Last month we introduced Dedicated Derms, a three-month series where we shine a light on our partnership with three professional female dermatologists first introduced at Convention in September. We started things off with Dr. Vivian Bucay, our San Antonio-based dermatologist who works within a predominantly Latino community. This month we are thrilled to introduce you to Dr. Jenna Lester. A Harvard undergrad, former Brown medical student and current faculty member at UCSF, Dr. Lester is keen on finding modern skincare solutions for people of color. Read ahead to learn more about how she found her calling in dermatology and what her new “Skin of Color” program is all about.
Rodan + Fields: What makes premium skincare with high-quality ingredients so effective versus using basic soap and water?
Dr. Lester: I think skincare that’s developed with technology that takes into account the dynamic nature of skin is really important. Sometimes the ingredients needed to correct (impurities) aren’t contained in the same specific way in generic soap and water, whose purpose is to strip the skin of any sort of dirt or oil. I think it’s important to use specific products that are made for the face for that reason.
R+F: Why is good skincare plus a daily regimen important?
Dr. Lester: Sometimes we forget that the skin is the largest organ of the body, and because it’s dynamic, things are always changing. Some things happen that you may not want to happen, and you want to correct them. Just like with any other organ; if something undesired was happening, you’d take a pill every day to address it. Even though the skin is an organ we look at our every day, it really needs to be treated with the same level of care as any internal organ.
R+F: Why is starting a skincare routine at a young age important?
Dr. Lester: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s good to prevent something rather than trying to fix it. I also think if you can get into good habits from an early age, they will feel more natural over time. You wouldn’t skip brushing your teeth for years and get cavities and then go to the dentist and get them all drilled and filled. You brush your teeth every day to prevent cavities.
R+F: What inspired you to pursue dermatology?
Dr. Lester: My dad was the first person to suggest it as a career. I was initially considering other specialties in medicine. I was home for a holiday, and my dad was like, “You should think about dermatology.” He loves his dermatologist. He’s always gone since I can remember and has a great relationship with his dermatologist. He never misses an appointment! He recognized what an impact a dermatologist can have on someone, and he was like, “That would be a great career for you.”
R+F: Tell us about your practice at UCSF.
Dr. Lester: I started the “Skin of Color” program within the department of dermatology at UCSF. This program has three branches: clinical care, seeing patients; education, educating dermatology residents who are in training, and other dermatologists; and research as well. I’m currently building each aspect of the program but focusing most of my energy on patient care. The program’s goal is to address disparities in dermatology by providing a place where patients of color feel comfortable having their skin disease treated. Sometimes, patients with darker skin have different concerns or have different diseases that affect them more commonly. It’s important to have a specific set of knowledge and skills in order to diagnose and treat dermatologic conditions that appear in darker skin.