Top Skin Tips From the Pros

08.18.2014, 11:33 CDT | Posted In: Sensitive Skin, Lines & Wrinkles, Prevention & Protection, Health & Beauty, Products, Skin Care

Woman Applying Skin Cream

Every day, we get questions from people wanting to know how to keep their skin looking its best. Luckily for them (and all of you), we have a team of Obagi Education Managers who are not only experts on all Obagi® products, but are also skin care professionals.

Perri, one of our Senior Education Managers, consulted the training team and offered her expert advice on some of the questions they are asked most frequently.

What is the #1 thing that people can start doing today to improve their skin?

My absolute necessity every morning, regardless of weather, is SUNSCREEN!! There is no better insurance policy when used as part of a complete sun protection program to help keep your skin looking young and healthy, while also helping to prevent future photodamage (damage caused by the sun’s UV radiation).* It’s essential to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVB (burning) rays and UVA (tanning and premature aging) rays. Research shows that both UVB and UVA rays are culprits in the development of skin cancer, as well1. I always choose a product with a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30 and apply it as my last step in the morning before makeup.

You’ve spoken with a lot of people about their skin needs. What are the top 2 questions that you get?

  1. “My makeup has sunscreen in it. Why do I need another one?”
    Makeup products containing sunscreen, even though they may advertise a high SPF, frequently are not water resistant and may not be broad spectrum to provide protection against UVA and UVB rays. Also, sunscreen needs to be applied to the entire face, ears, and neck, while most patients don’t apply everyday makeup coverage to all of these areas.
  2. “What products will work best for my skin?”
    Your skin is almost as unique to you as your fingerprints. Your skin’s needs change frequently, and so many factors influence what products will be best for your skin at any given time. What works very well for your friend or your sister may not work for you and vice versa. This is why it’s best to seek the advice of a skin care physician to find a customized skin care program that works to keep your skin at its healthiest every day.

What is the biggest skin care faux pas that people tend to make?

The biggest mistake I see is when a patient decides to address one or several skin issues, invests in costly products and/or procedures, but does not wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every day. It is literally like throwing your money away. The skin is a living, ever-changing organ. It is CONSTANTLY susceptible to damage, which manifests in skin as we age as hyperpigmentation, dullness, lines and wrinkles, laxity, dehydration, etc. Procedures and products can effectively address these issues, but they cannot continue to protect against more damage without daily broad spectrum sunscreen used as part of a complete sun protection program.*

What are a few of the signs that someone’s skin care needs may be changing?

This can vary with each patient. Sometimes it’s hard to describe. Someone might just be noticing that the products they have always loved aren’t performing as well as they used to. The products haven’t changed, but your skin has! Others may notice spots or patches of discoloration on their skin, causing their overall skin tone to be blotchy. Another common early signal of damage is a dull, lackluster skin surface, which may be a sign of slowed skin cell turnover.

Is it best to use products from one skin care line, or can people get the same results if they mix and match?

In a perfect world, all skin care systems would deliver the results that they promise. Unfortunately, this may not be the case for many products on the market. Claims may often be inflated, expectations are high, but results may be unimpressive at best. My best advice is to visit a licensed skin care physician who offers professional products, and who is skilled in evaluating the unique needs of your skin. They are expertly trained to recommend the optimal system for you as an individual, and the results can be amazing! During your visits, ask questions, request to see photos of previous patients treated with certain products, and expect that your skin care routine will evolve as your skin changes and improves over time.

Hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and fine lines—oh my! What is the best way to help delay the signs of aging?

Not to sound like a broken record, but daily broad spectrum sunscreen use is the #1 way to help stave off the signs of premature aging, when used as part of a complete sun protection program!* Application every day, no matter what the weather is or your planned amount of outdoor time (UVA rays even affect us indoors) is vital to help keep skin looking youthful and healthy. Additionally, a simple skin care regimen that includes an antioxidant and/or a retinoid may also work overtime to help keep skin at its peak condition.

What is the difference between skin care products you can buy from a doctor and products sold over-the-counter?

A major benefit of seeking advice from a skin care physician is that he or she can assess your skin type, determine your specific skin needs, and determine what products may help improve your unique skin. Some of the products offered in a medical practice require a prescription, while others are considered cosmetic.

The confusing part for patients comes when cosmetic products, frequently sold in high-end venues like department stores, spas, etc., are packaged, marketed, and even priced similarly to products offered in a physician’s office. For example, if a salesperson is wearing a physician’s white lab coat, does that mean that he or she is licensed to give medical advice for your skin? Will his or her products yield results similar to those you can get from a physician?

The best guidance I can give is that a licensed skin care physician, who is part of an established medical practice, is likely the best source of information to help patients achieve their skin care goals.

If you have further questions, take a look at these skin tips and speak with a physician about the best routine for your unique skin!

* Using a broad spectrum sunscreen like Obagi® Sun Shield SPF 50 together with a comprehensive sun protection program, including wearing sun protective clothing and sunglasses and avoiding the sun between the hours of 10 am-2 pm, may help reduce the risk of premature skin aging.

Reference: 1. UVA radiation: a danger outdoors and indoors. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Accessed July 3, 2014.

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