Love The Skin You're In

Dr. Kathleen Hesterman shares her skincare tips for creating a healthy routine for lifetime

"Milk and Sunscreen," with those words my application essay for dermatology residency was born. My father is a rheumatologist who always stressed the importance of drinking milk for calcium and bone density. My mother had four redheaded children that sunburned at even the hint of a clear day. As a Dermatologist, I realize the words I really I want my patients to understand and ingrain in their daily routine are “Skincare for Life.” 

Let’s take a peek into some basic skincare by age group.


The skin is the body’s biggest organ, and skincare should start in childhood. Kids do not need extensive routines but can benefit from a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and regular sunscreen use. I have three boys and simply modeling good habits from a young age can be huge. We regularly discuss the benefits of sunscreen or moisturizer while applying them. People assume that my kids must never get any sun, but they are active, sweaty and enjoying the outdoors all the time. Also, they may not be dermatologists but boy do they have strong opinions about sunscreen and rash guards! Honestly, I try to model sun protective behaviors and keep my fingers crossed that some of it will stick! 

Teen Years

In your teen years, the focus should be on establishing a routine. Skincare will not work unless there is consistency. Wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser, apply a moisturizer and use an SPF 30+ sunscreen daily. If there are other concerns, such as acne or eczema, see a board-certified dermatologist. 

The 20s

In your 20s, focus on preventing early signs of aging by adding in a retinol product. Retinol products are fantastic to use and help with fine lines, wrinkles, acne, dark spots and overall skin texture and tone. Start your retinol slowly and work up to nightly. A board-certified dermatologist can prescribe retinoids that are more effective than over the counter. Always pair your retinol with daily SPF! 

The 30s

In your 30s, most people start to see visible signs of aging such as fine lines and dark spots. In addition to your daily SPF and retinol, try adding an antioxidant serum which will help to brighten your skin, decrease dark spots and decrease sun damage. Start thinking about neuromodulators, such as Botox and Jeuveau, which help to prevent wrinkles from becoming set. Once a wrinkle is visible at rest, it becomes much more difficult to eliminate. 

The 40s and beyond

Once in your 40s, 50s and beyond, it is important to continue your routine with antioxidants, retinol and spf. Skincare wise you can add in peptides, eye and neck creams, and other more targeted serums for redness or discoloration as needed. But this is where aesthetic procedures can become beneficial. Schedule a cosmetic consult with your board-certified dermatologist to discuss specific needs. 

Sunscreen is absolutely non-negotiable at all ages as it prevents skin cancer, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and controls sun sensitive skin such as rosacea. Look for something that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 or greater and apply to all exposed skin (don’t forget your ears, neck, chest and hands!) Spray tans, while they do not provide sun protection, give a healthy glow – just remember to wear your sunscreen! 

Skincare can be overwhelming and no one can (or needs!) to do everything, despite what many of the ads say. Find your milk and sunscreen – your non-negotiables – that work for you. This is skincare for life and what will set you up for success.


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