Beauty

What’s Your Skin’s Rebound Time? A Top Dermatologist Answers

There’s a reason why babies’ cheeks are so irresistible—in a pinchable way, and also in a curious, where-does-all-this-go-as-we-age way. As we get older and our circulation slows, so does our production of collagen and elastin, says New Jersey dermatologist Jeanine Downie, who shares the top six factors that can help speed up or slow down how our skin ages.

“Starting between the ages of twenty-five and thirty, we lose a teaspoon of collagen a year from our faces,” says Downie. “Aging is chronic, which is why our habits and what we do—eating a balanced diet, exercising, whether or not we smoke or tan a lot, all of that stuff—really play into how we age.” (Spoiler alert: After age forty, there’s some work involved, including exercise and doubling down on skin care.)

1

EXERCISE

“Simply put, people who exercise heal faster,” says Downie. “Exercise boosts circulation and helps with stress levels. If you’re very stressed, you heal more slowly. Stress releases cortisol into your system; too much cortisol can cause hair loss or weight gain, and it can slow down wound healing. The injury could be a simple paper cut or a breakout or something more serious, like a surgical procedure, but all wounds heal better if you’re a more fit person. I tell my patients to exercise a minimum of four times a week with twenty-five minutes each of cardio and weights every time.”

“Women over forty in particular need to exercise, otherwise all bets are off in terms of the signs of aging,” she adds. “Exercise increases your bone and muscle density and helps keep your stress level down. You might’ve gotten away with not exercising in your twenties, but you’re not getting away with that nonsense in your forties and beyond. Sure, there’s the random, super lucky person who’s not exercising and looks great at sixty-five, but internally, they’re still not doing as well as the sixty-five-year-old who exercises.”

2

SPF

“Everybody needs to wear a UVA/UVB sunblock 30 every day,” says Downie. “Below 30 doesn’t even count. I happen to be African American, but it doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is: You have to wear sunscreen because you have skin. This is not a light-skin problem; this is a skin problem. Whether it’s a picked pimple or a surgical scar, it will heal faster if you’re a consistent sunblock wearer.”

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3

AT-HOME SKIN CARE

“I’m someone who likes skin-care ingredients with science behind them,” she says. “I like hyaluronic acids, retinols, and peptides. I like moisturizer, which helps skin’s rebound time by making it more resilient. If the skin is dry, it can crack and chap. If the skin is hydrated, it’s healthier and can rebound faster. Ceramides are wonderful hydrators.”

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“For those who want to bring back glow, it’s all about even skin tone,” Downie says. “So for smooth, spotless, flawless skin, there are three things to focus on: glycolic acid, sunscreen, and a little bit of retinoids, depending on what you can tolerate. Cyspera, which is a prescription Swiss product, is really good for helping dark spots, and it’s hydroquinone-free for people who want to avoid it.”

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“People come to me all the time asking, ‘How do I get that glow factor?’ They’ll bring in photos of celebrities, and I have to remind my patients that those celebrities are taking flawless care of their skin,” she says. “After the age of forty, you really have to work at that.”

4

IN-OFFICE TREATMENTS

“I like chemical peels done by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who knows what they’re doing,” she says. “I also like lasers, particularly fractional ones, which can help with pore size, fine lines, and deep lines. The Lutronic laser can actually pick off on precancerous lesions, as well as dark spots, and really rejuvenate the skin. And the Intracel, which is a radio frequency and microneedling device, is super helpful for decreasing fine lines and wrinkles, helping with acne scarring, and helping with full facial rejuvenation. I used this on a sixty-eight-year-old woman who smokes like a chimney. She had that ‘barcode’ around her lips that we all don’t want. I did only four treatments with the Intracel and a little bit of filler, and I think she looks at least five years younger. She thinks she looks ten years younger. If I can get her to keep her nicotine patches on and stop smoking, that would obviously be optimal.”

5

GENETICS

“If your family has large pores, for example, you really need to be good about sunblock and also about not smoking or vaping, because those are the main behaviors that affect whether really large pores show up on skin,” Downie says.

6

FOOD

“Some people eat to live, and I (unfortunately) live to eat,” says Downie. “But studies show that when you eat a more balanced diet, you heal faster, and you boost collagen and elastin. High blood sugar in particular glycates your collagen and elastin so that you don’t necessarily heal as fast, you age faster, all that business. I love sugar, but I try to keep it down to a minimum.”

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