Brandie Oros, APRN, from the Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute answers questions about popular cosmetic dermatology treatments and skin care ingredients.

Q: Does hyaluronic acid improve skin complexion? 

A: Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring component of the skin that holds 1,000 times its weight in water. When applied topically it improves the hydration of the outermost portion of the skin (epidermis). Hyaluronic acid targets dryness, sunspots, and even redness. It is also an ingredient used in fillers, which helps to pull moisture to the skin and plump the area being filled. However, if used incorrectly, it can dry out the skin by drawing moisture from the deeper levels of the skin. There is a higher risk for this in low humidity areas, such as Nevada. Therefore, it is best to layer hyaluronic acid with a good moisturizer appropriate for your skin type.


Q: What are the benefits of Vitamin C? Any products you recommend?

A: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that also works as an anti-inflammatory to improve skin texture, tone, hydration, and reduce the signs of aging. Vitamin C can accelerate the production of collagen and elastin, which are key in the anti-aging process. I recommend the vitamin C serums from SkinCeuticals®. Another favorite of mine is Restorative Skin Complex by ALASTIN® Skincare. It has the same benefits as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid but is an all-in-one product that simplifies your skin care regimen.


Q: Is it true that makeup remover wipes are bad for your skin? What do you recommend I use instead?

A: Some people find that certain ingredients in makeup remover wipes can irritate their skin or even cause an allergic reaction. Instead, I recommend washing your face every evening (and only once per day) using a gentle cleanser such as the ALASTIN Skincare Gentle Cleanser or the EltaMD® Foaming Facial Cleanser.

Q: At what age should I incorporate retinol into my skin care routine and what skin concerns does it help treat?

A: Retinol is a product that is used to treat acne and can help with excessive oiliness. It also helps with skin cell turnover and can be used to treat fine lines and keep a youthful skin appearance. Retinol is used in other anti-aging products to make them more effective, including hydroquinone which treats sunspots (“liver spots”), or hyperpigmentation. It’s great to start retinol in your 20s and continue throughout your lifetime. My favorite product is ALASTIN Skincare’s Renewal Retinol, which has better anti-aging benefits than the over-the-counter retinol and fewer side effects than prescription strength. 

Q: How often should I exfoliate – should I avoid it during the winter?

A: Exfoliation removes dead skin cells which are lying on the top layer of skin, contributing to a dull, aged appearance. Therefore, exfoliation works to reveal fresh, healthy skin cells, allowing products to be better absorbed. I typically recommend

exfoliating once per week. In our dry Nevada climate, exfoliating more than once per week can cause irritation, dermatitis, and overly dry skin.

During the winter, as humidity decreases and as we crank up indoor heating, our skin becomes drier. Thus, it becomes even more important to exfoliate weekly. The wintertime also calls for a good moisturizer appropriate for your skin type. I love the ALASTIN Skincare and EltaMD products, which treat all skin types and are available at our Elko office.

Schedule your cosmetic dermatology appointment in Elko with Brandie Oros, at For more information about medical and cosmetic dermatology subscribe to Skin Cancer & Dermatology’s blog Skin 101.