The 5 Best Kept Secrets for Radiant Skin
The 5 Best Kept Secrets for Radiant Skin
~ Missy Clifton, M.D.
As a dermatologist, I get asked daily about how to get and keep healthy-looking skin. Consistency is key when following the next 5 tips!

As a dermatologist, I get asked daily about how to get and keep healthy-looking skin.  Consistency is key when following the next 5 tips! 


The number one cause of wrinkling skin is sun damage - especially from UVA rays which are the rays that penetrate through car windows.  Even though the sun is less intense during the fall, you can still rack up extensive damage going in and out of school or work, running errands, and simply riding in the car.  In choosing a sunscreen, the SPF value matters less than the ingredients.  My favorite ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium oxide.  If your sunscreen contains one or both of these actives, you will be getting broad spectrum protection. 


Bedtime is repair time for your skin.  You touch your face with your hands and phone all day making it one of the dirtiest parts of your body.  Not to mention all the toxins and germs your skin comes into contact with in the air!  Cleansing allows the skin to repair itself and removes excess bacteria that can lead to increased breakouts.  Make it fun with the use of a Clarisonic cleansing device which deep cleans your pores and prepares skin for repair products.  



Choose a good cleanser for your skin type.  If you are sensitive, find something that is fragrance-free.  If you are acne prone or oily, select a cleanser with alpha hydroxy acids - lactic, salicylic, and glycolic.


A good toner is important not only because it can remove makeup left by cleanser, but it also neutralizes pH which makes all other products work optimally.

AM Products

Moisturize with an antioxidant to help fend off damage of the day and sunblock.  Some products are all-in-one such as SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair.  More frequently, you can pair two products together such as SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic and Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 to get the desired effect. 

PM Products

After cleansing and toning, you need a repair product.  Here are my favorite ingredients and why. 

  1. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.  Free radicals can cause the breakdown of collagen, brown spots, and even pre-cancerous changes.
  2. Retinoids help skin turnover normally by shedding dead cells, reducing breakouts, and rebuilding collagen.
  3. Growth Factors trigger your skin's stem cells to start making fresh skin cells and erase the damage of years past
  4. Peptides are like fertilizer for your collagen.  They are the building blocks of collagen, which supports your skin, and when lost leads to wrinkles.


Exfoliation can be as simple as using a Clarisonic with an exfoliating cleanser, such as SkinMedica AHA/BHA Cleanser,  1-2 times a week.  Once a quarter, it's a good idea to do a professional microdermabrasion or chemical peel to increase the effectiveness of an at-home regimen and really give your skin a boost.  It's amazing how radiant your skin can look before a big event with an in-office professional treatment!  Dead skin cells are exfoliated resulting in lessened fine lines allowing makeup to go on better and look more even.


Tanning beds are UVA radiation which, unlike UVB, rarely causes sunburn. However, UVA rays actually penetrate deeper into the skin. These rays break down collagen and damage the cells that are dividing to replenish all the other cells of the skin. This leads to wrinkles, sunspots, and a leathery appearance of the skin.  More seriously, any tanning bed use has been shown in studies to increase the formation of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma is the potentially deadly type of skin cancer, and tanning beds increase your risk by 74% over those who don’t tan. Tanning bed use just 4 times a year increases your risk by 11%.  What's the most common excuse I hear for using a tanning bed?  "I use a tanning bed to prevent getting a sunburn on vacation."   A UVA tan from a tanning bed may mask the redness you get at the beach, but it does not prevent a UVB burn.  You're just adding damage to damage.  A safe alternative is spray tanning.  Spray tans are safe, customizable, and look beautifully natural. 


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