#2 SkinMedica Body Lotion. I love this product and use it religiously on my arms and legs after I shower. Woe was me when I found out that the company is no longer going to be manufacturing it due to the low numbers of consumer purchasing. I still have some of this on my shelf, but I am sure I will run through that by the end of March and will then be in pursuit of another amazing body lotion. I just wish my fellow consumers would have picked up this ball and run with it……

#3 SkinMedica Lytera. I had used both Obagi Nu-derm and Obagi CRX systems in the past to good effect as I try to constantly combat this condition I hate so much –melasma or brown spots on the face. Living in Texas and loving the beach does not help either. However, it has become virtually impossible in Texas to obtain Obagi due to legislation passed that prohibit the distribution of prescription drugs such as hydroquinone (the active ingredient in Obagi) as well as certain other retinoids. Enter Lytera to the marketplace in late 2012. It was a new concept in lightening that was non-prescription and safe to use indefinitely. Combined with chemical peels or photorejuvenation, it really is at its’ best so to speak. I see patients each and every day, both male and female, who suffer from this same annoying condition, and it is nice to have something I can use in conjunction with my Essential Serum that will actually lighten and control the recurrence of the dreaded discoloration.

#4 SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5%. Retinoids were the first category of anti-aging that we scientifically could prove stimulated collagen, the building block of the science of anti-aging. We use it a lot in dermatology for acne, but many times managed care does not want to cover the cost of this category because insurance companies understand its potential as a valuable cosmetic topical agent. It turns over skin cells and the surrounding tissue more rapidly, promoting new cellular growth and increased collagen. By applying it in conjunction with other topical like the SkinMedica Lytera, we can see better penetration of the active ingredients in other products. Typically, these are only used nightly. I love the newer line of SkinMedica retinoids because they are quite potent without being  a prescription. Also, the SkinMedica ones allow for much less irritation than traditional retinoids can create. They come in various strengths but I love the middle of the road at 0.5%.

#5 SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair. I have tried tons of different eye creams over the years only to settle on this one every single night. I usually can manage it, (even on those nights previously mentioned when I am dead-tired!) and dab it easily under my eyes, on my crows’ feet and even above the eyelid on my brow in order to promote even more collagen growth in an area that can age me quickly if I am not careful.

#6 Biopelle Tensage Ampules. This fascinating product was discovered from the extract of a snail in order to quickly regenerate radiation-damaged skin after nuclear fallout. The history is definitely unique, but I like to use it in my office following the SkinPen device in order to give results similar to a Fraxel Restore, but at a fraction of the cost of similar laser procedures. The ampoules are glass, coated in a sturdy cardboard, so that when crushed within the cardboard liner, they are ready to apply to the face post-treatment with SkinPen nightly for one week, then once per week for 3 more weeks. I do this as sort of a “re-boot” of my skin. I typically like a course of this right after winter, and again right after the summer sun months. I still use all of my other regimen while doing this additional anti-aging topical for that brief period of one month every six months or so.

#7 NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention Physical Mineral Sunscreen SPF30.  I found this product quite by accident when I was living as a dermatology resident in San Antonio before I opened my practice. I had come back with a suitcase full of trade size and sample size skincare products from every manufacturer under the sun. I literally had an empty suitcase that I filled up during my first conference at the American Academy of Dermatology. I got home only to realize I would never be able to use all of these products in a lifetime, so I suddenly became generous and passed them out to friends and family. One of my friends, who is so sun-phobic that she literally drives around with white athletic socks over her hands to prevent sunspots, took this product and came back to me to specifically show me why she loved this product so much. She was a bit of a sunscreen connoisseur (and not even a dermatologist!) and loved the high levels of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which reflected, not absorbed, the sunlight. Even though it is only SPF30, the power is in the physical blockade. Because of my melasma, I really hate chemical sunscreens. Why? Chemical sunscreens can feel like a burning sensation in sensitive patients, but more importantly, they convert light to heat rather than reflect the light like a physical sunscreen. Guess what makes melasma or brown discoloration worse (other than light!)? You got it—heat. Heat can drive melasma to become even darker. Prior to discovering this amazing very hydrating sunscreen, physical blockers got the bad but deserved rap for creating a white or ghost-like discoloration to the skin. Not so with this micronized version. I am now a sunscreen connoisseur, too! I may use and try other sunscreens but I always end up coming back to this one.

Authored by Dr. Ellen Turner, Dermatology Office of Dr. Ellen Turner, M.D., Dallas, TX