Q&A with a Dermatologist: Real Advice for Great Skin

When it comes to caring for your skin, there are so many products available promising perfect, glowing results, it’s hard to separate what works from a great marketing campaign.

We posed our top skincare questions to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brittany Carter-Snell. Use her tips and tricks to start taking proper care of your skin or to re-amp your current skincare routine.

What is the most common mistake you see people making with skincare?

The number one mistake I commonly notice is people not utilizing sunscreen daily. Even with all the public service announcements and its emphasized importance in today’s media, the public still believes sunscreen is only for vacation and not for daily use. All patients, even the ones without history of skin cancer in their families, should be using products with at least a 30 SPF. SPF 15 to 20 only protects for discoloration, not the harmful cancer-causing effects from sun exposure.

What are some natural ways to keep your skin healthy?

Everyone should clean their skin in the morning and at night, regardless of their skin type, to remove pollutants from the skin. Our skin captures pollutants from in the air from car exhaust, construction dust and other causes. If your skin is clear, it is still imperative to make sure you clean and moisturize it. Even people with oily skin should use moisturizer because it prevents premature aging.

Are there certain ingredients in skincare you advise consumers to avoid when shopping for skincare products?

Be wary when purchasing products with alcohol as an ingredient, as it is drying, disrupting the skin’s protective barrier, increasing the risk for rashes and secondary infections. Another important fact to note is that toners are not a required step in skincare; although they are growing increasingly popular with today’s skincare frenzy, they are not necessary to maintain healthy skin.

What are some fixes for the most common maladies and skin problems you see in your office?

For dry skin: Use products with hyaluronic acid, which is a molecule responsible for drawing water to the site where it is applied, to increase moisture. Look for brands such as Neutrogena and skinbetter science with this component. Moisturize the skin daily with products such as a moisturizing alternative due to ingredients such as ceramides.

For oily skin: Keep an eye out for products with natural ingredients. Charcoal derivatives work well to reduce oil produced by your skin, along with benzoyl peroxide and retinol. Differin is an affordable over-the-counter acne line containing benzoyl peroxide and retinols to purchase in stores, along with prescriptions your dermatologist can prescribe that are more potent and effective.

Are the expensive, upper-end skincare products worth the money? What are some tips for maintaining healthy skincare on a budget?

You do not need the expensive, upper-end products to maintain healthy skin. When paying for these higher-end products, you are just paying for the aesthetic feel or smell of the product. Stick to dermatologist-approved economic brands such as Cetaphil, Neutrogena, La Rouche-Posay (owned by Loreal) and Aveeno to maintain a healthy skin care routine without breaking the bank.

What is your number one tip for maintaining healthy skin?

Always have overall good health. If your internal health is taken care of, then everything else will follow suit. Maintaining a proper diet, getting enough sleep every night, keeping hydrated with water and of course using sun protection will keep not just your skin, but also what is underneath in good shape!

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Photo credit: People Images

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Read 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips about sunscreen. I think the reason a lot of people don’t wear sunscreen everyday isn’t because they don’t know they should, but rather they lack the motivation and time to add something else to their daily routine. Which is a shame because there are probably other parts of their daily routine that would be better to cut out instead. That said, I feel like some people also shy away from normal sunscreen products because they’re heard there are carcinogens in most sunscreen. But I’ve since learned that it takes huge doses of those chemicals and the extra protection of a stronger sunscreen is way more beneficial than harmful. My own dermatologist helped set me straight on this issue.

  2. That’s good to know that you don’t need any super expensive skincare. I like the idea of getting good skin, but not having to pay a small fortune for skincare sounds good. I should consider going to see a dermatologist to see what they recommend for my skincare.

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