Melissa Doft's expert skincare tips on how to use retinol and sunscreen.

Anti-Aging Beauty Tips From Top NYC Plastic Surgeon Melissa Doft

md kidsWhen I think of a plastic surgeon, an old grey-haired man wearing glasses and a white lab coat comes to mind—along with images of Joan Rivers’ skin pulled so tightly behind her ears you could bounce a quarter off her cheeks. The minute I met Melissa Doft, MD, a plastic surgeon who specializes in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, my dated image of plastic surgeons—and plastic surgery—were immediately altered, for the better. She’s chic, smart, relatable, talented and a supermom to two boys who are 5 and 7 years old. In the operating room, she’s known for combining the latest noninvasive treatments, like dermal fillers and laser resurfacing, with cutting edge surgical methods to achieve the most natural-looking results with the least amount of downtime. While I’m not really ready to talk about face lifts (even though her new “mini face lift” is as advanced as the iPhone is in comparison to Don Johnson’s 10 lb. portable telephone on Miami Vice), I obviously had to ask about her favorite anti-aging beauty tips and skincare products she actually uses…

Retinol Serums-Creams

PI: What are your favorite anti-aging creams?
MD: I’ve tried lots of creams, and I usually don’t feel like they’ve made a difference, but I love NeoCutis BioCream Bio-Restorative Skin Cream, $145. It’s a rich moisturizer that has human growth factors derived from fetal skin to help boost skin firmness. I saw a change in my skin in one week. I also really like mybody myHERO Anti-Aging Growth Factor Serum, $225. It’s perfect for the busy mom because it has a little of everything—retinol, polypeptides and growth factors. It’s the ultimate vitamin for your skin. It has a retinol ester, meaning a slightly altered version of retinol that works in the same manner but is less irritating on the skin. For a less expensive option, I would suggest ROC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum, $23. They made one of the first over the counter retinol creams and are still at the top of my list.

PI: A lot of women find retinol irritating. What’s the safest way to use it?
MD: It’s important to apply a retinol at night as it can make you more sensitive to sunlight. If you’re using a retinol, remember to use sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Actually, the most important cream to stay ageless is sunscreen. I always know who was a sun bather and who smoked cigarettes when they come in for a consultation. Both vices age your skin more than anything else. For sunscreen, I love EltaMD SPF 46 UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen, $30 which doesn’t have any harsh chemicals because it’s based on zinc oxide….that goes on clear! I don’t wear makeup because I don’t like the feeling of base, and EltaMD feels like nothing. You have to buy it from a physician, but it’s not overly expensive. It’s even great for my children’s sensitive skin.

PI: Is there anyone who shouldn’t use retinol?
MD: Oral retinols have been shown to cause birth defects, so it’s essential to not use it during pregnancy. I don’t believe there are any studies on topical use of retinols, but I would stay away. I usually recommend using a great vitamin C product when mothers are breast feeding, pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant.

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