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Lipstick on the Rim: The 411 On Retinol, Rebuilding Collagen, & How To Get The Skin Glow You’ve Always Wanted With Dr. Dennis Gross


Do you need to go on a skincare diet? Well, class is in session. Today we sit down with the OG Dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross, and get a crash course on the skincare ingredients you actually need in your routine. We’re chatting retinol, rebuilding collagen, and how to de-stress skin. He gives us an in-depth look at why prescription retinoids can be too strong, how to exfoliate properly, and how not to damage your skin barrier. Prepare to do a vanity cleanse as we learn what ingredients you need to get the skin glow you’ve always wanted.

Listen here for the full episode:

[DDG] On The Iconic Peel Pads

“I created the peel in my office, but I wanted everyone to have that in their homes. I was previously a skin cancer researcher, so I combined chemistry and dermatology. My company started from my peel pads by word of mouth. My wife was pregnant with twins and couldn’t come into the office to get her regular peels. And she was pissed, so she said I had to bring the peel home. So I did. I brought home pads for her. And that’s how the peel pads were created.”

“Exfoliation is the least of it. Exfoliation is a great word, but it’s about cell turnover. There are two things cell turnover does. First, it rejuvenates your skin. Your skin becomes accustomed to saying bring me the top two layers and build collagen. You can’t drink collagen or put it on your face. Collagen is the fibers that hold everything together, and as you get older, you lose collagen. You have to rev up your collagen production and re-program the skin.”

[DDG] On The Myths of Consuming Collagen 

“I’m going to keep the science simple. Collagen is the roman collum, and some bricks make that column. You need those bricks. Meaning you cannot drink collagen. Eating collagen is destroyed by the digestive system and broken down into amino acids. Amino acids make proteins. A train has ten cars, and the train is your collagen. It’s no good broken down. They have to be connected, fortified, and unified. For it to be effective, it needs to be connected.”

[DDG] On Rebuilding Collagen

“Collagen is a science. Your skin is an organ that you are trying to build collagen in different ways. You need to build this collagen because you target those sleepy cells. There’s a lot of science to it, and you have to come at it from different ways and different angles.”

[DDG] On Retinol 101

“Everyone needs retinol. Retinol is a superstar.”

“Using it daily is the challenge because it can be harsh, and prescription retinol is even more powerful. Prescription retinol can make many people get red and flaky. The top layer of your skin, your epidermis, has different layers. The top layer is designed to keep moisture in your skin. For all things to work, you have to keep the moisture in your skin. Retinol hurts/injures the moisture barrier. 

[DDG] On Combatting Free Radicals

“Free radicals are like little Pacman that start to nibble away like a woodpecker on a tree. They chip and chip. They are electrons that attack your collagen fibers. It’s energy that is corrosive and causes injury. It can be from sun exposure or solar energy. The heat you feel in your skin is getting in your skin. UV light is packed into your skin. That pocket of energy causes rays in your skin, and the sun’s rays are composed of free radicals. The sun damage you got years ago is still alive in your skin. If you aren’t using sunscreen, your skin still produces free radicals. 

“The holy grail of anti-aging is antioxidants.”

“The root of it all is free radicals. It destroys your collagen and creates hyperpigmentation and larger pores. Sun damage years ago caused your pores to get larger as you get older. So what should you do if you have these issues? Build collagen. Building collagen can shrink the look of your pores.”

“Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It puts a net around free radicals and pulls them away from your collagen. Free radicals reproduce every day, so you have to use Vitamin C every day. Suppose you start to see fine lines or skin that isn’t firm anymore. You have to use Vitamin C. Vitamin C builds your collagen. It makes your cells wake up. It’s additive to retinol and alpha-beta peels. It’s a brilliant molecule, and retinol doesn’t fight free radicals. Vitamin C does.”

[DDG] On Getting That Glow

“What is radiance? That glow, that gorgeous dewy glow of my skin, is popping. So how do we get that every day? You have to give your skin the nutrition it needs. Ingredients like – Green Tea Extract, Ceramides, Phospholipids, Niacinamide (combats redness, hyperpigmentation, antioxidant, and inflammation), and Vitamin B3.”

[DDG] On The Top 3 Products From His Line

“I’m constantly doing research and doing lots of clinical research. Creating products to me is all about research and constantly striving to give you better results. I’m usually quick to market, and everyone starts to copy me. I love discoveries. It’s so hard to pick, but if I had to pick, it would be the Alpha-Beta Peel Pads, Texture Renewal Serum – which is selling out like crazy, & the LED mask.”

[DDG] Rapid-Fire Skincare Edition

  1. Most important skincare ingredient? Vitamin C is #1, but Niacinamide is a close 2nd
  2. Most underrated in-office skin procedure? A retinol peel which you can now you can do it at home once or twice a week.
  3. Is caffeine good for your skin? Caffeine is totally fine in moderation. In excess, it’s not really good for you because it increases adrenal levels, and adrenaline tenses the muscles in your skin.
  4. How often should you exfoliate? Everyday
  5. Worst skincare trend? Retinoids, you’re better off using retinol. You don’t want to injure your skin with prescription ingredients.
  6. Mineral or chemical sunscreen? Mineral and I feel very passionately about that. Chemical sunscreens get into your bloodstream…no, thank you.
  7. Is Vitamin C worth the hype? YES
  8. Best way to get rid of a zit FAST? Sulfur mask

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