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beauty, simplified

Hi and welcome back to Skinlexicon...

This week I'm so excited to have one of my favorite dermatologists Dr. Nancy Samolitis of FACILE Dermatology and Boutique for our Skincare Spotlight. Also known as the Melasma whisperer Nancy is the only person I trust (along with Dr. Jennifer Herrmann) to inject my face—I can't wait for you all to see the video we shot for Byrdie on my "liquid facial."

Not only is Nancy incredibly knowledgeable but she is also just a pleasure to be around and I truly consider her a friend. How many doctors can you say that about? It's because she genuinely loves what she does, I mean, the passion for her craft is visible every time I visit. I always have a very nerdy skincare conversation with Nancy and leave with more knowledge than when I came in.

After the last edition, I received an email from a new reader who wanted me to recommend reputable facialists in the L.A. area who are more on the mid-range price scale. Is that something all of you would be interested in? If so, I will start doing some research and create a list. But before I do, I'd love to know, how much do you want to pay for a facial? Matthew Miller offers an Essentials Facial for $185 which I think is a fairly standard price or you can get the Biobrasion (which is such a good clean) for $145—and he truly is one of the best, in my opinion. So hit me up with your thoughts, I promise it will remain anonymous, I'm just genuinely interested to know and it will help me put this list together. 

As a reminder, Skinlexicon is also a platform for product reviews so please let me know about the brands you want me to review, along with any topics or questions you'd like me to cover. You can email me at

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  • This article from Vogue Business grabbed my attention this week, mostly because it featured my friends at Versed Skincare (the clean skincare line developed by Katherine Power at Offspring) but also because it asks the question: is the cosmetics boom over? We all know that consumer spending has shifted to skincare. In fact, when I posted on my IG last week that I rarely wear makeup to work anymore, a lot of you DM'd me saying you also felt more confident in your own skin, that you prioritized skin health over covering it with makeup and only wore makeup on special occasions. Do you agree?
  • It's getting super hot (and dry) in L.A. so I've been ramping up on my face misting but this article from Byrdie made me double-check the ingredients. My favorites are iS Clinical Copper Firming Mist and Cosmedix Mystic.
  • Ever gone into Target to get one thing and come out with an entire cart? That happened to me recently. I went in to buy the new Versed gel moisturizer and came out with about 10 from the line, and a pothos plant. I really love using the skin soak on my 11-year-old's skin and the clarifying serum has also been great to help with his prepubescent blackhead development.  
  • I and millions of others have been fascinated by the unprecedented explosion of Korean beauty. But one, in particular, stands out for me: Glow Recipe. I had the privilege of moderating a panel with co-founder, Sarah Lee at Create & Cultivate's recent Self Care Summit and it was immediately clear to me why she and Christine Chang have been so successful. She's razor smart, incredibly business-savvy, and well-versed in the space she's pioneering.

    This Business of Fashion article on Korean beauty and the rise of Glow Recipe is fascinating. After launching in 2017, the brand did $30 million in retail sales in 2018 and it literally flies off the shelves at Sephora. The article also states that Lee and Chang plan to shutter their multi-brand business next month so they can focus on growing their own line, which they hope will hit $100 million in sales by 2022. Wow! Do you use Korean beauty? Which brands do you love? And why do you love it?
  • Okay, so this isn't skincare but I am obsessed with wearing bare skin with bold brows and a red lip. I am a big fan of Mac's Ruby Woo (I use the pencil only and fill my lips in—it lasts so much longer) but was intrigued to know what other reds are good. Here are some you suggested:
    Nars Dragon Girl
    By Terry lip pencil in Red Cancan 
    Armani #400
    Kosas in Phoenix
    Nars Heatwave (this looks good but it's hard to find online)

    So, of course, when I read on Allure that Zoe Kravitz had collaborated with YSL on a new line of lipsticks, naturally I wanted one, stat. Even if you just visit the website to watch the videos of her applying the lipsticks—she's the definition of cool.

SKIN SPOTLIGHT: Nancy Samolitis, MD, FADD, Co-Founder and Medical Director of FACILE Dermatology + Boutique 

On her definition of beauty...
Subliminally, beauty is thought to be a reflection on what is perceived as youthful and healthy. For example, full lips and full breasts on a woman is perceived as a sign of fertility. A broad jawline on a male is a sign of higher testosterone which is perceived as a strength. These are things that we don't really think about, they just ARE.

In this modern world, we have gotten a little carried away with trying to force beauty on ourselves and it often triggers another subliminal reaction that something just isn't quite right or is unnatural (maybe even not human).  As a dermatologist, I know that the health and quality of the skin reflects the physical and mental health on the inside, so true beauty to me is optimizing that health, happiness, and confidence, and it will show. 

On what motivates her to keep going... 
I love being a dermatologist. I love seeing patients, getting to know them, their friends and family, taking care of them over the years and making them feel good about themselves. It's a very rewarding profession. Being creative and running a business is the hard part for me and I am lucky to be able to rely on my amazing Facile co-founder, Danielle Nadick Levy, and staff who help tremendously with that juggling. 
On starting out on her own... 
I started my dermatology residency in 2002. Following my three-year residency program, I spent an extra year at the university on faculty as an attending physician and did a research project on lasers for rosacea. Then I spent three years training in a very large cosmetic practice in Salt Lake City before moving to Los Angeles. I spent seven years working in two different offices before I had the confidence to start my own practice. Having so much experience in different environments was really helpful for me to know exactly what kind of practice I wanted to own. 
On taking care of people's skin...
Taking care of people's skin has many facets. Like I mentioned previously, the skin (and also hair and nails) often reflects a person's underlying health. Certain skin issues often lead dermatologists to uncover previously undiagnosed illnesses such as anemia, thyroid disease, and diabetes. Early detection of skin cancer can be life-saving and although many patients come in with cosmetic concerns (brown spots, wrinkles, etc), I am always looking for suspicious lesions and have detected several melanomas in patients who didn't even come in for a skin exam. Of course, being able to give someone smooth, blemish-free, glowing skin is always very satisfying. 

"True beauty to me is optimizing that health, happiness, and confidence—and it will show." 
On the biggest skin misconceptions...
That laying in the sun and intentionally tanning is okay, even just a little bit. 
On the biggest skin mistake people always make...
I think that many people wait too long to address their skin problems. For example, I often see people who have been struggling with acne/melasma/rosacea for many years before seeing a dermatologist. Unfortunately, there are many products available over-the-counter and online touting ingredients that have no proven benefit for these skin diseases but have great marketing.

It is much harder to correct a chronic condition that has been smoldering for a long time and possibly causing scarring. We can fix it by raising awareness that dermatologists will provide you with a comprehensive approach customized to your skin condition and based on scientific knowledge—this may include medications, but will also include treatments/facials in the office and healthy lifestyle counseling. 

On the three skincare products everyone should have...
1. Sunblock containing zinc.
Despite recent controversy about the safety of chemical sunscreens, we know that zinc provides broad-spectrum UV coverage and is widely available in more cosmetically elegant formulations. We do have concrete evidence that sun damage causes skin cancer, period.

2. Retinol.
This ingredient has been the dermatologist's best friend since the 1950s. There are heaps of clinical studies that prove it's a benefit in repairing sun damage at the cellular level. Many newer formulations have made it more user-friendly for those who have sensitive skin.

3. Niacinamide.
This B vitamin has long been used in dermatology to treat inflammatory skin conditions and was found to be protective against skin cancers and precancers in a large Australian study. I recommend taking a supplement 500mg twice a day as well as having it in your skincare regimen. Bonus: it plays well with retinol and it's anti-inflammatory effects reduce the potential irritation. 
On buzzy treatments...
DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Look at the credentials of the person who is recommending the product and ask for real evidence that it works.
On the treatments the give an instant glow...
Microinfusion (I've had this and can attest to its instant glowy, dewy results), laser genesis, and red light.

"It doesn't have to be complicated, it just needs to be consistent."

On buying the right skincare products...
Look for the active ingredient near the top of the list. The longer the list of ingredients, the more likely the possibility that your skin could have a reaction to one of them. Avoid products that contain fragrance. Overall, unfortunately, you don't always know exactly what you are getting from a skincare product because it is not mandated to label the exact percentage of the amount of that ingredient. 

On her skincare philosophy...
It doesn't have to be complicated, it just needs to be consistent. 

On the top three skincare IG accounts to follow.
I don't really look to Instagram for educational skincare accounts (oops?) but I do love:
Shani Darden
Heidi Goodarzi—My friend and Harvard-trained dermatologist has an amazing account for all things skin.
Dr. Pimple Popper
On the clean beauty movement...
The clean beauty movement is very new and very trendy right now. I think it is a great concept and my favorite clean beauty brands are Herbivore and Versed. It will take some time before all products are following the model or before we have scientific data that these products are clinically effective, but it is important for consumers to understand that not all "chemicals" are harmful to your health and some may be necessary to stabilize active ingredients in products and prevent growth of bacteria and mold.
On her one tip for people who don't take care of their skin, yet... 
See a board-certified dermatologist! There are a lot of self-proclaimed skincare "experts" out there, make sure you are seeing a real one. 
On her top five must-have skincare products...
1. Clarisonic Brush
You don't trust a $5 toothbrush, right? Why settle for less with face washing?

2. Biologique Recherche P50 1970
The hype is real. This is the ultimate exfoliator. 

3. Rx tretinoin 0.025% with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid
This is available by Rx only at Facile. I have been using Rx strength tretinoin for over 20 years, every damn day.
4. NIA24 Intensive recovery cream
It has a high potency of my favorite ingredient, niacinamide.

5. Facile tinted sunblock
Mineral-based, perfect universal tint, enough said. 
For re-application, I like Colorescience Sunforgettable powder, and for the body I like the Elta UV Spray. I also recommend taking Heliocare and niacinamide 500mg supplements twice a day. 
To book an appointment with Dr. Nancy, or to check out the very chic FACILE skin studio in West Hollywood or Pasadena, visit their website at
Thank you for reading this all the way to the end! If you have any industry news, brand updates, new product launches, or stories you'd like to share or see featured, please email me:

Image 1+3: Tasya Van Ree
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