always cognizant of treating the signs of aging. I have my favorite Retinol and peptide products for my skin and eye area. I do recognize that the most important product in my skin care regimen is my sunscreen formulated for super sensitive skin. I use it daily, even in the winter.
Q. What’s your favorite ingredient?
A. Without a doubt my favorite ingredient for skin care is Retinol. Not everyone can use this active agent, but it is absolutely the most effective for reversing the signs of aging. When combined with designer peptides, you can optimize the treatment of aging skin.
Q. What is your greatest beauty tip?
A. Wear sunscreen, minimum SPF 30, every single day of the year!!!!!!