Beauty products

Answers to your patients’ questions about skin care

Patients are looking for a holistic approach to their skincare and taking the time to review with your patients what they are using on their skin, as well as lifestyle advice regarding diet, exercise, sleep and stress can go a long way in helping them with their skin problems, according to a speaker at the Winter Clinical Dermatology Conference, held this week in Kauai, Hawaii.

“I sit with my patients and try to make it easy for them,” Diane S. Berson, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical College, told the audience. “I’ve found that if I keep it basic and explain to them what the ingredients do, and write down their diet, they’ll comply and see the benefits.”

Berson said the most common issues cited by his patients were redness, discoloration, aging, acne and hair growth issues. For patients with any of these concerns, she stresses the importance of protection during the day, with things like antioxidants and sunscreen, and at night, by repairing the skin with retinols.

For “daytime” care, Berson discussed the importance of encouraging the use of moisturizers, including for patients who use retinoids for things like acne. She cited previously published data that showed patients who first used moisturizer under their retinoid were not irritated by retinoid use and were more compliant with the regimen. There are a range of moisturizer options, including emollients containing ceramides and humectants containing glycerin.

Of sunscreen, Berson noted, “It’s important for all of your patients, especially those with acne and rosacea.” She said it’s important to emphasize the importance of using sunscreen, but if the patient expresses concerns about certain chemicals in sunscreens, the dermatologist may encourage products that contain sunscreen. of minerals.

She also tailors her advice to particular groups, noting that she’s seen an increase in the number of millennials coming to her for advice on skincare.

“They’re targeted to buy certain skin care products, and they buy them, so I’ll go over the products with them, and if the active ingredients are ones I approve of, I recommend them if they like them,” she said. . She said younger patients often ask her about using moisturizer, sunscreen and makeup if they have acne or rosacea, and she takes this question as an opportunity to discuss a good skincare regimen, combined with light deflecting mineral makeup.

Along the same lines, Berson said it’s common for young patients to question their dermatology over “clean” skincare options.

“A lot of our patients are looking for natural, cleaner alternatives…they don’t want parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates in their products,” she said. As such, there is an explosion of products now on the market that are “herbal” including topical cannabinoid products. But, she says, it’s important to let patients know that certain plants can put them at risk for contact dermatitis, so staying aware of what they’re putting on their skin is their best defense against dermatitis flare-ups.

Berson also advises her patients on the importance of diet in terms of reducing skin problems, and she points out the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, as a Western diet is generally more pro-inflammatory, affecting gastrointestinal flora and increasing inflammation.


Berson DS. Cosmeceuticals: Answers to your patients’ questions. Presented at: 2022 Winter Clinical Dermatology Conference; January 14 to 19, 2022; Kauai, Hawaii.