Santa Monica resident Dr. Stuart Kaplan heads to Beverly Hills during the workweek where the dermatologist treats varied patients with varied needs. When he is not attending to his full-time practice, he is an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA or is receiving awards from the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association, among many other organizations. Last year, Dr. Kaplan came out with a skincare line that helps combat aging and the diminished supply of estrogen that goes along with getting older. His kaplanMD skincare line – the “only line that deals with hormonal aging” – is sold in Santa Monica at Fred Segal.
Dr. Kaplan sat down with Mirror Editor Laurie Robin Rosenthal and set the record straight on healthy skin, the effects of the sun, UVA damage and more.
Laurie Rosenthal: What is the number one thing, number two, number three, that people come to see you for? Is it skin damage?
Dr. Kaplan: I would say the number one thing is maintaining youthfulness of their skin, whether it be by laser, by Botox, by filler materials. The second thing would be treating skin that’s already now damaged. Skin cancer, age spots things like that. And then the third thing would be skin rashes and general dermatology. But I say the number one thing people say is, “What can I do to look better.”
LR: How does the skin age?
DK: There are three types of aging. There’s chronological aging, which as we get older our skin gets older. It’s a year-by-year thing. There’s environmental aging, which we do have some control over, which is how much sunlight we get. There’s a third type of aging, called hormonal imbalances, and that is something that has never been discussed by any skincare product, period. There are symptoms of hormonal imbalances – acne, redness, blushing, loss of firmness, loss of elasticity, acceleration of fine lines, pigmentation, skin sensitivity, dryness.
LR: Why has skin cancer gone up in 10 years? Because people are more aware of sunscreen and hats and all that than they were 20, 30, 40 years ago.
DK: One – our ozone layer. Two – in the last 40 or 30 years a tan has been considered a sign of recreation or wealth, hence the tanning salons. It’s a very recent phenomenon. Two hundred years ago a tan was a sign of poverty. It meant that you were a laborer.
And also the fact is that we don’t realize how much sun we get. You know living in California you probably get an hour of unnecessary sun a day. We walk from our house to the car, our car to our office, we walk outside for lunch; every day here it’s sunny. As a result we’re getting a lot of it coming through our windows when we’re driving, at least UVAs.
In America 70 percent of skin cancers are on the left side of our face. In England it’s on the right. Just from the sun coming in our windows by driving.
LR: What exactly is ultraviolet light?
DK: Ultraviolet light is really ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet light is cumulative, all of your life. Your skin is like an empty glass, the sun is like a faucet and the ultraviolet light is like the drops that come out of the faucet. Once the glass is full, once the skin has reached its capacity, every drop will cause it to overflow, resultingin freckles, a line, a pre-cancer or a cancer. The problem is, until the glass starts overflowing we don’t know that there is a problem.
Now there are certain things that modify this. If you’re living in Southern California where it’s sunny 300 out of 365 days out of the year, that faucet is a lot faster. More ultraviolet light is coming out of that faucet. If you’re fair complected, your glass is smaller. You can’t absorb the same amounts of ultraviolet light as someone that’s Hispanic or African American.
LR: Are freckles damage?
DK: Freckles are a sign sun is hitting you.
LR: What about staying inside from 10 to 2? Children are in school. It’s impossible.
DK: Here’s the thing that most Americans die from. They die from heart disease. Not skin cancer. Although skin cancer is one of the only cancers that have gone up in the last decade. Basel cells and squamouscells, which are cancers caused by sunlight, will not kill you.
If you are outside and your getting exercise, if you’re in the sun and you’re walking the beach, you’re playing tennis, you’re swimming, you’redoing something that’s cardiovascularly good. You always have to make compromises. If the child’s inside, they’re going to lead a more sedentary life and they’re going to be at a higher risk for heart disease. You must sort of pick and choose. You have to look and see the different causes of death in our society and say cardiovascular disease is more likely to kill someone than skin cancer.
LR: Let’s talk about your skincare line.
DK: I sort of evolved 10, 3, 1, the concept being 10 patented active ingredients treating the three types of aging in one concise line.
We took the products, natural products that mimic the effects of estrogen – Soy, Black Cohosh, the Grapeseed Extract – and put them in a microsphere technology so they penetrate the skin and put that in every single product in the kaplanMD line. It has the best ingredients of all lines put together. People that formulate this for us said that this was the single most expensive list of ingredients they ever put in a single skincare line.
The beauty of the kaplanMD skincare line, in addition to all these 10 other products, in the day cream we also have SPF 15. So as a result you don’t have to use another sunscreen. You put that on in the morning and you’re good. The day cream is really the workhorse of our product line, and becomes active when ultraviolet light hits it.As a result, women who have put sunscreen on in the morning don’t have to worry about it starting to break down immediately when ultraviolet light hits it.
LR: Even though it’s SPF 15, it lasts for the day?
DK:It has the highest concentration of titanium dioxide. The reason why that’s important is that a lot of products that have titanium dioxide leave a white residue. So a lot of the companies will have one percent titanium dioxide. We have over four percent that is a physical sunscreen, that is far more effective than a chemical sunscreen. Because it’s actually a physical block.
The night cream doesn’t have the sunscreen, but it has a hair growth retardant. It has a bleaching component.
LR: When do hormonal changes occur?
DK: Well, estrogen and other hormonal changes begin for women in their late twenties and early thirties. You don’t have to wait till the problem is already there. The key thing is, if you want to look good in your forties and fifties you have to start in your twenties, and that’s very, very important.
The other thing is…you know plastic surgery takes years off your skin in terms of loose skin. But it does nothing for the quality of your skin. And this is something that really works on the quality of your skin.
LR: So is there anything special for people who live in Santa Monica?
DK: They live near the water…the June gloom and the fact that it’s overcast. Remember the sun is still coming through. Quite powerfully. You may not burn, but you need to continue to use sunscreen even on cloudy days.Put sunscreen on thirty minutes before you go outside because it takes that thirty minutes to penetrate the skin’s barrier. If you put it on when you’re already at the beach or when you’re already walking, you’re going to be getting thirty minutes of sun exposure before that sunscreen has a chance to work. Don’t get caught up in numbers. SPF 50 may be more irritating for your skin and last no longer than SPF 15. The FDA is trying to regulate companies to only stay with SPF 15 because the higher numbers have very minimal benefits and is confusing to consumers.
For more information, call 310.858.7880 or go to skindoc.net.