skincare, sweets, and Oxford commas

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The #1 way to improve problem skin

Overwhelmed by all the products, diets, and methods that claim to have amazing effects on your skin? Cut through the clutter with this tip. From The Jen Project, a skincare blog for busy people. Visit

As a San Francisco resident and Pinterest enthusiast, I understand the appeal of DIY /“natural” skincare. But as a long-time acne sufferer, I turn to one thing above all else for my biggest skincare woes: medical science.

The best way to improve problem skin is to visit a board-certified dermatologist with positive reviews (I found mine on Yelp. ZocDoc has great doctor reviews too).

Here’s why it’s so helpful to visit the derm:

Reason 1: They’re the experts. A dermatologist has spent years and years studying the ins and outs of skin. She’s always on the cutting edge of new scientific research that will help you make incremental improvements in your regimen. The result? Your skin will look and feel its best. Whenever I visit my dermatologist, she tells me about a new academic paper she's read and gives me an actionable takeaway. Most recently, she taught me about the benefits of niacinamide supplements and the clinically-proven (albeit weak) link between dairy consumption and acne.

Reason 2: There’s nothing like one-on-one guidance. When you’re breaking out, talking to a knowledgeable human being makes a huge difference. Not only can a dermatologist give you emotional support, but by talking with you, she'll also pick up on signals about your overall lifestyle and health that could be impacting your skin. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions in skincare, and a dermatologist can help you hone in on what products and techniques suit your particular lifestyle and skin chemistry. Over time, a dermatologist can hold you accountable for a new regimen you’re trying and motivate you to keep at it! Patience is a virtue when it comes to skincare.

Reason 3: You want products and methods that work. Most importantly, your dermatologist can prescribe you topical and oral medications. Plus, she’ll oversee your application of those meds to ensure optimal results. For example, I only started having success with retinoids once I followed my dermatologist’s advice on how to apply them. Applied incorrectly, retinoids were a disaster for my skin. But with greater compliance, they became - and continue to be - a miracle-worker for me. See my past post for more info on how I apply my retinoid product, Atralin.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with trying things like DIY honey face masks or turmeric smoothies for better skin. DIY skincare can improve skin tone and texture. But don’t expect the dramatic improvements I saw with meds like Accutane and Retin-A. I’ll tell you all about my Accutane experience in a future post - stay tuned!
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