Dermatologists prescribe products to their patients all day long, but have you ever wondered which ones they personally use? welcome to Derm Journals, a new series where dermatologists share their skin problems and solutions so you can steal secrets from their skin care routines.
Long before she went to medical school, Alicia Barba, MD, a certified dermatologist in Miami, Fla., At Barba Dermatology, was familiar with the inside of a dermatologist’s office.
“I grew up exposed to dermatology through my mom’s appointments with her dermatologist for vitiligo and my own visits for acne,” she explains. “I’ve always been fascinated by the way topical medications interact with the skin to make people look better.”
It was only at university that Dr Barba decided to continue her studies in dermatology, and she immediately changed her specialization from Spanish literature to biology. “It never occurred to me that I could be a doctor,” she said. “I didn’t have any doctors in my family and I was the first in my family to go to college.”
Although she knows many beauty secrets, Dr. Barba still has her own skin care issues.
“Like many Latinas, I am prone to hyperpigmentation,” she says. “I have suffered from hyperpigmentation for 13 years and four months. Like many women, it started after taking birth control. My heart sank when I saw the symmetrical brown spots on my cheeks and forehead. I knew my relationship with the outdoors would be different from that point on. Melasma is chronic and sunscreen is never a complete blockage. It’s a constant standoff. “
Dr Barba’s daily skin care routine involves controlling her hyperpigmentation and she avoids the sun as much as possible. Since Hispanics are more likely to have hyperpigmentation, she helps many of her patients cope with it.
“I know for a fact that my success relies on my Latinx patients,” says Dr. Barba, who is of Mexican descent and originally from California. “A lot of people ask me because I am well trained and speak their language. Speaking Spanish during a consultation with a native Spanish speaker has a huge impact on the ability to communicate with my patients, especially if they don’t speak English, which can be common in Miami given that many patients come here from abroad to receive medical treatment. or may have recently arrived from a Spanish speaking country. I love taking care of my Spanish speaking patients in Spanish. Often times I speak Spanish to them even though they speak English. It’s a habit.”
But you don’t have to speak Spanish to understand Dr. Barba’s personal skincare philosophy: “Maximum exfoliation, maximum hydration, no irritation,” she says. “It’s still my goal. The advancement of topical active ingredients and the ability to layer them make a huge difference in the appearance of the skin. Ingredients for skin care have come a long way.
See how it plays out in her own skin care regimen.
Her morning routine begins in the shower.
Dr Barba always makes sure to have the Dove Beauty Bar in his shower. (She works with the brand.) “I like it for several reasons,” says Dr. Barba. “It gently cleanses without drying out and is ideal for my skin which has been thoroughly cleansed and ‘nourished’ the day before with various actives. I also like to incorporate Dove Soothing Care Body Wash into my shower routine. It’s made with calendula infused oils and has a wonderful herbal scent. It is formulated with Moisture Renew Blend which helps hydrate and regenerate the skin and produce the ceramides it needs.
To seal in the hydration, she then latches the Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Balm. Finally, for more radiance on her legs, she uses Nuxe Multi-Purpose Dry Oil. “We show legs all year round in Miami,” says Dr. Barba.
She creates her own tailor-made skincare products.
Dr Barba isn’t afraid to literally mix things up. In the morning, to control her hyperpigmentation, she prepares an antioxidant cocktail by combining SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic and SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF.
“I love the moisturizing aspects of Vitamin E in CE Ferulic, but using it alone is too moisturizing for my combination skin, so I add some to my Phloretin CF,” she explains.
She also custom mixes her own sunscreen at the office. “I use SPF 50+ and Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Hydrating Foundation, and a dab of Dermablend Glow Creator Highlighter Makeup. It’s the perfect tinted sunscreen that matches my skin tone. As a concealer, j uses Dermablend Quick Fix Concealer.
She successfully fights maskne.
Skin diseases are like us: “I have struggled with the major mask and sensitivity over the past year,” says Dr. Barba.
She takes a pill to fight it, specifically 40 mg of isotretinoin per week (aka Accutane – prescription only). “It’s a magic pill for me. It keeps my mask clear and my pores tight. It is used daily for severe acne. I find taking a pill on Sunday night saved my life. This should be done under the supervision of a doctor and only taken if you are on birth control and not trying to get pregnant.
Her lips have also taken a hit from rubbing on masks, so she keeps her crease hydrated with SkinCeuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair.
She knows thorough cleaning is essential.
Dr Barba removes make-up with Eau Thermale Avène Gentle Eye Make-up Remover, then washes his face.
“Avene Cleanance Hydra Soothing Cleansing Cream cleanses my sensitive skin without drying it out. It is made for skin sensitized by acne treatments or retinols (which I use every night). What I love most about this cleanser is that it does not exfoliate.
She layers her skincare.
“I love layering products for maximum shine,” says Dr. Barba.
In the evening, it starts with its own Teoxane RHA micellar solution, an alcohol-free toner made from hyaluronic acid and rosewater. “It smells delicious and gently hydrates my combination skin to prepare it for actives that treat my mask and pigmentation,” she says.
Then she alternates between two products, starting with Skinceuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight. “I love this glycolic acid product that exfoliates but is actually hydrating. Often times I mix in a bit of Isdin Melatonik Recovery Night Serum to reduce the strength a bit as I tend to be sensitive.
Or, she’ll use the Skinceuticals Custom Dose Serum with Retinol and Azelaic Acid. “Skinceuticals formulated this specifically for me as an anti-aging treatment that can simultaneously treat pigmentation. It’s gentle enough that I alternate with their Glycolic 10.
She is not afraid to experiment with unusual ingredients.
Dr. Barba completes his afternoon routine with Biopelle Tensage Stem Cell Eye Cream with Retinol and Snail Egg Extract. “I went to the snail farm in Spain to learn firsthand the technology behind snail egg extract,” she says. “I like it for treating the delicate skin under my eyes, especially my crow’s feet.”
She does not neglect this often forgotten place.
“Hands! I use all of the above products and run them down my neck, chest and hands. Always!”
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