The Skin Sisters Q&A

You love our content and may have purchased a few awesome products based on our recommendation, but you may not yet know who we are and why on Earth we are called The Skin Sisters?!

Brooke & Lauren are real life sisters and Board-Certifed Dermatology Physician Assistants with over a decade of experience. We practice medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology – The Skin Sisters website is our way of sharing the tips, tricks and secrets we have learned over the years. Its like our readers just happen to have a sister with dermatology expertise; except, instead of sharing skin care tips over family dinner, we’re sharing them for everyone to read!  Learn more about us in our Q&A below.

Please always feel free to contact us with questions or comments. We want to know what you’re thinking and what skin, hair and nail topics you want to know more about. Reach out to us at EmailTheSkinSisters@gmail.com or DM us on Instagram @theskinsisters.

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How did you end up going into dermatology?
Lauren: I went directly to PA school (Physician Assistant) after graduating college. I knew from day one that I wanted to go into derm. I love that its a field of medicine where the patient can track their own progress (in many cases) and be involved in their care. I love treating all ages and the varied conditions of dermatology. I love that it combines my love of medicine and my interest in skincare and beauty. I have been practicing dermatology for over a decade and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Brooke: After several years in the public relations field, I changed careers and pursued degrees in both Public Health and Health Science as a Physician Assistant. While working in communications gave me the fun opportunity to live in both San Francisco and New York and work with exciting clients, I always knew something was missing. I moved to Washington, D.C. to attend George Washington University for both of my degrees and am so happy I made the change! During my training I spent time in India working to empower young women and girls through education. One of the most significant experiences during my time there was spent at a girls school where we trained the “older” girls who were 14 or 15 years old to act as Health Monitors for the rest of the schoolgirls and surrounding communities. It was incredible to see these young girls be so empowered and excited by the opportunity to care for others. After completion of my public health degree I started training as a Physician Assistant with the initial hope to work in Emergency Medicine. I loved the pace and variety; however, as luck would ultimately have it my first job out of training was in a dermatology practice. I found so much of what I was looking for in dermatology – I absolutely love seeing so many different things throughout the day and enjoy working with patients to achieve their goals of keeping their hair, skin and nails healthy.

What is the one skincare item you can’t live without?
Lauren: SERUM SERUM SERUM! These simple products pack a major punch. Serums are a great way to deliver antioxidants and keep your skin looking great. Nearly everyone can tolerate them (unlike their equally amazing counterpart ‘retinol,’ which can be irritating to some skin types.) The antioxidants in serums block free radicals, which can otherwise break down collagen in your skin and cause photoaging. My current absolute favorite is SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF.

Brooke: My La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF serum. I recently started using this product and truly cannot live without it. It’s a weightless, non-greasy SPF that I use everyday. The magical thing about it is that it also has Vitamin C and E, which moisturizes and also protect against free radicals. This product is the first thing I put onto my skin after washing in the morning and I put my other daytime products on right after.

What do you look for in a product?
Lauren: One single thing – that it works. You won’t find any fluffy products, getting by with only cute packaging, in my medicine cabinet. My approach to products is simple: protect, prevent, and repair. Products should fall into one of these categories and either protect your skin (like a sunscreen), prevent sun damage (like antioxidants) or repair your skin (like retinols, which stimulate collagen production.)

Brooke: I look for two things first and foremost: 1) does it work and 2) does it feel good. Dermatology can be a balance of incorporating prescription medications with those that can be found over the counter. We have research that supports the use of tons of products both rx and over the counter and the effectiveness of any product is always what I look for first and foremost. The feel of a product is also super important. Even if something is effective, a patient (or I!) will be much less likely to continue using it if it feels goopy, sticky or smells bad.

What skincare topic are you most passionate about?
Lauren: Without a doubt, I am most passionate about sun protection. There is countless research showing the correlation between sun exposure and sunburns and an increased risk of skin cancer. There are so many great products out there for sun protection – these are not the days of white paste down the lifeguard’s nose! In 2017, sun protection options are fantastic and we have no excuse for not protecting our skin.

Brooke: I am really passionate about the treatment of hair loss. Most people are super “connected” to their hair. For men and women hair can act like a security blanket and having a ‘good hair day’ isn’t just superficial. Feeling confident is so important in maintaining a happy, healthy life and hair volume, color, texture, shine, softness and length all contribute. There are so many reasons why people lose their hair or their hair changes and I love working with patients from day one to figure out what is causing their hair change and then getting them to a place where they are feeling great and having consistent ‘good hair days’!

Tell me about your family!
Lauren: My husband, Brad, and I met while living in New York City in our 20’s. We moved home to the Midwest years ago and have two adorable kiddos who keep us busy…and who inspire my obsession with children’s skincare and sun protection.

Brooke: I am married to a wonderful man who loves to take pictures for The Skin Sisters and in his spare time practices Ophthalmology! We were married two years ago and live with our fluffy goldendoodle, Hugo.

What does a day look like in your world?
Lauren: Since having children, I see patients part-time; some days I’m on daycare drop-off duty or having the best time exploring the neighborhood with my kids and other days I’m seeing patients in a busy dermatology practice. On those days, I’m helping my patients with everything from skin cancer screening, biopsies, rashes, acne, and infections to brown spots, lasers, and getting rid of wrinkles with Botox.  If I’m not spending time with my kiddos, or practicing dermatology, you can find me playing tennis, connecting with my girl friends, trying new restaurants with my husband, or planning our next vacation.

Brooke: Most days of the week I see patients in clinic for any variety of concerns. I perform lots of total body skin exams and biopsies, see patients for acne, rosacea, rashes, hair loss and nail concerns. I also assist in a procedure called Mohs Micrographic Surgery which is used to treat skin cancers on the face and other sensitive areas. On my days off I love to be with my family – we have a brother who lives in Chicago and another sister who lives right by both me and Lauren! I love walking our dog around the City Lakes of Minneapolis, exploring the incredible new restaurants and distilleries/breweries around town, and hanging out with friends in our backyard. We love to travel and have Costa Rica, Argentina and Greece on our short list! It’s also really important to me to give back to the community. This year I started a Young Professionals group to help support the mission of the safety-net hospital in Minneapolis, Hennepin County Medical Center. I also am a board member of the local theatre company, which is so fun because I used to perform there when I was a kid!

 

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