Jessica Wu, MD is responsible for some of Hollywood’s most beautiful faces. For the past 20 years, she’s been paying house calls to the stars to help them look their best on the red carpet and beyond.
But you don’t have to be a celeb to achieve flawless skin. Dr Wu believes that every woman is a natural beauty. Skincare coupled with cosmetic procedures should be used to subtly enhance yours, not completely change your face.
Her approach to skincare? As a top dermatologist, Dr Wu has access to the latest cutting-edge treatment, while her Asian heritage taught her to take a holistic approach that also includes diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Talking about diet, Dr Wu is the author of Feed Your Face, a book about the best diet for younger-looking skin. She also has her own cosmetic line, Dr Jessica Wu Cosmeticeuticals, that uses Chinese botanicals with anti-inflammatory properties to slow down premature aging.
In this interview, Dr Jessica Wu shares her skincare routine, her top tips for beautiful skin and more:
1. When did you become interested in skincare?
I suffered with terrible eczema as a child, then cystic acne as a teen. At one point in high school, my entire cheeks were covered with whiteheads and cysts. It really affected my self-esteem. I used to dread waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror, because I was afraid of what I would see.
After school, I’d often stop at the drugstore, hoping to find products to clear up my skin. That was the start of my skincare obsession. I decided to become a dermatologist to find solutions to my own skin problems, as well as help others who want to have healthy, clear skin. I love what I do because it’s my job to discover cool new products and do clinical trials on new techniques – and I get to share these with my patients!
2. What’s your skincare routine like?
My acne went away after a round of Accutane in college, and now that I’m 51, I’m more focused on youth-preserving products. But my skin is sensitive and I still have occasional eczema flareups, so I avoid products with fragrance or anything potentially irritating.
In the morning, I splash with water and apply SkinMedica HA 5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, a light serum that contains hyaluronic acid, peptides, and antioxidants. If I’m feeling oily (usually when I’m premenstrual) or if I’m doing a TV interview, I use Hourglass mattifying primer on my T zone. Then I use a zinc-based sunscreen followed by foundation (Julep Cushion Complexion 5 in 1 Skin Perfector with Turmeric).
During the day, I blot with Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets. At night, I cleanse with Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil and a muslin cloth. Twice a week, I use Refissa (a prescription strength retinoid) to help support my skin’s collagen. The other nights, I use SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 to control sun spots, followed by my own Dr Jessica Wu Cosmeceuticals Dew Cream, which contains antioxidant Chinese botanicals and hyaluronic acid.
3. If you could only use three skincare products for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Cleansing Oil, Retinoid Cream, and Sunscreen.
4. What are your fave skincare brands and why?
- Avene because it’s made for sensitive and eczema-prone skin
- SkinMedica because it contains innovative ingredients such as tranexamic acid, found in Lytera 2.0, which lightens and brightens sun spots without causing sun sensitivity
- My own brand, Dr Jessica Wu Cosmeceuticals, which contains Chinese botanicals that are natural anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories
5. What are your top 3 skincare tips to take care of your skin?
- Don’t be afraid of retinoids. The biggest myth is that retinoids thin your skin. In fact, we have decades of research confirming that retinoids actually thicken your skin by building collagen — IF you use them correctly. This means finding the right concentration and formula that won’t cause irritation.
- Listen to your skin. What works for your friend may not work for you. For example, moisturize where you’re dry and cut back on “active” ingredients if you get red and flaky.
- Be gentle. You can’t scrub away acne, sun spots, or dry skin; in fact, scrubbing often worsens the problem.
6. What skincare treatments (dermabrasion, lasers etc) do you regularly have done?
- IPL laser in the Fall to clear up sunspots that pop up in the summer.
- Emsculpt every 6 weeks to strengthen and tone my abs.
- Botox every 4 months for frown lines, to lift my eyelids, and to stop teeth grinding.
- Filler twice a year to soften smile lines.
7. What lifestyle habits do you have that keep your skin in top shape?
I’m pretty careful about what I eat, especially ever since I researched and wrote my book, Feed Your Face. My diet is mostly fish (wild salmon, mackerel, trout), vegetables, nuts, fruit, and eggs. The fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids to keep my skin supple and control rashes. Green and yellow veggies help soften fight fine lines and wrinkles, while tomatoes fight sun damage.
I keep scarves in my car to drape over my neck and arms when I’m driving — UV rays go through window glass!
8. What’s in your makeup bag?
- Julep Cushion Complexion 5 in 1 Skin Perfector
- YSL Volupte Tint In Balm Lipstick
- NYX Micro Brow Pencil
- Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Liner
- Kevyn Aucoin Eye Shadow
- Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush
- Ulta Lash Separator for my extensions
- Prescription Alphagan eye drops if my eyes are bloodshot
Thank you, Dr Wu!