Jul 072011

David A. Colbert, MD is a recognized leader in skin care.  Formerly a dermatological research consultant for Chanel, he is the founder and head physician of New York Dermatology Group. He is board certified by the American Academy of Dermatology and board eligible in Internal Medicine. He has a private practice in New York City, and receives raves from his clients. He also sells a comprehensive skin care line, and has authored “The High School Reunion Diet.”

As much as I love the convenience of over-the-counter skin care, I realize that there is no substitute for getting the advice of a professional.  Recently, Café Makeup was given the chance to ask Dr. Colbert skin care questions, which I accepted in a heart beat.   A free consultation with Dr. David Colbert that I can share with Café Makeup readers?  Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

I had recently been thinking a lot about skin care, and so I asked a total of eight questions.  I’ll share four of these in this post, then the remainder in a second post.  I was so grateful that Dr. Colbert provided thorough, thoughtful answers for us:

1.  What should a woman do in her 20’s for skincare?  Is it too soon to start an anti-aging regime?  

It’s all about prevention.  Sunblock, sunblock, and sunblock. Don’t drink more than 3 alcohol drinks per week. Never smoke. Throw out all processed foods and read The High School Reunion Diet.  No soda, no fruit juices unless fresh-squeezed. When you reach 29, think about a few drops of botox and start doing light TRIADs which include microdermabrasion, laser toning and fruit acid peels to keep you looking 20 through your 30’s.

2. Many women use prescription RetinA for anti-aging.  Is this necessary?  Are there over-the-counter products that can deliver the same (or better) results without the side effects of increased sensitivity to the sun?

RetinA is one of a type of drug–a relative of Differin and Tazorac.  They do the same thing by increasing collagen in the deeper layers of skin.  The closest thing to RetinA over the counter is the Colbert MD Intensify Discs. They contain bromelaine a pineapple enzyme, lactic acid, glucosamine and a microdermabrasion sheath to magically help boost collagen production. Retinol alone isn’t enough to get that collagen boost.

I like RetinA for anyone with acne or over 30. If you dry out from it add Colbert MD Heal and Soothe Cream.  For light daywear with makeup, we recommend Nutrify & Protect with goji berry extracts.

3. Is there anything that can be use to safely remove dark spots from too much sun exposure?

Over the counter kojic acid containing products or glycolic and lactic acid products will help reduce brown spots. If you combine this with Stimulate Serum and Intensify Discs,  you can really make the skin lighter and brighter.

Lemon juice (Not lime! It only makes it worse!) on a Qtip was what my norwegian grandmother Delia Olsen used in her 1940s beauty salon on brown sunspots and it is a home remedy. Prescriptions like Epiquin gel 4% work well also and are safe.

4. Now that summer is coming, should a woman consider changing her skin care regime from the winter months?

You can go lighter on your products, and save the heavy creams for fall and winter. Pick a light sunblock. Use a light over the counter benzoyl peroxide wash a few times per week on your face and back to prevent summer acne. Also, Add a vitamin C serum or Stimulate Serum to keep skin tone even.

Pay attention to the weather. On rainy day, you can skip everything and give your skin a break.

Café Makeup will post the rest of the Q&A’s with Dr. Colbert soon….

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  25 Responses to “Skin Care Advice from David Colbert, MD, Part 1”

  1. A doctor that recommends Botox? Now there’s something you don’t see often in my country (unless they’re making money off it). I would never EVER do it, but then again, I’m a med student, I guess I just know the downsides…in detail. :S

    The only thing that can improve your skin is to go back in time and tell your old self to wear SPF every single day. Thankfully my mum made sure I grew up covered in SPF, I remember people thinking she was weird back then in the 80’s…but I’ve never had a sunburn and I still look like I’m 18. So there, mean people of the 80’s!

    I wish I could find a decent vitamin C serum that is available in Denmark and that isn’t ridiculously overpriced. This skin care range looks really interesting.

    • It does look interesting. I got a few sample packets from them –enough Serum and a few other items for a week. I’ll report back when I’m through them all.

      • Please do!

        And like Tea says, check the UV index! I get an email from the Danish weather service regarding the UV index of the day, that is pretty handy.

  2. I LOVE that he made the comment about the weather and if its a rainy day, give your skin a break, I totally agree!
    I often check the UV level on cloudy/rainy days and its generally 1-2 which means you can safely go about your day without being burnt if you do not have SPF.

  3. Amy,
    You have to try the Intensity Discs–you will love them! They are so gentle, easy to use and work magic on your skin without irritation!

  4. I have to echo Ida’s dismay about the doctor’s casual recommendation of Botox. When I read the introduction to this blog entry, I thought the content would be worthwhile since I fall into the age group to whom Dr. Colbert is dispensing advice. However, I couldn’t help but twinge at the mention of Botox. I firmly believe that people can and should make their own decisions when it comes to cosmetic procedures, but it is worthwhile to investigate these procedures and to be as educated a possible about their adverse side effects.

    Don’t think that I don’t appreciate the blog entry! I think there is beneficial information to glean from it; I was just floored by the breezy mention of Botox.

  5. These comments are for your older readers, Amy. No matter what a cosmetic company tells you, prescription strength (RetinA)is still the gold standard for anti-aging and it’s the wise doctor who admits that upfront.Today’s formulations are not nearly as harsh as the early versions and many are formulated specifically for the drier, more sensitive skin that is typical of mature, aging complexions. The formula I get from my dermatologist contains soothing and calming ingredients in addition to the retinoic acid so I get all the anti-aging benefits without the redness, irritation, or flaking that was so commonplace with earlier versions. Some of the new generation of retinoic acid creams also come formulated with skin lightening ingredients if hyper-pigmentation is a problem. A new generation retinoic acid cream used nightly and a good sunscreen used daily combined with moderate exercise and a healthful diet should keep any woman looking good for many years to come. Another bonus is that these creams are usually much less expensive than the “miracle” creams sold by cosmetic companies. My cream comes in a one ounce airless pump container that dispenses a petit pea size amount which is enough to do my entire face and neck. The cost? $70. Once you are a patient, you don’t have to pay for a visit every time you want to refill your prescription. Since I go in for an IPL treatment every year, keeping a prescription current is never a problem. I also like the idea that I am getting what is best for my skin at that time.

    Now, all that being said, many women do not want to be bothered with seeing a dermatologist and that’s fine. Just be realistic and realize that all the exotic flora of the rain forest isn’t going to do for your skin what retinoic acid and sunscreen has been proven to do.

    • Which one do you use Eileen?

      • Hi Amy,

        Many dermatologists get their retinoic acid creams from compounding pharmacies. My dermatologist gets his from a company located here in No Ho, California. The one I’m currently using is called Firm and Fade, but that isn’t a brand name. That’s just an easy way to identify the formulation. It comes with a prescription label and number, etc. It even comes with a big red DO NOT WAX warning label on it. LOL. This is definitely no frills. The sunscreen I’m currently loving for summer is SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. It has a bit of a tint to it so it doesn’t give you that Casper the Ghost blue-white glow that’s typical of physical sunscreens.

        • My dermatologist recommends Retin A Micro, which absorbs better than the classical formulation. I use 0.1% and my skin does not dry out and there is no shine like with the earlier versions

    • I personally cannot use retinols at all. Even weak drugstore brands. Fortunately I’ve been in prevention mode since my early 20’s (early 1980’s) so my dermatologist is not concerned. But I would like to find a collagen booster that does not involve retinols.

      • Hi Diana, I was curious about the Zeno product that he mentions in Part II–that seems to be a good compromise although I haven’t read the ingredient list for the product included with the device.

      • You are not alone, Diana. That’s why there is a lot of research going on right now looking for substitutes. DNA repair is one of the concepts du jour and we’ll probably hear about many others. In the meantime, peptides, anti-oxidants, sunscreen, healthy diet, and exercise are all great at helping us look and feel our best.

        Something else to consider, many women could actually tolerate mild retinols, but they inadvertently indulge in acid overload by using a plethora of products containing various acids. In short, they cause their own bad reaction. I’m in my sixties and have always had sensitive fair skin and yet I tolerate retinoic acid very well. I use a prescription strength .05% retinoic acid (which is much stronger than anything OTC) on my face, neck, and chest every night. Everything else I put on my skin falls into the peptide, anti-oxidant, soothing, calming category. In short, I treat my skin like it was a new born’s. I only use physical sunscreens and I very rarely use any other form of exfoliation other than a wash cloth.

        • Hi Eileen. I pretty much stay away from acid peels. I do use the Clarisonic with Cetaphil 1x per day at most and am a fan of peptides, anti-oxidants and so on. My goal is to build up the skin. Make it look plumped and moisturized since I feel that glowing skin is more youthful than line-free skin.

          • You’ve hit upon a winning combination, Diana. The skin is an organ and wants to be healthy. Take good care of it and it will reward you by looking good. Abuse it and it will show. It’s not by accident that we have the phrase, “glowing with good health”. Looking healthy; not looking lineless, is at the heart of our concept of beauty.

            By the way, I’ve used Cetaphil as my morning cleanser for over thirty years–love the stuff! I used it on my sons who are now adults and they still use it 🙂

            Nice chatting with you, Diana.

            This certainly has been interesting conversation

  6. The suncreen advise is confusing as I get conflicting advice. Growing up I was quite religious on ensuring I use it everyday. However after I graduated and moved back home from US to a tropical Southeast Asian country my skin broke out terribly. I went to a dermatologist. As I sit in an office all day and hardly comes out until sun sets he discourages daily use of sunscreen (clogged my pores). I now only use it when on vacation and days when I know I’ll be outside. I thought that advices may differ also because my skin type is probably less sensitive than those with lighter tones (caucasians). I tan upon sun exposure but never burn. However,I do realize that age spots are prevalent in all types of skin. So.. still confused..

    • Always use SPF if you’re going to be outside, always. The sun damages and ages your skin, and that has nothing to do with whether you burn or tan or not.

      Try La Roche-Posay’s sunscreens, they are pretty gentle and I find them very non-clogging…I am prone to blackheads, but they give me no trouble at all.

    • I heard a tip somewhere to make sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly every night to remove any sunscreen residue and recommended the Clarisonic to remove build-up. I also second La Roche-Posay sunscreens, they are great!

      • I had the same problem with sunscreens and am currently getting excellent results with both the Clarins and Chanel facial sunscreens. They do not clog my pores and I use them as primers since they keep my foundation matte throughout the day. But you need to remember to thoroughly cleanse your face at the end of the day like the above posters said to remove all residue.

        • Hi Diana, I’ve had no clogging problems with Clarin (SPF 40) and Chanel SPF 50. I thought that I picked up a little color with the Clarins, though. I’ve used Elta MD SPF 46 Clear–it’s designed for skin that easily clogs, is a good moderate price and works very well. Like Diana, I cleanse thoroughly at the end of the day. I use both an oil cleanser and a Clarisonic brush–the combination works well. Many people using a traditional cleanser may be getting breakouts because they aren’t getting all of if off at the end of the day.

          • I pick up color in spite of sunscreens too. But that is just the type of skin I have. But I do wear it daily and carry some in my bag to touch up my arms before going out. If I didn’t, I would be as brown as a bean. So far, the damage has been minimal this summer.

    • I never worried about sunscreen when I was young, because I tanned so easily and never burned. But now in my mid-40s, I am getting dark spots on my face. It’s sun damage from the past. Please, use a sunscreen. There are many excellent and inexpensive ones available these days. I have used La Roche Posay, Olay, and Banana Boat, all SPF 50, with no breakouts or clogged pores. I do exfoliate daily (with chemical exfoliants, never by scrubbing) and I think this helps keep my pores clear.

  7. By the way please be careful if you’re planning to get pregnant and you’re using RetinA. Very very small amounts will harm the baby 🙁

    • Excellent reminder, Ida. It is one of the many reasons why it is a prescription product. And, we all know we should never, ever share prescriptions.

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