Q+A with Dermatologist Dr. Katie Beleznay
Dr. Katie Beleznay on how she got into dermatology, her thoughts on "buzzworthy" skincare products, and more.
Currently practicing in Vancouver, B.C., Dr. Katie Beleznay is a board-certified dermatologist in both Canada and the United States who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology. As a leading expert in the field, she has not only contributed to countless articles and textbooks, but lectures and press features in publications like Elle Magazine, Refinery29, The Vancouver Sun, and countless others. Read on to learn more about Dr. Beleznay's thoughts on skin health, her love of chemistry, and much more!
Q: How did you get into skincare?
Prior to pursuing medicine, I studied chemistry and I really loved it. But after spending several summers doing research with chemical compounds in a fume hood, I realized I wanted a career where I could work with people. That is what led me to medicine and ultimately to dermatology. I’ve always loved thinking about treatments to enhance the skin, and evidence-based skincare is a cornerstone for skin health. I think appreciating the science and ingredients in skincare originated with my love of chemistry.
Q: What do you love the most about what you do?
I love that dermatology is all about pattern recognition. Often you instantly know what something is and other times it’s more complex, but you can biopsy or do other tests to help find the diagnosis. I also love the procedural aspect of dermatology and the combination of art and science when it comes to cosmetic dermatology. And, of course, the skin and outward appearance is something that can have a big impact on people’s self-esteems, so it feels great to be able to help people to feel better about themselves.
Q: What is a myth about skincare that you want to debunk?
The myth that “natural” products are safer or better for your skin. While there are certainly many naturally occurring ingredients that are wonderful for the skin, there are a lot of claims made that are not supported by evidence. I am a big believer in products backed by science, whether it be “natural” or otherwise.
Q: What is one product everyone should be using, no matter what their skin type?
Sunscreen! What else would you expect from a dermatologist? Sun exposure is one of the most harmful things for our skin, causing premature aging and potentially more serious skin cancers. While many people take care to use sunscreen when they go to the beach in the summer, they overlook it during the rest of the year. Using sunscreen or a moisturizer with SPF every day is essential to avoid long term damage to your skin. I have shared some of my favorite products in my shop.
Q: What is one thing you wish people would stop doing in terms of skincare?
I do think that often people jump in and try the latest fads or “buzzworthy” products when it comes to skincare. For most people, having a basic and consistent skincare program is the best way to go. At various periods, your skin may have different needs or adjustments to your routine should be made. However, sometimes there is a tendency to buy the latest product mentioned in the media, which may not be the right product for you. Skincare really should be customized to your specific skin type and needs.
Rapid Fire Round
Q: Splurge-worthy item:
SkinCeuticals Phloretin. This is a great antioxidant that helps to brighten the skin and improves uneven skin tone. I like this formulation for my skin, which is more on the oily side.
Q: Favorite drugstore find:
Vichy Mineral 89. This is a great daily facial moisturizer formulated with hyaluronic acid.
Q: Latest beauty empty:
ZO Complexion Renewal Pads. I love these every evening to minimize surface oil, remove any leftover makeup, and provide exfoliation.
Q: Recent discovery:
SkinCeuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair. I recently started using this. It’s a neck cream formulated with retinol. I love the way that it makes my neck look and feel smoother and tighter.
Q: Product you can’t leave home without:
I do love my mascara. My go-to for the last 10 years or so has been the Estée Lauder Zero-Smudge Double Wear Lengthening Mascara.
You can shop more of Dr. Beleznay's favorite products at her shop below: