Ask San Francisco-based dermatologist Jason Emer, MD to list his favorite skincare products and he can go on and on … and on. It is clear that he knows his stuff, and truly appreciates what the right products can bring to the table.
Emer often recommends the very same products that he uses on himself to his patients. Of course, there is more to his practice than his stellar product picks. He is widely sought for his expertise in lipocontouring, body sculpting, and fat transfer. Another niche of Emer is “sports dermatology” or the treatment of various skin conditions that are caused or worsened by sports-related overuse or injury. He also caters to growing numbers of male patients who are looking to prevent skin cancer, improve their appearances, and turn back the hands of time through neuromodulation, facial fillers, lasers, and skin tightening devices. When he is not seeing patients, Emer is lecturing across the globe and running clinical trials that will help advance the field of dermatology.
Emer spoke to Beauty in the Bag about his practice, his background, and, of course, his product picks. Here’s what he had to say:
What is sports dermatology?
Sports and physical exercise can be associated with a wide variety of skin problems. Sports dermatology is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of skin conditions related to athletics. For example, sports-related skin conditions can result from mechanical trauma or from exposure to environmental and infectious agents. Making the appropriate diagnosis requires familiarity with characteristic clinical presentations, which may not be initially apparent to dermatologists unfamiliar with skin problems related to athletic activities.
How did you become interested in sports dermatology?
My lifetime involvement in athletics and physical exercise influenced my interest in taking care of patients with similar backgrounds who had concerns for preventative skincare/health.
What is the biggest trend you are seeing in your practice today?
I am increasingly observing men of all ages presenting to the office not only for skin cancer prevention visits but also for preventative anti-aging treatments including aesthetic peels, fractional laser, neurotoxins, and fillers. I have had an increase in men desiring body contouring procedures such as abdominal and flank liposculpting, breast (gynecomastia) surgery, sweat reduction treatments, eyelid surgery, skin tightening procedures, and laser hair removal. Men appear to be less ashamed of their desire for a more attractive appearance than in the past.
What are your go-to skincare products?
To be honest, it depends on what skin conditions, if any, we are trying to treat. However, for the majority of my patients interested in anti-aging and preventative skincare treatments I recommend a daily glycolic cleanser. My go to cleanser is either Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser or Dermaceutic Foamer 15. These cleansers are non-irritating and help enhance normal skin exfoliation, which improves the penetration or benefit of the other products applied to their skin. All my patients are recommended to have a vitamin A/retinol containing product at bedtime. My favorite prescription agent is a tretinoin gel (Atralin), approved for the treatment of acne, but has anti-aging properties by exfoliating the skin more rapidly and supplying moisture through its fish oil additive. Some physicians also believe topical retinoids are skin cancer prevention agents—the jury is still out. My favorite non-prescription product is SkinMedica Retinol Complex or Glo Therapeutics Retinol CS, which also contains 5% glycolic acid. These products refresh and brighten the skin, giving it a glowing, softer appearance. In the morning, I recommend a vitamin C containing product to help decrease skin pigmentation and supply extra sun-protection factor. My patients have gotten great results from the Obagi Professional-C serum products or SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF. Other products I love, recommend, and use myself include:
- SkinMedica’s TNS essential serum for anti-aging.
- DNA Youth Recovery Facial Serum from PrecisionMD for its anti-oxidant properties and DNA repair capabilities, reversing the signs of aging such as wrinkling and textural changes.
- SkinMedica’s Lytera Skin Brightening Complex or Pigment Gel HQ free from PCA skin care for improvement of skin tone and texture, without the use of hydroquinone ,which many consumers are afraid of and sometimes is irritating.
- Jan Marini BioShield for post-procedural (peels, lasers, microdermabrasion) skincare that is not greasy, primarily because of its silicone-based formulation, and has skin growth factors to promote faster wound healing and decreased recovery times.
- EltaMD Laser Balm is formulated with petrolatum, wax, and paraffin, and is a fantastic humectant. It is ideal for those who like greasy products and feel they are more protective and hydrating, especially for more aggressive procedures
- Nia24 Intensive Recovery Complex or SkinMedica’s Redness Relief Calmplex for facial, neck, or chest redness. Especially great after laser procedures and for those patients with very sensitive, easily-irritated skin.
- Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is an exfoliating rice-based powder formula that micro-exfoliates dead skin cells, leaving the skin smoother, softer, and brighter.
- EltaMD UV Aero is a zinc sunspray that makes applying sunscreen easy, plus its non-greasy and transparent (no residue).
- Headhunter Products that are non-irritating and easy applying sunscreen facial balm and sticks products that fit easily into your bag. Perfect for the person on the go!
What is your most popular treatment these days?
Neuromodulation with Botox, Dysport or Xeomin is my most common non-invasive cosmetic procedure. Coming in a close second are soft tissue fillers and fractional laser (Fraxel) treatments. Body contouring procedures such as liposuction/lipocontouring of the abdomen, flanks, arms, and neck, and upper eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) are my most common invasive procedures.
When is your busiest time of year and why?
I am quite busy all year round. However, liposuction/lipocontouring procedures such as abdominal etching is most common 3-6 months before the “beach” months and more aggressive laser procedures such as carbon dioxide resurfacing are less popular in the summer months.