Dr. Ellen Gendler is a board-certified dermatologist known for her straightforward, gimmick-free approach to skincare and her personable manner among patients. As a leading authority in cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Gendler is well known for her work with soft-tissue fillers as well as her experience with reactions to cosmetics. In keeping with her back-to-basics skincare philosophy, she firmly believes that dermatological treatments must be supported by a minimalist skincare regime to maintain luminous skin.
As a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center, Dr. Gendler was a director of the Contact Dermatitis Division for many years. She is also a fellow of The American Academy of Dermatology and a former trustee of The Dermatology Foundation. She has served as the director of the widely attended Cosmetics Symposium at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting for many years and is known by colleagues for her creative lecturing style. She is the author of numerous scientific publications and is regularly quoted in top magazines.
Dr. Gendler graduated from Wesleyan University and earned her medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. After her internship in internal medicine, she completed her residency in dermatology at the New York University Medical Center Skin and Cancer Unit with additional training at St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin in London.
BITB had the pleasure of catching up with Dr. Gendler to learn how she helps her patients look their best year-round and the beauty products she can’t live without.
In your view, what are the most effective tools you have in your practice to turn back the clock and keep patients’ skin looking and feeling healthy?
There are lots of ways to make a patient’s skin become more healthy, but the most important thing that has to happen is for her to embrace the process and really understand that it’s a commitment. So I feel that the most critical tool is the CONVERSATION. I always want to succeed in whatever I do, and if I am not convinced that the patient is all in with her role in the process, it just won’t work. Doing fillers to strategic areas can help, as long as I can realistically recreate the right contours on her face; same with Botox and other neurotoxins to smooth the skin and lift the upper face. But using an appropriate skincare regimen, including best-in-class products that actually WORK is imperative to provide the best substrate for laser procedures and other interventions.
What skincare mistakes do you see your patients making most often and what advice do you give them?
The two biggest mistakes I see are the use of inferior sunscreens (products with inadequate UVA coverage, including products with Avobenzone as the only active ingredient, or Zinc Oxide in too low a percentage to be truly effective) and the use of way too many products. This is especially true now in young patients who read about products online, authored by bloggers who are not at all experts. My advice is always the same: use what I call my “non-negotiables:” Retinoids, DNA Repair Enzymes and effective sunscreens, and then add anything else they want as “fluff.” For instance, if there is a moisturizer they love, sure, go apply it—-but only after they have used the products that actually perform.
As a dermatologist, what are your favorite desert island beauty products?
My favorite desert island products are really simple! There is no better cleanser than my own—Simply Clean. I formulated it myself 20 years ago and it is literally the best there is. And smells so great, thanks to the world-famous “nose” who made the scent for me. I would take along Neova Total DNA Repair for daytime use, Cellular MD Night Shield for the evening, Tretinoin 0.05% cream (prescription) with or without Melatonik by Isdin (if the Tretinoin is too drying), and the sunscreen should be either La Roche Posay EUROPEAN Anthelios fluid with Mexoryl and Tinosorb, NOT the American version, or Isdin Eryfotona Actinica. This will guarantee that when your rescuers come to pull you off the island, they will think you aged in reverse!!