Exactly What This Dermatologist Uses To Keep Her Acne And Rosacea In Check

Ever wonder what derms use to keep their skin glowing and gorgeous? Yeah, us, too. That’s why we started skin-fessions: a column in which pros spill their skin-care routines. This month, Shirley Chi, MD, dished on how she keeps her acne, rosacea, and inflammation in check.

A.M. Step 1

“Rosacea can be caused by stress and hormones, which dilate blood vessels, resulting in a red complexion. I don’t want to aggravate my skin further, so I wash with soft water (I installed a filter in my house to remove irritating minerals like calcium) and use a creamy face wash that’s hypoallergenic, which is the best bet for preventing skin reactions.”

A.M. Step 2

“I start with an antioxidant-packed serum to neutralize rosacea-provoking free radicals. Then I slather on a tinted sunscreen (it doubles as foundation). Mineral versions are best for irritable skin; they create a physical block, whereas chemical ones bind to skin to absorb the rays, creating microscopic chemical reactions that can be sensitizing.”

P.M. Step 1

“When I was younger, I took two cycles of super-drying prescription Accutane because I had resistant acne (the kind that won’t go away with typical treatments). I still get occasional pimples, so I prefer a foaming cleanser, which mops away all excess oils without stripping skin and gives me a deep clean each night.”

P.M. Step 2

“Most nights I just use a moisturizer rich in ceramides. Twice a week, though, I’ll cocktail it with Renova, a creamy prescription retinoid that’s less drying than gel models. I can’t use it every night because it can cause irritation, but retinoids are great for acne and rosacea. They give blood vessels more structure by increasing collagen production to combat redness, and resurface the skin’s outer layer to prevent clogs.”

Once A Week

“The same probiotics (the helpful bacteria that rebalance your flora) that people usually consume orally can also be applied topically. Essentially, these guys can repopulate the good bacteria on the surface of skin to stave off inflammation that pimple-causing p. acnes would otherwise create. Once a week, I apply probiotic-rich plain Greek yogurt mixed with honey on my face for about 30 minutes to keep skin calm.”

6 Times A Year

“The in-office device SilkPeel (about $175 a session) works like a steam cleaner for your face; the handpiece uses suction to pull out blackheads while also infusing skin with either salicylic acid to prevent pimples or hyaluronic acid to plump lines (you choose). I switch between those two, depending on how my skin is at that moment.”

Once A Year

“Because of its narrow wavelength, the VBeam pulsed dye laser (average price $750 per treatment) is super precise at targeting redness. It works by flashing a light that absorbs all of the red and destroys it. Eventually, the redness does come back because, unfortunately, there isn’t anything that cures rosacea, and I live in L.A., an area with extreme temperatures and dry weather, both of which provoke the condition.”

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