Q+A with Dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldfaden
Dr. Goldfaden on the importance of his brand being plant-based, the effects living a healthy lifestyle has on your skin, and more.
Dr. Gary Goldfaden has been a dermatologist for over 40 years. In the midst of practicing dermatology, he's also gone on to develop Goldfaden MD, a skincare line devoted to using clean, natural ingredients to achieve in-office procedure-level results. We sat down with Dr. Goldfaden to discuss his products, the ways outside of skincare products that we can take care of our skin, and more. Read on for the full conversation!
Q: How did you get into dermatology?
I didn’t have any exposure to dermatology growing up. One day in medical school, I developed an unusual rash while taking an exam and I was so distressed that the moderator asked me to leave the room. I consulted a dermatologist who diagnosed, treated, and alleviated the problem, and it was a lightbulb moment for me. I decided to specialize in dermatology, eager to solve problems for patients before my own eyes.
Q: What drove you to start your own skincare line?
I have always been a creative yet clinical thinker when it comes to medical solutions, so problem-solving for my patients naturally steered me toward product development. I remember developing formulas for my wife and young children as they began to encounter various skin issues — it was a genuine and instinctive passion. When I began practicing in the late ’60s, the anti-aging movement hadn’t really begun on a medical level, and most patients sought in-office procedures as the first line of defense. As I gained experience in private practice, I realized just how significant preventative at-home skincare could be for my patients and how it could hopefully reduce their need for more extreme corrective measures in-office. There was a void in the skincare marketplace of products that delivered visible anti-aging benefits, but that could be tolerated by sensitive, post-surgical, and allergic skin types. It was clear to me that the world needed a serious yet chemically clean line they could trust, and Goldfaden MD would be the answer.
Q: What do you love the most about what you do?
The ability to help boost one’s self-confidence through treating their skin; it’s the best part of my job.
Q: The products that are part of the Goldfaden MD line are heavily nature-inspired and plant-powered. Can you elaborate a bit about what exactly that means and why it’s so important?
Being aware of what you put in and on your body is crucial. Naturally sourced foods (meaning unprocessed, and free from pesticides or hormones) have the ability to offer a higher percentage of nutrients, vitamins, and key antioxidants. Eating a diet of fresh, naturally grown or raised whole foods is scientifically linked to decreasing the risk of disease and increasing life span.
The skin is the body's largest organ, and research proves it is capable of absorbing up to 60% of the ingredients in the products we apply. Many synthetic ingredients have been recognized to cause skin irritation and may lead to damaging effects longer-term. Additionally, chemicals, artificial colors, fragrance, and fillers in skincare products and makeup can cause redness, irritation, and breakouts. Natural makeup, skincare products, and body products work with your skin instead of against it. The integrity and purity in plant- and botanically-derived ingredients — the high level of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, natural sugars, and more — provide a vital spectrum of benefits for the skin.
Q: As we know, our lifestyle habits in general — from food/drink, to sleep, to exercise, etc. — have an impact on our skin. Can you tell us a bit about your day-to-day and what lifestyle choices you make that benefit your skin?
When I was growing up, people were much less aware of healthy lifestyle choices and there was very little research around diet, exercise, and the diseases and risks associated with food and weight gain. As in many households, I was raised eating white bread and soda and struggled with my weight. As I got older, I started to eliminate processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and I’ve been exercising just about every day for the past 40 years. Coupled with drinking ample water (8-10 glasses per day), sleeping properly (8 hours per night), and taking daily multi-vitamins and supplements, it represents the ultimate wellness regimen and the key to a glowing complexion.
Q: What is a myth about skincare that you want to debunk?
If it burns, it means it’s working. NO! Stop and wash it off immediately.
Q: What is one product everyone should be using, no matter what their skin type?
A facial cleanser!
Q: What are your personal go-to products in your skincare line, and why?
Doctor’s Scrub because exfoliation is the key to healthy and glowing skin, and Brightening Elixir serum to protect and restore my skin from environmental and sun damage.
Q: What is your best advice for someone who is struggling to find a skin routine that works for them?
Less is more, and start with a simplistic 4-step regimen – EXFOLIATE, CLEANSE, TREAT, HYDRATE – that is free of chemicals, alcohol, silicones, artificial colors, fragrances, dyes, and mineral oils…all of which are leading skin irritants.
Q: What do you wish people were talking more about in skincare?
How to practice prevention of aging! I think that our society has come a long way, but the truth is if we start an anti-aging skincare regimen early (in our 20’s), as well as the application of a daily sunscreen, it helps to prolong the development of aging (loss of elasticity, collagen, discoloration, dullness) to begin with. It is very hard to “reverse” aging once it’s visible, so I am always recommending early prevention.
Rapid Fire Round
Q: Worth the splurge:
Jillian Dempsey gold sculpting bar.
Q: Favorite drugstore or budget find:
Anything from Weleda.
Q: Latest beauty empty:
Dr. Bronner’s Hand Sanitizer.
Q: Recent discovery:
HUSH & HUSH supplements.
Q: Product you can’t leave home without:
Elta MD SPF and a Coolibar UV protective hat.
Q: Brand you wish more people knew about:
DHS Shampoo — I’ve been offering this in my practice for over 40 years.
For more of Dr. Goldfaden's favorite products, head to his shop below: