When it comes to taking care of our skin, dermatologists know best. As skin doctors, they’re there to help us prevent and protect our skin against scary — read: deadly — ailments (such as skin cancer), achieve our healthiest-looking skin yet, and more. That being said, we often take their knowledge of skin for granted — especially when we just want to get in and out as quickly as possible.
Missed the opportunity to ask your dermatologist for some expert advice? Worry not; we tapped top dermatologist, Dr. Dendy Engelman to find out her best tips and tricks of the trade. Find out what skin care secrets dermatologists swear by, ahead.
1. Cleanliness is key
One of the first — read: most important — tips is to always wash your face and play close attention to your hairline. “When you wash your face at night, pull it back with a headband or towel,” says Dr. Engelman. “The reason for this is because many [people] forget to cleanse their hairlines, which can cause micro-breakouts along that area.
In addition to cleansing your hairline, you should think about your sleep situation. “I also recommend that before going to bed, pull hair back in a loose braid or ponytail because hair acts like a magnet for dirt and pollution, which can rub on your face and bedding,” she adds.
2. Use a serum formulated with vitamin C and phytic acid
In addition to keeping your face clean, Dr. Engelman also suggests using an anti-aging serum formulated with vitamin C and phytic acid. “Integrating a serum formulated with vitamin C and phytic acid to your daily regimen will help improve the appearance of dark spots by mildly exfoliating the skin.”
She recommends using ISDINCEUTICS Melaclear ($75). “ISDINCEUTICS Melaclear is uniquely formulated and gentle enough to use all year round. Other products currently on the market are so harsh, that I usually recommend my patients to stop using it during the summer months.”
3. Splurge on eye creams
Ever wonder what a top dermatologist would recommend you spend your hard-earned cash on? Hint: It’s not Botox. “The eyes are the first place to show fine lines and wrinkles and need delicate care, so it’s worth the splurge to have a separate eye cream,” says Dr. Engelman. One of her go-to products? BIOREWIND® Total Restorative Eye Cream ($95). Enriched with a proprietary Spectrum+ Antioxidant Complex, the splurge-worthy cream targets fine lines, dark circles, puffiness, and sagging skin around the eyes.
4. Do not pop your pimples
You may have heard this tip time and time again, but it’s so important that we’ll say it once more. “If you’re battling a blemish, do not touch it,” says Dr. Engelman. “By touching it, you’re only adding fire to the fuel, [which can] ultimately irritate or infect it,” she adds.
So, what are you supposed to do with a pimple? Dr. Engelman suggests this at-home remedy: “Crush an Aspirin into a dish and add some purified water. Once it becomes paste-like, you can apply it to the blemish. Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory, so it will immediately reduce redness. It also contains salicylic acid, which is one of the most commonly used ingredients in acne products because it works to clean out pores and exfoliates the skin.”
5. Exfoliate your skin twice a week
If you’re battling dull skin, Dr. Engelman suggests getting serious about exfoliation. “Make sure to exfoliate your skin a couple times a week to slough away dulling, dry skin cells [and] reveal smoother, more glowing skin.”
In addition to exfoliating your complexion, Dr. Engelman recommends integrating an exfoliating body wash, such as, Mederma AG Moisturizing Body Cleanser ($15.63). “It helps to maintain skin’s natural moisture balance and provides the exfoliating benefits of glycolic acid in a gentle, pH-balanced cleansing and moisturizing system for the entire body,” she adds.
6. Get your hydration and dose of antioxidants from your diet
In addition to moisturizing your skin with hydrating lotions, Dr. Engelman also suggests taking a closer look at how your diet is keeping your body hydrated. “We’ve all heard that drinking 8 glasses of water a day is an absolute must because it not only cleanses the body, but it also helps to hydrate the skin,” she says. “However, we don’t realize that we can also eat to hydrate. Fruits and veggies have a high water content, plus added nutrients like antioxidants and fiber.”
7. Don’t wait for a problem before scheduling an appointment with your dermatologist
If you haven’t made an appointment to see your dermatologist in a while, this one’s for you. “Don’t wait for a problem before going to the doctor’s office. Make sure to schedule a yearly skin check with your dermatologist,” says Dr. Engelman. “I have patients who have developed skin care issues over a course of 3+ years [and] I only see [them] once the issue has fully developed,” she adds. Annual skin check are important for the prevention of skin cancer and other skin-related ailments that might cause serious harm to your body down the road. Don’t wait until it’s too late.