Dr. Jessica Wu: Consistency Is The Key To Good Skin

Dr. Jessica Wu wants to help you order fast food that’s best for your skin. No really. She’s realistic, she knows that at some point going through a drive-thru is inevitable. She even created a modern-day plan, so people can get younger, smoother skin in 28 days with her book, Feed Your Face. Her guide provides the healthiest, quick and easy options that are the reality when working, raising kids, managing a household and more.

With a complete understanding of a woman’s busy lifestyle, Dr. Wu provides a list of dishes to select from menus at common chain restaurants like Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Changs. She adds the best choices if you have to grab something at Subway, Starbucks or even Taco Bell.

Below, she shares how to get more out of your beauty routine while still living a real life, and also her favorite cocktail to increase your natural sun protection.


What is your philosophy on beauty?

A. A true beauty takes care of herself on the inside and the outside, and is proud of what she has and who she is. As women, we often take care of everyone else before ourselves. I tell my patients that they need to make themselves a priority in their everyday lives, and they should never feel guilty or vain about wanting to look good. They need to be a little selfish and give themselves some time every day to take care of their skin and to exercise, and they need to take control of what they eat.

"I can see the difference it makes when women take charge of their health and their appearance: as they feel better about themselves, they project that to the world, and that builds self-confidence."

Women also feel guilty asking me about in-office cosmetic treatments like facial peels, lasers, and injectable wrinkle fillers. Many of them wonder out loud if they should just age gracefully. By the way, I never hear this from men. They never feel bad about wanting to look handsome. If we truly went all-natural and let nature take its course, then shouldn’t we stop shaving our legs, coloring our hair, and brushing our teeth? If we did that, I think many of us would feel terrible about ourselves. On the contrary, I believe you can age gracefully by wanting to look and feel your best at any age. For some, that might mean having a mild chemical peel or light treatment to treat sun damage. For others, minor procedures performed over the years may be a way to maintain your looks while still looking natural. Whatever you path you choose, make no apologies for wanting to look your best.

What’s the best beauty advice you can share?

A. Be consistent. If you want results, find a routine and stick to it. Consistency gives you the best results, whether it’s skin care, diet, or exercise. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but make sure you do a little something every day to care of yourself on the inside as well as the outside.

"In fact, it’s better to use one product consistently than jump from one product to another; if you skip around, it’s harder to see results."

As I tell my patients, most skin problems and conditions are much easier to prevent and treat in the early stages than later on. So if you’re starting to see sun spots and blotchy skin, promise yourself you’ll wear sunscreen every day, and start using a skin brightening product religiously. If you have breakouts, make sure you take off your makeup every night before bed, and use an exfoliating toner or scrub once or twice a week. And swear off dairy products! If your smile lines are turning into crows feet, start using a retinoids (like Renova or an over the counter retinol product) at night. If you’ve been a sun bunny (or have a tanning salon habit) see a dermatologist to have your moles checked at least once a year, and check your skin for any changing moles once a month in the shower.

People often say confidence is most sexy, when do you feel most confident and why?

A. I’m most confident when I’m doing my two favorite sports, skiing and stand-up paddle-boarding. Growing up, I had terrible acne, plus I was near-sighted, overweight, and uncoordinated. I was picked last in gym class, and spent summers in the library instead of at the beach with friends (I didn’t have any!). I figured I wasn’t meant to be fit or athletic. One day about ten years ago, I took a look in the mirror and decided that I’d had enough. I stepped into a gym for the first time in my life, and I never looked back. In fact, I’m in better shape now than when I was in my teens and 20s. I’m stronger, fitter, my clothes fit better, and I can do sports that I never imagined I could participate in — this past winter I became certified as a Ski Instructor, and I’ve been invited to take part in a paddle board relay race. I am proof that with determination, you can take charge of your health and your appearance.

Your book, “Feed Your Face” changed the way we approach eating, what are three of the best foods to start eating today and why?

A. Eat tomatoes for sunburn and sun damage. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that adding tomato paste to your diet reduces sunburn and sun damage. Processed tomatoes (tomato paste, tomato juice, sun-dried, stewed) give you the greatest amount of lycopene. So skip the fruity cocktail and have a Bloody Mary instead, especially if you’re going to be out in the sun!

Eat green beans for thick, healthy hair. Green beans are high in the element silicon, which has been shown to help grow thicker, healthier hair (as well as stronger nails). Green beans are also one of the lowest calorie foods, so snack on them during the day, toss them into salads, and have them as a side dish with dinner.

Eat fish to fight rashes, dry skin, and acne. Fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which help replenish your skin’s natural protective oils and keep in moisture. But don’t worry, fish won’t make you break out–in fact, studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, so they actually help calm acne breakouts.

"General advice for women of all ages and skin types: eat breakfast! It gives your brain and muscles energy to face the day, and you’ll help stabilize your blood sugar to fight acne, wrinkles, and rashes."

What are 3 products you swear by?

A. Couldn’t pick just 3, so here they are:

Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets. These are the best blotting papers. They soak up a ton of oil, don’t leave a powdery residue, and won’t disturb makeup.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Toner. I have super oily skin and larger pores. This blue liquid contains lipohydroxy acid to help keep my pores clean and fight blackheads. It’s stronger than glycolic and less irritating than salicylic acid.

Dr. Jessica Wu Cosmeceuticals AntiAging Suncare SPF 32 every morning and Prescription-strength Renova at night. it’s a myth that retinoids make your skin thin. In fact, retinoids like Renova have been proven to build collagen and make skin thicker, more than any other ingredient. However, they also make me more sun sensitive, so I’m very diligent about sunscreen. Mine has microfine zinc oxide and protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Scott Barnes Body Bling in Original. I treat patients with sun damage and skin cancer every day in my office, so I’m hyper aware of what the sun can do to skin, especially since I live in Southern California. But I still want some color when I show my legs. With Body Bling I can get a shimmery glow without damaging my skin. I don’t put on a skirt without it! 

Dr. Jessica Wu, Los Angeles dermatologist and author of “Feed Your Face,” is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. The board-certified celebrity dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at the USC Medical School, has been seen on national television shows such as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, and E! Entertainment Television.