Fall Skincare Refresh with Dr. Leah Ansell, Dermatologist and Local Mom - Scarsdale Moms

My Dermatologist, Dr. Leah Ansell, is one of my favorite medical practitioners that I have ever worked with.  Not only is she incredibly smart, but she is also personable and relatable which is so important to me in a doctor.  I was actually out with 2 friends recently, who told me that referring them to Dr. Ansell was the best thing I’ve ever done for them.

I first met Dr. Ansell when I was living in New York City and she was working at Gendler Dermatology on the Upper East Side.  She recently moved to Larchmont, has 3 young kids, and is now practicing in Rye at Treiber Dermatology.  Though she does not technically live in Scarsdale, there is no doubt that Dr. Ansell is a tremendous asset to the community, and I hope to connect many of you to her over time.  As a side note, for those in need of a Pediatric Dermatologist, she sees kids too!

I asked Dr. Ansell to meet me for coffee to discuss some skincare tips.  Fall is a prime time to reset your skincare routine because you can clean up the summer brown spots that have developed and do so safely because people are not in the sun as much.  We talked about 2 topics that I think would be of interest to many of you, so I wanted to share!


Apparently Fall is prime time for lasers, as they help to rejuvenate the skin and reduce sun damage post-summer.  Laser is amazing because you look better in a subtle way.  Additionally, unlike some other dermatological treatments that may fade with time, the benefits from laser should be long-term so long as you maintain your skincare routine. Here are the different types that Dr. Ansell recommends.

IPL: IPL is a very popular choice because it helps improve brown spots/freckles, rosacea/redness and generalized sun damage, with little downtime. There is little to no recovery time with this laser, and you typically do it as a series of 3.  Dr. Ansell says it makes your skin look glowy and amazing.

Clear & Brilliant: Dr. Ansell refers to this as “baby Fraxel”.  It helps reduce brown spots, and helps with collagen building.  There is not a lot of downtime with this laser. You see a slow and steady improvement over time, and it is done as a series of 3-6. It is very gentle, and is great for young women/moms.

Fraxel: The mother of all lasers!  If you have significant freckling/brown spots, this is the laser for you.  This laser is also great for collagen building and treatment of acne scars.  The consideration factor with Fraxel is that it causes redness, swelling and flaking for about 5 days.  But very much worth it, for the right patient!


Skincare Products

As we all know, skincare products can be extremely expensive. Dr. Ansell helped me break down which skincare items are essential for women in the 30-50 age bracket, and where to splurge for top quality products vs. where you can get very high quality for less money.

Splurge Products:

These items are the “Holy Grail of skincare” that are worth investing in the right product:

  • Vitamin C Serum – use this in the morning before putting anything else on. Vitamin C protects your skin during the day from free radical damage from the sun and pollutants.  It also helps to brighten your skin and build collagen. C E Ferulic by SkinCeuticals is the one that Dr. Ansell recommends.
  • Retinol – use at night time to reduce fine lines and wrinkles over time. If it dries out your skin, use moisturizer on top.
    • Over the counter retinol products that are prescription strength: Dr. Ansell recommends Differin Gel or La Roche Posay Effaclar
    • Prescription retinol products: Tretinoin comes in varying strengths and formulations
    • Sold at a Dermatologist’s office: Alpha Ret – a mix of glycolic acid with retinol in it.  This product is gentle and well tolerated but has a great mix of ingredients
  • Mineral Sunblock
    • Tinted: Dr. Ansell’s favorite product is Alastin Hydratint.  It doesn’t make you look orange, it goes on so smoothly, is great for every day, and you don’t need foundation on top of it.  Dr. Ansell said she wears this every day.
    • Untinted SPF: Dr. Ansell loves Isdin – a mineral sunblock, it’s light and great for both men and women

Non-Splurge Products:

These items are essential to your skincare routine, but Dr. Ansell feels that you do not need to spend a ton of money on more expensive products.

  • Moisturizers – over the counter moisturizers are great and you do not need to spend a lot!  Dr. Ansell feels that simple is best, and to use what feels good on your skin so long as you avoid scented lotions and products with too many ingredients!  Side note – lotions and creams differ.  Lotions are more water-based and lighter on the skin, whereas creams are thicker/richer.  Depending on your skin type/season, you want to choose the best one for your skin (and it likely differs year-round).  If you are going to splurge in this category, the only splurge moisturizer that Dr. Ansel loves (for Winter/really dry skin) is SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Cream because it is so rich and nourishing.

Dr. Ansell practices medical and cosmetic dermatology and enjoys seeing patients of all ages, including kids.  She is also on most insurance plans!  Let me know what skincare topics you would like to hear about next.

Lastly: don’t forget to get your annual skin check and wear your hat on sunny days!


Leah Ansell, MD., FAAD

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