Two Guiding Principles for Building An Effective Skin Care Regimen – Dr. Mariah Johnson

“Whether in their 20s or 80s, the vast majority of my patients are interested in anti-aging skin care regimens. Don’t let the deluge of online skin care advice and advertisements overwhelm you. Establishing an effective anti-aging skin care regimen is simple. Follow these two guiding principles,” shares Dr. Johnson.


Sunlight Is the Driving Force Behind Premature Skin Aging and Skin Cancer.
The most important skin care product to incorporate into your daily regimen is sunscreen.

First, it’s essential to understand that UV radiation (sunlight) is the driving force behind premature skin aging and skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. This is because UV radiation causes collagen and elastin loss, increased pigmentation, and DNA mutations resulting in cellular injury, cell death, and eventually cancer. Over time, UV-exposed skin loses its plump, youthful appearance and becomes riddled with wrinkles, sunspots, broken capillaries, and textural abnormalities such as leathered skin or yellow, pebbled skin with numerous whiteheads and blackheads.  

That said, the most important skin care product to incorporate into your daily regimen is sunscreen. I recommend using a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and a SPF of 30 or more, as these protect against both UVA and UVB, and are less irritating, longer lasting, and more environmentally friendly compared to chemical sunscreens. Sunscreen should be worn on your face and neck daily, even when driving because UVA penetrates glass. If you are bothered by the pasty appearance of most mineral sunscreens, try a tinted sunscreen. As to the question of which brand to use, sunscreens in the U.S. are regulated by the FDA and rigorously tested to prove SPF efficacy. You can trust that if the sunscreen is being sold on the market it is effective. One of my favorite brands is EltaMD® Sunscreen. We have several varieties available to purchase from our locations. 


Boosting Cellular Turnover Promotes Seeing Newer, Healthier Skin Cells Faster.
The second most important skin care product to use is prescription-strength tretinoin.

The second most important skin care product to use is prescription-strength tretinoin cream or gel. Tretinoin is a Vitamin A derived retinoic acid that is FDA-approved for treating acne and skin aging. It has been on the market for over 40 years and has an abundance of high-quality scientific data to support its efficacy in treating and preventing photoaging.

Tretinoin works by literally speeding up the life cycle of skin cells. Old, dead cells leave, making room for newer, healthier skin cells. Of all topical anti-aging products, tretinoin is the gold standard. Most over-the-counter anti-aging creams use retinol, which is the alcohol version of retinoic acid. Retinol is much weaker and less effective than retinoic acid. I recommend going straight for the best use of your time and money by talking to your dermatologist about a tretinoin prescription. 


Daily Use of Sunscreen and Tretinoin Helps Prevent and Treat Aging Over Time.

Daily sunscreen and tretinoin use are scientifically proven to help prevent and treat photoaging. Other possibly beneficial products include topical vitamins like Vitamin C, E, and B3. 

Dr. Johnson specializes in Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology and skin cancer treatments, including Mohs Surgery. She tells us about her passion for all things dermatology, “The skin is a fascinating organ as a window into our internal health, genetics, and environmental exposures. So much can be learned by simply examining the skin. I find it incredibly rewarding to work with patients and see their skin concerns resolve with treatment.”

Get to know Dr. Johnson and schedule a consultation with her at one of our convenient locations.