Here’s What A Top Dermatologist Wants You To Know About Your Skin
As many of you know, I’ve struggled with acne my whole life. I’ve had breakouts on my back, arms, chest — I’ve had it all. I’ve recently gotten it under control with some changes to my routine. I use retinol a few times a week and apply SPF 50 sunscreen every day to protect my skin and combat brown spots. Karena doesn’t usually have breakouts, but she sometimes experiences dryness and redness.
We’ve also heard from many of you girls with questions about skincare, whether it’s about sun protection, fighting acne or dryness, or how to pamper your skin for a gorgeous glow. So we tapped a top skincare expert, Dr. Jessica Wu, M.D., a Los Angeles-based dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face, to answer all our burning questions. She has some genius advice for giving your beautiful face the best care and love!
How does exercise affect my skin?
Great skin is another incredible perk of working out! “Exercise increases blood circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin,” says Dr. Wu. “The better your circulation, the easier it is for your skin to get enough vitamin C and amino acids to build strong collagen and elastic tissue.” Translation: your skin will look younger and healthier!
What should I do to make sure I don’t break out after a workout?
“It’s best to work out with a clean face,” advises the pro. “The exception is if you’re exercising outdoors, be sure to wear sunscreen. I tell my patients to wash off their makeup before workouts. You can carry a pack of makeup remover wipes to save the blowout and eye makeup.” (We always stash Yes To Cucumber wipes in our gym bag to use before a hot yoga class!) After working out, Dr. Wu recommends washing your face and taking a shower ASAP.
I’m outside a lot. What are the best ways to protect my skin from the sun and pollutants?
You know we wear sunscreen every day (and stash it in our sports bras on the go!). Dr. Wu advises the same thing. “Apply an antioxidant serum to fight pollution, followed by a sunscreen with SPF 30-50,” she says “If you sweat a lot, choose one that says ‘water resistant 90 minutes.’” She also advises eating plenty of brightly colored fruits and veggies, which are high in antioxidants to fight free radical damage from pollution. And ya know that the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan is packed with a rainbow of bright veggies!
What are your recommendations for dry skin?
Dr. Wu has a two-step process to combat dryness: “First, make sure your cleanser is not drying out your face. In general, creamy cleansers are better for dry skin, especially in colder months. Look for ingredients like ceramides to help repair your skin’s natural barrier. Pat dry, don’t rub with a towel,” she explains. “Second, choose a moisturizer containing squalane (my current favorite dry-skin fighter), which acts like bubble wrap to help seal in moisture.”
What about oily skin?
“Oily skin usually means large pores, so it’s important to keep pores clean,” the derm says. “Choose a foaming or gel cleanser to remove oil effectively, and exfoliate once to twice a week.”
What is your ideal skin routine in the morning and night?
The ideal routine is different for everyone, says the pro, but she has some go-to guidelines:
Morning: Cleanse, treatment step, sunscreen, makeup. The treatment step depends on your skin. For breakouts, it could be an acne gel. If you’re starting to see fine lines around your eyes, it would be Vitamin C serum.
Night: Cleanse, treatment, moisturize, eye cream. At night, the treatment step might be a sulfur mask for breakouts or a retinol serum for fighting fine lines and/or dark spots.
What foods would you recommend for a beautiful complexion?
To relieve dry skin, Dr. Wu recommends loading up on foods like salmon and trout that are high in DHA and EPA, omega-3 fatty acids known to soothe dryness and rashes. Try the Simple Salmon Bake from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan! Lycopene, an antioxidant found in cooked and sun dried tomatoes, can help fight sun damage. This Zucchini Pasta with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes is so yum!
What is the No. 1 piece of advice you tell your patients to get healthy, glowing skin?
“Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night,” says Dr. Wu. “Studies show that lack of sleep makes your skin dehydrated and dull.” Plenty of sleep will also help speed up your metabolism and energize you for your Booty Call! Check our tips for better ZZZs HERE!
What are your top skincare tips? Tell us in the comments! PS: I’m looking for something a little less harsh than the retinol I’m using now. Any suggestions?