The 5 Skin Care Questions Our Dermatologists Always Get Asked
It’s no secret that dermatologists are among the most trusted experts in the skin sphere, which is why we turn to them for advice on a wide range of topics be it how to get rid of acne or how to prevent wrinkles. And we’re not the only ones seeking answers, which led us to wonder: what skin care questions are dermatologists asked most frequently? The only way to find out is to ask of course, so ask we did. Below, discover answers to five skin care questions our consulting dermatologists are presented with on the regular.
FAQ 1: DO I REALLY NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY, EVEN WHEN I AM NOT OUT IN THE SUN?
In short, yes. It’s a total myth that the forecast can dictate whether or not you need to apply sunscreen. Rain or shine, clouds or clear skies, you need to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen onto your skin, and reapply at least every two hours. “Even low levels of UV light exposure add up over a lifetime,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner says. “Even five minutes every day is a significant amount of exposure over many years.”
But it’s not just before a day spent outdoors that sunscreen is necessary. You could be exposing your skin to ultraviolet rays without realizing it, even when you’re indoors. “Light can penetrate through window glass, which means that you are at risk when you are driving or sitting by a window at work,” Dr. Zeichner warns. “UVA penetrates through clouds, so you are at risk even when you cannot see the sun. Sunscreen every day is a must.” Pair your sunscreen use with additional sun protection measures, such as wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and avoiding peak sun hours.
Need a sunscreen rec? Here are some of our favorites.
FAQ 2: CAN’T I JUST SPOT TREAT MY PIMPLES?
You sure can, but according to Dr. Zeichner that’s only a temporary solution. For longer-lasting results, he advises targeting your full face. “The best way to address acne is to get rid of pimples that you have and prevent new ones from popping up,” he says. If you have a pimple on your skin, it’s normal to want to target that one blemish, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean other areas of your skin won’t break out in pimples. “Your face is made of thousands of pipes, connecting your oil glands to the surface of the skin,” Dr. Zeichner says. “Each of those pipes is somewhat clogged. We cannot predict which of those pipes will become blocked enough to result in pimple.”
The best way to take control of the situation? Reach for products formulated with acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. We share a few of our favorites, here!
FAQ 3: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I EXFOLIATE?
The jury’s still out on how often one should exfoliate, and you’ll likely receive differing opinions amongst experts. If you’re looking for Dr. Zeichner’s recommendation, he says exfoliating once per week is sufficient. “If you can tolerate this without irritation, then you can advance to twice per week,” he says. Starting with a lower frequency can help reduce the risk of irritating your skin. If you’re new to exfoliating, especially, starting low and slow can help build up your skin’s tolerance over time.
The reason Dr. Zeichner believes exfoliating once per week is sufficient is because dull-looking skin as a result of dead skin cell accumulation on skin’s surface isn’t so immediate. “It takes about two weeks for a baby skin cell to make its way from the lower level of the skin to the surface,” Dr. Zeichner says, “And then even more time for enough cells to accumulate to give the skin a dull appearance.”
Ready to start exfoliating? Check out these sugar scrubs for gentle yet effective exfoliation.
FAQ 4: HOW DO I STOP AGING?
We hate to break it to you, but you can’t do anything to stop aging. You are getting older by the second, and you can’t stop the ticking hands of time. As it relates to your body’s largest organ, however, you can help slow the visible signs of aging from cropping up on your skin’s surface. “We can certainly slow the process, and it all starts with protection from excess sun exposure,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Arash Akhavan says. This includes wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen each and every day, reapply at least every two hours, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding peak sun hours. You can also make changes to your skin care routine and introduce anti-aging products. “Anti-aging creams and serums that contain ingredients such as vitamin C and retinol and simple in-office rejuvenating procedures are my go-to recommendations,” Dr. Akhavan says.
For a list of our favorite anti-aging skin care products, click here!
FAQ 5: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CICA CREAM?
According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Edward Lain, cica creams are a very popular topic in his practice amongst patients as of late. It’s not surprising, especially since cica creams have been gaining more and more attention in the beauty space recently. Centella asiatica is an ingredient that’s found in all cica creams. Also known as tiger grass, this herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for quite some time. When formulated in products for the face, cica creams can help strengthen the skin barrier. One of our favorites is the L’Oreal Paris’ Revitalift CicaCream. It’s a lightweight cream that hydrates the skin, strengthens the skin barrier, fights the visible signs of wrinkles, and helps to resist signs of aging.