The Clock Stops Here...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Retinol: An Interview with Dr. Erin Gilbert

Dr. Erin Gilbert

Dr. Erin Gilbert is a specialist in skin cancer prevention & treatment, cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery. She is New York based and serves as Assistant Professor of Dermatology  Suny Downstate, Director of Resident Education in Cosmetic Dermatology.  Dr. Gilbert is also the Chief of Dermatology at Woodhull Medical Center. She has appeared on the Dr. Oz show and also works closely with the team at RoC skincare.

As one of their Brand Ambassador's, I  was thrilled when they asked me if there was anything I would like the opportunity to interview Dr. Gilbert about. The topic that immediately came to mind was how best to manage Retinol during the summer months. (After Googling her gorgeous picture, I will admit that I think I would do anything she advised.)

Here are her informative answers to making healthy choices for your summer and year round skincare routine:

DD:  We now know that Retinols are one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients, but they can make us photosensitive. What do you recommend for a day cream with SPF year round?
Dr. Gilbert: Some retinol-containing moisturizers actually contain sunscreens, like RoC's Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30. I also like Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 , La Roche Posay Anthelios ultra light suncreen fluid SPF 60 and Skinceuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50. They protect against damaging UVA and UVB rays.
DD:  Even those of us who avoid the sun can't help but have increased exposure in the summer months. Do you recommend using less Retinol, skipping days or using higher SPF?
Dr. Gilbert:  There are several ways to approach retinol use in the summer. One is to alternate days. I often tell my patients to use their retinol three days a week if they are finding that they are getting too much redness and photosensitivity. This is just as effective as using a retinol daily. Another method is to use what is called "short contact therapy." This is a tried and true method for people with sensitive skin. You apply a pearl sized amount of your retinol to the face avoiding the eyes, then rinse it off after 15-20 minutes and apply your moisturizer or sunscreen. This provides the benefit of the cellular effects without the irritation and photosensitivity. The most important thing when using a retinol is consistency. If you stop using your retinol all together you will see that your skin texture returns to baseline and my patients often experience breakouts as well, particularly during the muggy summer months.

DD: What is the single most important thing women should know about Retinol?
Dr. Gilbert:  First, retinol cannot be used during pregnancy. Although it is applied topically it is considered a no no. Second, retinols provide multiple skin benefits, all of which are desirable: retinols improve overall skin appearance by reducing pore size, reducing fine lines and wrinkles and pigmentation, and they also prevent breakouts. Retinols increase the rate of skin cell turnover which imbues the skin with a glow. Be patient! This process takes about three months to fully take hold, and there is often a period of adjustment where you can experience some minor irritation. During that time go slowly and use your retinol every other day, then increase it to daily use after about two weeks. Sunscreen use is a must to protect your glowing complexion from UV damage and brown spots.
DD:  What are the three most important things a women should do each day to stave off the natural effects of aging?
Dr. Gilbert: 
1. Hydrate by drinking enough water and nourish your skin from the inside by eliminating processed foods and sugar, both of which cause inflammation, aging and bloating.
2. Begin using a retinol nightly if you haven't already to get the glow you are seeking.
3. Add a SPF 30 or higher to your daily regimen. There are many on the market that are in the form of tinted SPF. I use mine in place of makeup so I am streamlining my morning routine. I like La Roche Posay's ultra light tinted SPF or Skinceuticals Physical Fusion for this purpose.
Thank you Dr. Gilbert for taking the time to answer my questions so thoroughly.
Wishing you all beautiful, healthy skin. 

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