Most of my patients are women and probably don’t care much about what I use on my face. But, what I have my wife use on her skin-now that could be interesting. So here it is, the list of secret weapons that I have my wife use so that she looks beautiful forever.
#1 Sunscreen and Moisturizer:
Getting her to wear sunscreen everyday has probably been the hardest to do. She’s got a Mediterranean complexion and seems to be able to get a tan while checking the mail. And like many women, she likes looking tan. In fact, she used to go tanning when we first met. I tried talking her out of it and didn’t get anywhere. However, once my best friends in residency, who were women dermatologists told her that if she kept tanning she’d end up looking older than me in a few years—no more tanning.
The point of this: Your skin essentially would not age significantly if you protect it from the sun. The signs of aging, the sagging, the drooping, the wrinkles, the bags around the eyes, the blotchiness, the spots, pretty much all of it comes from sun damage. Our skin maintains itself by turning over its collagen, but if you get enough ultraviolet light to get a tan, your skin will stop making collagen for a whole day. One day of aging. Protect your skin from the sun, no loss of collagen, no aging.
Hands down, the single most important thing you can do to stay young looking is to use a daily sunscreen on your face.
What sunscreen does my wife use on her face every day?
In the summer: Neutrogena clear face This is a strong sunscreen, SPF 55, meant for acne prone skin. Like many women in their 30s, my wife still gets acne, so this product is awesome for her. She gets great sun protection and it doesn’t make her breakoout.
In the winter: When the sun is less intense, she relies on the sunscreen in her foundation, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheers which is a SPF30 and is packed with antioxidants.
#2 Acne and Wrinkle Treatment:
Recently a patient exclaimed “Its not fair that I have acne AND wrinkles”. I agree.
My wife does get acne. One day she’ll get wrinkles, but I’m going to make sure that is a long way off. So the regimen that I have her using is this:
This is a cheap topical antibiotic that is helpful for acne on the chest and back. It also turns out that its great for breakouts after shaving, so its really useful to just have it around.
This is a topical acne medicine that is very gentle on the skin. It causes a little bit of exfoliation, tends to even out skin tone, helps with acne, and has some anti-wrinkle benefits. Its very awesome, but does not work overnight. In fact, its really slow to work, but patience does pay off.
Retin A Micro
I think everyone has heard of retinols for your skin. Retinols are basically potent forms of Vitamin A (and actually get metabolized into vitamin a). In order of increasing strength, you have vitamin A, retinols, and retinoic acid. Each one is about 10x stronger than the previous one. Retinoic acid is great for acne, aging, and wrinkles and requires a prescription. Retinols don’t require a prescriptions and have been added to almost everything for the skin because of how good retinoic acid is. Unfortunately, retinols are 10x weaker and don’t really do much of anything. So, if you want to get any serious benefit, you need one of the prescription retinoic acids.
Retin-A micro is a brand name retinoic acid (tretinoin) that is formulated to be easier to tolerate than other generic forms of tretinoin. After sunscreen, Retin-a is the most important part of my wife’s regimen. It is a great acne medicine, but has huge cosmetic side effects. After 6 months of use, we know that Retin-a leads to a measurable increase in collagen in the skin. Its not exactly the fountain of youth, but IT WILL MAKE YOU LOOK YOUNGER. It just takes time. Retin-a is also capable of getting rid of some precancerous lesions from sun exposure. It also tends to lead to some exfoliation and more even skin tone. So less acne, less wrinkles, reduction in precancerous lesions, exfoliation, and more even skin tone. This was the FIRST thing after sunscreen that I got my wife using.
Frankly, I’m convinced that at least 90% of dermatologists use some version of tretinoin every day. I do. My wife does. Most of the other dermatologists I know also use it.
Purpose. That’s it. Purpose liquid cleanser. It costs about $8. It does a decent job removing makeup (except mascara), but is REALLY gentle on the skin. It is a synthetic detergent that is capable of cleaning at a neutral pH unlike natural soaps which only function at an alkaline pH which tends to irritate the skin quite a bit and dry it out.
Finding your own plan
So there you have it, all the secret weapons a dermatologist uses on his wife’s skin to keep her looking young and beautiful. The good news is, they are not really secret and are in fact very basic and simple to use but have a big impact.
The basic components of this regimen are going to be the same for all women: sunscreen, moisturizer, and tretinoin. If you do those 3 things diligently, you WILL LOOK YOUNGER LONGER. However, there are a lot of variables here. Are you acne prone? How much should exfoliation be part of your routine? Do you also have trouble with uneven skin tone? How simple vs complicated do you need/want it to be? With a baby and a toddler at home, my wife needs this to be low maintenance. Her regimen takes about 3 minutes morning at night. This is possible because the focus is on heavy hitting products that give you the most benefit for the price and effort. Come see me today to find out what your secret weapons will be!