This Dermatologist Has The Answers To Your Burning Skincare Questions
Meet our first Metro Beauty Insider, Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas, a dermatologist who offers some of the best skincare advice on the Internet right now!
These days when the world of beauty has become so open and inclusive, very reachable, and so fast-paced more than ever before, it's easy to get overwhelmed, and sadly, deceived by what we see and hear. At times, you may also feel like you couldn't keep up with the trends, as they come and go so quickly, just like that latest viral makeup or skincare hack on TikTok. In these days when beauty can be both welcoming and alienating, we want to help cut through the noise and heed the sound advice of experts and seasoned beauty insiders, to help get us through the many questions we have about the world of beauty.
Our first Metro Beauty Insider is Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas, a licensed dermatologist we love on social media. This relatable doctor has given us tons of advice on Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok, and we know she speaks truth! Not having set her mind on Dermatology initially, Dr. Gaile eventually fell in love with the field, after being exposed to patients and the practice during her internship at the UP-PGH.
"There was something about it being visual that appealed to me and how rewarding it is that patients actually see and feel that they are getting better. Also, dermatology, though not as lucrative or financially rewarding as surgical specialties, is one that allows me to spend time doing other things I like such as spending time with my family, creating content and being active on social media", Dr. Gaile shares. After passing the medical board exams, she applied and was accepted for Dermatology Residency training at the Skin and Cancer Foundation, Inc. She passed the dermatology board exams in 2013, and today, she blesses us with her presence online, as well as off, in three different clinics all over the metro. Scroll to learn more about our beauty expert!
Metro.Style: What are your thoughts on beauty and skincare in the digital age?
Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas: As with most things, there are pros and cons. There are numerous benefits in going digital. First, there is easy access to free information. At a click of a button, countless pages of information in all languages from all corners of the world are suddenly at our fingertips. Second, it is so much easier for content creators to share knowledge, connect and interact with their audience and meet other like-minded creators. Third, specifically in the field of beauty for both consumers and doctors, all this data makes it easier to absorb and nitpick what one needs for his or her skin issues or practice. Lastly, making contact and sharing experiences among practitioners, consumers and patients have become beneficial to many.
However, the downsides cannot be ignored. These include misinformation and misinterpretation, getting lost in translation, proliferation of fake news, laziness, one getting trapped in your own echo chamber and in your own truths and sometimes, genuine interpersonal connection is lost.
In the field of medicine, in general, a keen eye and sound mind are necessary to sort out and decide useful and credible information. Not everything you read online is true. Unfortunately, lay people tend to believe ‘viral’ content or the ‘most popular’ personalities or influencers or just the first few documents they chance upon.
In dermatology and skincare, this leads to many patients self-medicating and spreading what they think is true. We all know that health and medicine is long-term and holistic, but sometimes, it’s the quick-fixes that often get cult-following and go viral.
What are the top 3 skincare misconceptions/myths you would like to debunk?
Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas: I think I want to mention misconceptions that my patients themselves tell me and explain why:
a. Going to a dermatologist is expensive and that we only prescribe products that patients can get from us or force them to do in-clinic procedures.
While some practitioners may be guilty of these, most are not. Through proper assessment of not only your skin but your lifestyle exposures and preferences as well, you will know what your skin condition is/are and you will be given the right treatment recommendations. Seeing an expert not only saves you time and effort, but money as well.
b. All products are the same as long as they contain the same ingredient/s.
This is not true because apart from the quality of the ingredients used, packaging, formulation, stability etc matter too. I believe in brands that innovate, do research and clinical studies and give value to patient education and sustainability.
c. Itching, peeling, redness and stinging when using skincare products are all part of the process and mean that my topical creams are working.
These signs are not part of the process and can mean that your skin barrier is compromised or that your skin is irritated. We often tell patients to discontinue using skincare products if they experience these symptoms.
d. My favorite vlogger or my best friend swears by this product, which made her skin radiant and young-looking therefore it should work for me too.
In medicine, the weakest form of evidence is a testimonial, not that it is unrealiable but more because of variable that influence the outcome, such as patient factors, the environment etc.
Metro.Style: If a woman were to invest in a good anti-aging kit right now, what would you tell her to buy?
Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas: It’s never the same for everyone but I would say invest in at least the basics:
a. A good cleanser for your skin type
b. Product containing ingredients that address your concerns – pigmentation, redness, sensitive skin, fine lines and wrinkles – such as exfoliants (AHA, BHA or PHA), anti-oxidants (Vitamin C, E), or retinoids
c. A sunscreen that is broad-spectrum with an SPF of 30+ or PA++ and that you are willing to put on everyday and re-apply when necessary
Metro.Style: What's next on your beauty wishlist?
Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas: Oooh… I have quite a few items on my list!
A Dyson supersonic hair dryer. I’m waiting for my current non-Dyson hair dryer to conk out so I have an excuse to buy a new one. I first tried it in Saddle Row in Power Plant Mall pre-pandemic, and since then I’ve been planning on getting one for myself.
Also, ever since I have collaborated with Dr. Glen Calderhead, one of those who coined the term low level light therapy (LLLT) and one of the experts in LED devices, I have been wanting to get my hands on an LED mask, specifically Dr. Dennis Gross SpectraLite™ FaceWare Pro or the Omnilux ContourTM Face. But they are both not available here!
And finally, the Lumenis Pollogen TriPollar Stop for the face and the Pose for the body. These are handheld Radio Frequency machines for home use to stimulate collagen remodeling and skin tightening.
Metro.Style: What's something you'd like to tell your 18-year-old self about beauty/skincare?
Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas: Get enough sleep, eat healthy, and put on sunscreen. When I was younger I wish I knew of the importance of getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet. On several occasions I would sleep only 4 to 5 hours a day in favor of binge-watching movies or cramming for an exam; and many times I would find myself skipping meals or reaching out for the easiest but not necessarily the healthiest snacks (eg. chips, soda, pizza, or fries). Finally, no one really taught me to put on sunscreen and I would only put it on on beach trips or before swimming, if I remember!
Metro.Style: What's your advice for the busy woman who has no time to go through a complicated skincare routine, gadgets, or treatments?
Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas: When formulating a skincare routine, after knowing what your skin issues and needs are, you should determine how much time you are willing to spend on it so that it doesn’t feel like a chore. Keep it simple and be realistic. Have a schedule, plan and make time for yourself. But do try to have one. Now that I’m older, I realize that if there’s something that you really want to do or that you value, you will make time for it.