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EXPERT GUIDE: DR. ANNA PALABYAB-RUFINO ON STYLE AND SKINCARE
You can still see traces of Dr. Anna Palabyab-Rufino’s modeling days when you come for a treatment at the airy BGC clinic she shares with her partners. It’s in the fashion, primarily: a cool pair of paper bag trousers or PVC sandals paired with a pretty sundress aren’t exactly standard medical practitioner garb, yet she makes it look so easy; to be chic under a doctor’s coat can only be achieved by a true fashion girl, especially one who’s had experience in front of the lens like her.
Anna is now an established dermatologist and mother of three boys but you can hardly tell—she’s the picture of grace and is no frazzled mom who can’t keep it together. Quite the opposite, actually, as she’s calm and friendly but not intrusively so, and is honest with what you need without being pushy. She is just as passionate about her work as she is with family, travel and even shopping! A well rounded, accomplished woman you could trust with the most sensitive topics regarding skincare. Here’s a look into her lovely personal style along with some stellar skincare advice.
Describe your personal style in three words
Classic, feminine and fun.
What’s your formula for dressing for work? How do you keep your look interesting under a doctor’s coat?
I feel like I can wear almost anything under a doctor’s coat. I pick out something that I want to wear that day and choose the rest of the outfit based on that. It could be my earrings or my watch, my shoes or my bag, a top or a bottom.
Have you always been a beauty girl? Who/what were your early influences?
I’ve always been exposed to the beauty industry. Both my parents were dermatologists. My mom was my first beauty influencer. I would watch her put on make up everyday when she got ready for work. She subscribed to every fashion magazine there was! When I was modeling in my younger years---pre Photoshop era---I was always interested in the techniques of make up artists and it was then that I realized how important it was to have clear skin.
Most common mistakes a person makes when it comes to caring for the face?
Following a 10 or more step regimen that they don’t need or just copying what worked for someone else not realizing that different skin types have different needs.
What is the skin’s worst enemy?
Can you reverse sun damage? Or is it permanent?
Sun damage is cumulative. It depends on how much damage is already there but up to some point it can still be improved.
What are simple tips one can do to maintain good skin as they age?
Always use sun protection. You don’t need to have a skin problem to see a dermatologist, you can just come for advice on how to delay the signs of aging. Prevention is key.
How much does diet and overall healthy lifestyle affect the skin?
Nowadays we have been seeing a lot of cases where food really affects one’s skin but I always tell my patients to go through a process of elimination. We wait for the skin to improve and slowly reintroduce the things they feel aggravate their condition. Stress has always been proven to trigger some skin problems so managing that with exercise or yoga can help them improve.
Are there foods that are simply bad for the skin?
People have different degrees of tolerance for certain kinds of food. Those who have allergies to certain things will react more compared to others who don’t. There’s a whole list of food that triggers inflammation and I would say that dairy is one of the most common. I always encourage my patients to try eliminating certain things in their diet and slowly reintroduce the suspects one at a time and you can be the judge.
Can one still indulge in a cappucino though?
Yes of course, if you feel it’s worth it! You may also consider non dairy alternatives such as almond milk.
Would you recommend supplements that one can take in case she can't always get her dose of vitamin C or greens from fruits and veggies?
Yes, definitely! Whatever is easiest or most convenient. There’s a whole range of anti aging supplements as well. There’s glutathione which is an antioxidant, collagen etc.
Hyaluronic acid is suddenly in every beauty product's list of ingredients. What does it actually do?
It attracts moisture into our skin. It is what most dermal fillers are made of.
The eyes and neck are most neglected. What is the easiest way to incorporate these parts in one's routine?
If you find a product that works well for all areas, stick to it. Use a mask that covers all areas.
You love traveling. What are your travel kit must-haves, skin-wise—especially when temperatures suddenly drop?
I always bring a moisturizer, one in a small jar for the plane and a bigger jar that I check in. Lip balm with SPF is also important. When I can’t use Tretinoin cream because of continuous exposure to the sun and dry, cold weather, I bring a vitamin C serum to give me a bit of a glow. Also pack a small sunblock for your bag coz it’s important to reapply! Bring a moisturizing mask on the plane specially for long haul flights.
What is your definition of "proper cleansing"?
It’s about choosing the right product for your skin type! Just gently use your hands when washing your face. Use a gently make up remover or micellar water before washing and never rub or scrub too vigorously.
Best beauty advice you’ve received and why?
Prevention is key. Don’t wait ‘til it’s too late.
PHOTOS AND INTERVIEW Anne Bella Arguelles
Last two photos: Canva
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