The Skin You’re In

Jacqueline Schaffer, MD shares her secrets to getting gorgeous, happy and healthy skin.

Growing up in Northern California surrounded by a family dedicated to the health-care field, it was no surprise that Jacqueline Schaffer, M.D., decided to become a doctor. But while she was earning her medical degree in Budapest, Hungary, from Semmelweis University, her mother was diagnosed with skin cancer — twice. As she relates her experience seeing the bandage across her mother’s back and the surgery it covered, there’s a catch in her voice, and it’s clear that Schaffer was and still is deeply affected.

Although she had multiple residency opportunities at home and abroad, Schaffer immediately set her sights on dermatology and developed a plan to help her mom beat the disease. Her mother has been cancer-free for more than three years, and Schaffer shares everything she learned during her mother’s journey in her book “Irresistible You: Smart and Schique Solutions for Clear, Radiant, Youthful Skin.” Her insights also serve as the foundation for a line of smart skin-care products that she recently introduced.

Dedicated as she is to helping women look and feel their best inside and out, 24Life asked Schaffer about her principles for healing — not simply treating — your skin.

24Life: What’s the most important lesson you learned during your mother’s battle with skin cancer?

Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer (JS): I dug down into my scientific medical background and examined what was actually serving her from the Western and the Eastern world. I discovered that you need both scientific and holistic insights. I wanted to find a healthy balance, and through that, I ended up developing Schique Beauty, a product line that serves the women in my household and women all around the world, because I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.

24Life: How can you heal your skin instead of just treating it?

JS: You live in your skin, so you need to take care of it rather than focus on the things you don’t like about it. So many women get into a cycle of using harsh treatments that create more damage, which prompts use of yet more harsh treatments. A healthy skin-care routine helps your skin heal — and it takes about a month for your skin to regenerate. The basic elements include exfoliation so that you can prevent that buildup of dead skin cells, as well as nourishment from a healthy serum or moisturizer that delivers vitamins and antioxidants. Then your skin is able to heal itself, especially at nighttime when cell turnover happens, so when you wake up, you have that glow on your face.

24Life: What’s the difference between men’s and women’s skin?

JS: Because men have high testosterone levels, their skin is thicker than women’s. That is why, ladies, men appear to age slower and we age faster. Because men have higher testosterone, in the teenage years, they tend to have more acne because of the androgen levels. But when it comes to the aging process, they need to exfoliate more because their skin is thicker and those dead skin cells build up. To keep men looking good in a natural way, the best thing is to exfoliate three times a week and cleanse and moisturize daily.

24Life: What’s a common mistake people make when it comes to skin care?

JS: Over-treating because they’re frustrated with their skin. They say, “My pimple’s not going away. My sunspots aren’t disappearing. How can I get rid of the fine lines around my eyes?” First of all, many products aren’t solving the problem; they’re actually masking it. And then there are so many false claims with chemical peels and lasers. Depending on your skin type and what you’re trying to target, you need to be careful because it can actually cause more damage. I recommend people find out what skin type they have and what they need to do and use to heal it and restore it back to its natural, beautiful-looking state.

24Life: Why is it crucial to work with your skin type?

JS: It’s important to understand your skin type because that will help you choose the products and routine that will restore your skin’s health — and those aren’t going to be the same products or routine that serve somebody else. We all need to cleanse and moisturize, but the type or texture of product can make all difference in skin’s health. For example, if your type is prone to acne and oiliness, you will want to choose a cleanser that is foamy, but dry-skin types need a milky-based cleanser. If you tend toward oiliness, you need to moisturize, but you’ll want to make sure that moisturizer doesn’t have highly emollient ingredients; go for something lighter. There are so many quizzes out there that can identify your skin type, or you can see your doctor for a skin analysis.

24Life: What is the best way to make sense of the overwhelming range of products on store shelves?

JS: You must look at ingredients when you’re shopping. Just because it’s vegan or 100 percent organic, you still need to do a skin test and make sure that it’s good for your body. Grass and peanuts are natural substances, and just as you would avoid those if you’re allergic, you need to find out whether you have sensitivities even to natural ingredients in skin-care products. [Likewise], if you see all these chemicals, ask yourself, Is this something that I need and is it actually serving my skin?

Exercise for your skin type

skin In her book “Irresistible You,” Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer has some favorite types of exercise for specific skin types.

For Oily/Acne-Prone Skin

Eating well and exercise go hand in hand. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, the best exercises for you are those that:

For these reasons, I recommend Pilates and plyometrics (circuit training) for women with acne-prone skin.

For dry and sensitive skin

For your fitness routine, the best exercises for dry and sensitive skin will:

Women with dry and sensitive skin tend to age faster than other skin types, and flexibility and elasticity tends to decline as you age.

I recommend hot yoga for women with dry and sensitive skin. It takes place in high humidity, where you are surrounded by moisture and can sweat freely without irritating your skin, and it increases muscle flexibility. (Although you may be sweating out irritating toxins, overall the detoxification process is very good for you.)

Dancing is also a wonderful exercise for dry and sensitive skin. In addition to increasing your flexibility and keeping you in flow, dancing increases your circulation — it gets your blood pumping and those new skin cells moving!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Schaffer has a special offer for 24Life readers. Visit Schique Beauty and use the code 24life to receive 24% off of all purchases.

Prior to starting or changing any exercise program or activity, please check with your physician or other qualified health professional.