Skin Rules: An Interview with Top NYC Dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman

Read on as Dr. Jaliman shares her favorite $20 skin treatment and scares me away from the nail salon UV light.

By , Columnist

As someone who doesn't ever wear makeup (really, unless I am on TV or at a photo shoot, and it comes off before I leave the set), I really care about how my skin looks and feels. You may have recently read about my adventures with the face lifting effects of Facial Magic exercises, and other than those exercises I cleanse, treat, and moisturize.

I finished reading Dr. Debra Jaliman's new book, Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top NY Dermatologist, and I was surprised to find that I learned several new things and walked away with a host of inexpensive and effective ideas for taking care of my skin. Dr. Jaliman was nice enough to answer a few of my questions, and I am happy for her advice, even though I do so love to dry my polish under those UV lights.

I love the inexpensive, simple, and effective skin care solutions that you offer in Skin Rules. Why is it that so many dermatologists today always seem to be selling some high end product?

There are some anti-aging products that are expensive because of their costly ingredients. Peptides, growth factors, and some bleaches fall into this category. I like to find inexpensive alternatives for products such as cleansers and sunscreens because I find that quality is what's most important.

You seem to know exactly what questions women have, from using alcohol on shaved legs to whether the UV lamps at the nail salon are bad for you (and I bet the gel polish is too). Why, then, do we demand such products from the market? For example, I know the gel/UV pedicure is unhealthy, but I love leaving the salon in the winter with dry nails.

We're in such a fast-paced world and everyone is multi-tasking and looking for a quick fix. I have ruined my nails in the past after getting a manicure while rushing to my next appointment. However, I refuse to use the UV lamps because I know how damaging they are to the skin. I had a patient who would get manicures twice a week and would dry her nails with UV lamps. The end result of this ritual was skin cancer on her hands.

Aquaphor seems to be your ointment of choice for skin healing, but the primary ingredient is petrolatum. How is this different from Vaseline petroleum jelly? Why does it work so well?

Aquaphor is different because it not only contains petrolatum but also has bisabolol which is a major component of the essential oil found in German chamomile. This is very soothing to the skin. It also contains glycerin, which helps keep the skin moist, which is essential in wound healing. Panthenol is also an active ingredient; this is a humectant and emollient — it decreases inflammation and allows the epidermal cells to migrate across the broken skin. It's the unique combination of ingredients in Aquaphor which makes it so special.

I know you say that facial exercises do not work, but I just did an article/review of Facial Magic and it really worked for me. [I sent her the article link.] Does this change your view at all?

I'm happy that facial exercises worked for you but this has not been my experience in 25 years. I've evaluated many type of facial exercises but never evaluated Facial Magic.

If you were to choose only two must-have products and two must-do treatments, which would you recommend and why? I would love one to be very affordable, while the other can be any price.

One of my must-have products is Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum which is $20. This contains retinol, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin so it's very moisturizing. It's a great night time 2-for-1 product because it's anti-aging and great for acne-prone skin. I also love Neocutis' Bio-Restorative Eye Cream. It retails for $75, has growth factors, anti-oxidants, and caffeine. It's fragance-free so it's perfect for my sensitive eyes and is great for diminishing dark circles.

A must-have treatment is a light anti-oxidant peel. It's a great way to exfoliate all the dead skin and give your skin an instant glow. It's a very quick procedure, as it only takes 10-15 minutes. It costs $150.

The Genesis laser is another favorite of mine. It takes the redness out of the skin, gets rid of fine lines, and minimizes pores. It costs $500 per treatment.


I must say that I use Neutrogena, including the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum, and my skin looks and feels great. While I never used Aquaphor, I have now bought some for the house based on her advice. Will I stop drying my nail polish under the UV lights? I know I should, Dr. Jaliman, but...

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NYC resident Lynda Lippin is a world-renowned Pilates, Fitness, and Reiki instructor with nearly 25 years of experience. She is also an accomplished writer and a former Philosophy professor. In her Featured Column, Lynda will lead you on a path towards Fitness Sanity. Got Questions? Want Lynda to checkā€¦

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