9 Dermatologists Reveal Their Best Skincare Tips
Dr. Ellen Marmur
Board-certified dermatologist and founder of MMSkincare; mom to Jonah (24), Julien (17), Sasha (16, pictured), and Ezra (14); IG: @dr_ellen_marmur
What's your best beauty secret? Take the anxiety out of skin care. Start a simplified, consistent routine with an all-in-one serum with antioxidants, moisturizers, and microbiome ingredients—like the MMBalance Serum from my line ($85; amazon.com)—plus sun protection. I love at-home LED light treatments, like the MMSphere 2.0 ($795; mmskincare.com), but not the ones that touch your face, due to potential glare on the eyes.
Is there an in-office treatment that you swear by? I cannot live without my yearly Thermage FLX [radio frequency] to tighten my skin and my Sciton Joule BBL [intense pulsed light] to reduce rosacea and freckles.
Do you find your kids' generation has a different attitude toward beauty? Yes, they've all been burned by the too-good-to-be-true trends and now they're over it. They're much more attuned to overconsumption and prefer clean skin care that still feels and looks beautiful and is earth-conscious.
What skin-care lesson do you hope to pass down? I want Sasha to respect her skin as much as any other vital organ, like her heart, and protect it from harmful UV and chemical assaults.
Dr. Caroline Robinson
Board-certified dermatologist; mom to Corinne (8) and Elle (5); IG: @crobinsonmd
What's your desert-island beauty product, and why? Definitely the Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex 30% ($160; dermstore.com). With tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (vitamin C) and patent-pending MelaPATH technology, it is one of the most advanced vitamin C products on the market. It really brightens and evens skin tone.
What's the number one skin-care question your friends and family ask you? I constantly get asked about dark spots. Most people think there's a quick answer. We first have to determine the cause of the hyperpigmentation, and then we have to find the right treatment. Above all, the skin must be sun-protected. My answer is always, "Are you wearing sunscreen daily?"
What is the best change you've made to your skin-care routine? At the end of high school, I hated how dull and tired my skin and under-eyes looked, probably due to all of that studying. I started to really pay more attention to my skin. I wore SPF daily, and with that change alone, I saw improvement. Those habits stuck with me.
What skin-care lesson do you hope to pass down to your daughters? Whether it's with cleansing, moisturizing, or sun protecting, I want them to understand that consistency matters most.
What's your philosophy on beauty? I believe that confidence is beautiful. I used to spend a lot of time wondering what other people thought of my hair or my makeup or my outfits. Now I feel most beautiful when I love these things about myself—no validation needed.
Dr. Mona Gohara
Board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine; mom to Kiran (14) and Jai (12); IG: @monagoharadermdoc
What is one beauty lesson your mom passed down to you? Less is more. My mom always kept it simple but has great skin. Never a believer in the latest lotions and potions, she just sticks with the basics.
What is your skin-care routine? My morning routine is all about protection. I cleanse, apply a vitamin C antioxidant, a hyaluronic acid, and then a broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher. At night, it's all about restoring and repair. I start 15 minutes before bed so the products have time to soak in on my skin, not the pillow. I cleanse, use a retinoid, and moisturize, then apply products to neck and eyes.
What's your best beauty secret? I give myself a mini-mani every day. I moisturize my hands by slathering on excess sunscreen, I build collagen using extra retinol, and I keep the nails looking glowy and soft by using Vaseline along my cuticles and nails. I literally just apply excess facial products to my hands—it works like a charm.
What skin-care lesson do you hope to pass down to your children? A skin-care routine should be approached like toothbrushing—it isn't elective.
What is the one skin-care product you and your children share? Though they often tempt fate and try tween products, they always come back to the Dove Beauty Bar ($3.10 for 2; target.com) because they know it makes their skin feel soft!
What skin-care sin do you wish you would have avoided? No harsh, drying toners and alcohol-based products to singe off my teenage zits—and skin, oops. I should have just seen a dermatologist.
Dr. Dendy Engelman
Board-certified dermatologist, Mohs surgeon, and Health Advisory Board member; mom to Gadsden (5) and Ellis (3, pictured); IG: @drdendy
What's your current go-to skin-care routine? In the morning, I cleanse and remove any impurities. Then, I apply the Isdin Flavo-C Ultraglican 30 Ampoules ($112; amazon.com) for antioxidant protection. I pop open one of the Elizabeth Arden Hyaluronic Acid Ceramide Capsules Hydra-Plumping Serum ($51 for 30; ulta.com) for a boost of hydration. I love the Skinbetter Science Sunbetter Tone Smart SPF 68 Sunscreen Compact ($65; skinbetter.com) to keep my skin protected. I keep the Isdin Mineral Brush ($55; amazon.com) handy for easy reapplication. At night, I double-cleanse to remove makeup. I finish with a powerful glycolic serum and a strong moisturizer.
Do you need to spend a lot on products to get good results? You don't have to spend a lot on cleansers, moisturizers, mascara, blush, eyeshadow. You should invest in active products like antioxidants, exfoliants, and retinols/retinoids.
Is there an in-office treatment you swear by? I do fractionated CO2 laser once a year, and it's the best way to keep skin looking youthful. It improves the appearance of tone and texture and prevents fine lines.
What skin-care lesson do you hope to pass down to your daughter? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Growing up down South, I used to worship the sun. I really hope Ellis learns to protect her skin and, if she wants to look tan, that she will rely on sunless tanners instead of UV exposure. That will keep her beautiful skin looking young for decades longer than any cream or procedure.
Is there anything your children have taught you about beauty? They've taught me that if everything isn't just perfect, it's OK.
Dr. Deanne Robinson
Board-certified dermatologist and president and cofounder of Modern Dermatology; mom to Dermott (14), Teagan (12), Callan (7), and Garrett (5), and wife to Dave; IG: @deannemrazrobinsonmd
What lifestyle choices do you make to better your skin? I love my yoga practice for supporting my overall health, including my skin. The twisting postures are excellent detoxifiers. The mind-body connection helps lower my cortisol levels; cortisol is a common trigger of inflammation in the body and can exacerbate skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and even acne.
What's the number one skin-care question your friends and family ask you? "Where should I start?" and "What treatments do I need?" are the biggest two. The answers are never one-size-fits-all, but what is universal is a solid, medical-grade skin-care routine. All the Botox in the world can't fix bad skin. Lay a strong, healthy foundation, then turn up the volume with treatments.
Do you find your kids' generation has a different attitude toward beauty? I'm excited to see their generation appreciate individuality. While there's still work to be done, it's reassuring to see a wider representation of color, shape, and size.
What is the one skin-care product you and your children share? If I had to choose one, I'd say Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment ($16,40; amazon.com). This is a great multitasker for everyone in my house, from helping to heal cuts and skinned knees to spot-treating dry, cracked knuckles and cuticles.
Is there anything your kids have taught you about beauty? Nothing gives your skin a nice glow like a good belly laugh.
Dr. Kavita Mariwalla
Board-certified dermatologist; mom to Shyer (9), Ashar (6), and Ayan (5), and pup Lucy (9); IG: @mariwalladermatology
What's your skin-care routine? As a busy mom, I keep it simple, especially because I'm in a mask all day. In the a.m., I gently cleanse and hydrate with IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Gel Lotion ($42; sephora.com). In the p.m., I cleanse then exfoliate with the SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight ($80; dermstore.com) and then top off with Alastin Skincare Regenerating Skin Nectar ($195; alastin.com) to strengthen and repair. To finish, I lather up legs and arms with AmLactin Daily 12% Lactic Acid Moisturizing Body Lotion ($16; amazon.com).
What's your desert-island beauty product? Aside from a wide-brimmed hat, Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 ($34; sephora .com). It goes on easily and leaves no white cast. Also, Dermablend Professional Cover Creme in Honey Beige ($39; ulta.com), in case a boat comes to rescue me and I need to conceal my under-eye circles!
What's your best beauty secret? I commit to one session of microneedling every year. It truly makes a difference in my skin texture.
What lifestyle choices do you make to better your skin? I take turmeric—I am a big believer in its anti-inflammatory effects—and vitamin D, since I avoid the sun like a vampire.
What skin-care lesson do you hope to pass down to your sons? I try to teach them to take care of themselves. Keeping nails trimmed and hands looking neat is a big one in our home.
Dr. Tiffany Libby
Board-certified dermatologist, Mohs surgeon, director of Mohs Surgery at the Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology; mom to Sam (4), Charlotte (2), and Jules (2 months), and wife to William; IG: @dermdoclibby
What's one beauty lesson your mom passed down to you? So many! Avoid the sun—I was that crazy kid at summer camp in a farmer's hat and long-sleeve shirt playing soccer outside. And always, always moisturize after bathing!
What's your desert-island beauty product? Assuming SPF will be included, I would choose Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($5.60 for 1.75 oz.; target.com). It hydrates everything from lips to body skin. If I get a scrape, I'm covered.
Is there an in-office treatment you swear by? I love Botox. It is so versatile. My favorite thing is treating someone for the first time and seeing how happy they are upon their return visit.
Do you need to spend a lot on products to get good results? I feel you can buy everything for an effective skin-care regimen at the drugstore. Sure, you may want to splurge on brands that invest in scientific studies, but you can always find a comparable equivalent for less.
What is the one skin-care product you and your children share? SPF! I love kid sunscreens because they have high zinc oxide content and are typically hypoallergenic and fragrance-free!
What do you hope that your kids' idea of beauty will be? I hope that they see the beauty in everyone. My kids are of mixed race, me being Chinese American and my husband of Eastern European descent, and I think it is an important lesson to teach our kids from a young age.
Dr. Whitney Bowe
New York–based board-certified dermatologist and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin; mom to Maclane (9); IG; @drwhitneybowe
What's your skin-care routine? In the morning, I cleanse with a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser, then apply vitamin C serum, a moisturizer, then sunscreen. In the evening, if I'm wearing makeup, I use micellar water to remove and follow with a water-based cleanser. I alternate between nights where I use active ingredients like retinol and AHAs, and where I focus on repairing my skin barrier by using a moisturizer with prebiotics, squalane, and jojoba oil.
What's your desert-island beauty product? Skinfix Remedy+ 911 Ointment ($24; sephora.com). It's soothing, hydrating, and nonirritating. I use it on my lips throughout the day and even mix it into my moisturizer when my skin feels especially dry.
What lifestyle choices do you make to better your skin? The gut-brain-skin connection is so critical when it comes to healthy skin. I always take deep breaths while I massage my moisturizer in my face to lower my cortisol levels, and I prioritize sleep. I also eat a plant-heavy diet that is rich in prebiotics and probiotics to help keep my gut microbiome healthy.
Is there anything your child has taught you about beauty? Especially over the past year, being a mom has taught me that there is beauty in having the opportunity to teach my daughter about self-love and having patience with yourself. Nothing is more beautiful to me than to see my daughter embracing all of the different aspects that make her her.
Dr. Rose Ingleton
What's one thing that bugged you about your skin growing up that you've learned to love? When I was young, I thought that my lips were too big for my face. Ha! Now I embrace my full, defined, well-shaped lips as one of my strongest facial features. I love my lips!
What skin-care sin do you wish you would have avoided? I recall one particular pimple on my nose that I squeezed repeatedly as a teenager that has left a scar that I still stare at today. If only I knew then what I know now.
Is there an in-office procedure you swear by? I'm a big believer in having periodic chemical peels or microdermabrasion to exfoliate superficial dead, dull cells and bring out your skin's radiance. I love the benefits that chemical peels give my skin, and there is no downtime.
What skin-care lessons did you pass down to your sons? That they still need to protect and nurture their skin by wearing sunscreen regularly, even though they have melanin-rich skin. Also, I've tried to pass down a ritual from my mother of cleaning their skin daily. She's 95 and lives with us. Her skin is unbelievably beautiful and wrinkle-free. We all want to age like Mommy.
Do you find your kids' generation has a different attitude toward beauty? They generally have a broader view of what is beautiful. They're more apt to appreciate beauty in nonconventional facial and physical features. Gone are the days when only European ideals of beauty were the benchmarks. The standard of beauty is evolving with this generation. They see classically African features—thick, tightly coiled hair, big lips, wide noses, dark skin, big butts—as beautiful. It's all evolving.
This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!
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