I am a dermatologist and these are the three skin care products that I tell all my patients to use

Active ingredients may be the not-so-secret weapon for a healthy, radiant complexion, but Miami dermatologist Annie Gonzalez, MD says there are certain rules of use – and knowing which ones work well together in a skin care portfolio. proper skin is step number one. -a.

“I like to say to patients, ‘Let’s get to know the basics of skin care’.” The reason why, she explains: Each letter is an acronym for the three main ingredients in skin care. “” A “stands for vitamin A, which many of us may be familiar with – these are retinoids and all of its derivatives, including tretinoin and retinol. “B” stands for vitamin B3, and this is what we call niacinamide. Next, “C” stands for Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, and which many of us are already using. Here’s what Dr. Gonzalez says he knows about the trio of superstars.

Do you recommend mixing these ingredients together?

Absolutely. I always tell patients, “Let’s start with vitamin A, retinoids, but start them at night.” These ingredients tend to be very unstable molecules, so heat, UV, and ultraviolet rays can break them down. Then, if you have more sensitive skin, you may want to start with a more tolerated version of vitamin A. For example, retinaldehydes are better tolerated than tretinoin, which is a prescription retinoic acid that tends to cause more surface irritation. My big advice is to start in the evening and start slowly – when you first start using them, try applying once or twice a week, then increase the frequency every night, but gradually.

Do you hear any misconceptions about any of these ingredients?

Patients tell me, “I think retinol lightens the skin, so maybe I shouldn’t be using them for too long.” This is totally wrong! This is a myth that dermatologists should clear up completely. Vitamin A actually makes your dermis, which is this second layer of the skin, more plump. It helps thicken the skin, especially the longer you use them for a long time. Instead of thinning it out, where applicable, it helps keep the skin firmer as it is the only ingredient that actually decreases and directly affects gene expression. Vitamin A basically tells our cells to behave more like younger cells. It also directly promotes the production of collagen, while inhibiting the breakdown of collagen. It is an ingredient that really helps our skin to look younger and stay younger.

Can you share which products you recommend to patients that contain these ingredients?

Tretinoin is the gold standard of anti-aging, but let’s not forget that vitamin A started out as a prescribed medication for acne. And I still often prescribe the generic version for both acne patients and patients who just want to improve the appearance of their skin for photoaging. When it comes to over-the-counter favorites, I really like the brand’s skinbetter science. They have a product called AlphaRet Night Cream that’s great. Alpha stands for alpha hydroxy acid, which they have successfully combined with retinoic acid. The great thing the brand has done is blended these two ingredients into a stable formula and I personally didn’t experience any irritation from it, nor did most of my patients.

I look at vitamin C as the strong antioxidant and I really like it SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. The company has numerous studies showing how effective the formula is in protecting us from free radical damage, pollution, UV – anything that generates reactive oxygen species, which our bodies interpret as stress. oxidative, and this leads to aging skin. What these molecules do is they enter and neutralize these free radicals – or at least the majority of them – which helps decrease premature aging.

I also like the vitamin C from Skinbetter science called the Alto Defense Serum. It is a different type of form of vitamin C, which we call tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (or THD ascorbate)

and that it tends to cause a little less irritation in some patients. I prefer skinbetter science for patients with more oily and sensitive skin. Then, with CE Ferulic, which is a very well known and appreciated product, I prefer to recommend to more mature and dry patients.

Niacinamide, or vitamin B, may not be as well known to some patients. What do you recommend to look for on the ingredient label?

You want to look for concentrations between 2 and 5%. Sometimes you can find between 5 and 10 percent. Going over 10% niacinamide or B3 will not give you more protection and more benefits. In fact, irritation can occur if you exceed 10%. The sweet spot is really between 2 percent and 5 percent.

The other thing about niacinamide is that he’s a really good team player. It works well with other ingredients. Personally, I like to tell my patients, “Go ahead and use it with your retinoid at night. Also, if you want to use it with your vitamin C in the morning, then do that too! You can use it twice a day with no problem. “An easy way to incorporate this water-soluble vitamin is to use a moisturizer that contains it. That way you have all the other benefits of a moisturizer, which usually contains humectants and emollients, but you also have your niacinamide, which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. It also helps aid in hydration by increasing ceramide fatty acids. It has excellent skin barrier function and is ideal for oily patients. Also, if I have one. acne-prone or oily patient and also want to help it regulate some of its sebum production and fix hyperpigmentation issues, vitamin B has these benefits too. It can kind of cover up any skin problem that you might have, and it also works well with vitamin C and retinoids.

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