I Married a Dermatologist—These Are the Most Important Skin Lessons I’ve Learned

Photo: Cori Zeichner
Being married to a dermatologist comes with one very obvious perk: free skin-care advice all. of. the. time.

Before I met my husband, Joshua Zeichner, MD, who's a derm in New York City, I didn't even realize I was treating my skin all wrong. I remember thinking that my complexion needed serums, but I didn't understand what they actually did. As it turns out, I was using multiple serums that all did basically the same thing...whoops! Now, though, I know how to create a skin-care routine (thanks, Dr. Z!). My top two priorities? Protecting my skin from the sun in the morning, and repairing it from damage at night.

Seriously—sun protection is no joke in our household. The biggest lesson I learned from my husband is that you need to protect your skin from the sun. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t used to wear sunscreen, but now, in my @thedermwife life, you won't find me outside without a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses. (Fortunately, I met Dr. Z really early enough in life that I don’t think I did too much damage to my skin, but it's never too early to start taking care of your skin.) Hindsight is 20/20, but when it comes to our skin, what we really need is foresight. It's important to protect the skin when it's still strong because that's the foundation you have to age from.


I used to pick my skin-care products based on the way the packaging looked, without any idea of what they actually did or how they would fit into my current routine, thus how I wound up with a hoard of expensive serums with the same job. Now, though, I know just how important it is to pick the right products for your skin... not just the stuff that will make your medicine cabinet look pretty.

As a mom of two kids, I don't have as much time to dedicate to my skin-care routine as I used to, which means that the products I use have to be quick, efficient, and effective. In the morning, I layer a vitamin C serum—right now I'm loving L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Pure Vitamin C Serum ($23) and Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($131), underneath a moisturizing sunscreen. At night, I keep things pretty simple, too. I take off my makeup with Neutrogena Fragrance Free Towelettes ($5), then wash my face with a gentle cleanser. Then, I put on a prescription-strength topical retinoid called Altreno because it treats blemishes and has anti-aging benefits and apply a nighttime moisturizer—right now I'm using Tatcha Water Gel ($65). The last step is to add a little longterm oomph to my lashes, care of Grande Lash ($34), and that's pretty much it. I've learned that if you want a routine that works, but won't eat up your entire day, the three things you need to prioritize are sunscreen, vitamin C, and retinol (or, if you can't tolerate retinol, peptide creams, and bakuchiol are great sensitive skin-friendly alts). And also, it never hurts to marry a dermatologist.

As told to Zoe Weiner, August 20, 2019.

These are the drugstore products derms don't go a day without recommending. Plus, the skin-care scams they say you should definitely *never* waste your money on. 

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