By Dr. Katie Rodan
I recently saw a patient in my office who was complaining of tiny, rough, slightly red bumps on the back of her upper arms. She said she’d had this condition since she was a child, and although it was slightly better; it still bothered her and made her self-conscious about baring her arms.
Sound familiar? You may know it as “chicken skin” or “goose flesh,” but this condition, formally called Keratosis Pilaris (KP), is actually estimated to affect between 50-80 percent of adolescents and approximately 40 percent of adults.
But as widespread as it is, most people are too embarrassed to seek treatment. As a derm, I’ve heard every self-treatment idea in the book, from people trying to scratch the bumps off to attempting to exfoliate them away. Unfortunately, neither work and, more often than not, make the situation worse.
For best results treating KP, avoid aggressive exfoliation and make sure to keep the area hydrated with a moisturizer that helps regulate skin cell proliferation. For a more proactive treatment approach, try a moisturizer that contains urea and/or salicylic acid. When used regularly, it can be very effective at improving KP.
So reduce the urge to scratch, and instead, bump up your moisturizer … soon enough you’ll dare to go bare!
By Dr. Katie Rodan
In January, bookings in my medical practice reflect a common New Year’s resolution—to improve our overall health and well-being. According to a recent New York Time’s article, as well intentioned as we are, come January’s end, one-third of us break our commitment(s). By July, the majority of us have long abandoned our resolutions altogether.
Why do we fail? The answer is complicated, seeming to stem from a desire for a quick fix coupled with a lack of a realistic strategy to achieve our goals. When it comes to reversing the signs of past skin sins, there is no magic laser chemical peel, or injection, providing a quick fix. A healthy, beautiful complexion requires daily commitment. Devoting a few minutes twice a day to a targeted skincare routine that addresses your specific issues, plus, making a few dietary changes are two steps to set you in the right direction.
So, if you were seeing me for a so-called “vanity visit,” here’s where I’d ask you to start:
First, look in the mirror (3x magnification will do) examining your skin without makeup. Determine your one or two top complexion concerns, i.e. discolorations, enlarged pores, wrinkles, broken capillaries, facial redness or acne. Once identified, we would discuss a straightforward skincare program, most likely containing a low dose OTC medication, to address your issue that would demonstrate visible improvement in a matter of weeks.
Second, I would ask you about your daily habits, including your diet. Our skin is more than just “window dressing” for the rest of our body. It’s a living organ that needs a constant supply of nutrients to do its job. Fortunately, making smart food choices often yields three huge benefits—a pretty complexion, a healthy body and weight loss.
So here are a few clinically-proven tactics to consider:
Subtract pro-inflammatory foods by cutting out high fat, high sugar and overly processed foods that accelerate aging. To help you resist temptation, clean your cupboard of “junk food.”Avoid more than the equivalent of 3 glasses of wine per week and eliminate added salt even if you don’t have high blood pressure (for more on why it may be time to throw away the salt shaker, visit
Add foods rich in antioxidants like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries along with foods high in fiber and lean proteins. Not only will they act as skin beautifiers, they’ll fill you up and slim you down and help protect you from environmental aging factors.
Don’t get overwhelmed by making massive changes overnight; just tackle it a day at a time. And instead of thinking about what you’re giving up, just think of every meal or snack as an opportunity to improve your skin’s appearance and your overall health! Wishing you all the best in 2012!
By Dr. Katie Rodan
It seems the effects of the economic crisis know no bounds. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is one thing, but wearing the economy on your epidermis in the form of sallow, dull and dry skin is quite another.
But while we don’t yet have a solution to the debt crisis, real estate bust or Wall Street’s indiscretions, it turns out we can address some of the symptoms … when it comes to skin, that is. Take the following example: A month or so ago, a young man in his late twenties came into my office with a skin condition characterized by itchy patches of red, scaly and flaking skin. A successful investment banker, he had survived three previous layoffs, but was recently let go during a fourth layoff. After leaving New York and returning to his home state of California, the stress and climate change caused his sensitive skin and mild eczema to flare up into a painful and embarrassing condition. With confidence and job prospects low, his stress increased and his conditioned worsened.
I recommended he use the SOOTHE Regimen for sensitive, irritated skin and facial redness twice daily and set an appointment for three weeks later. When he returned, his skin was clear and his outlook was significantly improved. It turns out that although his condition was a symptom of his problem, the solution to solving his problem started with a soothing solution for his symptoms!
By Dr. Katie Rodan
As cool, crisp mornings of September arrive and I find myself settling into my fall routine, I often feel a moment of nostalgia for the carefree days of summer … until I look in the mirror that is.
Yes, even dermatologists have autumn amends to make for their summer skin sins. Despite all the SPF protection and planning I did last summer, the bike rides, hikes and outdoor lunches have added up to some telltale changes in my skin tone and texture.
I erase the damage of summer days gone by each September with what I call “Fall Cleaning,” my derm version of spring cleaning, and my chance to clean the slate and start the new season with fresh, youthful looking skin. My “skintervention” starts with a hydroquinone-based regimen to clear the dullness and dark marks. I apply it daily for two weeks and then up to twice daily for a month or two, until the days of summer are a mere memory and I’m happy with the results.
Three times a week I also exfoliate to expedite the process by increasing cell turnover. And since the sun is still a serious concern in fall, I continue with sunscreen application every morning.
If you’re dealing with similar summer remnants, start incorporating this simple routine and before you know it, along with the colorful radiance of changing leaves, your skin will have a fresh fall start and a new, even glow of its own.
By Dr. Katie Rodan
Being a dermatologist is more than a day job. Sometimes I can’t help but feel compelled to be the constant voice of caution with friends, family or even strangers on the street. But at the same time, I am the first to head out for a long hike on Saturdays, opt for a bike ride with my family, or meet friends at an outdoor café for lunch.
I realize the grave importance of practicing safe sun, but I’m also not willing to give up my summers and hide indoors. The reality is, that, as with anything else in life, balance is the healthiest option. Taking back summer to me, is finding that precious balance between protecting my skin and enjoying summer outdoor activities. I make it all happen by following these three simple strategies:
1) Plan: I start each week by looking at my calendar, trying to note which events I’m looking most forward to, what I’m obligated to attend, and what I have some leeway with.
2) Prioritize: For each event that’s heavy on the outdoor/sun time and not set in stone, I try to search for alternatives. Whether it’s having lunch indoors after going out on a hike, or trying to move my weekend bike ride to the late afternoon (sleeping in on Saturdays is a must for me!), I try to limit myself to one high sun exposure activity per day.
3) Protect: No matter whether life takes me to the golf course, the office or the car, I never leave home without my sunscreen armor. I opt for a cosmetically elegant SPF 30 sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Even better are sunscreens that include peptides for double-duty sun protection and anti-aging benefits. Whenever possible I throw on a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses for additional protection.
It is possible to take back the summer you love and stay safe and healthy. As you enjoy the summer, remember, you can do it all. Just don’t do it all at once and find alternatives that give you the most bang for your summer buck.
By Dr. Katie Rodan
I confess I am a reformed tanorexic. Growing up in Los Angeles, summer meant soaking up the rays on Topanga Beach. I delighted in seeing my bathing suit tan lines evolve day by day. The greater the contrast in my tanned vs. untanned skin color, the happier I was. I loved the slimming effect of my darkened skin courtesy of amped up melanocytes. My inflamed acne-prone complexion visually improved when camouflaged by a tan. And, the warmth of the sun quashed any remnants of the winter blues, known today as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Even today, a coconut fragrance evokes my favorite tan enhancing lotion and happy memories associated with using it.
My road to recovery began during my dermatology residency at Stanford. For the sake of my skin and my professional credibility (who would trust a tan dermatologist?) repentance was required. On occasion, I admit I relapsed. During a Caribbean vacation, I paid the ultimate price for my setback by sustaining a sunburn– in front of my children no less!
To set an example beyond reproach, I gradually learned how to replace my bad habits with good ones. Today, I use sunscreen 365 days a year, rain or shine, reapplying every two hours when outdoors. Poolside, I sit under an umbrella, sporting a large brimmed hat and big Jackie O type sunglasses. I even commissioned our company to design a gigantic visor (helps avoid “hat hair”) with a Rodan + Fields logo, hoping Glamour magazine would use it as a “Do” in their iconic fashion “Do’s and Don’ts” section. If an overcast day gives me the “blah’s,” 15 minutes spent in front of a non-UV emitting light box lifts my spirits. And, drum-roll please, I co-created the ultimate sunless tanning foam. It looks natural, dries quickly, smells great, goes on streak-free and lasts for days. It puts all the other ones I’ve ever used to shame.
I’m writing this while traveling en route to Hawaii for our Road to RFX Maui Incentive Trip. As I admire my faux tan, I can promise you that recovery never looked so good!
I, Katie Rodan, the creator of the best-selling acne system in the world, have acne. It started when I was a teenager and although it has gotten much better in my adult years, it is still something I have to deal with every day.
You might be surprised to hear this, because on most days my skin is clear and blemish-free. But those results are only achieved through a daily, full-face routine to stop the acne process in its tracks.
On those rare instances when I do have a pimple, here’s my emergency pimple fix:
Step 1: I apply an ice pack to the pimple for ten to fifteen minutes to reduce redness and swelling around the breakout.
Step 2: I clean the area with a sulfur-based wash and apply a treatment lotion containing sulfur as well, which can be purchased without a prescription. This keeps my pores freer and cleaner.
Step 3: I follow with benzoyl peroxide to keep the pores clear.
Step 4: Finally, I apply a thin layer of mineral peptides to hide the blemish and help calm the inflammation.
If a pimple resurfaces at a really inopportune time, like before a big event or TV appearance, I’ll even have my medical associate give me a cortisone shot to clear up the pimple in less than 24 hours.
To really keep acne in check, there’s no substitution for a full-face, daily medicated skincare routine. But this emergency pimple fix is great for helping in a pinch!