August means we’re in the final stretch of summer, but that doesn’t mean that you should let the lazy days blend into your skincare routine. We caught up with renowned dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner to do a temp check on how to get your glow on without the damage, and what to do to start fresh for fall. When tans begin to fade, consult Dr. Zeichner’s secret-weapon lasers and fillers to consider for reversing damage, his extremely affordable holy grails, and why drinking Diet Pepsi may actually have more benefits than water.

Your best-kept beauty/skincare secret is:
Sunscreen. If you do nothing else, make sure to wear sunscreen every day. Even incidental UV light exposure and everyday activities add up over a lifetime.

What is the biggest beauty/skincare myth you’d like to debunk?
It is a total myth that drinking a glass of water is necessary to keep the skin hydrated. There is no data to support this or to show that drinking fewer than eight glasses of water is harmful to your skin health.

Good skin starts with...
Your genes. And if you’re not genetically blessed, visit your dermatologist for help. With the right prescription and over-the-counter treatments, we can get your skin into the best shape possible.

What is the best advice you've received from your mom?
“Stay out of the sun.” Aside from a few rebellious teenage years, I never sat out in the sun too much.

What is the most underrated product?
My most underrated grooming product is the Dove Beauty Bar. It is the most universal ones are out there as it can be used across all skin types and on your face and body. Plus it is much less expensive than most other cleansers out there.

What does your skincare routine include?
My skincare routine is quite simple. I live by the same routine I give to my patients, which is prevention of damage in the morning and repair in the evening. In the morning I shave with a Gillette razor and Aveeno Shave Gel. My moisturizer with sunscreen doubles up as my aftershave lotion, and I’ve been using Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 50 for years. In the evening I apply a retinoid. We know they have multiple benefits in the skin ranging from treating acne and stimulating collagen, to improving skin tone and texture. Right now I am using prescription Altreno lotion.

Do you have a diet or exercise obsession?
Anyone who knows me knows that Diet Pepsi helps get me through the day.

What grooming products you always travel with:
Dry air on planes makes my skin dry and itchy so I always bring a travel size of Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Lotion with me. It contains cocoa and shea butters to soften and hydrate the skin. I tend to stay away from moisturizers that hotels provide because they are usually highly fragranced and can cause skin irritation.

What is your best advice for summer skincare protection? Is SPF enough?
While sunscreen is extremely important, it is only one part of your sun protective behavior. Make sure to stay out of the sun during the peak hours of 10am and 2pm, sit in the shade when you can–even if you have to make it yourself–with an umbrella, where sun protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.

What do you recommend for protection and reverse aging of hands / neck / chest?
In an age of lasers, we truly can undo some damage. The fall is my most popular season for lasers to reverse what people expose themselves to during the summer. Fraxel is my workhorse laser. It punches microscopic holes in the skin, creating controlled wounds, and allowing the skin to heal itself up in a healthier manner, with stronger collagen, more even skin tone, and less sun damage.

Is there a certain age or moment that you should start with injectables?
The time to start injectables is different for everyone. I recommend neurotoxins when lines facial expressions start to set in at rest. For most people this is right around the late 20s or early 30s. My biggest growing group of patients are women coming in for treatments for their 30th birthday. I prefer to treat my patients with injectable fillers like Restylane earlier in life rather than later. In young people, even small volumes make a huge difference. When patients wait until they are 50 years to start getting injections there often is a sticker shock because patients need several syringes to replace significant amounts of lost volume. Starting early and using small amounts can help maintain your appearance and keep you looking ageless (even though you do continue to age!).

How often do you recommend seeing a dermatologist?
You should see a dermatologist once a year for a total body skin check after the age of 30. Of course, if you ever notice a new or changing spot on your skin, don’t wait and get it checked out immediately. While we all want to have clear, wrinkle – free skin, the most important factor to look out for is skin cancer.