Stroll the aisles of Walgreens or CVS, with the walls of moisturizers, serums, scrubs, soaps, exfoliators and more, and you’d probably conclude that it’s super, super complicated to keep your healthy and beautiful skin. However, younger, healthier looking skin is actually only about two things, says Corey L. Hartman, 46-year-old dermatologist, HD counselor and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham: Keep your routine simple and always use products. with scientifically proven ingredients. Here’s how he takes his own advice.
Using retinol before bed
I apply a product with retinol at night – no skin care ingredient has more science behind it. It’s an exfoliant, so you don’t get acne or dull skin, and it stimulates collagen, which helps remove fine lines and wrinkles. I wash my face with an exfoliating cleanser (SkinCeuticals LHA Cleanser Gel), then use prescription retinol (Arazlo) and moisturizer (Senté Dermal Repair Cream) to help the retinol penetrate and reduce irritation.
Do Botox sooner rather than later
I started doing Botox around the age of 30 and now do it every four months on the top of my face. It does more than erase age. Among the many benefits: it keeps wrinkles from setting in, it helps collagen production, and it just makes me look less mean and more accessible. I no longer have to convince my male patients to take Botox, probably in part because I am so open to using it.
Use a mask to fight acne
The masks we use in my office must be N95 or a similar grade. We clean them, but it doesn’t remove all the oil that can clog the pores, so I had a big mask. I started using a SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque a few times a week when it was really bad, and it keeps my face clear.
Use it to ward off cancer
Since I was black, the melanin in my skin gives me a certain amount of SPF. But the effective skin cancer SPF, which people of any skin color can have, is better than what I have naturally. (Skin cancer can strike younger than you think too. For more information, click here.) So I wear sunscreen every day. I use an emulsion (ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion) which does not leave a chalky film even though it contains zinc oxide.
Erase the stains that bother you
Any patient of color and anyone over the age of 40 will start to see pigment changes, such as sun spots or dark spots from acne. It bothers people more than wrinkles. I am using Cyspera, a new pigment corrector that does not require spot treatment; you just slip all over the place. You should leave it on an unwashed face for 15 minutes. I put it on when I come out of the gym, and when I get home, it’s ready to shower.
Keep a beard, lose the problems
I have a history of razor bumps which I have brought under control through laser hair removal. It was life changing. Like many people, the majority of my problems were on my neck. Neck hair isn’t necessary for a full beard look – my patients are often surprised to hear this – so I got rid of it. I have no razor bumps anymore, and the hyperpigmentation and red bumps, with their scarring potential, have improved as well.
A version of this story originally appeared in the July / August 2021 issue of Men’s health.
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