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Dr. Clark’s Four skincare principles


I love summer. Even the unbearable heat that defines August can’t dissuade my love for summertime in Florida. The endless possibilities of an unscheduled day are glorious. Wading in tide pools on the beach as afternoon thunderclouds build along the coast followed by long naps during nature’s regularly scheduled drenching are a couple of my favorite things. For a few short months, the digital seconds and minutes pay homage to long, lazy days, encouraging me to not only take time to recharge but to also pay attention to the small details that make up my daily routine.

With this newfound freedom, a morning face ritual, which includes the three essential steps: cleanse, tone, and moisturize, becomes less of a chore. In fact, in the absence of a time crunch, a million questions about skincare pop the surface of my foaming cleanser, questions I no longer have an excuse to ignore.

The remnants of my skincare regimen had become a tangled mess during the year. Half-empty bottles and tubes of serums and creams smashed up against each other in the bathroom drawers with their promise to plump, erase, and make me look twenty years younger. I want simple and effective, not complicated and untrue.

After discarding the tinctures and potions, each with a unique story to revitalize and restore a youthful glow, my uncluttered drawers lay open to new possibilities and so do I. But committing to a pared-down regimen requires expert help, so I asked Dr. Clark at the Orlando Aesthetic Institute, a leading voice in skin rejuvenation. Here’s the skinny according to Dr. Clark, “The backbone of any effective skin-care program continues to be sunscreen, retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and antioxidants such as topical Vitamin C.”

These four items don’t sound or look half as enticing or fun as the beautiful bottles of natural kelp serum or botanically enriched and paraben-free creams. Yet, I realize those beautiful bottles are the same ones that clogged my cabinets and my pores, and if I want results, something’s gotta give.

In a brief informational session with Dr. Clark, I learned that:

  • Sunscreen is preventative and necessary. Zinc oxide and titanium are physical barriers to the sun, have staying power in water, and are all the rage because they aren’t toxic to marine life.


  • Retinoid solutions are the gold standard for reversing signs of aging and damage from sun exposure. Retin-A and Retinol increase skin turnover, dermal thickness, and collagen production. Normal skin turnover usually occurs every six weeks, but adding Retin-A or Retinol to your skin care regimen can speed up the process. Faster skin turnover means out with the old and in with the new dewier you. A common deterrent to using Retinoid solutions is dermatitis or red irritated skin. Consulting with a skincare expert who monitors and adjust dosage and application ensures that your skin receives the maximum benefit minus the redness and itchy patches that occur from using too much product too soon.


  • AHAs in combination with retinoid solutions further enhance skin texture and hyperpigmentation by increasing collagen production and reducing brown spots associated with sun damage and age. While most skin types tolerate alpha hydroxy acids, varieties of delivery systems are available for both dry and acne-prone skin.


  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) continues to reign supreme as an antioxidant. Oxygen-derived free radicals are mediators of ultraviolet skin damage, and Vitamin C has been shown to reduce ultraviolet B (UVB) induced-skin wrinkling and free radical damage to the skin.

If these four basic skincare principles that continue to stand the test of time really do as they claim, why waste another day? This summer, this long, lazy, summer is the perfect time to improve skin texture and clarity. Nothing drastic, just cared-for, refreshed skin that speaks volumes without words. I’m game, are you?



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