How to put your best face forward, according to Dr. Pimple Popper

You have to start investing in a heavy-duty moisturiser to keep your skin at its best during the harsh winter months.
You have to start investing in a heavy-duty moisturiser to keep your skin at its best during the harsh winter months.

2018 was a big year for Dr. Sandra Lee, better known as Dr. Pimple Popper. After racking up millions of followers thanks to her engrossing viral videos which see her popping blackheads, the year blessed the California-based cosmetic and surgical dermatologist with a TV show, one that TLC renewed for a second season. All this, and Lee did what she said was one of the hardest things: write a book.

Put Your Best Face Forward: The Ultimate Guide to Skincare from Acne to Anti-Aging is more than 250 pages of skin wonderment, filled with cosmetic and procedural skin advice, treatments, dos and don’ts and lots and lots of photos (the before and after snapshots of people’s skin, kind of photos).

“I definitely think the initial reaction to pimple popping is disgust or interest or obsession, and I’ve definitely seen people get pulled in who didn’t care for it initially. There is something hypnotizing and satisfying about it,” Lee tells Yahoo Canada.

The book is comprehensive and comes with subheadings like “Your doctor should never laser off a wart!” and “Liposuction is not a license to eat” mixed among countless teachings, scientific classifications and skincare considerations. It gets into Botox, moles, skin tags, how hormones affect our skin, and outlines the different types of acne scars so readers understand what they’re looking at. Notes about surgical procedures like earlobe reconstruction? It’s in the book.

Lee also identifies the culprits of aging skin, which she says are free radicals (unstable and reactive molecules), ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure), inflammation (UV radiation, irritants) and glycation (excess sugar).

She also really stresses the importance of using sunscreen as well.

“Sunscreen application is year-round, and don’t just rely on the sunscreen that is in your makeup,” advises Lee. “Apply a broad screen protection sunscreen. Think of it as a primer for your skin.”

By wearing sunscreen, and ideally starting the process in one’s twenties, Lee says we can see benefits such as “fewer skin cancers, less prominent blotchiness and blood vessels, fewer ‘age spots’ and less chance of melasma.”

According to Lee, “pretty much everything we dislike about our skin when we get older in some part has to do with the sun exposure we had when we were young.”

Treating acne

In the book Dr. Lee talks about how natural ingredients can be used to treat mild acne. These natural ingredients mean “any component derived from a plant, animal, mineral, or mircorbial source that is found in nature or produced using minimal physical processing.”

However, Lee doesn’t just idle the au natural approach.

“Several natural remedies can reduce inflammation and block breakouts, but they aren’t as effective as other OTC (over-the-counter) ingredients produced synthetically or by more complex chemical processes,” says Lee. Natural acne treatments are also listed in the book, citing things like tea tree oil, zinc, and green tea extract as ways to treat mild acne.

Skin care products are always in abundance so finding the right fit can be challenging. Dr. Lee says look for skin products labelled noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic as “they won’t clog pores.”

Demystifying Botox

“I use [the name] Botox generically here like you use Kleenex or Xerox because it is the first and most recognizable term. Currently, there are two other FDA-approved forms of botulinum toxin that can be used for cosmetic use: Dysport and Xeomin,” Lee says.

While she wouldn’t disclose a specific age when people could consider Botox or fillers (soft cosmetic injectables), Lee did give us a breakdown on the procedure and its purpose.

“You want to start preventing your frown line, so those 11’s between your brows, from becoming permanent fixtures on you when you’re not even frowning. Consider treating them with Botox if you hate them, before they stick around when your facial muscles are at rest, because then you will need more than just Botox to make the lines disappear.”

Lee also recommends using topical tretinoin or over the counter retinol products (if you cannot get a prescription).

“You will thank your younger self because it is probably the only thing out there that has proven the test of time with numerous of studies to show that it can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even help prevent the development of skin cancers,” argues Dr. Lee.

Lee says that Botox is generally the first thing that people try when they consider cosmetic procedures for anti-aging and anti-wrinkle reasons. “It’s really quick — many times it’s a pretty painless procedure with not a huge cost and there’s virtually no downtime with significant improvement or minimization of negative lines and expressions.”

“Botox does not ruin your face permanently,” asserts Lee. “It just temporary prevents specific muscles from moving and [results] usually lasts three to four months. The trick is to do it conservatively, you can always add more, but if you do too much sometimes you can look unnatural or even plastic and unmovable.”

Let’s talk about winter

Now that we’ve entered colder temperatures our winter skin game needs to step in. Dr. Lee recommends switching from moisturizing lotions, which are water based, to creams which are thicker and provide more moisturizing because they are oil based.

“I am on the dry side, so I always pay careful attention to moisturization. I especially like moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid and have created a wonderful HA serum that I’m addicted to. It’s part of my skin care line, SLKMDskincare.”

While we often hear that diet is a root to understanding acne, Dr. Lee believes it more has to do with hormones that may be added to our food.

And just in case you want to know why your doctor should never laser off a wart.

“Using a laser pulverizes the virus particles but then releases them into the air. In the past, laser treatments led other people in the treatment area (patients and staff) to develop warts on their nostrils because they breathed in the wart viruses released into air!”

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