That Cute Leather Back Turtle Look

Unfortunately I have had to see the dermatologist in the past for UN- FUN reasons i.e. NON cosmetic reasons. I have had 2 episodes of pityriasis rosea and also needed to have a suspicious lesion biopsied to rule out melanoma. I did a dermatology rotation in residency and absolutely loved the experience. However the scope of practice in that rotation did not include cosmetic dermatology. SUCKS ! I wanted to learn all about botox, microneedling, anti-aging secrets, lasers, juvederm etc etc. Instead I learned about Psoriasis, Atopic Dermatitis, Seborrheic Keratosis, Stevens Johnson’s Syndrome etc. Blah ! Fast forward to present day when I feel like I hit the JACKPOT when sitting in a cubicle next to the visiting dermatologist. I got some straight forward advice which followed the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) rule and thought it would be great to share.

My mission was to get the secret to preventing signs of aging (since I am a Passionate Preventer and all). I wanted to know about anti- aging products, firming creams, which product was the best, which brand is the best, should I change my regimen, what can I do to deal with and prevent all those nasty blackheads that seem to plague me?

Instead I learned that the beauty industry is a multi- billion dollar industry that preys on people like MYSELF. Get outta town ! I was told that the best “bang for my buck” was listed below in 3 measures that have been proven to be effective with respect to anti-aging.

These interventions are meant to build on CLEANSE, TONE and MOISTURIZE daily, exfoliate bi-weekly and facials when you have extra cash in the bank. My face is not the money maker BUT…

And the 3 actions that provide the best “bang for your buck” were

1. Retinoids which are Vitamin A derivatives are the ONE super ingredient that can deliver that promise of anti-aging benefits to your skin. Retinol is the form found in over the counter products and Retin A is the prescription counterpart. They are safe and effective but should stopped throughout pregnancy. It is also known for causing unwanted side effects such as redness and dryness in the initiation phase but these side effects taper off over weeks of continued use as your skin becomes used to it. They can also cause photosensitivity of your skin, which is why it should be used at night.  Damn, That sounds like a lot of drama to me BUT maybe I will get a prescription and start using it a couple of times a week since all of the research seem to give this Retin A prescription a resounding YES to get that “porcelain skin” look for years to come. Since retinols (available in over the counter products) are the weaker form of this super ingredient, results will take longer to be noticed but also the unwanted side effects will likely be less intense in the initiation stage. study

2. Sunscreen to prevent UV induced skin aging (photoaging), brown spots, premature wrinkling and that leather back turtle look and also to reduce the risk of skin cancers. Read the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Guide to Sunscreen.

3. Botox — yehhhhhh thattttt— I live in Hollywood FLORIDA not Hollywood CALIFORNIA, I was surprised that this one made the list. Botox causes paralysis of the muscles which when contracted cause lines and folds. There are also studies demonstrating that Botox  not ONLY affects muscle contractions but also improves skin quality and skin elasticity by possibly increasing the production of collagen and elastin. I will try to avoid this one for as long as possible but hey ….no hating the players in the game.

There are a few other products that MAY have some potential benefit one of them is Vitamin C.  Topical Vitamin C MAY be beneficial to help prevent/ reverse signs of aging such as sun spots and wrinkles.  However the data for the benefits of using topical Vitamin C is inconclusive. This post is not mean’t to be  detailed about the mechanisms of action of Vitamin C and why theoretically it should be beneficial but I do recommend reading this post here for details on why Vitamin C is only a Maybe and not a definitive.

Moral of the story is to keep it simple. You do not need to keep chasing the next “It” product. Even though I  love the shopping experience for good skin care products I understand that good HABITS of skin care trump the cost or the brands of skin care products.

Again I am NOT a dermatologist this was merely the advice shared with me by a colleague and this is no substitute for a consult with your dermatologist for the best skin care routine for you. Happy reading —- I hope!


Winslow, C. Furthering the understanding of Actions of Botulinum Toxin AJAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. 2015 Aug.

Scott, C. Botox May Have long lasting Anti-Aging Effects. HealthlineNews. 2015 May 21.

Skin Cancer Foundation Guide to Sunscreen. Skin Cancer Foundation.

Siddarth, M et al. Retinoids in the treatment of Skin Aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2006 Dec 1.

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