Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
Dr. Palmer is the founder of Replere™, a natural phenolic antioxidant skin care line. Replere is the leading skin care line to be rated using Total ORACsc (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity skin care) and Total ORACfn (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity food nutrition), the most complete methods for measuring antioxidant activity in skin care and nutritional products.
In addition to her work in private practice, Dr. Palmer is currently on staff at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut and has authored numerous papers for prominent medical journals such as Cutis, Dermatology Times, and Journal of Drugs In Dermatology.
In Beyond Beauty, Dr. Palmer teaches us how to replace unhealthy habits with more nourishing ones. “This book is a compilation of my years of experience conducting studies and working with dermatology patients day in and day out. It’s filled with all of my top tips and secrets for a happy and healthy life, and shares my philosophy that a balance of physical and mental well-being is the key to more vibrant and gorgeous skin.”
Dr. Palmer shared with Beauty in the Bag her inspiration behind her second new book, skincare tips and her favorite beauty products.
1. What was your inspiration to write your new book Beyond Beauty?
I’ve been inspired to write Beyond Beauty for so many years! My greatest inspiration for this book is the patients I see every day—and the progress and amazing results they get with their skin by changing their diet and their lifestyle. I see people come in with different stages of acne, eczema, or psoriasis (to name just a few common skin conditions that I treat); their self-confidence is at an all-time low, and they’re frustrated and don’t know what to do. After working with them from the inside out (diet and lifestyle as well as topical creams and treatments), their skin—within just weeks—becomes incredibly improved and they’re happier and more confident. This is why I love what I do: finding a way for people to help themselves—with the advice, tips, and treatment I give them. This makes me incredibly happy. I wanted to find a way to share this information with people outside of my office. This is why I got motivated to sit down and write Beyond Beauty.
I also want to add that I’ve been inspired by my mother and grandmother. My mother was a dietician when I was growing up and stressed the importance of vitamins and minerals in food choices. This influenced me to take a nutrition course in graduate school—and I was hooked from that point on. I realized that the food we eat every day is such an important part of overall wellbeing. I also realized how vitamins, minerals, and particularly antioxidants (key substances—often nutrients—that fight disease-causing and aging molecules in the body called free radicals) fit into our lives and keep us healthy. I continued to study nutrition, and particularly antioxidants, through medical school and have incorporated the healthy habits detailed in this book into my own life.
My grandmother has been an inspiration, too. When I was young, she was overweight and had high blood pressure and cholesterol. She never had a lot of energy to really do much (this I remember so well). She was sedentary—and tired—most of the time and would quickly lose her breath with exertion. But then something changed. I remember her telling me that her doctor spoke to her about the benefits of eating healthy—with more fruits and vegetables—and exercising. She spent time reading about these topics and would tell me about the things she learned. I would visit her on weekends and we would prepare the family meals together. While we were cooking together, she would tell me about the benefits of various ingredients we were using—and why they were healthy for me.
This was where I first heard about the benefits of foods like avocados, tomatoes, and bananas. Along with eating healthy, my grandparents turned their den into an exercise room with a stationary bike, rowing machine, and treadmill. Then her body transformed: she lost a lot of weight and I know, from talking to her as I got older, that she decreased her blood pressure and cholesterol medications. She felt better, had more energy, and was more mobile. She wanted to do things. She was happy. She also exuded radiance and beauty as she began to enjoy life again. This made a huge impression on me growing up—and has been something that has guided me in my own life and career and has been an inspiration throughout the entire writing of this book.
2. What do you hope readers will take away from reading the book? give us some pointers and tips that you think are super important.
One of the most important things for readers to take away from my book: Every aspect of our body (including the skin) works together; when one part of the body is out of balance, it shows up on the skin. In fact, problems on the skin can be the very first sign that something’s out of balance with the rest of our body.
This is why, first and foremost, it’s important to eat healthy. Beauty is truly something that starts from the inside out—and diet is where health and beauty starts. In the book, I recommend a Mediterranean-style diet. This is a diet backed on research that’s high in olive oil, fish, legumes, fresh fruit (typically as a daily dessert), nuts, unrefined cereals (like bran cereal), and fresh vegetables, along with a moderate consumption of dairy (mostly as cheese and yogurt), poultry, and wine. And it’s low in red meat. I detail specific foods and recipes that are important to eat—and the benefits they have for both body and skin.
As I talk about it the book, it’s also important to take care of your body (exercise, reduce stress as much as possible, and get enough sleep), and—something that’s not talked about much with regard to skin health—connect with your inner, spiritual self. Nourishing your spirituality is just as important a part of health as is taking care of your body; this is what gives you an inner glow and happiness that radiates throughout every part of your life.
But another important thing to for all readers to remember: this book isn’t about being perfect. It’s about making small tweaks in your daily routine that equal big changes in your life, your health, your skin, and your longevity. Do what you can every day; no one can be perfect.
3. As a dermatologist, we know you’re on the cutting edge of skin care innovations. What do you use on your face and what products do think are doing it well? (name brands, products, as you wish)
There are three types of products that I always use on my skin: products that nourish the skin, products that repair the skin (and any damage that occurs to the skin), and products that protect the skin.
When it comes to products that nourish the skin, I always look for hyaluronic acid. This is a humectant, which means that it draws moisture to the skin and holds it in. It smooths the skin and hydrates it. When it comes to products that repair the skin, I always use products that contain high levels of antioxidants. These ingredients help to repair damage from free radicals in the environment (from pollution, sun exposure, car exhaust, cigarette fumes, you name it); it’s these free radicals that can trigger premature aging and breakdown in the structural proteins called collagen (this is what keeps your skin youthful looking). I use my own Replere products on my skin because they contain both hyaluronic acid and high levels of antioxidants. The Replere Repair & Nourish Night Crème is particularly powerful; it contains high levels of hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. (None of my products contain parabens, and all are fragrance- and dye-free.)
When it comes to products that protect the skin, I always use a natural mineral-based sunscreen layered over antioxidants (since antioxidants can offer extra protection from sun exposure). I love the MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème SPF 50 Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB; it’s oil-free and doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. MDSolarSciences also has a wonderful Daily SPF 30 UVA-UVB Anti-Aging Moisturizer that’s lightweight and has a very light lavender scent.
When it comes to makeup, I don’t tend to wear a lot of makeup but when I do, I choose natural and, if possible, organic brands like Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Lipstick. It has certified organic sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and sesame seed oil—along with all natural pigments. (My favorite color is Bombshell, a very light pink.) I’m also a huge fan of Jane Iredale’s products: they’re made from minerals and contain no chemical dyes or preservatives. The In-Touch Highlighter (I use Comfort—a rosy hue) adds a bit of natural color to the cheeks or anywhere on the face.
Just as it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting into your body, so too it’s important to be aware of the ingredients in products you’re putting on your skin. Know what ingredients are in the products you’re using—whether it’s a sunscreen you’re applying or a lipstick you wear every day.