This month, Sharecare is focusing on healthy beauty, bringing you tips on how to keep your skin, hair and nails healthy.
Dermatologist and founder of the Baby Pibu Products skincare line, Dr. Amy Kim, shares advice on how to keep your skin healthy and glowing.
RadioMD Presents: Sharecare Radio | Original Air Date: August 18, 2015
Host: Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Guest: Amy Kim, MD
Sharecare is the leading online health and wellness engagement platform providing millions of consumers with a personal, results oriented experience by connecting them to the most qualified health resources and programs they need to improve their health. It’s time now for Sharecare Radio on RadioMD.com. Here’s your host, Dr. Darria.
DR. DARRIA: Hello, it's Dr. Darria. I am back with Dr. Amy Kim and I want to know, what is your skincare concern? I know as a lot of us get into twenties, thirties and forties, we start to think about anti-aging and how do we keep our skin looking young and beautiful as we go through life? So, there are a lot of different treatments out there. It can be confusing so I brought in an expert, Dr. Amy Kim. She's a dermatologist and founder of the Baby Pibu products skincare line. She's also here in Atlanta at MetroDerm. Amy, thank you so much for joining us.
DR. KIM: Oh, I appreciate you for having me. Thanks.
DR. DARRIA: I want to just dive kind of in for anti-aging. What are some preventive measures that we can take and things in our twenties and thirties?
DR. KIM: Right. That's one of the most common questions that patients will ask me and one of the things I tell patients and educate them about is, there are three ways our skin ages. Things that we get as our skin ages are one, is we get more red spots; two, we get more brown spots, and three, of course, we get more wrinkles. So, there are two good preventative measures you can do to help slow all three of those things down. The first is sun protection. The easiest way to do this is to use a daily sunscreen, particularly on your face to kind of ward off those brown spots and the wrinkles. Sun, as we know, emits these damaging ultraviolet rays. They work by breaking down the collagen and they also act to promote the brown spots to form. So, if you use a daily sunscreen that will help slow down those two things that we start seeing, actually, even in our twenties and we particularly see them happening in our thirties and onward. The second preventative measure you can do is use a prescription-graded topical tretinoin cream. So, tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative and there is a lot of great science out there. So, topical tretinoin, it was found in the 1980s that when it was used for acne that was actually doing some good things. So, it was helping with the acne scarring and with acne scarring, you usually get the red stuff that stays behind and then it forms brown spots.
DR. DARRIA: Yes.
DR. KIM: They've realized that topical tretinoin helped with that and also, coincidentally, they saw that it helped the fine lines and wrinkles. So, that all started back in the 1980s. So topical Tretinoin, it is a vitamin A derivative, it really works by preventing your collagen from breaking down. It also helps with skin turnover, which, basically, helps with skin renewal. So, when my patients use tropical tretinoin, they'll complain and say that their skin looks dry and I say, “It is not making your skin dry. It looks dry because it's helping to turnover or literally sluff off that top dead layer of skin that promotes the skin renewal.” So, those two things if you do and you, actually, can start in your mid- or early twenties, it will slow down the aging process.
DR. DARRIA: Okay. So, I want to dive deeply on each of those.
DR. KIM: Yes.
DR. DARRIA: So, when you said topical tretinoin, for our listeners, the brand we often hear is Retin-A.
DR. KIM: Exactly.
DR. DARRIA: There are a lot of different ones but so people exactly know what that is.
DR. KIM: Right.
DR. DARRIA: And that is what you're saying. A lot of people say, “It made my skin flake.” So, they stop using it. Tell people some instructions for kind of how to start using it.
DR. KIM: Great. Most people these days, they want to actually take the package insert out and read it. So, the practical thing is to prevent the irritancy of using these products, just make sure your face is dry. I think on the insert it will say wait 10 or 15 minutes. You have just got to make sure you don't feel any wetness to your skin. Wetness or the water on the skin can lead to the irritation of the Retin-A or the tretinoin.
DR. DARRIA: I did not know that.
DR. KIM: Yes. So, I mean, as a mom the first thing I do when I get home, I just like to wash my face. So I've done that and I feel like by the time I go to bed--that's just me; that's just a daily habit I do. But, the way you use it is, more is not better. That's what I tell my patients all the time. Don't put more on thinking that it's going to anti-age you faster. You just want to, literally, put a pea-sized amount in your hand and that pea-sized amount will cover your whole face. You do not put it on your upper or lower eyelids but you can put it around where crow's feet are. So, one pea-sized amount. Then, the trick is, start off doing it every other night and the data out there shows that you at least have to do it three times a week to get the benefits which, ultimately, comes down to using it Monday, Wednesday, Friday or doing it every other night. So, I tell patients, start off every other night and maybe after a couple of weeks, they can go forward to every night, even better.
DR. DARRIA: Okay. Now and then for people to buy it. Don't bother with the stuff in the drugstore for the tretinoins, right? Go with prescription?
DR. KIM: Prescription is the best and the other thing is, when you talk to your dermatologist of your needs, of how you are going to use it, I usually recommend that you use a low-strength, prescription-graded strength so that you can tolerate it and use it more often versus doing a higher strength and you're only able to use it once or twice a week. It's not going to give you any benefit. The benefit has been shown, even at the lower strength, that more often is actually a better way to use it.
DR. DARRIA: Okay.
DR. KIM: And over-the-counter—I don't know if we're talking more about it--but if you're going to choose a product over-the-counter, it's fine. The inactive version of Retin-A, what you'll see on the shelf, is Retinol. I think most dermatologists will feel like an inactive version is better than nothing. It's not going to reap all the great rewards of it but it's better than nothing. But just know that it's the inactive version. Retinol products are fine to use. You just aren't going to see the bigger benefits as you will with the prescription-graded.
DR. DARRIA: Okay. So for the biggest bang for your buck get a prescription form.
DR. KIM: Yes. Exactly. Yes.
DR. DARRIA: Then, going back to sun protection really quickly, any specific brands that you like for that?
DR. KIM: You know, I think what's so cool with cosmetic products is that cosmetic products get better all the time. I like to pull information from my patients. So, a lot of women have liked the tinted moisturizers because there is a lot of good choices and a variety to choose from. What's nice about the tinted moisturizers is a lot of them will match any skin type and color. So, there's one that me and my office like, it's called Revision.
DR. DARRIA: Yes.
DR. KIM: Revision tinted moisturizer. We like the matte one. It's worked for my employees that have white skin to even my yellow Asian skin to someone who's got a darker, brownish undertone.
DR. DARRIA: What are all these other miracle anti-aging topical products out there? Tell everybody what you can tell me.
DR. KIM: The skincare industry is a billion dollar plus industry and a lot of it is marketing.
DR. DARRIA: Yes.
DR. KIM: And so it's not just--
DR. DARRIA: If you tell me it will make my skin look pretty, I'll buy anything.
DR. KIM: Yes, exactly. So, I think if you're going to spend money, spend the money on the Retin-A.
DR. DARRIA: Okay.
DR. KIM: On the prescription stuff. A lot of the other stuff is fluff. So, people will ask me. I am fine with over-the-counter moisturizers. If you want to buy department store stuff, you are going to pay more for the packaging, for the marketing, the way it smells, the way it feels. It may make it feel better but it may not necessarily make you younger. I will tell you, if I had photos--I should have more photos of this. I have some women who are like 65 to 70 years old and they have used Retin-A for like 30 years or so. Their skin looks great. Like they look their age in a way but they just--I mean it's pretty amazing. So, if you start early.
DR. DARRIA: And when do you want people to start using that?
DR. KIM: I mean, most people inquire right when they hit their thirties but you can start even mid-twenties.
DR. DARRIA: Okay. Alright. And then, any specific eye creams? Same thing? Just buy it over-the-counter at the drugstore?
DR. KIM: Yes. With eye cream there is, unfortunately, no proof in science to eye cream. So, really, I just tell people to buy over-the-counter brands like Oil of Olay. Regeneres has an eye cream, and L’Oréal has a good one, too. The ones that you're going to buy at the department store, again, I remember I played with that stuff, too. It's just, you're going to pay at least $100+ but there's no real added benefit.
DR. DARRIA: I know. And to all our listeners she lives by this. Whenever I call her I say, “I have this really cool cream. It's going to make me look like I'm ten,” and she says, “Put it away. Go buy your Oil of Olay.”
DR. KIM: Yes.
DR. DARRIA: Okay, so key points here: sunscreen and Retin-A.
DR. KIM: Yes.
DR. DARRIA: Focusing on those.
DR. KIM: Exactly. Exactly.
DR. DARRIA: Alright. And I know we are running out of time but we are going to be wanting to come back and talking about some of your favorite procedures at the dermatologist's. We have 20 seconds.
DR. KIM: Sure. Sure. A couple of procedures you can look for—You know, two things to keep in mind when you're at your dermatologist's is ask, “How often do I have to do this procedure or treatment?” and “How much?” And I think those two questions will tailor you to where the dermatologist will point out the treatments.
DR. DARRIA: Okay. We'll come back and talk about that because I know a lot of our listeners want to hear more about it. Again, you're listening to Dr. Amy Kim from MetroDerm Dermatologists in Atlanta and the founder of the Baby Pibu skincare products line. And this is Dr. Darria on Sharecare Radio.