How Top Dermatologists Take Care Of Their Own Skin

Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
You wouldn't trust a dentist who doesn't have a pearly-white smile, would you? Well, the same goes for dermatologists and impeccable skin. Sure, everyone gets the odd breakout from time to time, but to have cred, an expert should follow his or her own advice.

This got us thinking: Dermatologists spend their days recommending products and performing treatments on others, but how do they care for their own complexions? To find out, we tapped six of the industry’s top pros to get the lowdown on their personal skin-care routines. You’ve heard us rave about some of their groundbreaking skin-care lines, but now we're delving deeper. And, after learning about their regimens, it's no wonder they sport flawless visages.

So, whether you’re craving some kickass product recommendations or simply happen to be as curious as we are, read on for the not-so-dirty deets.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Who:
Doris Day, MD, specializes in laser and surgical cosmetic dermatology in New York City. She’s been featured on countless talk shows and in magazines, offering up her expert advice on all things skin. She’s also the author of two books and creator of her own skin-care line, Dr. Doris Day Medical Skin Care.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
A.M. Routine:
To begin her morning, Dr. Day starts off with a gentle foaming cleanser from her own line called the Silky Foam Cleansing Mousse, which contains lactic and salicylic acids to boost exfoliation. “I love it because it removes any product left from the night, but doesn’t leave my skin feeling stripped or dry,” she said. She then moves straight into applying a serum with antioxidants and growth factors — she prefers to alternate between the SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum and SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, both of which are pricey but extremely effective in combating free radicals and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Next up on her agenda is the Christie Brinkley Recapture 360 + IR Defense Anti-Aging Day Cream. “I love this product because it protects against both UV and IR rays, and leaves my skin feeling hydrated, soft, and smooth besides feeling protected,” she said. For the last step in her routine, Dr. Day uses the new Colorescience Even Up Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF 50, which contains a light tint that works as foundation on most days. She also uses the Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30 to assure she stays protected throughout the day.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
P.M. Routine:
At the end of her long day, she begins her routine with what she considers the most important step: removing all traces of makeup, pollution, and dirt without stripping her skin. She starts with a cleansing wipe from Garnier, Neutrogena, or Olay Regenerist. Then, she picks up her Clarisonic since she knows that cleansing brushes clean six to 10 times better than hands do. She prefers the sensitive brush head.

For a more intense exfoliation, she uses an at-home treatment kit weekly. “Once a week, I will also use the Olay ProX Microdermabrasion kit, which I'm completely addicted to,” she said. Then, after applying the same serums from her a.m. routine, she uses prescription Retin-A or Tazorac, both of which work to increase cell turnover and improve things like skin texture, hyperpigmentation, acne, and fine lines and wrinkles. As the last step in her routine, Dr. Day applies the NIA24 Intensive Recovery Complex to seal everything in and provide superior hydration.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Who:
David Colbert, MD, is the founder of the New York Dermatology Group. He’s also a published author and creator of his own skin-care line, Colbert MD. In addition to working with celebs like Sienna Miller and Naomi Watts, Dr. Colbert offers his professional advice to newspapers, magazines, and good ol' Refinery29.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
A.M. Routine:
“I always start the morning with a large glass of water to rehydrate, which almost instantly energizes the skin and muscles,” he said. “It’s a quick flushing of the system of overnight toxins.” He then uses three drops of Colbert MD Illumino Face Oil, which contains an impressive blend of oils and vitamin C, and massages it all over his face and beard to soften the skin and get his circulation going.

In the shower, he cleanses his body using the Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap and then shaves with Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel, which contains skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal. After applying Illumino Body Oil all over, he mixes in a few drops of his line's Stimulate The Serum — which he says is his “401(k) for youthful facial skin” — with Nutrify & Protect, a moisturizer that protects against environmental damage. To complete the routine, he applies a few drops of the NYDG Physician’s UV Defense SPF 30 to protect from UVA and UVB rays.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
P.M. Routine:
Come p.m., Dr. Colbert is a minimalist, which we definitely admire. To wash off the NYC day, he uses the Balance Purifying Cleanser, which he says is both refreshing and anti-aging. Next up: moisturizing, of course. “I mix a drop of Illumino Face Oil with Soothe Night Cream,” he said. Infused with QuSome technology, which delivers nutrients in their active states to the dermal layers, Soothe works to calm inflammation caused by environmental stressors and replenish hydration.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Who:
Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, is the co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington D.C., where she serves as a leader in the field of cosmetic dermatology. In addition to being a world-renowned author, she is a consulting dermatologist and investigator for L’Oréal and works with industry experts to promote the development of new sunscreen products.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
A.M. Routine:
To start her day, Dr. Tanzi reaches for the Donell Cream Wash, a super-gentle cleanser that contains coconut milk as its base — ideal for all skin types, especially sensitive. She follows up with the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum. “This is one of the most potent and stable antioxidants available,” she said. “It helps protect my skin from environmental damage, pollution, etc.” Then, she applies the Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30 all over her face as foundation and sun protection. Lastly, she uses the Eucerin Original Healing Lotion on her body to lock in hydration. Her regimen proves both simple and effective.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
P.M. Routine:
She first cleans her face with Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Creamy Cleanser, which she loves for its extremely gentle formula and makeup-removing abilities. As for moisturizer, she liberally applies the Epionce Renewal Facial Cream, which she loves because it has gentle exfoliants and extracts to help rejuvenate skin without irritation. In terms of eye cream, she uses the Revision DEJ Eye Cream, which contains a myriad of potent antioxidants and peptides to fight signs of aging. Finally, Dr. Tanzi treats her dry hands (caused by washing between patients all day) with the Eucerin Intensive Repair Extra-Enriched Hand Creme.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Who:
Macrene Alexiades, MD, PhD, is the founder and director of NY Derm LLC, a laser surgery and research center located in Manhattan. Additionally, she serves as an associate clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine and the Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. She also founded her own skin-care line — 37 Actives — which combines 50 of the world’s greatest anti-aging ingredients in one jar.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
A.M. Routine:
Dr. Alexiades starts her day with a shower that's warm but not too hot, and is careful to keep hot water off her face when washing her hair. She only uses organic or plant-derived shampoos, such as ones by Avalon and Nature’s Gate. “Immediately after showering, I apply 37 Extreme Actives Cream, regular in the summer and Extra Rich in the fall and winter,” she said. She follows up with the brand’s luxe neck and décolletage treatment, applying liberally to her neck, chest, and tops of hands. To hydrate her arms and legs, she uses the Lancôme Nutrix Royal Body Cream, which contains royal jelly to provide intense, long-lasting hydration.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
P.M. Routine:
At night, she washes with lukewarm water and the 37 Extreme Actives Cleansing Treatment, which uses plant-derived and organic ingredients to expertly remove makeup. She follows up with the same cream and neck treatment as in her morning routine. When she can, she always tries for eight hours of uninterrupted shut-eye, which she considers “the best beauty balm.”
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Who:
Sejal Shah, MD, is a dermatologist at Smarter Skin Dermatology, a private practice located in Manhattan, where she specializes in cosmetic dermatology and lasers. She also teaches at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and has published numerous articles and book chapters on skin care.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
A.M. Routine:
“I tend to have more sensitive skin on the normal-to-dry spectrum, so most of the products I choose reflect that,” she said. She prefers a plain and gentle cleanser in the morning, like the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, which is packed with moisturizing and nourishing ingredients. Then, she applies the ever-popular SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. “I love this serum because it really works on every skin type, doesn't dry my somewhat sensitive skin, and counters all that harmful UV radiation,” she said.

Finally, she moisturizes, alternating between the Neocutis Journée and the EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, both of which contain ample UV protection. “Journée is packed with growth factors, antioxidants, hydrating ingredients, and a sunscreen to help reverse and prevent signs of aging,” she said. “I also like the Elta UV clear, especially in the summer since it has a higher SPF. It's also got hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin and niacinamide (an anti-inflammatory) and vitamin E (an antioxidant).”
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
P.M. Routine:
In the evenings, Dr. Shah either cleanses again with the CeraVe or uses the Revision Brightening Facial Wash, which contains alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids to remove the dead skin cells and impurities that accumulate throughout the day. Also, if she’s wearing heavier makeup than usual, she uses a makeup wipe or soap beforehand.

She uses a prescription-strength retinoid two to three days a week, followed by the Neocutis Bio Serum Intensive Treatment or CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM if she’s feeling especially dry. On non-retinoid nights, she supplements by using the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, which exfoliate, tone, and brighten with ingredients like cucumber, lemon peel, and licorice root. Lastly, she applies the Neocutis Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Cream, which contains hyaluronic acid to help firm and hydrate.

Revision Skincare Brightening Facial Wash, available in dermatologists' offices.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Who:
Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, is the Global Dermatologist and Technology Expert for Lab Series Skincare for Men, as well as the founder and director of Fifth Avenue Dermatology Surgery and Laser Center.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
A.M. Routine:
Dr. Frank starts his morning with the Lab Series Multi-Action Face Wash. “I like the way it helps soften my facial hair before I shave, while simultaneously cleansing the skin and exfoliating dead skin cells,” he said. He immediately follows up with the Lab Series Age Rescue + Water-Charged Gel Cream. “This helps to repair, renew, and reenergize skin for a smoother, younger-looking appearance,” he said. Finally, two to three times a week he’ll use the Tom Ford for Men Bronzing Gel to add some natural-looking color to the skin. “I like to use a touch of this, especially during winter months when skin can look dull and gray after months of cold weather.”
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
P.M. Routine:
Dr. Frank jumpstarts his nightly routine with the Lab Series MAX LS Daily Renewing Cleanser, which cleans without disturbing the moisture barrier or pH balance. “I love this cleanser because it reinvigorates skin with its oxygenating action and delivers an instant, refreshing sensation that feels great at the end of the day,” he said. He then substitutes his morning moisturizer for the Lab Series MAX LS Age-Less Power V Lifting Cream, which he says targets the jawline for a tighter, more lifted look. “It boosts moisture in the skin, repairs the look of fine lines, and supports natural collagen, among other things,” he said. Finally, he applies the Lab Series MAX LS Instant Eye Lift, which fades lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet.
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