The Scientific Reality of Skin Care Products
Dr. Roxanne Guy demystifies skin care products and new technology, helping patients find what works for their individual needs
“A question I hear almost daily is ‘What skin care products should I use? There are so many!’” says Roxanne Guy, M.D., F.A.C.S., cosmetic surgeon and founder of the Brevard Plastic Surgery and Skin Treatment Center.
And it’s true. Navigating the mountains of skin care products on the market is a daunting task. Fitting the right products to specific skin types and problems is equally daunting. Lastly, and probably the most difficult of all, is separating the hype and promises of each product from the scientific reality of what actually occurs at the cellular level, both short and long-term.
SIMPLIFIYING THE SKIN-CARE PROCESS
Dr. Guy explains that for long-term skin health and maintenance, everyone should use the following skin care products:
- A Vitamin A product (retin-a, tretinoin, retinoic acid, retinol)
- An antioxidant (such as a vitamin C product)
- An moisturizer appropriate for individual skin types
While this may seem like a lot, Dr. Guy explains that many of these products are offered in combined forms or may not need to be applied every day.
So, why these specific products?
“We have good, level one scientific evidence that these products work. Sunscreens do help prevent sun damage and skin cancers, retin-a does increase skin collagen and lessen fine lines, antioxidants do help reverse damage, and moisturizers, well, moisturize,” she says.
There are additional products available that are meant for specific problems of the skin. An example is hydroquinone for hyperpigmentation (brown spots) or metronidazole cream for rosacea. Medical-grade skin care products requiring a prescription (e.g. tretinoin, hydroquinone, metronidazole, etc.) are often offered in the plastic surgeon’s office, along with the essential products mentioned above.
The Brevard Plastic Surgery and Skin Treatment Center offers patients a range of skin-care solutions including medical-grade skin care products, facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, skin laser resurfacing, fractional resurfacing, IPL , Dysport and Botox and more.
“We want our patients to have nice skin. We want to showcase their surgical, laser or injectable results with radiant, healthy, luminescent, beautiful skin,” says Dr. Guy. “We want to get your skin optimally ready for your procedure and treat it most effectively during the healing phase. A great deal of research and development has gone into physician-prescribed skin care so that the physician can better, and more scientifically, treat the patient’s skin issues.”
Dr. Guy solely uses products with proven effectiveness and visible results. Vitamin C, for example, she says is notoriously unstable in skin care products.
“The right formulation is needed to keep it active and stabilized. Just because a substance is added to a cream or serum, doesn’t mean that the product actually penetrates the skin barrier and gets to where it can do its job,” explains Dr. Guy.
Along the same lines, sunscreens with a higher SPF number are not necessarily better, since the SPF number only measures one of the harmful rays of the sun and not the other.
This is where research and development and dermatopharmacokinetics come in (think science). It’s important to use products that actually have the science and technology behind them to do the job.
Dr. Guy recommends patients undergo a skin evaluation and consultation to allow the experts to prescribe optimum skin regimens. Many plastic surgeons employ licensed estheticians to help evaluate and treat the skin. These experts actually see and feel the results of the products the doctor offers in the office and understand the short and long-term benefits. They work with your skin to assess the best regimen for you.
“So, before you buy that high-priced cream at the department store, ask yourself about the science. Better yet, do yourself a favor and book an appointment for a skin care consultation with one of our estheticians, or even better, a relaxing, therapeutic facial!” says Dr. Guy.