Swan Beauty recently chatted with Dermatologist Laura McGirt about the best practices and products to nourish our skin. We covered sunscreen savviness, retinoid basics and hype-worthy skincare trends. A graduate of Duke University for both undergraduate and medical school, Dr. McGirt completed her dermatology residency at Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Charlotte with her husband and five children.
Swan Beauty: What are the most important things we need to be doing for our skin?
Laura McGirt: Sun protection and moisturizing are probably the most important things. Everything else can come after that. Moisturizers range from lotions to creams to ointments based on the dryness and the needs of your skin. You should also make sure you’re staying up on your water intake.
SB: We know we should be using sunscreen, but what kind of sunscreen do you recommend?
LM: It’s important to find a sunscreen that is going to fit your lifestyle. The vast amount of sunscreens that are available is mind boggling! I recommend finding one that feels good to your skin so you’re more inclined to use it. Mineral based sunscreen with zinc or titanium oxide is highly effective. Consider your daily activities – how long will you be in the sun? How active will you be? Remember to reapply because sunscreen applied in the morning won’t last all day.
SB: What’s the difference between retinoid and retinol? Should we include them in our skincare routine?
LM: Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that aid in skin cell turnover. We have decades of data on how retinoids are beneficial to the overall integrity of skin. Commonly used to treat acne, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and minimize skin discoloration, they can be prescription strength (retinoids) or over the counter (retinols). Retinol is generally less potent than prescription strength retinoids and is more easily tolerated by the skin. You can find retinol in many over the counter skincare topicals. Your skin will also be more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to wear sunscreen when using a retinoid.
SB: What is niacinamide? Should we include that in our daily skincare?
LM: Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B-3. It’s been in the dermatologists’ armamentarium for a looong time to treat serious skin diseases because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Its anti-inflammatory benefits as well as its role in reducing sun damage has brought niacinamide into the skincare limelight over the last several years. There is a lot of good data surrounding niacinamide, so it’s now being used in a more cosmetic way in serums and creams.
SB: How does vitamin C benefit our skin?
LM: Vitamin C is one of the hot ticket items right now and for good reasons. It aids in increasing collagen, which degrades and decreases as we age. It also decreases melanin formation, and can help to reduce hyperpigmentation. Using serums or moisturizers with vitamin C will create a little bit of exfoliation and give skin a dewy appearance, but it also makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. It’s important to use sunscreen when including vitamin C in your skincare routine.
SB: Any favorite skincare products at the moment?
LM: I love the tinted zinc sunscreen. It’s a must for me when heading outside. I also really like the St Jane Vitamin C Serum with CBD. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are well known, and I’m sure we will continue to see more of it in skincare products.
|SB: And now for some non-skincare questions….Last book you read?|
LM: The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. It was a close second to his book, A Gentleman in Moscow.
SB: Tea or coffee?
SB: Podcast or playlist?
LM: Playlist: “Oldies” playlist from my 17 year old (Elton John, Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, TheCranberries…)
SB: Beach breeze or mountain air?
LM: Beach breeze. We were just in Turks and Caicos for spring break – with lots of sunscreen, hats, and swim shirts.