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Introducing our newest series, “10 Questions with …” In this monthly series, we interview local experts, asking just 10 quick and burning questions about their profession, hobby or special skillset. Stay tuned to see the exciting guests we have lined up! And if there’s someone you’d like to hear from, give us a shout via Instagram.

First up, we chat with Jennifer Stieber. The nurse practitioner and founder of SLK Clinic is a skincare expert, in the truest sense of the word. Jennifer began her career in New York City as a research biochemist conducting research surrounding vaccines and cancer drugs. She sensed a desire to interact more directly with patients, which led her to pursue her nurse practitioner degree. She then started working with renowned dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt. She has trained all over the country and learned from some of the best in the business, so we were thrilled when she opened the doors of SLK Clinic in The Nations. Time for a little Q&A with Jennifer Stieber!

Jennifer is here to share her best tips and insight regarding skincare.

1) What is your morning skincare routine?

I live by the Korean “10-step” skincare ritual, which is very popular all over Asia and growing in popularity in the U.S. I am of Asian descent, half Asian, half American. True to Eastern Asian skincare traditions, I believe in layering products and setting aside time every day to do a relaxing skincare ritual. I use a mix of American medical-grade products and K-beauty products every day.

1. First I cleanse with Neogen’s Green Tea Cleanser from Korea. This is a gentle and refreshing foaming cleanser that removes excess oil and dirt so that the ingredients from the products can penetrate the skin better. However, this cleanser is gentle enough that it doesn’t strip natural healthy oils from the skin.

2. I pat on essence all over my face and neck to re-condition and moisten the skin after cleansing. Essence also preps the skin to absorb serum in the next step. Right now, I am using SK-II essence from Japan.

3. I apply the Biopelle Antioxidant Defense serum, which contains a high concentration of Vitamin C and other antioxidants on my face, neck, chest and backs of hands — all the places most prone to sun damage. If you’ve ever used Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, it is very similar in ingredients, however, the Biopelle formulation is much smoother and easier to apply.

4. I apply Colorescience’s Face Shield. This sunscreen is moisturizing and contains iron oxides, which protect from all the hours of damaging LED light your computer screen and phone emit every day.

5. I apply Colorescience 3-in-1 Eye Corrector all over my undereye and upper eyelid area. This is honestly the best daytime eye product I have ever used. It has several active ingredients to remove dark circles long-term, and it also acts as a brightening concealer so you look bright and alert immediately after application. It also has SPF protection that is safe for the eye area.

6. If I’m headed outside or driving in my car to meetings, I reapply sunscreen throughout the day using a powder Colorescience sunscreen brush.

… That is it! I do not wear any foundation or concealer because my skincare regimen keeps me makeup-free.

2) Evening?

1. I double cleanse with Banila Clean it Zero (from Korea) to remove oil-based dirt and impurities, followed by the Green Tea Neogen Cleanser to remove water-based dirt and impurities.

2. Pat on SK-II essence again to prep my skin for next steps.

3. Apply Neocutis Nouvelle retinol. I have acne-prone skin, and this keeps me completely acne-free, plus it has a skin brightener to keep any pesky brown spots at bay too. We sell this in our clinic. It is a patient-favorite because it is far less harsh than prescription-strength retinol.

4. I pat Biopelle Tensage Stem Cell Eye Cream around my eye area. This has active ingredients to lighten dark-circles long-term and build collagen to keep the eyes looking youthful.

5. I use Biopelle Tensage Stem Cell Cream overnight. This cream contains heavy-duty active ingredients that promote activity of your skin’s own stem cells to continue to produce young-looking skin despite your age. We sell both the Biopelle eye and face stem cell creams in our office.

3) What is the most important step in a skincare regimen?

Retinol. Even if you use nothing else, if you use retinol every day for 10 years, you will look younger than all your friends. It is that powerful.

4) Give us the skinny on Botox. What age should we begin? How much is too much? Do you have any specific recommendations?

Age 25-30 is a good age to start receiving Botox. However, anyone who spent a lot of time in the sun during their teenage years – say lifeguarding, on swim team, or in a tanning bed, will need to start Botox sooner as part of a more aggressive anti-aging regimen. Botox is ultra-safe, especially the cosmetic doses we use in aesthetic dermatology. We use “baby” doses compared to what is used to treat neuromuscular conditions like cervical dystonia or muscle spasms. I can’t think of any normal everyday scenario where you could have too much Botox. I tell everyone Botox is the safest thing we do — it’s even safer than laser hair removal.

5) We’re hearing mixed recommendations about peels. What is your stance?

It depends on the peel. In dermatology, we categorize peels into three categories: superficial, medium-depth and deep-depth peels. Superficial peels simply exfoliate the dead layer of skin, and the results are similar to a facial. Deep-depth peels contain high concentrations of acids, are high-risk and can have adverse side effects. Medium-depth peels are a happy medium. They penetrate to the living layer of the skin to produce long-term anti-aging benefits and to eliminate production of sunspots. I would say do your research and opt for medium-depth peels, and you should have beautiful, lasting results.

6) Tell us about non-invasive fat removal. What exactly is it? Who are the best candidates?

Non-invasive fat removal is the process of permanently destroying fat cells using energy or chemicals passed through the skin, as opposed to undergoing surgical liposuction or a tummy tuck. The best candidates for non-invasive fat removal are people who have stubborn pockets of fat who are physically active and eat healthily. The first generation of non-invasive fat removal was Coolsculpting, which came out 10 years ago; this uses cold energy to kill fat cells. The second generation of non-invasive fat removal was Kybella, which uses small injections of acid beneath the skin to kill fat cells. Now the third generation of fat removal is truSculpt iD (FDA-approved in 2018), which is a device that bulk-heats the skin to kill fat cells in one 15-minute treatment. We can treat virtually any area of the body using truSculpt iD. The most popular areas include chin, abdomen, “love handles,” and inner thighs.

7) A recent hot topic is the actual regeneration of skin to prevent aging. How can we go about this and why should we?

Regeneration of skin is the new philosophy of anti-aging that I am a huge proponent of. Rather than focusing on Botox and filler to temporarily minimize the signs of aging, regenerative medicine uses therapies like needling, growth factors, stem cell activators and your own platelet-rich plasma to regenerate skin that has aged. These methods rely on your body’s own cell-signaling system to track down and target tissues that need rebuilding and renewing. The results are much more natural than you would achieve with Botox or filler alone.

8) Would you share the most recent investment you made in your skin and why?

I recently asked Heather Tucker, my nurse colleague at our clinic to inject my tear troughs (under-eye hollows) and nasolabial folds with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which is growth factors concentrated from one’s own blood. My under-eyes and my nasolabial folds are the first areas to show volume-loss related to aging, so I choose to inject PRP in these areas to stimulate my own stem cells to regenerate lost volume. I like PRP because it looks more natural than filler, it makes your skin look poreless and radiant as an added bonus, and it’s ultra-safe because it’s derived from your own body.

9) If you could STOP everyone from doing one thing to their skin, what would it be?

I wish I could stop everyone from buying and using overpriced, fancy-sounding skincare products from the beauty counters at luxury department stores. There just isn’t enough clinical data or active ingredients to justify the price point on these products (even products with a cult following). People could save so much money and have much more impressive results if they would just spend those dollars on clinically proven products/services at a licensed skincare clinic instead.

10) On the flip side, if there was just ONE thing you could encourage everyone to do for their skin, what would it be?

I wish I didn’t have to still say this, but wear sunscreen every day. I think everyone has heard this advice a thousand times but please take it to heart. Don’t substitute sunscreen for a tinted moisturizer with SPF or foundation with SPF. Just because something is marketed as SPF does not make it sunscreen. Wear a true sunscreen every day!

Thank you, Jennifer. Learn more about SLK Clinic and the services and products available there on the website, slkclinic.com.

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