Dermatologist vs Medical Aesthetician — Which Career Is For You

A career in skincare allows you to help others look their best. If this sounds like something you want to do, then you’ll need to know which direction to take: dermatologist or medical aesthetician. Read on to learn the difference between the two, as well as the training you’ll need, and what you’ll be doing daily on the job.

How to Become a Dermatologist or Medical Aesthetician

In total, it takes 12 years of schooling to become a dermatologist. First, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. Next, you’ll have to complete medical school. From there, you complete your residency. Once you pass the national licensure exam, you’ll be an officially licensed dermatologist.

On the other hand, to become a Medical Aesthetician, you must have a medical background as either a nurse practitioner, a nurse, or a doctor. From here, you can take the proper courses to become a certified practitioner of procedures such as injectables, fillers, and cosmetic lasers. All in all, it takes far less time to become a Medical Aesthetician than a Dermatologist.

What Do Medical Aestheticians and Dermatologists Do?

After many years of education and training, a dermatologist can administer or treat the following conditions:

  • Acne
  • Skin cancer
  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis
  • Virus Skin infections (e.g. herpes)
  • Write prescriptions
  • Perform surgery on skin abnormalities
  • Perform cosmetic procedures including:
  • Lasers
  • Injection of fillers
  • Botox
  • Prescription-strength chemical peels
  • Spider vein treatment
  • Medical micro-needling

A Medical Aesthetician is trained to do the following:

  • Skin Tightening
  • Microlaser Peel
  • Skin Rejuvenation
  • Skin Resurfacing
  • Laser Hair Removal
  • Laser Tattoo Removal
  • Body Contouring
  • Cellulite Reduction
  • BBL
  • Photofacial

Where do Medical Aestheticians and Dermatologists Work?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who works in a Dermatologist office. Dermatologists are considered specialists who make a good salary and work normal hours. As for Medical Aestheticians, there are many options about where and when to work. These trained professionals work in hospitals, clinics, medical practices, healthcare facilities, plastic surgeon practices, and dermatologist practices. With a huge demand for Botox and Fillers, Medical Aestheticians will also find themselves working in beauty salons, spas, and fitness centers. The schedule will vary depending on the place where you work. For example, working in a spa or beauty salon may require nights and weekends.

Taking a Medical Aesthetician Course

This rewarding career sets you up for success right from the beginning. First, you’ll love what you do, and that means you’ll love learning about all the procedures you can do once you pass our courses, such as:

  • Treating various skin conditions and types
  • Evaluating skin types
  • Skin physiology and tissue interactions
  • Performing a consultation process
  • Laser settings and functionalities
  • Laser hair removal
  • Intense Pulsed Light photo facial
  • Laser spider vein reduction
  • Laser acne treatments
  • CoolSculpting body contouring
  • Cellulite reduction
  • Radiofrequency  skin tightening
  • Laser wrinkle reduction
  • Laser skin tightening
  • Laser tattoo removal

Are you ready to start a new and rewarding career? Are you ready to help men and women improve their complexion and self-esteem and have fun doing it? Then take one or more of our courses to get started. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give us a call. We’re here to help you make the most of your career while helping others be their best selves


Men Should Get Laser Hair Removal For These 7 Reasons

Laser hair removal can be an effective tool to get rid of unwanted hair on many areas of the body. While many people typically associate laser hair removal with women, there are many good reasons men may wish to have this procedure done as well. The following are seven reasons men should consider laser hair removal.

Eliminate Shaving Problems

Ingrown hairs and rashes are common when you have to shave on a regular basis. Because laser hair removal eliminates the hair follicles as well, it can get rid of these problems and reduce the amount of pain you experience in relation to shaving.

Can Be Used Anywhere

Whether you want to eliminate hair on your face or you’re interested in removing hair from other parts of your body, laser hair removal can be done just about anywhere on the body, leaving you with smoother skin without the need to keep up with shaving.

Show Off Those Tattoos

If you have tattoos, they can quickly be hidden by tufts of hair, depending on their locations. Laser hair removal can be an effective way to reveal those tattoos and make sure they’re easily visible for everyone to see. You’ve taken the time to get this beautiful artwork; why not show it off?

Less Painful Than Waxing

Waxing is another alternative to shaving many people have explored, mainly because it can be done at home and it’s relatively inexpensive. However, waxing can be extremely painful as it pulls the hair out by the roots. Laser hair removal produces similar results without the pain of waxing.

A More Flattering Physique

While men don’t have a long history of shaving more than their faces, shaving other parts of the body can also show off a man’s physique, making him more attractive. If there’s an area of your body you want to show off, laser hair removal can help you achieve your goals.

A Boost in Self-Esteem

Feeling confident in yourself is important. However, not everyone is comfortable with the way their body looks naturally. Laser hair removal can help you get rid of hair that may seem embarrassing or hair that is hiding parts of your body you are proud of. This boost in self-esteem can be invaluable.

Ditch the Razors for Good

Shaving can be a tedious task that needs to be done regularly to keep the hair at bay. Laser hair removal will keep the hair from growing back for a longer period so you don’t have to worry about as much maintenance. While the hair will grow back eventually, the more times you get laser hair removal done, the less likely the hair will be to grow back. Eventually, you won’t have to worry about shaving or laser hair removal at all.

Shaving is a task many people dread, and waxing can be a painful process individuals don’t want to go through. The good news is, men can enjoy a number of benefits from getting laser hair removal, allowing them to show off their physique and tattoos, as well as feel more confident and ditch those razors for good.

Why You Should Try Agnes RF

Clearskin Institute of Laser Aesthetics, Inc. is excited to announce that the revolutionary Agnes RF is available at our office! Developed by Dr. Gun Ahn, a dermatologist from Korea, Agnes RF is a non-surgical way to treat unsightly eye bags, as well as tighten the area around the neck and jowls. It is also used to treat cystic acne and all with minimum downtime.

How Does Agnes RF Work?

Agnes RF uses radio frequency to target specific problem areas with a needle. The needle’s depth is designed to target the specific area and has an insulated coating that protects other areas of the skin, which results in less downtime during recovery. When treating under the eye bags, the needle is inserted into the fad pad and the radio frequency energy is delivered to that fat, where it remains permanently. The procedure is minimally invasive and sometimes requires local anesthesia.

What are the Treatments Like?

The exact treatment will depend upon the area being targeted. However, you can typically expect a numbing cream to be applied to the area about 20 minutes prior to the procedure taking place. There may be minimal discomfort during the procedure as well as minimal pain. For areas that need deeper treatment, a local anesthesia will be used, as well as the numbing cream. For acne treatment, it is recommended that you return to the office in 24 to 48 hours for further treatment, including any further drainage of sebum. The actual treatment consists of inserting a needle into the wrinkle, fat pad, or acne follicle and using the radio frequency machine to trigger the exact number of pulses needed for the particular area being treated.

What is Recovery Like?

For acne treatments, you can expect mild redness for up to three days. It’s perfectly fine to use makeup to conceal the redness. For deep wrinkles and eye bags, you can expect recovery time to last up to two weeks. During the first week, you may experience some swelling and redness. After this, the redness and swelling will subside over the next few days. In some cases, with deeper treatments, you may experience numbness in the treated area for up to four weeks. After receiving Agnes RF, there may be some bruising, which can be treated with an ice pack to reduce the swelling and discomfort.

When Will I See Results?

It is not uncommon for the treated area to look worse during the recovery time. This is normal. As you recover over the next weeks and months, you’ll see a remarkable difference as new collagen deposits form under the skin, which in turn remolds the skin to its original structure.  For eye bags and wrinkles, you can expect to see results up to six months. For acne and blackheads you can expect to see results in a couple of weeks.

How May Treatments Will I Need?

It is possible to receive maximum benefit from one treatment, but you can’t treat everything in a single treatment. For this reason, you may need two or more treatments to get the best results. Treatments are scheduled three to six months after your first treatment for wrinkles or eye bags. For acne, treatment is scheduled six weeks after your initial treatment.

To learn more about Agnes RF, schedule a free consultation at Clearskin Institute of Laser Aesthetics, Inc.


get rid of cellulite with emtone

Get Rid Of Cellulite With BTL EMTONE

Cellulite is hands-down one of the toughest types of body fat to get rid of. Many people eat healthily and work out to no avail trying to get rid of it, growing increasingly frustrated and desperate in the process. But thanks to modern technology, we finally have a real solution for diminishing the appearance of stubborn cellulite and even getting rid of it for good!

The name of this solution is EMTONE.

Coming from maker BTL Aesthetics, EMTONE is a device that allows patients to avoid the pain, long recovery times and often unpredictable results that come with liposuction or other invasive surgical procedures. It can be used to tone and tighten the skin, improve elasticity, and perhaps most importantly, remove stubborn cellulite. Keep reading to learn more about BTL EMTONE and whether or not it might be the right choice for you.

How EMTONE Works

Done as an in-office procedure, EMOTONE is a massage-like device that is moved in circular motions around the body as needed. It uses a simultaneous combination of thermal monopolar radiofrequency and mechanical targeted pressure energy to get beneath the skin’s upper layers and stimulate the production of both collagen and elastin. This in turn causes the skin to maintain a smoother appearance and dramatically reduce the unpleasant dimpling that comes from cellulite. Metabolic waste removal is also stimulated, resulting in healthier-appearing skin overall. A single session usually takes around 20 minutes to complete.

Tissue temperature is also raised during treatment, causing increased blood circulation. Many patients also report that the cellulite itself is effectively reduced as a result. And because EMTONE can also be used to treat muscular pain, many people are able to work out more effectively following the procedure (resulting in even better muscle tone).

Minimal Pain and Recovery Time is Involved with EMTONE

No anesthesia is necessary, and most patients report the treatment feeling similar to a hot stone massage. Patients who are sensitive to heat may feel some discomfort, but this is very minimal. If anything, many patients actually enjoy the procedure and feel very relaxed both during and afterward. No recovery time is needed, and patients can resume normal activities immediately afterward.

Who is a Good Candidate for EMTONE?

The good news is that EMTONE can be used a wide variety of people, male and female. It can also be used on a wide range of BMI levels. While a consultation is always a good idea before just diving in, the truth is that EMTONE is an ideal option for just about anyone looking for a non-invasive treatment to reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve the look of their skin as a whole.

That said, certain people will notice more significant results from EMTONE than others. For example, women who have recently given birth and have loose abdominal skin are great candidates because EMTONE can help them significantly improve their skin’s tightness and decrease sagging. Likewise, middle-aged and older individuals may achieve more prominent results than young adults, simply because cellulite begins to appear more noticeably in the late 30s through 50s.

Where Can the EMTONE be Used?

Unlike older treatments that could only be used on very specific areas of the body for effective results, BTL EMTONE can be used just about anywhere that cellulite tends to be an issue. Key treatment areas include the following:

  • Upper arms
  • Abdomen
  • Thighs (inner, front and back)
  • Hips or “Love Handles”
  • Buttocks

Results Can Take Weeks

Because it is a noninvasive treatment, EMTONE results can take weeks to appear. Most patients will require a few different sessions to achieve their desired results, the average amount being four treatments, scheduled once a week (over four weeks) or twice a week (over two weeks). The skin may appear pink immediately afterward, though it will soon return to its normal color. Within just a few weeks though, patients will notice a smoother appearance. Appearance should improve even more over the following months.

The exact results will vary from person to person, and some people may require an additional follow-up treatment later on (usually within a few months to a year).

Contact the cosmetic experts at the Clearskin Institute of Laser Aesthetics  to learn more about EMTONE and how it can help you get rid of unwanted cellulite. Located in Phoenix, AZ, we’re ready to help you treat stubborn areas and get the body you’ve always dreamed of!

Agnes RF as an Acne Treatment

Acne. It’s an ugly word. It invokes images of pimples, zits, whiteheads, blackheads, whatever you want to call them. If you suffer from acne, you understand the effects it has on your day-to-day life; the embarrassment, feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, the way it stops you from living the life you truly want because you’d rather hide under a blanket than face the world with acne. This is not something you have to live with anymore. Acne doesn’t have to be a part of your life.  Teens and adults have been fighting the battle against acne for a long time. And now, they’re finally winning.

How? With the new USDA approved treatment called Agnes. It was invented by medical clinicians who developed a solution to finally fight acne for good. Read on to learn more about what acne is and how the Agnes treatment can change your skin. For a beautiful, clear complexion, the answer is finally here.

Why do we Get Acne on Our Faces?

Your face is covered in pores and when some of these pores get clogged with sebaceous (oil gland) and bacteria enters, this causes inflammation of the gland as well as the skin surrounding the gland. And out pops a pimple. The trick is to eliminate the sebaceous gland altogether. Do this and no more acne. It’s that simple.

How does Agnes Work?

Agnes uses micro needling and radio frequency to fight acne. A trained and qualified health care provider punctures the sebaceous gland with a sterile micro needle after applying a numbing topical. Next, radio frequency energy is delivered through the needle, destroying the sebaceous gland. The procedure is painless with very little recovery time needed. Note: The energy from the needle will not touch the skin, only the sebaceous gland.

Will Destroying the Sebaceous Gland Cause Dry Skin?

Your face has thousands of pores, but it’s only around 200 to 300 of these pores that actually get clogged with sebaceous and result in acne. Since only some glands are treated, you can count on not having dry skin after an Agnes treatment. The dry skin you may have experienced using acne facial topicals simply does not result from this treatment.

How Many Sessions do I Need?

On average, you will need 3 treatments over a 3 to 4 week time period. Keep in mind that you will also need to see the medical provider 1 to 3 days after an Agnes treatment to make sure there are no side effects and that you are healing properly.

Are there Side Effects to Using the Agnes Acne Treatment?

The treated glands may become temporarily swollen and red. In some rare cases, there may be superficial skin burning but this is mild and will not scar. Also, infection is rare and typically only happens if the treated area was already infected. An oral antibiotic can easily prevent this.

How are Comedone and Acne Related?

A comedone is a clogged hair follicle inside a pore. What happens is keratin (skin debris) mixes with sebaceous oil and blocks the hair follicle. What causes the clog is the excessive oil, which often happens during male puberty when testosterone is abundant. This is why more teenage boys than girls get acne. The excessive oil attracts bacteria which leads to inflammation and infection. If the inflammation and infection goes untreated, acne cysts and nodular acne may form deep under the skin. To avoid this, use the Agnes treatment to prevent comedone.

Can Agnes Treat Comedone without the Presence of Acne?

Yes. Comedone is treated with a C needle, which is smaller than the needles used for treating acne. In fact, the Agnes treatment destroys sebaceous glands before comedone is even formed.

Start Your Agnes Treatment Today with a Special Discount

Clearskin is currently having an amazing summer sale on the Agnes RF treatment. Book an appointment and receive 25% off all our micro needling and Agnes treatments. Call us today at 602-274-8254.

Easy Ways To Keep Your Skin Hydrated During Summer

The warmer months are upon us, but hey, in Arizona we all know that really means the excruciatingly hot months! Summer’s definitely time for adventures and making memories in the heat and sun, but it’s no fun at all when the weather starts drying our skin out.

Fortunately, you don’t have to let dry skin ruin your summer. Here are five easy ways you can keep your skin hydrated and cool all summer long in the Valley of the Sun and beyond!

1. Moisturize

Obviously this should be No. 1 on any list of tops for skin hydration! In dry climates, human skin just isn’t naturally adjusted to moisturize itself enough to keep it from becoming damaged. This is why applying a regular daily moisturizer is one of the most important things you can do. You should also be following a basic skincare regimen of cleansing, toning and moisturizing at night before bed. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water too!

2. Exfoliate Regularly

In addition to cleansing, it is also important that you regularly exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and keep it smooth. This will also create a more even surface for moisturizer to be applied, keeping skin fresh and less damaged in the long run.

3. Go Minimal on the Makeup and Opt for Sun Protection

We all love looking chic and ready for anything in makeup, but the truth is that it just doesn’t mix well with sun and dry heat. For those hotter months, try going as minimal as you can with makeup. When you do wear it, look for eye makeup that is waterproof and is less likely to melt and run when it gets hot (causing skin irritation). When it comes to general skin makeup, it is a good idea to go with a tinted moisturizer with SPF. Numerous studies have shown that SPF (sunscreen, essentially) helps to prevent skin damage and aging, and wearing regularly moisturizer in general will keep your skin soothed and hydrated.

On days when you don’t wear any makeup, you should still wear at least a light layer of sunscreen for skin protection.

4. Add Face Masks into Your Weekly Routine

You don’t have to do a face mask every day, but doing a moisturizing mask at least once (preferably twice!) a week will go a long way in helping to not only comfort and relieve dry skin but also to prevent it! We love the convenience that sheet face masks have to offer, and we recommend going with one that includes collagen to give your skin extra lift and firmness in addition to brightening and moisturizing it for summer.

If you’re looking to repair damage, try a peel-off face mask. For extra soothing from the sun and repair, try one that has cucumber, tomato or pearl extract in it. Apply a thin, even layer and wait for it to dry thoroughly before peeling it off carefully and rinsing the face with water (or massaging the excess mask serum into the skin– whatever the instructions for the specific mask suggest). If you’re looking for really fresh, clean skin that is also moisturized, masks with charcoal will also help cleanse the skin of impurities.

If you have the time, try making a DIY facial mask or “face pack” with ingredients like honey, milk and oatmeal. Though it may seem a bit odd putting these items on your face, they have a lot of skin-soothing and moisturizing properties that can help greatly with dryness. Consult with the experts at Clearskin about different ingredients and materials that work well on skin!

5. Let the Experts at Clearskin Personalize Your Skin Care! 

Following general skincare tips will help, but if you’re looking for longterm skin moisturization and care that can even repair damage and delay aging, you’ll need some extra personalized assistance. At the Clearskin Institute in Phoenix, our experts are here to listen to your needs and desires for your skin. We’ll then help design a personalized skincare regimen for you and explore possible additional treatment options depending on your specific skin goals. When you’re ready to do more for your skin, give us a call or drop by our office to learn how we can keep you glowing all summer long!


Getting Results with Emsculpt: Building Muscle and Burning Fat

We all want to look and feel our best. But let’s face facts here– it’s not as simple as getting on the treadmill and running a few miles. The ability to shape your body how you want it depends on a wide variety of factors, and one of the most important ones is our genetic makeup. Yes, it is important to follow a healthy diet and get regular exercise, but at the end of the day we cannot change genes! Fortunately, there’s a non-invasive solution that will help tone and sculpt your body to help you finally get the body you’ve always dreamed of.

That solution is Emsculpt.

Though it is a relatively new treatment, Emsculpt is actually the only non-invasive treatment of its kind that is FDA-Cleared to help sculpt and tone the body. In most cases, significant results are first noticed within just weeks of treatment. Stubborn, hard-to-lose fat is reduced, and many people who undergo this treatment also experience additional muscle gain!

So is Emsculpt the right option for you? Here’s what you need to know:

How Emsculpt Works

You can lay down and relax as Emsculpt does all the work! This treatment uses a proprietary technology called “High Intensity Focused Electromagnetic energy” or HIFEM energy. In a nutshell, what this technology does is use this energy to induce supramaximal muscle contractions. Because these kinds of muscle contractions are not typically achievable through regular, voluntary means (as in, with regular exercise) they involve a lot more spasms and burn far more fat that regular muscle movements. At the end of the treatment, many people feel like they just had a major workout session.

According to data collected by the Emsculpt manufacturer (BTL Industries), most people see an average of 16 percent increase in muscle mass. Average overall satisfaction rates were also reported at 96 percent!

Who is the Ideal Candidate for Emsculpt?

The truth is that just about anyone can benefit from Emsculpt treatment, though individual results will vary depending on the person’s fat and muscle levels.

For those who want to achieve a truly sculpted, muscular look with minimal visible body fat, there should be no more than an inch of pinch-able body fat on the targeted area. That said, just about anyone who chooses Emsculpt can still see significant toning and sculpting that can result in an overall slimmer and more fit appearance.

What Areas of the Body Does Emsculpt Work On?

Emsculpt technology can be used to target a variety of areas. The most commonly-targeted areas include the stomach and abs, upper arms, and legs, though it is used for general overall body sculpting as well. It is also worth noting that Emsculpt is the first non-invasive procedure that can be used to tone and firm the buttocks.

How Many Emsculpt Treatment Sessions are Required?

The exact number of treatment sessions that will be required to see significant results will depend on the specific candidate. Because both personal goals and amounts of body fat vary, the number of treatment sessions will be tailored to suit the individual person.

That said, it is recommended that candidates go for a minimum of four 30-minute treatment sessions in order to see any results. These sessions should be scheduled two to three days apart from each other, and many people report experiencing results right after treatment. More significant results are usually seen with two to four weeks of the last treatment session. Follow-up sessions may be scheduled later on depending on the person’s personal needs and goals.

Is there Any Recovery Time With Emsculpt?

We’ll just jump right into answering this one– There’s no recovery time!

See, no anesthesia is necessary, and the person undergoing Emsculpt is wide awake throughout the treatment. It’s easily one of the most effortless cosmetic treatments available today, although many would argue the fact that it has the effects of a really intense workout qualify it as going beyond just “cosmetic”.

Though it is possible that some soreness may occur due to this “workout”, there is no recovery time involved, and nothing that will prevent the person from resuming normal everyday activities immediately afterward. Better yet, because treatment sessions are only 30 minutes long, many people are able to conveniently schedule their Emsculpt treatments on lunch breaks or whenever it works best for them.

Benefits of Cactus Water

Us Arizonan’s are accustomed to seeing cacti everywhere we go. But what is cactus water?
You might have noticed an influx of cactus water in your skincare products. This is because cactus water has a high concentration of electrolytes. These electrolytes protect the skin from sun damage and collagen loss.

Okay, fine, the thought of taking a prickly cactus to your face doesn’t exactly scream self care and relaxation. But, there’s a reason those little guys thrive in the desert’s dry air: they’re full of ultra-hydrating H2O that sustains them over during long dry spells.

We’ve seen a surge in cactus water-based skincare lately, and as summer fades to fall, my skin (and my dating profile…it’s cuffing season, y’all) is getting seriously thirsty. So to separate fact from fad, I tapped celebrity dermatologist Dr. Lily Talakoub of McLean Deramtology & Skincare Center for her expert opinion.

So what’s all the hype about?

Dr. Lily Talakoub: Cactus water contains a much higher concentration of electrolytes to hydrate the skin, and rich antioxidants that help prevent UV damage. Look for prickly pear cactus as an ingredient, it’s the only cactus that has a blend of multiple antioxidants, vitamins, and electrolytes. They protect the skin against sun damage, aging and collagen loss.


“Acne prone skin can benefit from the antibacterial properties of cactus oil.”

What skin types are best suited for cactus water?

DL: All skin types can benefit from cactus water skincare. Dry, dehydrated skin can benefit from the electrolytes that hold water and moisture in the skin, and acne prone skin can benefit from the antibacterial properties of cactus oil. Meanwhile, people with sensitive skin can benefit from the calming vitamins and nutrients in cactus oil.

Cactus water drinks are a big trend right now. Can drinking cactus water be good for your skin too?

DL: Similar to drinking Gatorade, the electrolytes replete lost electrolytes from the body after a heavy workout and help retain moisture in the skin. In general, it can help keep the body and skin more hydrated than drinking water alone.

Do you have any favorite cactus water-infused beauty products?

DL: Boscia cactus water moisturizer is amazing! It is so hydrating and leaves the skin soft and supple.

Cactus Water Moisturizer$38.00

The verdict? Cactus water is here to stay. Shop some of our favorites below.


Inexpensive Skincare that is Dermatologist-Approved

It can be difficult to find skincare products that not only work with your skin, but fit within your budget. Although it tends to be worth it to spend the extra amount on skincare, there are a few instances where a drug store product is extremely similar and can ultimately do the same thing. This article breaks down the best dermatologist-approved products that you can add into your skincare routine.

From picking the perfect wedding dress and shoes to splurging on just the right hairpiece, your bridal look can get expensive. But luckily, your skincare routine doesn?t have to be. In fact, you can get that bridal glow right at your drugstore with a daily skincare routine full of affordable, dermatologist-approved skincare products.

While you should head to the dermatologist at least six months before the big day for a consultation and start specialized skincare treatments (such as laser treatments or microdermabrasion) at least three months in advance, you can start revamping your daily regimen ASAP with just a stroll through the drugstore aisles. We reached out to dermatologists for their expert opinions on the best drugstore skincare products. Read on to see their top recommendations!


Best Pregnancy Skincare Products

Skincare during pregnancy can be tough. Especially if you deal with hormonal breakouts, dry skin, oily skin — you name it, it can happen! 2018 has been a huge year for skincare. With that comes a bunch of recommended products:

(Before using any products, please speak with your doctor to confirm that they are safe to use during your pregnancy.)

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

Being pregnant is (of course) a joy, but it also means giving up some fun foods (sushi, cold-cuts, wine) and activities (high-intensity workouts) for nine months. Pregnant women also have to be careful about their skin-care, particularly because several ingredients that disrupt the skin barrier ? effective acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid or fine-line diminishers like retinoids ? are exactly the things doctors would urge patients to avoid. That can be bad news to moms-to-be, whose acne and other skin conditions may get worse during this period. To find the best alternatives based on skin?s needs, we spoke to five dermatologists about what ingredients to absolutely avoid during pregnancy and the best products to tackle problems like acne. Says Dr. Jennifer MacGregor of Union Square Dermatology: ?Regardless of your skin issue, get a recommendation from your dermatologist and check with your OB before trying to conceive, or as soon as you find out you are pregnant.?

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%


at Deciem

Unfortunately, retinoids (and retinols), the Vitamin A?derived holy-grail ingredient that works wonders on both acne and fine lines by promoting skin-cell turnover, are considered unsafe to use during pregnancy. So how should pregnant women address acne if many go-to products contain retinoids and salicylic acids? All five of our experts recommended azelaic acid, a topical that is used for acne and rosacea. It works by killing bacteria found in pores and also decreases the production of keratin. Dr. Michelle Park of Washington Square Dermatology thinks it?s fantastic because it has dual properties: not only is it great for acne, ?but it also basically stops the production of pigment in the skin.? MacGregor agrees and says that ?Azelaic acid has a subtle brightening effect.? Although typically prescribed by doctors (under the name Finacea, for example), azelaic acid can also be found over the counter. Try this ?multifunctional brightening formula? by The Ordinary.

Acnomel Adult Acne Medication Cream


at Amazon

In addition to azelaic acid, New York dermatologist Dr. Cybele Fishman says that pregnant women can use ?topical erythromycin (prescription) and all over-the-counter topical sulfur, topical zinc, and topical niacinamide treatments.? Fishman recommends this sulfur-based acne medication called Acnomel, as well as this niacinamide and zinc blemish treatment from The Ordinary.

Acropass Trouble Cure


at Soko Glam

As is the hot new product from Acropass. But be careful: The Acropass patch is a two-step process that includes sanitizing the blemish with a swab soaked in salicylic acid, so Park advises skipping that part and using regular alcohol instead. The microneedles are safe, too. (Microneedling in general is considered safe during pregnancy, but other procedures like Botox and fillers are not.)

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel


at Ulta Beauty

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are both popular types of skin exfoliants, but according to MacGregor, ?They disrupt the skin barrier and enhance penetration of other topicals including botanicals and other untested substances.? While she advises that it?s best to avoid them, there wasn?t a general consensus among the derms we spoke to on what types of acids within each category were safe. Some doctors advised avoiding them altogether (salicylic acid is a BHA, for example), while others, like Fishman, said that certain acids like glycolic, lactic, malic, and mandelic acids, are okay to use. Hyaluronic acid, though, is just fine. Park likes Neutrogena?s Hydro Boost gel cream, which contains hyaluronic acid. ?Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in our body?s tissues that?s naturally there anyway, so it?s not like introducing a foreign chemical,? she says. ?It has a lot of benefits of moisturizing and plumping up the skin, which can fight fine lines. It?s just an overall great moisturizer.?

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5


at Deciem

Strat beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton also wrote about her favorite hyaluronic acid products. Check out this affordable ?supersmooth, plumping? serum from The Ordinary that has ?all the deeply hydrating and moisturizing effects of a fancy serum, but at the best price ever.?

Glytone Enhance Brightening Complex


at Dermstore

For another face cream that contains the benefits of exfoliating acid, there?s Enhance Brightening Complex from Glytone. It?s one of Park?s favorite moisturizers and contains both azelaic acid and glycolic acid, which she says is fine to use during pregnancy. ?They help both with acne but also to even out skin tone.?

EltaMD UV Physical Broad Spectrum SPF 41 Sunscreen


at Dermstore

For pregnant women looking for a safe and simple skin-care routine that will help to minimize acne flare ups, Dr. Arielle Nagler of NYU Langone recommends ?embracing good hygiene, like using gentle cleansers to remove makeup all the time,? and getting the occasional facial with extractions. For MacGregor, the best regimen includes ?a gentle cleanser, topical vitamin C, and a mineral SPF moisturizer.? She loves Elta 41 and Elta 44. (Park and Nagler also recommend choosing a physical sunscreen over a chemical one.) ?A good, bland moisturizer for evening is best,? she adds.

Cerave Moisturizing Cream for Normal to Dry Skin


at Ulta Beauty

For Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn, moisturizers that are not anti-aging, which she says would likely contain an acid, are fine to use during pregnancy. She recommends Cerave moisturizer and SkinCeuticals? Triple Lipid cream, which she cautions is pricey. She also recommends Revision Skincare?s Hydrating Serum.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum


at Sephora

?Vitamin C is something I love to use in pregnancy or not,? says Park. ?Used in conjunction with sunscreen, it not only has properties that boost collagen production and has a retinol-like effect, but also works as an antioxidant that helps fight sun damage.? Try this Rio-approved formula from Drunk Elephant, which, though expensive, Newton calls ?one of the best vitamin-C serums I?ve ever used, and I?ve used a lot. It?s incredible for brightening and making your skin look clean and radiant.?

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