A Top Skin Doctor's Secrets

Skin Secrets From A Top Dermatologist

Dr. Jeanine Downie‘s mother is a pediatrician and wanted her to be a pediatrician, too. But she became a dermatologist. Why? “Because I had acne and eczema.  I also had two brothers who were former models and people would say to me, ‘Are you really related to them?’ I had to do something.”  Now, she says, her skin is clear and youthful-looking and her mother is happy she is a dermatologist. “I do Botox on her every three months.” But acne is not just a teenage disease, Dr. Downie explains. “About half of my patients who are over 50 have acne.”  What causes acne?  “Hormonal fluctuations and stress . And women in their early fifties have hormonal fluctuations and often the stress of being a member of the sandwich generation.”  How does she treat women who have zits, dry skin and wrinkles?  Dr. Downie suggests a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil or VIVITÉ® Hydrating Facial Cleanser.  She prescribes Aczone because it is a dapsone (not a retinoid or a benzoyl peroxide); it’s non-drying and can be worn under makeup and sunscreen. One in four will also need an oral antibiotic and one in eight the powerful acne-fighter Accutane. She also recommends sunscreen, (at least  SPF30 ). Her final tip: Forget the astringent.

Dr. Downie also has a plan for rosacea, a problem that many women have which causes redness, flushing  and blotchiness.  “Rosacea is also caused by stress and too much sun exposure.”  Unfortunately, she says, it does not respond well to topical treatments.  She prefers lasers to zap the blood vessels that cause the redness. She also suggests women adjust their glasses. “The pressure of glasses can affect the skin. Also avoid spicy food and caffeine.” She sees an increase in rosacea because of the decrease in the ozone level and the use of tanning beds. “Don’t ever use tanning beds or they will come back to haunt you.”  

How to prevent lines and wrinkles? Her basic advice is protecting the face and neck with VIVITÉ® moisturizer with SPF 30 or Neutrogena Dry Touch SPF 55 or SPF 85. She is a proponent of sun block and says she uses it every day  and covers every bit of her neck and  face “up to the rim of the eyes.”

Dr. Downie, who has a private practice in Montclair, New Jersey, appears frequently on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning, America” and “The View.” She writes for “The New York Times,” “O, The Oprah Magazine”  and “In  Style"  and is the author of  “Beautiful Skin of Color.” She also has her own strict beauty regime to keep her skin looking good and staying youthful.  She uses Juvederm, a filler, every six months, uses Botox every three months and has glycolic peels every month in the winter. Those are her dos. Her don’ts:  She doesn’t cross her legs to prevent spider veins.  And she never leaves home without that sunblock. And, oh, yes, she lasers the hair on her upper lip once a month. Result: She looks darn good!

Myrna Blyth is editor-in-chief of ThirdAge.



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