Exponent Super Human - Dr Charles Puza

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Dr Charles Puza

Convictions from the Super Humans we admire the most.


Dr Charles is a dermatologist and content creator who is passionate about evidence-based skincare, education, and accessible beauty. Dr. Charles is a graduate of Harvard and Duke and currently practicing medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling with his partner, walking their jack russell-chihuahua, and HIIT.

We use the phrase "think outside of the jar" rather than "think outside the box."  What does this phrase mean to you?
“Think outside of the jar” means questioning the status quo. It means asking “why” and looking for an alternate strategy.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I'm opinionated and direct with my feedback.

I’ve always wanted to
be my own boss.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Travel. I’m rather minimalist in the other aspects of my life (outside of skincare of course :)

What is it that you most dislike?
Onions.. And bureaucracy.

Thriller or comedy?

Describe your medicine cabinet (a verbal shelfie)
I am constantly testing new products (against my better advice) to share with my followers. That means my bathroom/medicine cabinet is always (embarrassingly) overflowing with skincare products. Currently, there are 4 serums, 3 different moisturizers, 3 retinoids, 5 sunscreens, and maybe 6 bottles of exfoliating acids.

I am FULL OF hope; I am FREE OF hesitation.

What inspired you to become a Dermatologist? What’s been most surprising or challenging on your journey?

During medical school, I found myself torn between the hands-on surgical specialties and the outpatient medical specialties that allowed for continuity of care. Dermatology offers a unique balance of daily procedures/surgeries, cosmetics, continuity of care (especially with an older patient population), and the opportunity to build a schedule that varies everyday.


What are the skin concerns you hear about most from your followers and patients?

Hyperpigmentation, skin texture, and aging (outside of acne) are the biggest concerns I hear about from my patients.


What’s the most frequent skincare product-related misunderstanding you see amongst your followers and patients?

I think a lot of skincare marketing is intentionally misleading to consumers. In particular, the “clean” or “natural” beauty movement can be problematic. In essence, we all want “clean” products but that ambiguity of the term can often lead to products full of irritants, essential oils, and “natural” ingredients that have either unproven benefits or are directly harmful.


If you could only use one active skincare ingredient for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Retinoids. I tell my patients that retinoids are “forever medicine.” They help with skin texture, acne, dark spots, and aging.


If you were on a deserted island and could only take 3 skincare products with you (let’s assume you get a lifetime supply!), what would they be?

Sunscreen, Retinoid, and an antioxidant (exponent vitamin c :))


What’s your perspective on the ‘clean’ beauty movement?

See number 3 - I like the idea of “clean” beauty, but there’s so much background noise and bad products under that label. I try to educate my followers about ingredients to seek/avoid to know if a product is truly “clean.”


What does ‘clinical skincare’ mean to you?

Clinical skincare means ingredients and product formulations that have been tested on actual patients with rigorous and blinded evaluation by third party experts.

What do you think are the most promising dermatological treatments available today or in short order?

Outside of the exponent system (obviously :)), I think we’re seeing a big growth in hyperpigmentation products (tranexamic acid, mandelic acid, azelaic acid, etc). In the clinic, we are also living in a golden age of skin tightening procedures that can start to deliver near-surgical results.


Personal care packaging contributes to 120B units of plastic packaging a year-- what do you think it will take for brands to counteract this?

A combination of consumer preference for sustainable beauty and government-levied taxes on single-use disposable products.



Join me on my skincare journey @DrCharlesMD on IG



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