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Skin care secrets from Beauty Bootcamp

Susan Van Dyke, M.D., led a Beauty Bootcamp to give expert advice on skin care options. Questions like, “What’s with that Clarisonic tool anyways?” and others popped into our head. So we turned to Susan for the answers on antioxidants, natural skin care and more.

Woman applying face cream
Susan Van Dyke, M.D., recently led a Beauty Bootcamp to give expert advice on skin care options. Questions like, “What’s with that Clarisonic tool anyways?” popped into our head.

Yes, doc?

So we turned to Susan for the answers on antioxidants, natural skin care and more.


SheKnows: So, some women might be intimidated by the Clarisonic tool. Let’s talk about the benefits and why we shouldn’t be afraid to try it.

Susan Van Dyke: Clarisonic is not an electronic scrub brush. The beauty of the technology is that it works without the harsh scrubbing and shearing forces that can break down collagen (like many other electric brushes on the market that spin and buff the surface of the skin). It uses the vibration of oscillating soft fibers to work water into pores, which provides a true deep cleansing. This is similar to the ultrasonic toothbrush which can cleanse the small spaces between the teeth and gums.

SK: Can you give us a brief rundown on the popular lines SkinMedica and ColoreScience?

SVD: SkinMedica is a physician skin care line renowned for using TNS. TNS is a highly concentrated skin growth factor serum that stimulates new collagen. When TNS works together with peptides and powerful antioxidants, the serum reverses the signs of aging such as fine lines, brown spots and roughness.

ColoreScience has developed a pure mineral line of powder sunscreens. It’s a sunscreen of adequate strength (SPF 30 or 50) that is easy and beautiful. Along with the skin powder, ColoreScience makes various mineral sunscreens for eyes and lips as well.

SK: Besides products like these, what should every woman be doing in her skin care routine to prevent the effects of aging?

SVD: The use of sunscreen cannot be overemphasized. UV radiation is the most significant, preventable cause of skin aging. Antioxidants should be a part of every woman’s routine. Antioxidants help protect the skin from what is called “oxidative stress,” which is known to cause aging. Oxidative stress is the result of UV radiation, toxins such as air pollution, and of course, smoking. Antioxidants work by absorbing free radicals produced by these toxins, which attack our bodies.

SK: Some women like the all-natural route when it comes to their skin. Can that be just as effective in anti-aging?

SVD: Natural methods can be effective, but research and scientific studies have given us some ways to boost what nature has given us, especially when it comes to antioxidants. I advise [women] to look at the studies that back up whatever claims are made by the company. Simply being natural does not always mean the substance is effective. Vitamin C, a fairly weak antioxidant, can lose all of its value if not prepared properly, yet it would still be considered a “natural antioxidant.”

SK: What ingredients should we avoid in our skin care products?

Tip: Look for “non-comedogenic” on the label if you tend to break out.

SVD: There is not a specific “black list” of products that dermatologists warn against, mainly because problem ingredients have been weeded out over time. Some active ingredients may be a problem for acne prone women but may be beneficial for a woman with extremely dry skin, so it is wise not to generalize.

SK: Are there any quirky beauty tips you like to recommend? (e.g. avocado as lip balm — totally making this one up, but you get the idea)

SVD: Apply products with active ingredients on slightly damp skin in order to enhance absorption and get better results. If you have more than one “active product” to apply, go from thinner to thicker formulas, waiting five minutes between layers. That means: serums first, followed by gels, lotions, creams and ointments. NEVER mix two products together unless they are meant to be used together. This may alter the effects of both active ingredients.

SK: What is the number one piece of advice you give your clients when it comes to anti-aging?

SVD: Sunscreen, sunscreen, more sunscreen and always smile. Aging is inevitable — we might as well look great while we do.

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