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Dr. Julie Russak, MD Answers Marie’s 23 Questions



Marie’s 23 Questions are designed to raise the profile of experts in the skincare and cosmetic industry.

The skincare field and beauty industry is often known to be superficial; at SkinScience, we want to shine a light on leaders who are authentic and those who bring depth while raising awareness of what they do and who they really are.


Dr. Julie Russak MD is a Board Certified Dermatologist, Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and founder of the Russak Dermatology Clinic in New York. Dr. Russak has received numerous honors and recognition of her clinical excellence, including being selected as a “New York Super Doctor” by The New York Times.


She has created a state-of-the art practice providing comprehensive care in medical and cosmetic dermatology and is a main resource to the media, including beauty editors, research analysts and journalists.



1. Which talent would you most like to have?


Not to dwell on the past.



2. Name one thing on your bucket list:


I’ve never been to Japan. I’d like to go there to ski, be in the presence of sacred trees and sit under a cherry blossom.



3. What does authenticity mean to you?


Being true to myself. I think we can unfortunately lose sight of who we are when we try and convey to others who we are not. We cannot please anyone if we are not pleased with ourselves first.



4. Where do you hope to be 15 years from now?


Living in Sardinia, or spending most of my time there.



5. When have you felt the most proud?


When I graduated from Medical School and when I held my first born in my hands. There are choices and sacrifices you make to have a career and especially as a woman. There were times in my life I worried if I’d ever have children.



6. What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?


You may be surprised to know that I am of this stature and can hunt. I grew up in Siberia and my father took me hunting. I may not always have the time to do so, but I can grill a mean whole fish too!



7. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Who was it from, and why was it so special?


The best gift I’ve ever received is from my husband – and it is always travel. We don’t exchange material gifts, only travel. He took me to Tuscany recently, late in the fall when the tourists were gone and it was quieter. The waiter at the hotel we were staying in, guided us to chairs just outside overlooking nothing.

He brought drinks back and said, “this is the most beautiful view,” but we looked at him puzzled. It was no spectacular view. He then said something I will never forget, which is, “it’s the most beautiful view of nothing and everything.”



8. What is your greatest extravagance?





9. What do you like most about your appearance?


As women, it is very hard to hone in on the things we actually like about ourselves, isn’t it? I’d have to say my posture. As a gymnast, I worked very hard to get it and work even harder now to keep it.



10. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?


You’d have to ask my nurses.

Nurses: “Older and wiser” and “You are so cute.” She uses these phrases a lot.



11. What is your idea of perfect happiness?


Perfect happiness to me is being in the presence of my loved ones, with a good book, and a view of nothing and everything.



12. What is your greatest fear?


Not having enough time. There’s still so much I want to do.



13. What is one of your biggest pet peeves?


Unfinished anything, traffic, and lacking a good skincare regimen.



14. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would you choose to come back as?


A Bonsai tree. They are so peaceful.



15. What is your most treasured possession?


My passport.



16. What is your most distinctive characteristic?


The girls (my staff) say my blonde hair.



17. Describe yourself in one word.


Can I cheat and say three? Driven, compassionate and attentive.



18. What is your favorite skincare product?


Revision’s DEJ eye cream. I don’t travel without it- not even to and from work.



19. What excites you about your career?


I often see patients who see faults in themselves. So there’s a special moment after treatment when, they look at themselves in the mirror and feel beautiful. Being able to make a difference in someone’s life in a positive way is deeply rewarding.



20. How do you relax after a stressful day?


A glass of Hourglass Cabernet and a good book.



21. How does your background shape your outlook?


It is easier to see what you want in life when you’ve never had it.



22. What is your favorite part about being a dermatologist?


Talking with my patients. They are some of the most fascinating people.



23. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing your industry?


Commercialization of patient-doctor relationships. I still strive to preserve what patient-doctor relationship used to be. Quality over quantity is my highest priority.


Follow Dr. Julie Russak MD:

Instagram: @RussakDerm

Visit Dr. Russak’s  Website 






#skincare #skincareroutine #skincareexpert #YYCskincare #beauty #skin #skinscience #23questions #antiaging #NYCskincare #confidence #dermatologistNYC

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What Works for Your Friend Might Not Work for You (The Truth About Skin Care Products)


Every day, patients come in and tell us: “Well, I purchased this $250 product at a department store because it worked for my friend. I’ve been using it faithfully for 2 month now, and I’m not sure that I see results.”


Patients need to understand that everybody’s DNA is unique, and so their skin care should be. Nobody will age the same way, at the same rate, with the same symptoms. Aging skin looks differently on different people. Could be fine lines and wrinkles, lack of firmness, lack of elasticity, lack of radiance, brown spots and sun damage, redness, sensitivity, large pores, dark circles…. one person might be presenting one of visible signs of aging (ex: only wrinkles), another person might show 3 signs (ex: wrinkles, large pores and lack of firmness), another person 3 different ones (ex: brown spots, large pores, lack of radiance) and another all of them at once.

Since aging has a strong genetic component (also referred as intrinsic aging), people say that can look at your mom to have a good idea of how you are going to look later in life. It’s partially true, but that’s not enough to explain one’s aging – as the environment and lifestyle also has a strong influence on the long term aging of the skin (also referred as extrinsic aging). And even then, different people will be affected differently by different extrinsic causes.





So why is it that a product would work well for one person, and not at all for the other?

For one, it depends on what the product does, and that comes down to which active ingredient (or blend of ingredients) that is/are included in the cream/lotion/serum. Let’s say that an anti-aging product contains an ingredient like hydroquinone to work on pigmentation and brown spots. One person with brown spots and freckles will be a happy with the results, but if another person is using it as an anti-aging product (as it is labelled) but doesn’t have brown spots to begin with, and wants to work on her wrinkles, hydroquinone is not going to work for her wrinkles because it’s a lightening agent. For that second person to be happy about the results from the cream, it would need to contain ingredients that boost collagen, elastin, glycans, hyaluronic acid to work optimally on improving the appearance of wrinkles.

Making sure to have anti-glycation and anti-MMPs ingredients would surely be an added bonus, as they work indirectly on the skin’s fiber content. If a third person, showing signs of aging like wrinkles AND brown spots, was using that anti-aging hydroquinone-based product, she would be PARTIALLY happy with the results because that cream would work on evenness of the skin, but she wouldn’t be happy when it comes to wrinkle improvement.


I personally have found that a lot of people use anti-aging products that are not targeted towards their particular symptoms of aging.


A product can be labeled “anti-aging” because it contain Matrixyl 3000 (a well-known anti-aging peptide that boosts collagen) but if your wrinkles are caused by glycation, free radicals, inflammation and lack of elasticity, you will not see results from using a Matrixyl-based cream.

Since it is difficult to define the intrinsic causes of aging without a DNA-based test, and that the skin care industry is starting to understand that not all wrinkles are created equal, we see more and more multitasking products. In my experience, these so called “multitasking” products usually address 1-2 maybe 3 aspects of skin aging, but never all.

Another aspect to consider in a product’s activity on the skin is how it is formulated. An important aspect of skin care formulation is the pH (or hydrogen potential) – an indicator of the acidity or alkalinity of a product. It is based on a scale from 1-14, 1 being very acid, 7 being neutral pH and 14 being very alkaline. The pH of a product is important for the activity on the skin of certain active ingredients, such as glycolic acid for example.

Thirdly, it is common knowledge that different people can get very different results with the same product. Experts usually explain this fact by variations in individual body chemistry. Sometimes it is indeed true. However, quite often the truth is far simpler. Different people often get different results because they apply skin care products differently.


Generally, the following optimal conditions apply:

1. CLEANSE: Before applying skin care products, make sure your skin is properly cleansed. The best time to apply skin care products is after you are fresh out of a warm shower or bath because not only is your skin clean but it is also thoroughly moist and should better absorb whatever you apply to it.


2. EXFOLIATE: The uppermost layer of the skin, called stratum corneum, is composed mostly of dry, dead cells. If this layer becomes too thick, as in aged or poorly maintained skin, active ingredients of a skin care product have trouble penetrating deeply enough to have an effect. The skin needs to be well exfoliated to be able to absorb active ingredients better.


3. DAMPEN SKIN: Moist, hydrated skin absorbs active ingredients better because active ingredients can penetrate better when they are dissolved.


4. SHORT FIRM STROKES: Use short, firm strokes to apply skin care products (it is best to use the middle finger). Do not stretch the skin. Do not rub. After applying, gently tap the area with your fingers for half a minute.


Finally, your lifestyle (or how well you control the aspects of potential extrinsic aging). You can use the best products for wrinkles and brown spots, if you continue smoking, lounging in the sun, not using sun protection, not staying hydrated and eating high glycemic foods, you will not see optimal results from your skin care cream and procedures.




Got questions on how to best address the specific symptoms YOU see in the mirror? Looking for the best products and procedures for YOU, and stop wasting money on products that don’t work?

Your 1-hour personalized consultation awaits. We look forward to seeing you soon.  403-287-1477



Tried, Tested + True >>> Why Zinc Oxide Might Be Your New BFF!

Zinc could be your new skincare BFF!

This little skincare ingredient has a lot of good to give your skin. Here is ALL you need to know about Zinc in your skincare and where to find it!

1. SKIN HEALING // Helps with skin regeneration and promotes healthy healing while reducing inflammation

2. ACNE FIGHTER + SPOT TX // Reduces redness associated with acne and helps vitamin A (a gold standard in acne treatment) work better!

3. REDUCES OILINESS // Zinc is like a STOP sign to sebum (the oily stuff on your skin), because oily skin types make lots of sebum, using Zinc in skincare can get sebum production back to normal!

4. SUN PROTECTION // Zinc is the ultimate (and healthy) sunscreen ingredient! It’s stable, protects against UVA, UVB, infrareds (heat) and visible light! The ultimate summer multitasker

Our favorite Zinc product? DermaQuest SheerZinc SPF30


Happy Birthday to YOU!

Simply print your birthday coupon below and bring it to our front desk on your next visit!

50% off your follow up appointment

FREE Laser Hair Removal Treatment when you purchase one treatment at regular price

FREE Reversa Micellar Water when you leave a review of your experience at SkinScience, on Facebook or Google

Happy birthday and enjoy your special day!

Our $95 Consultation is Totally Worth it.


Often, we are asked why we charge for consultations.  After all, there are so many other clinics that offer them for free. Why would you pay for something that you can get for free? Well, here is why:



Our consultations are a full hour.  This entire hour is dedicated to you. We spend it one on one with you, talking about your skin. What your skin’s history is, what your skin needs and what things you hope to see in your skin.



Every step along the way, we are dedicated to understanding what you want to see in your skin.  We have specially created our intake forms, and skin history forms with some very unique questions to help us start along the path of understanding what YOU want to see.  We spend time listening, actually listening to what you have to say about your skin so we can gain a thorough understanding of all your needs and most importantly what changes and improvements you want to see.



We dedicate a portion of our time in each consultation to physically review and assess your skin (under magnification) so we can see even the most minute details. This helps us understand the current status of your skin.  There is a second portion of our consultations that is dedicated to deep digital analysis of your skin. Using specific filters on our camera, we are able to photograph what lies INSIDE your skin.  We can see underlying inflammation, underlying sun damage, clogged pores, collagen loss and more. With this information, we are better equipped to create a treatment plan that will give impressive results for your skin.



Taking photos during every consultation allows us to maintain accountability to our patients.  It means that results are documented and that if you ever have a concern, we can take a second look at any point in time and see. It gives you our client, peace of mind knowing that we are willing to be accountable to you.



In each consultation, we educate you on how your skin functions. We educate you how your skin is different and what sets it apart from others.  This empowers you in deciding what treatments are best for you.



We create a multi-tiered plan to give you the results you want over time.  In this plan we discuss your budget, your life plans (are you planning on getting pregnant or switching careers etc), how much time would you like to dedicate to treatments and so many other considerations.  We include short-term and long-term planning for skin care and for in-clinic treatments.



We have a sensationally in-depth understanding of skin care and skin care ingredients.  We put this understanding to good use creating the perfect skin care routine for you. Ensuring that you get exactly what your skin needs.



What are you waiting for? Come in and find out why this could be the best $95 you ever spent on yourself!


  • (403) 287-1477


Lastly: A reminder that if you send a friend, we give you a gift! Read more about it here!