3 Skin Care & Healthy Aging Tips From A Top Dermatologist Who's Seen It all
"You can always change your habits—you can always improve. You can stop smoking, eat more vegetables, sleep more, and stop tanning. But you still may have damage, and fixing it takes time. Quite frankly, nothing happens overnight," says board-certified dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D.
In this episode of Clean Beauty School, I chat with Downie about how to take care of your skin as you age—from product recs and sunscreen faves to managing pore size. (Plus, we get into several minimal- and low-invasive procedures that can help rejuvenate skin. So be sure to tune in if those pique your interest!)
What I love most about Downie is that she's equal parts no-nonsense and all-encompassing. Sure, she wants you to get outdoors for the plethora of mental health benefits—she just wants you to wear sunscreen while doing it (and don't forget to reapply!). And she tackles aging skin with diet and lifestyle habits, but she'll also be the first to tell you when it's time to visit your derm for something more professional-grade. You can get a sense of that with these three tips, but I encourage you to tune in to the episode for all her advice—there's a lot more where these came from!
Get outside — but wear sunscreen.
Sometimes sun care advice gives off the implication that we should never be outside during daylight ever. The truth is there are many, many mental health benefits of getting outdoors.
"Obviously we want people to be exercising outdoors. We want them golfing, playing tennis, playing pickleball outdoors because of the endorphins that you get from playing sports and exercising. These habits can decrease the rates of depression—which has become an epidemic," she says. "We want people outside, but we want people outside with sunscreen!"
And the old-school complaint that sunscreens are uncomfortable to wear simply doesn't cut it anymore. There are so many incredible formulas on the market that pair with any skin type and tone.
We often recommend mineral sunscreens here, but the best sunscreen for you is one that you'll wear. A few of Downie's favorites are SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair Sunscreen, Senté Even Tone Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40, and ISDIN Eryfotona Acticina.
Eat a Mediterranean diet.
Eating well is the basis for a healthy body. "I try to encourage everybody to get on a more Mediterranean diet," she says. "Eating whole foods, and not a lot of processed foods, is better for you. I eat everything—meat, chicken, fish, veggies—but it's fresh."
She also notes to think about eating for your hormones, especially as you age. "You need to be smart about your food choices in terms of hormones. Make sure to consume organic dairy, for example, because the hormones from the cows are going to interact with your hormones. This could even potentially make you lose hair on your head."
Care for hair.
Lots of folks experience hair loss, graying, and texture changes as they age. So it's just as important to update our hair care routine as it is our facial one. And by hair care, I mean lash and brow care too.
For Downie, this involves adding a hair supplement. "Before 2015, I wasn't on board with hair supplements—but I've seen the difference in my own hair strength, length, and density. So I'm a believer," she says, noting that she's using Nutrafol. Check out our favorite hair growth supplements here.
"I also tell everyone over 40 the same thing: Your lashes start to thin. And if you have thicker lashes, it makes you look younger no matter what your age is. So you need to really care for them to do something about it," she says. "Do not rub the area around the eyes, gently take off your makeup at night." Read up on lash care here.
As for brows, Downie gets hers microbladed. ("I think it's safe," she says.) You can read about brow growth and maintenance here.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.