Keep reading for tips on how to maintain healthy skin from a Board Certified Dermatologist!
What creams do I use? I always get that question in my office. And I always mention four creams that I like to recommend. One is a moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated and keep that moisture in. Two is a sunscreen. Three is an antioxidant cream or serum. Four is a retinoid.
First, use a moisturizer that you like and that feels good on your skin but also consider your skin type. If you have oily skin, try to find a moisturizer that’s in a lotion form that way it doesn’t contribute to your oily skin. If you have dry skin, you want to use a cream form. Again, if you have sensitive skin, consider something with aloe. Moisturizers are also coming with antioxidants or SPF, so those are a good way to double up on some of those creams.
As far as sunscreen, I always recommend a broad spectrum sunscreen. I like to say the higher the number the better, although we know that SPF protection drops off once you get to above 30. The reality is that we don’t use sunscreen properly. The recommended amount of sunscreen to put on our face and bodies is one ounce every two hours. Now I can guarantee that nobody is doing that, and it’s very difficult to do. So by going up into higher SPF levels, we’re not saying that the SPF is getting stronger. We’re saying that you’re not using it properly so we might as well try to get the most SPF because we are not applying it correctly. I like natural ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (if you don’t get the micronized nanoparticle versions). They don’t absorb into the skin so they’re not dangerous for you.
Third is an antioxidant cream. While sunblock stays on the surface and stops the sun from entering, it does nothing to protect you on the inside. Antioxidant creams or serums can go into the top layers of the skin and actually deal with some free radical damage and stop the oxidation process. Also, some of them contain acai berry and some contain green tea extract and those are some good baseline things to look for in an antioxidant cream.
The fourth thing we talked about as far as topicals is a retinoid. Retinoids regulate the overturn of the epidermis. They also help unclog pores and keep the skin working and functioning properly. I think it’s very important for all ages to be on a retinoid that’s a prescription (the over the counter term is called retinol). However, it can be irritating so start every other day or every third day and see how it does on your skin because it can start to cause redness if you start every day.
Bobby Awadalla, MD, is a Board Certified Dermatologist. He belongs to The American Academy of Dermatology, The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and The American College of Mohs Surgery. He earned his medical degree with honors from Drexel University College of Medicine. Dr. Awadalla then went on to become chief resident at Virginia Commonwealth University. He honed his skills in Mohs micrographic surgery, a tissue-sparing skin cancer removal and facial reconstruction procedure, and other cosmetic dermatology procedures as a fellow at Methodist Hospital/Weill Medical College of Cornell University in Houston. He has also published numerous papers in the field of dermatology. Dr. Awadalla currently practices at Coast Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center in Laguna Beach, CA.