Fun fact: There are about 19 million skin cells along every inch of your body. Considering our skin is such a large part of ourselves — making up about one-seventh of our total body weight, or somewhere between three and a half and 22 pounds, depending on height and body mass — we need to take extra good care of it.
New York dermatologist Dr. Michele Green is a key example of the type of person we’d entrust the care of our largest and heaviest organ. A board-certified physician on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Dr. Green is one of those in her field that’s known for her cutting-edge, in-office treatments. And, since her clientele are already pretty well-informed about skincare and aesthetic treatments, this is a huge draw for patients.
“[My] patients are very, very bright,” explains Dr. Green. “They come in and most of them know what they want because they've already read about it or they've already had different procedures [done].” Because of this, many of Dr. Green’s patients are looking for minimally invasive procedures that have minimal recovery time. “My patients don't want to allow [a lot of] downtime because a lot of them work and have busy schedules with events.”
But that’s not all, Dr. Green asserts that even while being surrounded by a lot of serious medical work, there’s always an air of positivity and laughter within the halls of her office. “We have a really good time here. Patients laugh here,” she explains. With an overall cheerful attitude, it’s no surprise Dr. Green’s schedule is packed. Ahead, Dr. Green dishes on which procedures her in-the-know patients are requesting the most, her own aesthetic treatment go-tos, and more.
Spotlyte: What inspired you to become a doctor?
Dr. Michele Green: I didn't think I was going to become a doctor at all. I actually was going to become an artist — I went to Yale® to study art! — but while I was there, I realized that I really liked science and I really liked helping people. When I ended up deciding to go to medical school, I really was not interested in dermatology or cosmetics But as time went on, I became more involved in cosmetics, because I actually got my first job at Cosmair™ [now L’Oréal® USA]. It was basically looking at patients who were trying different cosmetic products. And so, I became much more interested in cosmetic dermatology. I found that sort of marrying the two, the medicine and the artistic aspect [of aesthetics], made [dermatology] a good fit for me.
Spotlyte: What is your general skincare philosophy that you try to promote in your office?
MG: I really believe in “less is more.” If you give people too many protocols or skincare creams, they get confused or they get lazy — and they'll do nothing rather than doing two or three things. Also, you always have to match the skin type to what kind of products they use. I always tell patients that they may not be using a bad product, but rather a product that’s bad for their particular type of skin.
Spotlyte: What do you think are the skincare products that are universally good to use?
MG: Obviously SPF is the most important thing for dermatologists. Ultimately, the three things I always recommend to patients are sunblock, vitamin C, and retinol at nighttime to produce new collagen.
[Editor's note: Retinol shouldn't be used by those who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.]
Spotlyte: As a dermatologist on the Upper East Side, tell us a little bit about your clientele.
MG: Number one, I would say that my clients are extremely nice, and they're extremely educated. But sometimes, people come in with misinformation, because they're so sure that they're the perfect candidate for, let's say, Fraxel®. Their friends have [gotten] Fraxel, but they have the wrong skin type for it. So, that kind of misinformation can happen a lot.
In general, patients on the Upper East Side know what they want, and they have a pretty good aesthetic. It marries well with mine. I have a very [subtle]-looking approach.
Spotlyte: What are the most popular aesthetic treatments in your office?
MG: The most popular treatments in the office range from Thermage®, which is a skin tightening laser with [little to] no downtime, to injectables like injectable wrinkle reducers and filler. Also lasers like eMatrix®, Fraxel, Clear + Brilliant®, and Vbeam® are very popular.
Spotlyte: What skincare tips do you tell all of your patients?
MG: [My] number one skincare tip — no matter what [your] age [is] — is that you want to treat [the issues] that you have now, [while] preventing future damage. That means if you have sun spots or [damage] now, treat it. But, you should also [continue taking care of your skin] going forward. So, we do a lot of preventative treatments in addition to treating skin damage that people already have.
Spotlyte: Let’s talk about your own aesthetic treatments. Do you get injectables?
MG: I do both filler and injectable wrinkle reducers. I do injectable wrinkle reducer in the glabella [frown lines] area and filler in the mid-face.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.]
Spotlyte: What other medical treatments do you do?
MG: I love [getting] Thermage, Fraxel, and Vbeam on a regular basis.
Spotlyte: What is your personal skincare routine like?
MG: I'm really busy, so I do simple things. I use just a very gentle cleanser and I use an SPF 50 every day. I also use a vitamin C serum twice a day. For vitamin C, honestly, there are a bunch of companies who make really good ones, so I rotate. And I use my own [brand] moisturizer, which is like a recovery cream. I give it to patients after lasers as well because it’s really emollient. I also use retinol. But, I have very sensitive skin so I [only] use retinol usually about three times a week at night. I like the RoC® brand [of retinol].
Spotlyte: What do you believe is the future of aesthetics?
MG: I think they're going to come up with more interesting and amazing lasers to treat fine lines and wrinkles. I also think more injectables will come out. One of the beauties of injectables is that there are so many different ones now.
Spotlyte: Fascinating! Now, tell me about your life outside of work.
MG: I have two girls — 10 and 14 — and I'm very busy with them. The one thing that I love to do, outside of helping them and doing homework with them, is swimming. It's just a great sport, because it clears your mind. You can't be on the phone and you can't check your email while you're swimming. I also still draw and paint.
Spotlyte: What skincare advice do you always tell your daughters?
MG: I torture them about staying out of the sun because they're both really fair. So I tell them the most important thing is to use sunblock and to stay out of the sun.