Dermatologist Dr. Doris J. Day on Cosmetic Procedures and How to Have Better Skin
I’ve interviewed a host of celebrities before, but the people I love talking to the most are dermatologists. Why? Because they have all the secrets to getting better skin. So if you made some resolutions about having better skin this year, you’re in luck. I spoke with NYC-based nationally renowned dermatologist Dr. Doris J. Day on cosmetic procedures and whether or not we need them. She took time out of her busy schedule to chat with me over the phone. Here’s our convo…
For those who resolved to have better skin for the new year
It’s important to know no matter where your skin is with sun damage or where you think your skin is at with aging, that you can make changes today that will help repair that damage and look younger and better right now. Part of that is about using sunscreen and stopping the damage. So if you’re a tanner, stop now and your skin will recover to some extent. Stop damaging where you can–try to quit smoking, drink less alcohol, get more sleep. I know it’s hard and it’s not fun to keep to those resolutions, but if you go to your dermatologist they’ll also assess your skin and come up with a treatment plan for you and tell you about the latest greatest treatments that we have available in office that will jump start the process and help you look your best so you can keep those resolutions a little bit better.
On how to pick out cosmetic procedures when you’re on a budget
One of the main things I want to stress in our conversation today is safety. If you’re price sensitive it’s important not to cut corners on treatments because it can make a big difference not just in your budget but in your overall health. It’s important to see a trained aesthetic physician like a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. When it comes to treatments like Botox for example, there is no generic—this is an area where you do get what you pay for. When you try to cut corners you may not be getting the real product or treatment—it may not be reconstituted properly and you can run into problems and the results may not last as long.
It’s important to save and prioritize. When patients come in I assess their skin and put things on their “plate” and I say ‘these are the treatments that would be great for you to have. Here’s how we can prioritize based on where you’re at in terms of down time—some things can cause [temporary] bruising, somethings are little bit more painful, etc.’ We can prioritize based on a number of factors and price and then I’ll help them get their best results. These things often work well together so we can mix them up to have the best results overall and look natural without compromising on quality and getting the right product.
How do you know when you need a cosmetic procedure? (For instance I have hollows and fine lines under my eyes that eye creams can’t seem to treat and thought I would need something like Restylane to treat it)
You bring up a great point. Patients will come in and they’ll say “I don’t like these lines here” like under their eyes or the nasal labial fold. But as an aesthetic physician, my eye may point to their temple region—it may be the temple, it may be the mid-face that’s sunken, and that may make another area look worse. So I may not address directly where they’re point to but by addressing the areas that my aesthetic eye and my judgement tells me is the real source. I’m not reacting on what I see but acting at the source to help resolve that issue. You’ll get a great lift, you’ll look natural and subtle. Like you walk up and down Madison Ave or Fifth Avenue in New York and you’ll see people with their cheeks out to here, their lips are like three blocks ahead of them, and you’re like “What happened? Who is doing this?”
You know it’s important for someone to just say “You look great” and not be able to tell you had any work done. And it’s not about getting rid of every line and wrinkle. It’s really about having balance and harmony. And that’s from the outside and also on the inside. It’s a combination of things, but the treatments and devices that we have help you get there. As much as I tell people what to do, I also tell them when to stop. Sometimes it’s enough and they look great and they have to enjoy that.
On the latest innovations in skincare and how they relate to women of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent (certain treatments such as laser therapy can cause hyperpigmentation in women of these backgrounds)
If you have Asian skin, Hispanic skin, African American skin, you have to treat that skin differently and it’s even more important to see a physician who is properly trained to use these devices. But a lot of the newer devices like Ultherapy and Thermage, and Pelleve, which uses radio frequency as well, don’t affect the outer layers of the skin and don’t have those issues with pigmentation or darkening of the skin as some of the more ablative lasers like the Fractional CO2. Some types of Fraxel can be okay in skin of color. One of my favorite things for skin of color is something called eMatrix—when I have patients who are African American or Asian or Hispanic with acne scars, it improves it dramatically and I have not seen one case of pigmentation issues from that. So there are some treatments, but you have to be really, really careful and have proper skincare behind it. Because even if you do everything right you can still have a problem, but knowing how to handle that can minimize the long term consequences.
Dr. Day has written and spoken extensively in the area of skin care and is the author of Forget the Facelift: Dr. Day Turns Back The Clock With A Revolutionary Program For Ageless Skin. She’s also appeared on CNN and The Today Show and has written articles for Allure, ELLE, In Style, Vogue, Glamour and Redbook.