Olivia Palermo’s Dermatologist on the Biggest Anti-Aging Mistake You’re Making
Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
Do you really need to worry about wrinkles and fine lines in your 20s? According to celebrity dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross, the answer is a resounding yes.
Dr. Gross, who works with celebrities like Olivia Palermo, says that not using anti-aging skincare is the number one mistake he sees in his patients, so you can go ahead and add that eye cream to your Sephora shopping cart. Products, after all, are his specialty. He revolutionized the skincare industry with his gentle, skin transforming take on at-home peels.
Keep scrolling to find out more of Dr. Gross's anti-aging advice, including a complete list of products every woman should own, why everyone is getting Botox all of a sudden, and more.
How did you get your start in dermatology?
At the beginning of my career, I didn’t know I wanted to be a dermatologist. I started out completely focused on skin cancer research and didn’t have a practice or see patients. Back then, I was in the lab day in and day out. Eventually I realized that I wanted to interact more with people and make a direct impact in helping patients achieve the best aesthetic results and superior skin health.
Why did you decide to start your own product line?
The brand wasn’t created until after I met my wife, Carrie. She helped me understand the lack of efficacious skincare products in the market, and I felt that I could fill that void.
I first created the Alpha Beta Peel as an in-office peel using a combination of multiple acids to achieve the best results. Carrie insisted that there should be an at-home version. That is how Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare was born in 2000. I formulate every product myself, combining a blend of the best natural antioxidants, vitamins and botanicals with the most scientifically advanced delivery systems. My inspiration for the line comes from my patients. After listening to their dissatisfactions with other skincare products, I create different at-home solutions.
What’s your best-selling product, and why do you think it’s so popular?
The Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel is the bestselling product of the line and also the most popular among my patients (as well as the first product I developed). It is not like the harmful glycolic chemical peels of the early nineties. I developed this peel to consist of a proprietary blend of five different acids. This carefully selected formula yields maximum benefits without irritation. It literally addresses every skincare concern, from acne to fine lines and wrinkles, and improves radiance and tone.
What’s your best advice for maintaining youthful-looking skin?
Be proactive about anti-aging when you’re young. The biggest mistake that women make regarding their skin is getting started too late on preventing and slowing down the aging process. When we are young, skin produces a lot of collagen. Keeping cells revved up and stimulated is preferable to letting the cell machinery run down and then trying to revive it later. Women should begin being proactive about anti-aging in their 20s. Research shows that as early as age 25, our skin’s two structural proteins—collagen (which keeps it firm, taut, and resilient) and elastin (which gives skin its flexibility, enabling it to stretch out and then snap back into place)—decrease. Cell turnover slows, antioxidant protection diminishes, and natural defenses and skin-healing abilities decline.
What’s the question you get asked the most from women regarding anti-aging?
The most common question I hear is “why do I look so tired?” Transcending age, gender, and skin type, “tired” is a shared concern that is no longer exclusive to a feeling, morphing into a descriptor for one’s appearance. Tired is a universal appearance of the skin. Anytime I’m asked this question, I make sure to recommend our new Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel and Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturizer. These products use a cocktail of acids to properly cleanse and moisturize the skin, giving you anti-aging benefits while keeping your skin glowing.
What skincare products do you have in the works?
In the upcoming months, we will be launching two new, at-home LED devices, the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro and the SpotLite Acne Treatment Device. The SpectraLite FaceWare Pro is an FDA-cleared wrinkle-reducing and acne-fighting LED device for your entire face. The treatment lasts three minutes and uses the power of both red and blue light to smooth wrinkles, diminish coloration, and clear acne for a beautiful, youthful complexion. The SpotLite Acne Treatment device is FDA-cleared and gives you clearer, calmer, acne-free skin in just three minutes a day. It harnesses the power of clinically-proven blue and red LED technology to clear and prevent breakouts. With these new devices, I believe that we'll start seeing LED as an ingredient. The skin has receptors to LED just like it does for other ingredients like vitamin C and retinol. I believe that, besides going to a dermatologist office, patients now want to achieve similar results at home. These at-home tools help maintain the skin in between appointments.
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What skincare staples do you think every woman should own?
Every woman should own a gentle cleanser, an at-home chemical peel, a moisturizer, an eye cream and a sunscreen. Cleansing is important to remove all makeup and dirt from your skin, especially before bed. An at-home chemical peel removes dead skin and debris, and decongests pores and preps skin to better receive ingredients that follow. A moisturizer hydrates the skin and keeps it glowing and taut. A moisturizing eye cream will keep the area looking plump and dewy, while also jump-starting collagen and reversing the signs of aging. Sunscreen is also very important to wear every day, even when it’s not sunny out.
What skincare products are you most excited about?
At my practice, I’ve seen a spike in patients coming in requesting fillers, Botox, and lasers. I believe one of the reasons for this is because celebrities and influencers are now opening up about the treatments they’re getting done. This ultimately makes in-office treatments part of a more transparent conversation and patients are more curious and more likely to get them done. These procedures also offer immediate and long-term results, which makes them attractive to patients wanting to try something new.
Is there one product trend you don’t agree with?
I do not approve of microneedling at home. At-home microneedling devices do not give the same results—the needle is much shorter than the ones we use in-office—and there is more risk for causing superficial tears to the skin and infection. Because you are likely not trained in administering microneedling, your application might not be uniform. If you want to try microneedling, I highly recommend you pay a visit to your dermatologist.