Ask a Doctor

Ask a Derm: The Secret to a Smoother, Tauter Neck

Marina Peredo on neck tightening
Sergey Narevskih

Does not imply the person featured in the photograph had any of the treatments mentioned in this article.

Many of us are looking for advice on skincare routines and in-office aesthetic treatments, whether it’s to add something new to our existing regimen or to kickstart and finally establish a true routine. We may want to treat a variety of concerns, but the question is how to best go about doing it. 

Treating both skin quality and the appearance of visible wrinkles are common goals, and the options differ for each. However, the first step is understanding the difference between the two. For many, inconsistent skin texture can be avoided with special attention and regular use of over-the-counter products. Wrinkles, however, are an unavoidable fact of life: In addition to sun damage and genetics, frequent facial movements can etch deep lines into certain areas, and their appearance can’t always be improved with topical treatments.  

We consulted Marina Peredo, MD, New York-based, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skinfluence® skincare, to share her tips for how to make your routine work for you. Dr. Peredo graduated from Mount Sinai® Medical School in New York (where she now coincidentally teaches medical residents when she isn’t seeing patients in her office). She also interned at Columbia Presbyterian℠ and completed research at The Rockefeller University®, looking at the early trials of biologics for psoriasis. Keep reading to discover her tips and learn more about her, including her advice on the one way to instantly upgrade an in-office procedure.

Spotlyte: How did you decide to become a dermatologist? 

Dr. Marina Peredo: My first passion was surgery. I always wanted to be a plastic surgeon, but I kind of did everything a little bit backwards. I got married in college, at 21. I had my son in college when I was 23. When I was doing medical school in '87 and surgical orientation —  as much as I loved it — I realized the lifestyle of the surgeon and the hours were not that greatly regulated. I would probably miss all the milestones of my child if I took that route.

Spotlyte: Did either of your kids follow in your footsteps? 

MP: Andrew is finishing his residency, and then he's coming back to New York in July. I'm very proud of him and very excited that he followed me. Hopefully, he'll join me in my practice.

Spotlyte: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

MP: The most rewarding part of my job is when I get patients who are going through a difficult time of transition in their life. Whether they're going through a divorce, or their children have left home and they're empty-nesters, I give them the mirror [after treatment] and I get that, "Wow. I look like myself but younger.” They get teary-eyed, and I get teary-eyed.

I've been through a lot of transitions in my life, and some of them were more painful than others. I like to give people the ability to feel good about themselves. It's priceless.

Spotlyte: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

MP: The most challenging thing is when I reshape faces — when I take a young person who maybe is not as genetically blessed as other people, and take them from a square face to an oval, or a rectangular face to a more heart-shaped face.

Spotlyte: Do you get injectables?

MP: Of course I do. I get injectable wrinkle reducers in the approved areas. My last injections were given to me by my son. It was really cute. I marked myself and told him how many units, because I was training him.

I tend to do less filler now — just my cheeks — but I love to do it. I do a lot of it for patients. The only place I don't get injected are my lips, because I've always had full lips — so my lips are virgins.

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. 

Spotlyte: What’s something people might not understand about injectable treatments?

MP: If somebody's skin quality is not good, it doesn't matter how many injectable wrinkle reducer or filler treatments they're going to [inquire about]. They won’t improve skin color, evenness, or texture. It's like icing on a cake. 

Spotlyte: What in-office treatments do you get?

MP: I do a lot of different laser procedures. I'm 58, so the texture of the skin is becoming an issue. Once a year, I get my Ultherapy® maintenance. I hate the pain, but I love the results. I do my lower face and neck. 

For my neck, my knees, and my face, I use Secret RF® — that's microneedling with radiofrequency — but I like doing it with PRP. PRP, especially with procedures like microneedling, or Clear + Brilliant®, just gives that extra oomph. I feel the texture of the skin is better. It has a little bit more of a youthful glow.

Editor's Note

As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment.

Spotlyte: What is your morning skincare routine?

MP: I like simplicity. I use Skinfluence Alpha Cleanser, which I've been using for 20-something years. It's a gentle cleanser, and it gently exfoliates with papaya extract. It's not too dry, and it's just one step. I don't have to worry about removing eye makeup or face makeup. 

Twice a week, I use a granular, exfoliating scrub. I have one in my medicine cabinet to use on my face, and I have one in my shower because it's great for elbows, knees, and forearms. It makes your skin really nice and soft.

I use a lot of Alastin® products. I love Alastin Nectar. It's a moisturizer, it's anti-aging, and it's a primer all-in-one. I use that product in the morning, and then I use the mineral tinted sunblock.

Spotlyte: What’s your evening skincare routine?

MP: At night, I use retinol. I either layer it with the Alastin products, or if I feel like my skin is dry, I use a cream which is a little bit more hydrating. Sometimes, I alternate with vitamin C products.

Editor's Note

Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.

Spotlyte: What's in your makeup bag? 

MP: I just started using this new brand called TRINNY LONDONTM. The makeup is stackable in these little color pods, which go in a makeup bag, and it's easy to travel with. I use the same color on my lips and my cheeks. My favorite mascara is Giorgio Armani® Eyes to Kill® because it doesn't crumble. You don't see those little flakes on your eyelids. I use Jane Iredale® Liquid Eyeliner. It's very, very thin. I put a little, almost invisible line just between the lashes.

Dr. Marina Peredo is a paid Allergan® consultant.

Allergan® may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this article.