The doctor is in: Interview with Dr. Gerstner

Soleil Toujours founder, Valerie McMurray, recently interviewed Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. She is highly sought after for her dermatology knowledge in the beauty industry and is currently a Global Ambassador for L’Oreal Paris. Valerie asked Dr. Gerstner a few of our most pressing questions. Keep reading to see what Dr. Gerstner thinks about the current state of dermatology, skincare, and beauty.

Valerie: What’s new in dermatology?

Dr. Gerstner: I definitely think what has gotten really popular, even though the concept is old, is microneedling. For years, when clinical trials in orthopedics were doing it, I kind of rolled my eyes because they’re injecting your knees with steroids. But now, we have seen split face studies with protein-rich plasma (PRP) in terms of pores, fine lines, skin texture, even alopecia. I got on the PRP wagon. I still don’t know if injecting it into the joint is going to regenerate the joint, but I know on a superficial level with micro cuts in the skin, it is helping and acting almost like a growth factor.

I think there has also been a rise in the demand for products that are paraben free. More organic skincare lines, especially by the Millenials, who are getting pregnant, but don't want crows feet.

There’s always a new filler. I am not a big believer in these big lips, but I am a filler that just recreates the shape of the lip, in a natural looking way. The new lip fillers launched about 18 months ago. I am definitely loving Vobella for lips. Botox has some competitors out there. Xeomin and Dysport. I still use just Botox, but that's new in derm.

Valerie: Any fads or changes that you really disliked or loved?

Dr. Gerstner: This isn’t new, but I don't like someone thinking that they have to have an eye cream and a hand cream and a body cream. A cream for every different area. I think if you have a really good product, you should be able to use it everywhere. Streamline it.

If you're on a desert island, and you could only bring two things with you, bring a glycolic pad and sunscreen. That's it.

Valerie: Do you think the industry is more prevention or correction based?

Dr. Gerstner: Hmm, in New York City? I think it depends on age.

Valerie: Have you noticed your patient population get younger?

Dr. Gerstner: We used to say that 43 was our average age of a first-time patient, but yes the average age has definitely become younger. I don't know if it's Instagram or more social media, but people are more involved earlier with their skin and so that would be more prevention. Whereas with my older patients it's more correcting.

But I have definitely seen a shift since I started practicing in 1999: 43 was the average age of the first time patient. Now that's gone to more like 35 years of age. Usually, it's 33 or 34 when they come in as brides. Then there's a little pause as they have their babies and I still see them then, but there's like a pause and then all of a sudden at 43 once they have had the third baby, there’s an influx. I always joke with them and say, “you're going to disappear for a couple of years and then you're going to circle back”. Sure enough, they kind of disappear when they're in the trenches with newborns and their breastfeeding and then once they get them back to school, they come trickling back in here to get their peels and treatments.

Valerie: What treatments do you recommend for winter skin? Or prepping skin for spring break?

Dr. Gerstner: I suggest using more layering agents - like a serum. I also really like a hydrator over a moisturizer. A hydrator has hyaluronic in it and makes the skin retain more water.

Valerie: Interesting! What do you think about self-tanners?

Dr. Gerstner: I love self-tanners! I don’t like the smells of certain self-tanners, so I am very particular. I recommend people try three different ones and see how they like the smell and the colors. Every skin is different and this is the best way to see which works best for you!

Valerie: That’s a great idea. Soleil Toujours is launching self-tanners that are organic and we are super excited!

What is the percent of cosmetic versus medical dermatology that you see?

Dr. Gerstner: I would say income wise, 80% medical and the rest cosmetics. It really is my love of medicine and love for these patients that drives this - I want them to be healthy.

Valerie: Do you feel your clients wear sunscreen daily when they first come to you or is it something that you have to teach them?

Dr. Gerstner: I won’t even do their Clear and Brilliant treatment if they are not wearing sunscreen daily! What is the point of treating a brown spot, if it will come back if you are not protecting your skin on the daily?

Valerie: What complaints do you most often receive from your patients about sunscreen?

Dr. Gerstner: That they did not work. I show them a shot glass because that is how much sunscreen they should be using! I also believe in using physical barriers - like wearing a hat too.

Valerie: As a sunscreen product line, how can we encourage our customers to actually incorporate sunscreen to their SPF daily?

Dr. Gerstner: Encourage them to apply sunscreen in the morning after brushing their teeth!

Valerie: That is a great tip. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to sit and chat about skincare, dermatology, and sunscreen with us!!

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