Skincare Christmas Gifts for the Women In Your Life

As seen in the December 2o23 issue of Cincinnati Magazine.

Looking for Christmas gifts for the women you love? Mona Dermatology’s provider team shares what skincare treatments and products they’re adding to their wish lists for this upcoming holiday season.

Dr. Mona S. Foad

“I would love to be gifted a tightening treatment to slow down my aging, like Sofwave, and a facial treatment to give me that immediate glow for the holiday season, such as Diamond Glow.”

Learn more about Mona

Dr. Alexandra Bowles

“If I could give someone a skin gift, it would be the gift of bright and smooth skin! Combining a good skin care regimen of sunscreen, vitamin C, and retinol with regular Botox treatments can do just that.”

Learn more about Alexandra

Taylor Wojniak, CNP

“I would love to be gifted injectable treatments like Botox and filler to get ready for the upcoming holiday season. These treatments have little downtime and help create a more balanced and refreshed look.”

Learn more about Taylor

Jessica Watkins, PA-C

“I would love to be gifted a microneedling session with Botox and skinvive! I can do it all in one day and is the perfect cure for winter blues!”

Learn more about Jessica

Brooke Stinnette, CNP

“I would love to be gifted hydrating treatments such as Skinvive and an oxygen facial to prepare my skin for the cold, dry winter that is to come!” 

Learn more about Brooke

Anna Luning, CNP

“A gift I would love this holiday season would be a Skinvive treatment to keep my skin hydrated and glowing all winter long, especially for the holidays! And don’t forget about skin care stocking stuffers like HA5 or a favorite moisturizer to give an added boost.”

Learn more about Anna

Megan Niese, PA-C

“Skinvive would be my perfect gift around the holidays. It’s a new microdroplet injectable that increases hydration to improve smoothness, providing a lasting glow. Also, winter break is also a great time to do a laser treatment such as Halo, so you can allow for some downtime.”

Learn More About Megan

Spring Skin Tips | No Makeup Skincare

As seen in the April 2023 issue of Cincinnati Magazine.

As the Spring weather brings us warmer days, you may be wishing that you could skip (or lighten up) your makeup routine. For many of us, uneven skin tone, wrinkles, or spots may make us feel less than ready to go bare-faced. Mona Dermatology’s provider team shares their favorite treatments and products for revealing a youthful, even complexion before summer is here. 

Mona S. Foad, MD

Other than daily skin care, I love tightening procedures that help to build and lift the support structures of the skin. A yearly treatment with radiofrequency or ultrasound works to build my own collagen and elastin. In addition, EmFace, the newest facial muscle stimulation device, goes deeper to lift and tighten my cheeks and forehead. I call it “putting money in your aging bank”. I love these procedures because they help reverse and prevent the inevitable sagging around the eyes, jawline and neck that we all get as we age. And the best part is there is no down time! 

Learn more about Mona

Jessica Watkins, PA-C

Makeup is most commonly used to give the look of an even skin tone, however in recent years highlighting and contouring using makeup has become increasingly popular. While makeup is one way to define your facial features, I love to use fillers so that my patients don’t even need makeup contouring. By adding filler to the areas of the face where light is reflected such as the cheek, jawline, and under eye, you can create a healthy, rejuvenated look. 

Learn more about Jessica

Anna Luning, CNP

This winter I did a Fraxel laser treatment on my face to help with texture and pigmentation. It is absolutely one of the best things I have done for my skin and plan to repeat this every year to maintain an even skin tone and a youthful appearance. After this treatment I also started the SkinMedica Even & Correct System to limit pigment production and to prolong the results of the Fraxel. My own skin is now my flawless filter!

Learn more about Anna

Megan Niese, PA-C

I like to maintain my skin by doing a laser treatment annually during the winter months. IPL is my go to treatment for redness and brown spots. This year I also tried a Fraxel for the first time and loved my results! I had no idea I had so much sun damage. Not only does it treat pigment, but it helps with anti-aging. My skin has a nice glow and I don’t feel like I need makeup to leave the house.

Learn more about Megan

Taylor Wojniak, CNP

One of my favorite ways to maintain healthy looking skin is by getting Botox injections every 3 months. This is a quick and easy procedure done in the office that helps smooth out wrinkles. Don’t forget to pair this treatment with medical grade skincare to ensure optimal and long lasting results. I suggest SkinMedica’s TNS Advanced+ Serum and retinol. Both of these products help to address the appearance of fine lines, uneven skin tone, and texture on the surface of the skin.

Learn more about Taylor

Vitamin C Serums for Women Over 50 | Featured In First of Women

Dr. Mona Foad and Dr. Alexandra Bowles expand upon the insights they shared in their recent feature in First of Women: 8 Best Vitamin C Serums for Women Over 50: Brighten Skin, Smooth Wrinkles + More.

Best Vitamin C Serums for Women Over 50 Featuring First of Women, Dr Mona & Dr. Bowles

What are the benefits of a vitamin C serum?

Dr. Mona Foad

Vitamin C serum has numerous benefits for the skin and is a popular choice in many skincare routines. This powerful antioxidant helps protect the skin by neutralizing free radicals caused by environmental stressors such as UV radiation and pollution. This protection can help prevent premature aging and damage to the skin. It’s also essential for collagen synthesis, a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. By stimulating collagen production, vitamin C can help improve skin firmness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C can also help brighten the complexion by reducing melanin production, the pigment responsible for dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Additionally, it has been shown to help improve skin hydration by enhancing the skin’s moisture barrier. This can result in softer, smoother skin with improved texture. 

Dr. Alexandra Bowles

There are plenty of benefits to using vitamin C on your skin. Not only does it help to hydrate and brighten the skin, but it also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent through its antioxidant capacity to soothe the skin and reduce puffiness. Vitamin C serums can help smooth fine lines by plumping and hydrating the under-eye area. Doing so helps to reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.  While not a substitute for sunscreen, vitamin C can enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens by providing additional protection against UV damage. It helps to neutralize free radicals generated by UV exposure and can reduce the risk of sunburn. Moreover, vitamin C is crucial in the skin’s natural healing process. It can help promote faster wound healing and reduce inflammation, making it beneficial for acne-prone skin and other skin conditions.

What to look for in a vitamin C serum

Dr. Mona Foad

Different forms of vitamin C are used in skincare products, each with its own benefits and stability. Some common forms include:

  • L-ascorbic acid (the most researched and potent form)
    • L-ascorbic acid is the pure form of vitamin C. Although it can be very effective, it can also be unstable and prone to oxidation. It can also cause irritation to the skin.
  • Ascorbyl palmitate
    • Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is a water-soluble form of vitamin C, like l-ascorbic acid. Although it is more stable and more gentle on the skin, it is not as effective as l-ascorbic acid.
  • Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate
    • Ascorbyl palmitate is an oil-soluble form of vitamin C that is more stable than L-ascorbic acid. It is less likely to irritate your skin.
  • Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
    • Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is also a more stable, oil-soluble form of vitamin C.

Oil-soluble forms of vitamin C penetrate the skin better than L-ascorbic acid. I look for serums with stabilized forms of vitamin C such as Ascorbyl palmitate, Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, or encapsulated formulas to maintain potency.

Another thing to consider is the concentration level. Serum vitamin C concentration can vary, typically ranging from 5% to 20%. Higher concentrations may provide more noticeable results but can also increase the risk of irritation, especially for sensitive skin. Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase if your skin tolerates it well.

Also necessary to consider is the pH level of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is most effective at a pH level below 3.5. Look for serums with a pH between 2.5 and 3.5 to ensure optimal absorption and stability of vitamin C.  Look for vitamin C serums that have ferulic acid and vitamin E which can help stabilize and increase penetration of whatever vitamin C you are using.  

Dr. Alexandra Bowles

When choosing a vitamin C serum, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure its effectiveness and compatibility with your skin. Look for serums that contain other beneficial ingredients like:

  • Hyaluronic acid: for hydration
  • Niacinamide: for brightening and anti-inflammatory effects
  • Antioxidants (such as vitamin E or ferulic acid): can enhance the effectiveness of vitamin C
  • Peptides: for collagen production

Consider your skin’s specific needs and look for serums that contain complementary ingredients. Consider your skin type and preferences when selecting a serum texture. Vitamin C serums come in various consistencies, including lightweight liquids, gel-like textures, and creamy formulations. Choose a texture that feels comfortable on your skin and integrates well into your skincare routine.

Tips for using a vitamin C serum:

Dr. Mona Foad

To maximize the benefits of a vitamin C serum and ensure its effectiveness, it’s important to use it correctly in your skincare routine. I like to use both Vitamin C and antioxidants in my morning skincare routine. Start by cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and impurities. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel. If you use a toner in your skincare routine, apply it after cleansing and before applying the vitamin C serum. Toners can help balance the skin’s pH levels and prepare it to absorb the serum better. Dispense a pea-sized amount of the vitamin C serum onto your fingertips. Gently massage the serum onto your face and neck, using upward and outward strokes. Avoid the eye area unless the serum is specifically formulated for use around the eyes.

Give the serum a couple of minutes to fully absorb into your skin before proceeding with the next step in your skincare routine. This allows vitamin C to penetrate the skin and exert its effects. Apply your regular serums to address other concerns and a moisturizer to lock in hydration and further nourish the skin. Choose a moisturizer suitable for your skin type. Finish off your skincare routine with a broad-spectrum sunscreen to further protect your skin. Incorporate the vitamin C serum into your skincare routine daily for optimal results. Consistency is vital to seeing improvements in your skin’s tone, texture, and overall appearance.

 Dr. Alexandra Bowles

It’s generally recommended to use vitamin C serum in the morning as part of your daytime skincare routine, as it can provide antioxidant protection against environmental stressors like UV radiation and pollution. If you’re applying the vitamin C serum in your morning skincare routine, finish with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Vitamin C can enhance the effectiveness of sunscreen and provide additional protection against UV damage. If you prefer to use vitamin C at night, you can still reap its benefits for collagen production and skin repair. If you’re new to using vitamin C serum or have sensitive skin, start by using it every other day and gradually increase to daily use as your skin adjusts. Monitor your skin for any signs of irritation. If you experience redness, itching, or discomfort, reduce the frequency of use or discontinue use altogether.

What are three of the best antioxidant serums?

Best Overall: SkinMedica Vitamin C+E Complex

Dr. Mona: “I recommend SkinMedica’s Vitamin C+E Complex to my patients because it uses tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, which is a more stable, oil-soluble form of vitamin C that can penetrate the skin better than a water-soluble form and causes less skin irritation. It improves the appearance of skin tone and texture by gradually releasing vitamins C and E throughout the day to help prevent free radical damage. It also helps to enhance skin brightness for a more youthful appearance.”

Best Splurge: SkinMedica Lumvive System

Dr. Mona: “Although Vitamin C is a fantastic antioxidant, there are many other antioxidants that have significant benefits. These can include protecting the skin, preventing environmental effects on aging skin, and helping to brighten and illuminate the skin. My favorite non-vitamin C antioxidant product is SkinMedica Lumivive System which is an antioxidant system that both helps to protect your skin during the day and repair the damage that was done while you sleep. This formulation of antioxidants is the next generation of ways to protect our skin and prevent the signs of aging.”

Best Drugstore: La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum 10%

Dr. Mona: “For a drugstore serum, I would recommend either La Roche-Posay’s Vitamin C Serum 10% or Pure Vitamin C Face Cream. These are both budget-friendly options that don’t compromise on quality. The 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum from La Roche Posay is good for acne-prone patients. I like that it is formulated with the water-soluble form of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). It also contains some salicylic acid to help with acne and exfoliation.  The Pure Vitamin C Face Cream is formulated with 5% vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. It also contains Madecassoside, a derivative of Centella Asiatica, which has healing properties.

“For a true vitamin C, I recommend Phloretin CF with Ferulic Acid. This highly potent and effective vitamin C serum combines 10% L-ascorbic acid with 2% phloretin and 0.5% ferulic acid for enhanced antioxidant protection and collagen synthesis. It helps brighten the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and protect against environmental damage. Despite being pricier, its efficacy and proven results make it a favorite among skincare enthusiasts and professionals.”

Best Vitamin C with SPF: ColoreScience Total Protection Face Shield

Dr. Alexandra:”I always advise my patients to wear sunscreen to protect their skin’s appearance and health. I often recommend ColoreScience Total Protection Face Shield (Glow) as the best vitamin C serum with SPF. This antioxidant-rich mineral protector protects against UVA/UVB, pollution, blue light, and infrared radiation. The formula is hydrating while providing a pearlescent, illuminating skin glow.”

Best Vitamin C for Dry Skin: SkinMedica Dermal Repair Cream

Dr. Alexandra: “For individuals with dry skin, I recommend SkinMedica Dermal Repair Cream as the best vitamin C product for dry skin. With an elegant cream base, this product visibly improves uneven tone, radiance, elasticity, and firmness without irritation. With vitamin C, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid, this product brightens the skin and improves sun damage while hydrating the skin.

Best Vitamin C for Sensitive Skin: SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF

As for a vitamin C serum for sensitive skin, SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF is a patented daytime vitamin C antioxidant face serum that provides advanced environmental protection and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and discoloration.”

Best Tinted Sunscreens With Light Coverage | Featured In Vogue

Dr. Mona Foad expands upon the insights she shared in her recent Vogue feature: 19 Best Tinted Sunscreens That Combine Light Coverage With All the Benefits of SPF

Dr. Mona Foad expands upon the insights in Vogue on 19 Best Tinted Sunscreens That Combine Light Coverage With All the Benefits of SPF

Is a tinted sunscreen as good as a untinted?

Depending on the context and usage, tinted sunscreens can be just as effective or more effective than non-tinted sunscreens. The choice between them often comes down to personal preference, specific skin care needs, and any additional benefits desired. For example, some products may have protection against visible light or more elegant cosmetic coverage.

Both tinted and untinted sunscreens can provide broad-spectrum protection against UVB and UVA rays if they contain appropriate ingredients. The active ingredients in the sunscreen determine the UVA protection and efficacy. Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or avobenzone are examples of active ingredients in sunscreen. The tint does not impact this UVA or UVB protection. Additionally, tinted sunscreens often provide better protection against visible light (including high-energy visible light or blue light). This is due to the presence of iron oxides and pigments in the tint. Visible light can contribute to hyperpigmentation, particularly in individuals with darker skin tones.

I like to recommend to my patients Sunforgettable® Total Protection® Face Shield Classic SPF 50 | Colorescience because this is an all oil free, mineral sunscreen which is well tolerated by all skin types. It is tinted  for added protection and has EnviroScreen® Technology which protects against UV Rays, Blue (HEV)  light,  Infrared, and pollution. Another favorite is ISDIN’s Eryfotona Ageless Tinted Sunscreen, which is an ultralight mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide peptides and DNA Repairsomes® technology which help to repair the damage caused by the sun.  

Tinted sunscreens can also even skin tone and cover imperfections. For this reason, many people like to use them as a makeup base or even a foundation substitute. This dual function can be convenient and might encourage more consistent use. The tint provides a visible indication of where the sunscreen has been applied. This can help ensure more even coverage of the product and prevent missed spots. 

What should you look for in a tinted sunscreen?

When choosing a tinted sunscreen, you’ll want to ensure it meets your needs while still providing effective protection. For SPF levels, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks about 97% of UVB rays. Another good option is  good option is  EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Face Sunscreen, for a light weight tinted option.   Furthermore, ensure the sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. This is essential for preventing skin aging and reducing the risk of skin cancer.

Additionally, consider skin types when choosing a tinted sunscreen. For oily skin, look for non-comedogenic formulas that won’t clog pores. You can look for “oil-free” or “matte finish” on labels as this often means it is a non-comedogenic formula. One product I like to recommend to my patients with oily skin is EltaMD’s UV Physical SPF 41 Post-Procedure (Tinted). For dry skin, opt for sunscreens such as Alastin’s Hydrant PRO Mineral with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides.  If you have sensitive skin, choose physical or mineral sunscreens such as Colorscience’s Total Protection Face Shield (FLEX) with gentle, non-irritating ingredients that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. For acne-prone skin, non-comedogenic and oil-free formulas are ideal, so look for sunscreens that also contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like niacinamide.

In addition, you’ll want to consider the shade range available for a particular product. This is important when looking to find a tint that closely matches your skin tone to ensure a natural look. Some brands offer a wide range of shades, which can be particularly beneficial for people with darker skin tones. The sunscreen should blend well into your skin without leaving streaks or an uneven finish. Testing a small amount on your jawline or neck can help determine the best match. Other factors that you may want to consider:

  • Finish (matte, dewy, or natural)
  • Ingredients such as antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E) that can provide extra protection against environmental damage
  • Water-resistant formulas

The Best Menopause Skin Care + Products for Women Over 50 | As Featured In Woman’s World

Dr. Mona Foad expands upon the insights she shared in her recent Woman’s World feature: The Best Menopause Skin Care + Products for Women Over 50.

The Best Menopause Skin Care + Products for Women Over 50

Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life characterized by hormonal changes, particularly a decline in estrogen levels. These hormonal shifts can significantly impact the skin, leading to various changes and potential skin issues. For example, lower estrogen levels can result in decreased production of natural oils (sebum) in the skin. This can lead to dryness and flakiness. This dryness can make the skin feel tight and more prone to irritation. Decreased estrogen levels can also lead to thinning skin, making it more susceptible to bruising and tearing.

Collagen and elastin production also decrease during menopause, causing the skin to lose its firmness and elasticity. This leads to the formation of wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin that become more noticeable. Additionally, hormonal fluctuations during menopause can trigger an increase in melanin production. This increased melanin can form age spots, dark patches, and uneven skin tone, particularly on sun-exposed areas. Fluctuations in hormone levels can stimulate the production of sebum, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. For this reason, some women may experience acne or worsening of existing acne during menopause. The skin can also become more sensitive during menopause, reacting more strongly to irritants, allergens, and environmental factors. This increased sensitivity can contribute to skin redness, itching, and discomfort.

During menopause, women may experience hot flashes with these hormonal shifts.  Hot flashes can cause flushing, whichever tie can lead to persistent redness and rosacea. Making sure to use gentle products to avoid exacerbating this more sensitive skin is important.   

There are changes to the vaginal canal as well.  The vaginal epithelium becomes thinner and more atrophic with less glycogen-rich producing cells.  This leads to more vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse, and an altered pH, which in turn can lead to an increased risk of UTIs.   

Does the woman’s pH level of woman’s skin shift around the age of 50?

The pH level of a woman’s skin can shift around the age of 50, particularly during menopause and as a result of hormonal changes. The pH level of the skin refers to its acidity or alkalinity on a scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral and healthy is slightly acidic, typically around a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. This helps maintain the skin’s protective barrier function and supports the growth of beneficial bacteria while preventing the growth of harmful microbes. However, hormonal changes during menopause can disrupt the skin’s natural pH balance, leading to an increase in skin alkalinity. This shift towards a more alkaline pH can compromise the skin barrier, making it more susceptible to dryness, irritation, and increased sensitivity.

To reduce increased sensitivity and maintain skin health during menopause, women should use mild, fragrance-free cleansers, moisturizers, and other skincare products formulated for sensitive skin. Avoid products containing harsh ingredients such as alcohol, fragrance, and sulfates, which can further irritate sensitive skin. Keeping the skin hydrated and nourished by using a moisturizer helps to restore the skin barrier and prevents moisture loss. Look for products containing hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin. Wearing sunscreen daily is very important to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. UV exposure can exacerbate skin sensitivity and accelerate aging. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply it every two hours, especially when outdoors.

Additionally, using hot water during bathing or washing can strip the skin of its natural oils and exacerbate dryness and sensitivity. Try to avoid doing this and instead use lukewarm water and pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel. I often suggest that my patients incorporate antioxidants to reduce sensitivity and promote overall skin health. Add in antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E to help protect the skin from oxidative stress and inflammation. The easiest way to do this is in the form of serums or creams in your skincare routine

Does acne occur if female hormones drop? Can it be treated the same way as teenage acne? 

Fluctuations in female hormones, particularly a decrease in estrogen levels, can contribute to the development or worsening of acne in women. This is especially true during certain phases of life such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. This type of acne is often referred to as hormonal acne. It typically manifests as deep, cystic lesions primarily around the chin, jawline, and lower face.

Hormonal fluctuations can stimulate the production of sebum (skin oil) and increase the proliferation of skin cells within the hair follicles, leading to clogged pores and acne breakouts. 

While hormonal acne shares some similarities with teenage acne, it may require different treatment approaches. This is due to hormonal differences and potential sensitivities associated with age. Some treatments commonly used for teenage acne, such as harsh topical medications or oral antibiotics, may not be suitable or recommended for adult women, particularly those experiencing hormonal fluctuations during menopause. 

Instead, treatments for hormonal acne in adult women may focus on addressing the underlying hormonal imbalances and targeting specific factors contributing to acne development. Common treatment options for hormonal acne in women include hormonal therapies where certain hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives (birth control pills) containing estrogen and progestin, can help regulate hormone levels and improve acne in women. Other hormonal treatments, such as spironolactone, may also be prescribed to block the effects of androgens (male hormones) on the skin and reduce oil production. Topical retinoids, such as tretinoin or adapalene, can help unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and promote cell turnover, which can be beneficial for hormonal acne, but retinoid use should be balanced with any drying or irritating effect. It may be better to use a retinol as opposed to a prescription tretinoin.  Although retinols may work more slowly than a retinoic acid, they are less irritating

Additionally, topical medications containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or azelaic acid may help reduce acne lesions and prevent new breakouts but these can also be too drying in more mature skin.  Make sure to add these in one at a time to avoid over-drying the skin.

What are your recommendations on skin care products as menopause sets in? What about to target increased dryness and/or more wrinkles, sagging, and age spots?

As menopause sets in and hormonal changes occur, it’s often beneficial to reassess your skin care routine and make adjustments to address specific concerns such as increased dryness, wrinkles, sagging, and age spots. For example, switch to a gentle, hydrating cleanser that effectively removes dirt, oil, and makeup without stripping the skin of its natural oils. Look for formulations with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides to help maintain skin hydration. Choose a rich, emollient moisturizer formulated to provide intense hydration and nourishment to dry, mature skin with ingredients such as shea butter, squalane, and jojoba oil to replenish moisture and restore the skin’s barrier function. Incorporate anti-aging serums containing ingredients like retinoids (retinol or prescription-strength retinoids), vitamin C, peptides, and niacinamide to target wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. These ingredients can help stimulate collagen production, improve skin texture, and reduce hyperpigmentation.

Prioritize daily sun protection by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to shield the skin from harmful UV radiation. Sunscreen helps prevent further damage from occurring and minimizes the appearance of age spots and other signs of sun-induced aging. Additionally, use a hydrating and nourishing eye cream to address the delicate skin around the eyes, which is prone to dryness and wrinkles. Look for formulas containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, and antioxidants to hydrate, firm, and brighten the eye area. 

Incorporate gentle exfoliation into your skincare routine to remove dead skin cells, improve skin texture, and enhance product absorption. Opt for chemical exfoliants such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), which are gentler on mature skin compared to physical scrubs. If you are more sensitive, mandelic acid, lactobionic acid, or gluconolactone may be a safer place to start with chemical exfoliants.  Consider using hydrating masks, facial mists, or overnight sleeping masks to provide an extra boost of hydration and nourishment to dry dehydrated skin. Professional skincare treatments such as chemical peels, light and laser-based treatments,  microneedling, and tightening procedures can also help address specific concerns like wrinkles, sagging, and age spots. 

In general, what kinds of skin care ingredients might be best suited for skin during menopause? 

Some key skincare ingredients that may be particularly well-suited for menopausal skin include:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Retinoids
  • Growth factors or peptides
  • Ceramides
  • Antioxidants

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin, helping to hydrate and plump dry, dehydrated skin. It can improve skin elasticity and smoothness, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoids, including over-the-counter retinol and prescription-strength retinoids like tretinoin, are vitamin A derivatives. Retinoids promote collagen production, increase skin cell turnover, and improve skin texture. They can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots, while also enhancing skin firmness and elasticity. 

Peptides and growth factors are amino acid chains that can help boost collagen production, improve skin elasticity, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. They support skin repair and renewal processes, promoting a smoother, firmer complexion. Ceramides are lipid molecules that help maintain the skin’s barrier function, preventing moisture loss and protecting against external irritants. They reinforce the skin’s natural barrier, improving hydration and resilience, particularly in dry, mature skin. Antioxidants like vitamin C or E , green tea extract, and resveratrol help neutralize free radicals and protect the skin from oxidative stress and premature aging. They support overall skin health, reduce inflammation, and help to protect the skin from free radical formation that can promote aging.    

What skin care products are best for menopause?

I recommend the following skincare products to help target menopausal skin concerns. These common concerns include dryness, wrinkles, sagging, and age spots.

I like TNS Advanced+ by SkinMedica because it has a growth factor and peptides to prevent the skin’s internal aging.  Growth factors and peptides help to promote collagen production and improve cell-to-cell communication so that the skin acts younger.  

CeraVe Renewing Retinol Serum contains retinol, a form of vitamin A known for its anti-aging properties. Retinol helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots by promoting collagen production and increasing skin cell turnover. CeraVe’s formulation also includes ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. These ingredients hydrate and nourish the skin, making it suitable for menopausal skin prone to dryness and sensitivity. 

SkinCeuticals Phloretin and SkinMedica’s Lumivive are potent antioxidant serums that help protect the skin from free radical damage, reducing inflammation, and brightening the complexion. Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis, improves skin texture, and fades hyperpigmentation, making it an excellent choice for addressing multiple signs of aging in menopausal skin. For a moisturizer, I recommend

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer, is a hydrating and soothing moisturizer suitable for sensitive, dry, and mature skin. It contains ceramides, niacinamide, and glycerin to strengthen the skin barrier, lock in moisture, and alleviate dryness and irritation. This fragrance-free formula is gentle enough for menopausal skin prone to sensitivity. It can be used both morning and night to provide long-lasting hydration and comfort.

Is there anything to avoid skin care-wise when in menopause?

During menopause, it’s important to be mindful of certain skin care practices and ingredients that may exacerbate common skin concerns or sensitivities associated with hormonal changes. Some things to avoid in your skincare routine when in menopause:

  • Harsh cleaners that can strip the skin of its natural oils
  • Over-exfoliating the skin: this can disrupt the skin barrier and lead to irritation and dryness. Limit exfoliation to 1-2 times per week using gentle exfoliants suitable for mature skin.
    • Tip: Opt for gentle, hydrating cleansers that effectively remove dirt and impurities without compromising the skin barrier or causing further dryness.
  • Products with fragrances: can be irritating to sensitive, menopausal skin.
    • Tip: Choose fragrance-free or unscented formulations to minimize the risk of skin reactions.
  • Alcohol-based products that can further dry mature skin.
    • Tip: Avoid skincare products containing high concentrations of alcohol like toners and astringents that can disrupt the skin barrier and exacerbate dryness, leading to increased sensitivity and irritation.
  • Most importantly, sun protection is essential for menopausal skin, as it becomes more susceptible to sun damage and premature aging. Avoid skipping sunscreen, even on cloudy days or during indoor activities.
    • Tip: Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

What skincare advice do you have for woman entering menopause or in menapause?

It’s important to keep in mind that hormonal fluctuations during menopause can have a significant impact on the skin. This can lead to changes in moisture levels, elasticity, and overall texture. I always encourage my patients to be proactive in adjusting their skincare routine to address these changes to help minimize the effects of hormonal imbalances on the skin.

Pay attention to lifestyle factors that can influence skin health during menopause. These include diet, hydration, stress levels, and sleep quality. Eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, staying hydrated, managing stress, and getting adequate sleep can all contribute to healthy, radiant skin during menopause.

Schedule regular skin checks with a dermatologist to monitor changes in your skin and address any concerns or issues promptly. Early detection and treatment of skin conditions are essential for maintaining skin health and overall well-being. Skin conditions common in these age group include skin cancer, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea 

Don’t neglect skincare for the rest of your body during menopause:

  • Keep your skin moisturized with body lotions or creams
  • Protect it from sun damage with sunscreen when exposed
  • Consider incorporating exfoliation and hydration treatments to maintain smooth, healthy-looking skin from head to toe.

Most importantly, learn to embrace the natural changes that occur in your skin during menopause. This is part of the natural aging process! Focus on nurturing your skin with gentle, effective skincare products and practices. Aim to cultivate self-acceptance and confidence in your appearance at every stage of life.

Special Launch Offer: New Acne Products from SkinMedica

Our team was excited to be among the first to try the new acne products from SkinMedica: Acne Clarifying Treatment and Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser!

These innovative new products combine powerful ingredients like salicylic acid, Bakuchiol, and niacinamide to balance sebum production and clear breakouts while still hydrating skin and supporting the skin barrier. Thanks to this innovative formula, patients may notice clearer skin without the dryness and irritation that are often caused by acne products. It’s safe to say that these are some of our favorite acne products we’ve ever tried.

Our team recently shared their first impressions when trying the Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser: click the link below to watch!

Special Launch Offer: Try Both Products for $98

Here are the details on how to take advantage of our special launch offer on the new acne products from SkinMedica! If you’re as excited about these new products as we are, be sure to take advantage of our launch pricing. Typically, the Acne Clarifying Treatment retails for $88 and the Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser retails for $48 but to celebrate the launch we are selling the bundle for just $98! To take advantage of this promotion, simply add both products to your cart and the discount will automatically be applied. Note that launch pricing is only valid through 5/30/24.

Key Benefits & Ingredients

The Acne Clarifying Treatment has a new proprietary SebumBalance Complex with Bakuchiol that balances sebum, supports skin health and clarity, and reduces the appearance of pores. It also includes encapsulated 2% Salicylic Acid that releases over time to treat and prevent breakouts without drying out skin and 2% niacinamide that soothes skin and visible redness and supports a healthy, strong skin barrier. The Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser is formulated with antioxidants, bakuchiol, salicylic Acid/BHA, and soothing botanicals Aloe and Olive Leaf. This product is a non-irritating gel cleanser with clinically proven ingredients that gently dissolve makeup, oil, impurities, and dirt to cleanse and purify pores while supporting the skin’s barrier and improving the appearance of skin texture.

Results from Clinical Studies

In a clinical study of patients using the Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser and the Acne Clarifying Treatment:

  • 95% of patients said the products did not dry out their skin  24 hours after use
  • 90% of patients said their skin looked clearer in just 48 hours
  • 93% of patients said their skin looked and felt less oily in just 4 weeks
  • 86% of patients said their pores looked smaller in just 4 weeks

Results courtesy of SkinMedica.

How to Take Advantage of the Special Launch Offer on New Acne Products from SkinMedica

Simply click the links below to add both items to your cart and the discount will automatically apply! Alternatively, you can also call the office at 513.984.4800 to purchase.

7 Best Peptide Lip Treatments | As Featured in Elle

Dr. Mona shares The 7 Best Peptide Lip Treatments for Plump Lips Without the Sting | ELLE Feature

7 Best Lip Peptide Treatments for Plump Lips Without the Sting | As seen in Elle | Dr. Mona

What are peptides?

Peptides are molecules that are made up of short chains of 2-50 amino acids that we have naturally occurring in our bodies. They play crucial roles in our biological system, functioning as hormones, neurotransmitters, signaling molecules, and enzyme activators, among other things. These bioactive peptides have been shown to decrease inflammation, improve immune function, act as antioxidants, lower blood pressure, and slow down the aging process. Peptides can be found naturally occurring in plants and animals or can be synthetically produced in laboratories. They are more easily absorbed by the body than proteins and can more easily penetrate the skin and intestines so they can more quickly get into the bloodstream. 

Collagen peptides are important for the skin because they have been shown to help build collagen and improve hydration and elasticity in the skin. Effective ones are short-chain hydrolyzed collagen that the body can more easily absorb. There are even some studies looking at their ability to decrease bone loss but more research is needed. Collagen and creatine peptides may also help increase muscle mass, which decreases as we age.

Why are peptides suddenly becoming so popular?

Over the years, peptides have grown in popularity. They offer some promising therapeutic potential for a wide range of diseases and conditions because they can precisely target specific biological pathways. Because they are naturally occurring, they tend to be well tolerated. They also affect their desired change more readily, thanks to the fact that they are easily absorbed by the skin and intestines. This makes them more efficient in getting into the bloodstream and their target.  

Over the past decade, advancements in peptide synthesis have made it easier and more cost-effective to produce peptides in the lab. This has lead to increased research into peptide-based drugs and therapies.  Additionally, peptides can be engineered to specifically target certain cells or tissues in the body. This helps to enhance the efficacy and safety of peptide-based therapies. There is also a growing demand for peptide therapies in personalized medicine. This allows practitioners to tailor treatments to individual patient’s genetic makeup, physiology, and disease characteristics. 

Why are peptides good for the skin?

Peptides offer several benefits for the skin, making them popular ingredients in skincare products. As we age, we lose collagen, and elastin in our skin leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. We also lose our ability to make hyaluronic acid, which is very important in maintaining our skin’s hydration. Peptides have been shown to help stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, improving skin firmness, elasticity, and texture. 

Certain peptides have been shown to support skin repair and renewal processes. Peptides do this by helping to accelerate wound healing, reduce inflammation, and promote the regeneration of damaged skin cells. Peptides can also help to attract and retain moisture in the skin. Due to their antioxidant properties, they can also help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Furthermore, peptides are generally well-tolerated by the skin. This is beneficial because they are less likely to cause irritation or sensitivity compared to other active ingredients, such as retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids. 

Why are peptides beneficial in a lip treatment?

The skin of the lip is different from the rest of your skin. It is thinner and more susceptible to environmental factors such as sun, wind, temperature changes and topical products. Our lips can get more dry, chapped and lose moisture faster than other parts of our bodies. In addition, our lips change as we age:

  • They get thinner as we lose volume with collagen loss.
  • Fine lines appear around the mouth.
  • We lose the definition along the lip border, causing lipstick to bleed into the surrounding skin. 

When it comes to a lip treatment, peptides can be valuable ingredients that help to attract and retain moisture in the delicate skin of the lips. This keeps them hydrated while preventing dryness, chapping, and flakiness. Some peptides can stimulate collagen production in the lips, leading to improved firmness and volume. Moreover, peptides with skin-repairing properties can support the healing process of chapped or damaged lips. They do this by promoting cell regeneration and tissue repair, soothing any irritation, and restoring the natural barrier function of the skin. Peptides can also contribute to a smoother and softer lip texture. They do this by promoting cell turnover and enhancing the skin’s natural moisture levels. 

What should you look for in a peptide lip treatment?

When considering a peptide lip treatment, look for a product that contains peptides linked with a lipid to enhance penetration. Secondly, look for one specifically targeted to address your areas of concern. These concerns may include stimulating collagen production, promoting hydration, or repairing damaged skin. Pay attention to the concentration of peptides in the product, in that higher concentrations of peptides are generally more effective. 

Consider other ingredients included in the lip treatment formula like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and shea butter that help to keep the lips moisturized. Choose a lip treatment with a texture and formulation that you find comfortable. This may include to a lip balm, cream, serum, or mask. Opt for lip treatments packaged in tubes, jars, or applicators because they minimize exposure to air and contaminants.

Who can benefit from a peptide lip treatment?

Peptide lip treatments can benefit many people, especially those who experience common lip concerns like:

  • Dry or chapped lips
  • Thin or aging lips
  • “Lip lines” or “smoker’s lines”
  • Uneven lip tone or pigmentation

Peptides help to minimize these concerns by promoting collagen and elastin synthesis, and improving hydration and skin renewal for smoother and more evenly textured lips. 

Why should you use a lip treatment?

A lip treatment can help with keeping your lips hydrated and protected. Moisturizing and antioxidant ingredients protect your lips from dryness and environmental damage. Lip treatments can also help to repair lips that are already dry or damaged. Ingredients like ceramides, fatty acids, and peptides support the skin’s barrier function, promote healing, and accelerate the repair process. 

Some lip treatments also contain ingredients like peptides, retinol, and collagen boosters. These ingredients help to stimulate collagen production and improve lip firmness as the skin ages and becomes more susceptible to fine lines and wrinkles. The regular use of lip treatments can help improve the texture, health, and vitality of the lips. You may notice softer, smoother, and more supple lips thanks to incorporating a lip treatment.

Dr. Mona’s recommended peptide lip treatments

  • SkinMedica HA5 Smooth and Plump Lip System: A two-step lip treatment that includes a peptide-rich serum and a moisturizing balm to hydrate, plump, and smooth the lips.
  • ColoreScience Sunforgettable Lip Shine SPF 35: I love that it offers sun protection in addition to peptides and essential oils.
  • Rhode Skin Peptide Lip Treatment: Offers a great eco-friendly option thanks to their packaging made from upcycled post-consumer materials. 

Best Sunscreens For The Family

Summer is right around the corner, so now is the perfect time for you to find the right sunscreen and use it! What better way to prepare for spring break than by refreshing your sunscreen stash? Learn why this is the most important step in your skincare routine. Our provider Anna, CNP shares her top recommendations for the best sunscreens for the whole family. If you are not already wearing your sunscreen daily, this is your sign to start! 


When it comes to finding the perfect sunscreen for you or your family, there are three things to look out for:


When looking for the right sunscreen for you, coverage is extremely important: look for ingredients including Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to ensure you are purchasing a broad-spectrum sunscreen. These two ingredients are a great choice in your sunscreens as they cover both UVA & UVB Rays. 


Our providers always recommend a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and rates the amount of solar exposure that you will be protected from. For example: an SPF 100 is going to block 99% of UVB rays, while an SPF 30 is going to block 97% of UVB rays. So while SPF 100 is going to give you greater protection, it is only a 3% increase so it may not be worth the added cost. 

Daily Use

Using a broad spectrum sunscreen daily will help ensure consistent protection from UV damage. In order to get into the habit of wearing your sunscreen daily, it’s helpful for you to find one that you enjoy wearing. We carry a wide variety of sunscreens here at our office: such as lightweight or moisturizing, tinted and non-tinted, along with specialty formulations such as powders.

Lastly make sure you purchase a sunscreen you will wear, there are a variety of sunscreen options based on your skin type, as well as tinted and untinted options. 


 Click below to watch our provider, Anna, CNP share her favorite sunscreens for the whole family!


EltaMD UV AOX ($45) – Best for Families

Click here to purchase EltaMD UV AOX

 This 100% mineral sunscreen, is lightweight and water resistant will leave your skin feeling hydrated and moisturized.










ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless ($68) – Best for Sun Damaged Skin

 Click here to purchase ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless 

This ultralight tinted sunscreen protects, repairs, and corrects with Eryfotona Ageless. It is an ultralight tinted sunscreen with zinc oxide which helps fight the signs of photoaging. 










SkinMedica Total Defense & Repair ($68) OR

Click here to purchase SkinMedica Total Defense & Repair

This revolutionary sunscreen helps protect your skin from harmful infrared rays while improving the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and sun damaged skin.

SkinMedica Total Defense & Repair


ColoreScience Face Shield Flex ($54)- Best for Pigment

Click here to purchase ColoreScience Face Shield Flex

This lightweight mineral sunscreen has a tinted color coverage that immediately evens your skin tone for a flawless look. 

ColoreScience Face Shield Flex









EltaMD UV Sport ($31) – Best for Water Activities 

Click here to purchase EltaMD UV Sport

This sunscreen is great for swimmers, skiers, runners, golfers and other athletes. This sunscreen will not wash off or run into your eyes if you sweat.

EltaMD UV Sport










ColoreScience Brush On Shield ($69)- Best for Reapplying 

Click here to purchase Colorescience Brush On Shield

This all mineral skin shield provides complete protection on the go, this application can be applied alone or over makeup.

ColoreScience Brush On









*Not wearing sunscreen at all is never a good idea! If you are still on the hunt for the perfect sunscreen for you or your family schedule a consultation, we would love to help!


Introducing: Even & Correct System by SkinMedica

We are so excited to introduce you to SkinMedica’s newest product line: Even & Correct!

Dr. Mona Foad presents on Even & Correct and the Allergan Aesthetics National Sales Meeting

Dr. Mona had the honor of speaking at SkinMedica’s national sales meeting last week to present on this exciting new product to their team.

These clinically-proven products work as a customizable and comprehensive approach that helps target the broad spectrum of unwanted hyperpigmentation and effectively address critical pathways associated with melanogenesis. Three unique, hydroquinone-free formulations are designed to be tailored to your needs. When used all together, you may see improvements in the appearance of hyperpigmentation in as little as one week.

The Even & Correct system includes 3 products: The Advanced Brightening Treatment ($178), The Dark Spot Cream ($88), and The Brightening Treatment Pads ($60 Value). The system is completely customizable: use all 3 for best results or mix & match to fit your unique skin’s needs.

All three products are clinically-proven to address the signs of visible hyperpigmentation. Fun fact: Lytera 2.0 addressed 5 pathways of pigment product, while this new technology addresses 6!

Pre-order on Even & Correct will be available through Sunday, 1/22/23.  These pre-order promotions are available exclusively at Mona Dermatology.


VIP Pre-Order Bundle ($250 for $500+ Value)

  • Even & Correct Advanced Brightening Treatment ($178 Value)
  • Even & Correct Dark Spot Cream ($88 Value)
  • Even & Correct Brightening Treatment Pads ($60 Value)
  • $100 Credit Toward a Diamond Glow, Chemical Peel, IPL, or Laser Package*
  • 20% off Credit Toward a TNS Advanced+ Serum*
  • 1 Pack On-the-Go Brightening Treatment Pads
  • Luxury Sun Hat

Click here to purchase the VIP bundle!

*Credits expire 3 months from purchase date.

Pre-Order Individual Products at 20% Off

Pre-order purchases of individual Even & Correct products are 20% off through Sunday, 1/22/23.

In addition, all pre-order purchases will come with a credit* for 20% off TNS Advanced+ Serum ($60 value!)

To purchase Even & Correct products individually, use the links below:

*Credits expire 3 months from purchase date.

20% Eye Creams