How to Care for the Skin You're In

Dermatologist Rehana Ahmed shares more tips for smooth, glowing, and yes, wrinkle-free skin.

You need about a shot-glass full of sunscreen when you apply. If you’re using a cream, you should look white at first when you rub it in. Or use one of the spray sunblocks. Coolibar makes clothing with SPF, and you can also use Rit wash on your laundry for SPF.

Use a product with salicyclic acid or benzoyl peroxide if you’re struggling with acne. It opens pores and brings down inflammation. You can supplement with a prescription if it’s appropriate. Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and blue light treatment are all safe strategies too. I’m OK with Accutane; you just have to monitor it very carefully. Basically, it’s a high dose of vitamin A, and it’s been used for a long time in dermatology.

If you exfoliate your skin, you’re removing the dead skin and allowing your products to absorb and do a better job. You can overdo it, though, and strip away natural oils. Moisturized skin hides fine lines. Most anti-aging night creams—ROC, Neutrogena, Olay—deliver retinoids or retinols, which work on unplugging pores and stimulating collagen (the deeper substance of the skin). As to whether it prevents some of the precancerous lesions and skin-cancer lesions, final word is still out.

I should be a representative for Cera Ve. It’s one of my favorite moisturizing creams and you can get it at Walgreens. Vanicream is preservative free. They have soaps, shampoo, conditioner, and gel.

Botox is a purified protein of the botulinim toxin. It’s considered very safe. I’m a frowner, so I put Botox [between my brows]. I don’t want patients to think I’m frowning at them. I always intentionally undershoot patients, and let it kick in. People still need to have expression. Bring in a photograph for your dermatologist of when you think you looked your best.

In Minnesota, you can go to a lot of spas and have things like Botox done, but those people are not necessarily trained in facial anatomy and what’s supposed to happen with facial structure with time.

I don’t recommend fillers unless there’s something to be filled. With time, all of our faces drop. Our cheeks aren’t as plump, or we get jowls. But Botox is considered very safe, and it wears off in six to 12 months. It’s a way to correct something nonsurgically.

There are really good quality studies out there saying Vitamin C is a helpful, brightening antioxidant for your skin, and that it makes your sunblock work better. Both Revision and Skin Medica have great sunscreens with Vitamin C.

Monitor your moles and look for changes every few months. If any are changing or growing compared to others, itching, or if something about them makes you uncomfortable, then get them looked at.

Learn more from dermatologist Rehana Ahmed in “Secrets to Sensational Skin.”