Replere(R) by Dr. Debbie Palmer

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Probiotics can help prevent skin problems like acne, rosacea, and eczema—and keep your body healthy. New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer explains why good bacteria are so important.

There are many foods that provide the gut with healthy probiotics: sauerkraut is one.

It’s been estimated that the human body is composed of 10% human cells and 90% bacteria. Human cells are outnumbered 33 to 1! That means there could be trillions of bacteria inside our bodies. It’s no wonder the body with all these microorganisms is often referred to as “the human microbiome”.

Scientists are focusing their attention more than ever on the bacteria (both healthy and unhealthy) that exist in our intestines and in our gut. It’s there that the good bacteria help you digest food and, in the process, make essential vitamins, send signals to the immune system, and create small molecules that can help your brain function properly.

But when there’s an unhealthy balance between the good bacteria (also known as probiotics) and bad bacteria, disease sets in—and even the skin is affected with breakouts, rosacea, eczema, and other skin problems cropping up.

What causes this unhealthy balance: stress, anxiety, depression, eating too much processed and sugary foods (to name just a few things)—all can alter the gut flora, leading to an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut. This overgrowth triggers inflammation in the body.

To achieve the right balance, you need to try to manage stress and eat a healthier, whole food (aka non-junk food) diet that includes healthy bacteria—found in everything from yogurt and kefir to fermented foods like sauerkraut.

The benefits include reduced gas and bloating; clear, radiant skin; and a healthier immune system (70 to 80 percent of our immune tissue is located in the digestive system!).

It also seems that a healthy gut seems to regulate levels of the body’s main antioxidant, glutathione, which fights a host of diseases.

Bottom line: make sure you’re getting enough probiotics in your diet, every day, and you’ll feel better and will look healthier and more radiant, too!

Stay healthy and balanced,




“The Role of the Skin Microbiome in Health and Disease,” Rodrigo Barros, MD Magazine, February 22, 2015;

“The Gut Microbiota Modulates Host Amino Acid and Glutathione Metabolism in Mice,” A. Mardinoglu, S. Shoaie, M. Bergentall, et al., Molecular Systems Biology, 2015, 11(10), 834;

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Expert tips from New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer on how to have healthy, radiant skin—any time of the year.

Apply toners to keep skin oils at bay and even out skin tone—but look for hidden alcohol in products, which can strip skin of necessary moisture.

One of the top concerns of patients who come into my office is lackluster, dull, old-looking skin. There are easy ways to fix this problem—and transform skin—at home; here’s how:

1) Replenish the skin with antioxidants. I cannot say enough about the benefits of antioxidants—for both the body and the skin. First, it’s important to understand that the skin—like the body—contains its own reserves of natural antioxidants, before you even apply any product with antioxidants. So why then, you might ask, do I need anything else?

The skin’s antioxidants are depleted by daily exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and to environmental pollution from car exhaust and smoke (including secondhand cigarette smoke).

Topical antioxidants replenish the skin’s stores. They also fight inflammation and in many cases, help the skin stay moisturized. What’s more, antioxidants like vitamins C and E have been shown to help prevent UV-induced damage to the skin, keeping the skin youthful looking longer.

The entire Replere skincare line is chockfull of some of the most powerful antioxidants—Coffea arabica (the fruit of the coffee plant; shown below), green tea, vitamins A and E, and more—for this reason. Plus all Replere products are stored in airless containers to preserve the potency of the antioxidants inside.

When antioxidants are exposed to air, they become less potent.”

2) Skip alcohol-based toners. Instead, look for toners with ingredients like salicylic acid, which is lipid, or oil, soluble. This means it’s able to penetrate through sebum into pores, getting rid of the debris that can clog pores and contribute to breakouts. Azelaic acid is another great option. It exfoliates skin (getting rid of debris that can clog pores), as well as helping even out discoloration and brown spots. It’s also an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Both of these ingredients, along with exfoliating glycolic acid, are found in my Replere Pore Minimize & Mattify Skin Tonic, which is alcohol free.

3) Exfoliate daily. Skin cells turn over every 21 to 28 days, meaning new, radiant skin cells rise to the surface of the skin as old skin cells slough off. But as we get older this cell renewal slows down—making skin lackluster and dull thanks to the old skin cells still lingering on the surface of the skin. The easiest way to transform skin almost instantaneously is to exfoliate once and—if your skin can handle it—twice a day. By exfoliating, you’re helping the skin to get rid of the old, dulling dead skin cells so the new skin cells can appear on the surface of the skin. The Replere Pore Minimize & Mattify Skin Tonic does this, as does my Replere Deep Clean & Clarify Face Wash, which contains glycolic, salicylic, and azelaic acids. In-office skin peels can also help exfoliate skin—and are stronger than what's available in any over-the-counter products.

“Exfoliating will help your skin better absorb key nutrients and ingredients, like antioxidants, in skin-care products.”

4) Hydrate your skin, particularly in the cool-weather months. While the skin produces its own oil, called sebum, every skin type still needs to add extra hydration. Frequent skin washing and daily environmental damage can all strip the skin of its natural oils.

It’s best to apply moisturizer within about three minutes of washing and gently patting dry your skin (this helps prevent any water present in the skin from evaporating). Look for moisturizers that add nutrients, such as antioxidants, back into the skin like Replere Protect & Rejuvenate Day Lotion.

“Hydrated skin is glowing, radiant skin.” 

5) Apply SPF of at least 30 daily. I know you’ve heard this a lot, but in my mind, you can never hear it enough. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can make skin dull, rough, and wrinkled. Protecting against these rays is critical to maintaining youthful, radiant skin. Wear an SPF in your skin cream or in your foundation, or just apply a sunscreen to your face, neck, and hands before you head out for the day. (Remember, some of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds and the glass windows in your car and in your home and office.) And if you’re going to be outdoors in the sun (even in fall and winter), be sure to re-apply every two hours. But know this: sunscreens do not protect against the sun’s invisible infrared rays—why layering an antioxidant under your sunscreen can help protect your skin.

Stay radiant!

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New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer shares the latest research on music—and how it can benefit your health

Guitar, piano, violin, or any instrument can produce tunes that are soothing to the soul—and to your health.

Go ahead, turn on some of your favorite songs. Music has the ability to make us feel better. Most of us know this intuitively as listening to our favorite tunes just makes us feel happier and less stressed. But science is discovering that it can also help do more than just boost mood:

One recent study found that surgeons who listen to their preferred music during surgery took less time to close up surgical wounds—and the quality of these surgical closures improved, too1.

Music (just 30 minutes of soft music a day for three days) also seems to help reduce pain and anxiety, particularly in patients undergoing surgery2. Not to mention, these patients also had lower blood pressure and heart rate, too. Now, imagine what music can do for daily stress and anxiety levels...

None of this surprises me, though. Health—of body, mind, and spirit—is so much more than just what we eat and how much we exercise or sleep. It's the sum of everything we do—and how all of our senses interact with the world around us. So, for your health: turn on some of your favorite songs today—and sing along, too, if you want!

Happy listening!




1 “Prospective Randomized Study of the Effect of Music on the Efficiency of Surgical Closures,” Shelby R. Lies, Andrew Y. Zhang, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, September 2015, 35(7), 858-863;

2 “Effects of Music Therapy on Pain, Anxiety, and Vital Signs in Patients After Thoracic Surgery,” Yang Liu, Marcia A. Petrini, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, October 2015, 23(5), 714-718;;“New Study Confirms Listening to Music during Surgery Reduces Pain and Anxiety,” Queen Mary University of London News, August 13, 2015;

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New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer shares tips on the right way to wash your face.

The best temp for your skin? Use lukewarm water, not hot or cold, to wash your face—in the shower or at the sink.

Cleansing is an integral first step for any home skin-care regimen. Washing your face—morning and night—helps to remove makeup and/or sunscreen, daytime grime that’s collected on your face and in your pores, bacteria, dead skin cells, and skin oil. It also preps your skin for any products you’re applying afterward, helping them to be better absorbed. (Leaving makeup or sunscreen on at night can inhibit the skin’s natural exfoliating process, which sloughs off dulling dead skin cells.)

Here's how to wash properly so it doesn't irritate the skin or strip it of key oils:

> Be sure to always use a gentle cleanser (free from chemicals like parabens and triclosan, an antibacterial; perfumes; and dyes, all of which can irritate sensitive skin). If a cleanser is too harsh, it can strip the skin of natural oils, triggering excess oil production. That's why I created the super gentle, yet super effective Replere Deep Clean & Clarify Face Wash, which is good for all skin types.

You may also need to use a gentle makeup remover before cleansing, particularly around your eyes if you use waterproof makeup. (Not properly removing eye makeup is a sure way to trigger eye irritations.) When cleansing around the eyes, gently dab—don’t rub—the remover. Since the skin around the eyes is the thinnest anywhere on the body, it’s easy to rub and tug and damage this delicate skin, triggering fine lines and deeper wrinkles (called “crow’s feet” around the eyes).

> Wash hands before washing your face. In one study, researchers found that hands contain up to 150 different kinds of bacteria.

> Use lukewarm, not hot or cold, water. Extreme temperatures can strip essential oils in the skin and trigger broken capillaries (tiny blood vessels on the surface of the skin). Water that’s too hot or too cold can also irritate sensitive and rosacea-prone skin.

> Gently dab—never rub—skin with towel to dry. Harsh rubbing with a towel (or washcloth during the cleansing process) can irritate skin and, over time, the trauma can contribute to fine lines and wrinkles.

> Try a toner. A toner can give the skin a second round of cleansing, helping to remove any dirt, makeup, or oil left behind. I’m a big advocate of using alcohol-free toners, like Replere Pore Minimize & Mattify Skin Tonic. Alcohol can strip the skin of natural oils, leaving the complexion tight, dry, and in desperate need of moisture. It can also trigger the production of oil production, which—in the case of oily skin, in particular—is not always a good thing.

Keep in mind that a toner is not essential to a skin-care regimen, but I’ve found that many of my patients like the “clean” feeling a toner can give the skin (some like to use it throughout the day to help reduce shine and freshen the skin). Many toners can help restore the natural pH levels of skin. 

Look for toners that feed the skin with gentle natural ingredients like witch hazel, green tea, rosemary, grapeseed, rosewater, and/or chamomile. Toners can also contain exfoliating ingredients like glycolic, salicylic, and/or azelaic acid, which can help slough off dead skin cells, keeping pores clear and the complexion radiant. 

Happy cleansing!




i “Women Have More Diverse Hand Bacteria Than Men, According to CU-Boulder Study,” CU News Center, University of Colorado Boulder, November 3, 2008;

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New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer explains the latest research linking sleep to the health of your mind, body, and spirit.

Turn off electronics at least one hour before bed; the blue light that emanates from cell phones, TVs, and computers can interfere with restful sleep.

Getting enough rest at night is essential for just about every single process that occurs in the body, specifically:

1) Sleep keeps your brain sharp. Sleep is critical for normal functioning of the brain, says research from Oxford University. According to the Oxford sleep scientists, sleep serves as the “brain’s housekeeper”, helping to restore and repair the brain. Poor sleep over time, they found, causes brain shrinkage—and problems with reasoning, planning, memory, and problem solving.

2) Sleep makes you happier. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood, making you tenser, more nervous, and more irritable[ii].

3) Sleep keeps you at a healthy weight. There are numerous studies done on the effects of the lack of sleep on weight. One study found that losing just 30 minutes of sleep per night can cause you to gain weight and affect both insulin resistance and your metabolism (slowing it down)[iii].

4) Sleep helps you live longer. Researchers at University of California, San Diego, found that women who got five hours or less of sleep a night didn’t live as long as women who got, on average, 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night[iv]. Keep in mind that every body is different; what may work for some [e.g. 5 hours a night] won’t work for others.

5) Sleep helps curb inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to everything from heart disease to premature aging.

Studies show that lack of sleep—specifically, six or fewer hours a night—triggers high blood levels of inflammatory proteins.

6) Sleep helps you perform better physically. A Stanford University study found that college basketball players who slept at least 10 hours a night for five to seven weeks ran faster, improved shooting accuracy, and improved overall game performance[v]. 

7) Sleep reduces stress. Get enough sleep and whatever is triggering your anxiety just won’t seem that insurmountable anymore. Sleeping gives the body a chance to relax and rest without being overwhelmed by worry.

8) Sleep boosts the immune system. Getting adequate amounts of sleep keeps the immune system functioning properly. In one study, published in the journal Sleep, those people who averaged between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night were sick less often[vi].

9) Sleep keeps you safe. Not getting enough sleep, and the drowsiness that occurs as a result, has been found to impair driving performance even more than alcohol[vii]. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, being tired accounted for the highest number of fatal single-car off-the-road crashes[viii]. If you’re tired, don’t get behind the wheel—or pull over when it’s safe to do so, so you can take a break.

Wishing you many nights of restful, quality sleep!


Dr. Debbie


“Poor Quality Sleep May Be Linked to a Shrinking Brain,” Tara Haelle, HealthDay, September 3, 2014;

[ii] “Fatigue and Mood Correlates of Sleep Length in Three Age-Social Groups: School Children, Students, and Employees,” H. Oginska and J. Pokorski, Chronobiology International, 2006, 26(6), 1317-28;

[iii] “Losing 30 Minutes of Sleep Per Day May Promote Weight Gain and Adversely Affect Blood Sugar Control,”, March 5, 2015;

[iv] “Women's Study Finds Longevity Means Getting Just Enough Sleep,” Scott LaFee, UC San Diego News Center, September 30, 2010;

[v] “Snooze You Win? It’s True for Achieving Hoop Dreams, Says Study,” Stanford Medicine News Center, June 30, 2011;

[vi] “ Healthy Sleep Duration Linked to Less Sick Time From Work,” ScienceDaily, September 3, 2014;

[vii] “White Paper: Consequences of Drowsy Driving,” National Sleep Foundation;

[viii] “Drowsy Driving and Automobile Crashes,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,

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New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer shares 10 simple tweaks guys can make to overhaul their health.

You don’t always need dumbbells or barbells to build strength—and stronger bones. Body weight exercises like pushups are super effective too.

June is National Men’s Health Month—but every month is a good time for guys to take care of themselves.

Here are some simple ways for men to make a big difference in their health:

1) Eat fresh, not processed. Use this simple philosophy to guide your everyday eating—and you’ll feel better, have more energy, and will probably even lose weight, too. What this means: choose fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, and nuts and seeds—on a regular basis—over processed foods like chips and cookies (which pack a lot of sodium, calories, and/or sugar). These fresh foods contain key health-promoting nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, key vitamins like vitamins C and E, and more.

2) Limit the steaks (and other red meat) you eat. No one’s saying you’ve got to become a vegetarian, but limit your red meat to about two servings per week. Studies have shown that eating a lot of red meat—particularly grilled meat—is associated with a higher risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

3) Eat small meals often. Eating every 2 to 3 hours will help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steadier. It’s also less taxing on the digestive system—and creates fewer free radicals in the body. It’s also a good idea to be mindful and chew your food slowly; eating this way is less stressful and can help with digestion.

4) Drink plenty of water. It’s a great way to flush out internal toxins and hydrate your skin from the inside out.

5) Be sure to get enough probiotics. These healthy bacteria—found in some yogurt and fermented foods like sauerkraut—help keep your gut healthy. A healthy gut has been linked to a stronger immune system, better digestion, healthier skin, and even lower risk of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

6) Go ahead, drink that coffee—without guilt. Study after study shows that drinking coffee is actually good for you, in moderation. One reason: it’s chockfull of health-promoting antioxidants. Coffee has been linked to a lowered risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, deteriorating eyesight, and even erectile dysfunction.

7) Take time to meditate. Learning how to manage stress is key to keeping your immune system healthy—and warding off chronic diseases. Even if you just meditate for five to 10 minutes at night before bed, you’ll notice that you’re more clear-headed and less stressed during the day—and you’ll probably sleep better at night, too.

8) Get moving. Daily exercise—be it a walk around the block with your dog or a high-powered run (or session at the gym)—is critical for reducing stress, protecting your heart, reducing your risk of chronic diseases, and keeping your weight stable. Weight-bearing exercise can also strengthen your bones, warding off osteoporosis (which isn’t just a concern for women).

9) Visualize the life you want. Visualization—picturing the life you want down to the most minute detail, including how it looks, feels, and even smells—has been shown in research to help lower blood pressure, improve insomnia, reduce anxiety and depression, help Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and help control asthma. So take a few minutes away from the daily grind to let your mind wander a bit!

10) Shut off your Smartphone at least an hour before bed. Also, power down your computer, the TV, and any electronic devices (including e-readers). Studies show that the blue light that emanates from these devices interferes with the brain’s production of melatonin at night, which is the key hormone that makes us sleepy. Try this trick at night and you may find yourself falling asleep faster—and staying asleep longer.

Stay healthy—and live the life you’ve always wanted!

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New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer talks about why exercise is important for healthy, radiant skin.

When exercising outdoors, be sure to use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays.

Exercise boosts circulation, sending blood—and with it oxygen and key nutrients—to all cells in the body, including the skin cells. This boost in nutrient-rich blood flow gives us a healthy, radiant, post-workout glow.

Exercise also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from skin cells (and all working cells), helping to flush them out of the system.

But researchers from McMaster University in Ontario also found that regular exercise can actually keep the skin young—and may even help to reverse skin aging.

What they found is fascinating: those volunteers who exercised at least 3 hours a week (of moderate or vigorous physical activity) had skin that was much younger looking—when looked at under a microscope—and much closer to that of 20- and 30-year-olds.

One thing is for sure: regular exercise is great for the body—inside and out!

So go ahead and get moving just a little bit every day. You'll feel better and your skin will be healthier, more youthful looking, and definitely more radiant.

Stay fit, and you'll stay beautiful!




“Younger Skin Through Exercise,” Gretchen Reynolds,, April 16, 2014;

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New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer explains why an imbalance of bacteria in the gut often triggers skin problems like acne and psoriasis—and other health problems.

If you have a healthy gut, you probably also have a strong immune system—and a healthy body (including radiant, glowing skin).

Our bodies are pretty active petri dishes: there’s a mix of good and bad bacteria living inside each of us from our skin to our intestines. (Some estimates indicate that for each cell in our body—and there are many—there are 10 microbial, or bacterial, cells [1]. That means there could be trillions of bacteria inside our bodies.) It’s no wonder the body with all these microorganisms is often referred to as “the human microbiome”. (In fact, it’s been estimated that the human body is composed of 10% of human cells and 90% of bacteria[ii].)

Nowhere is this more evident than in the gut. Bacteria line the intestines and help you digest food. During this process of digestion, they make essential vitamins, send signals to the immune system, and create small molecules that can help your brain function properly.

Researchers have determined that adding healthy bacteria into our bodies—through diet or supplements—can help reduce gas and bloating and increase regularity. Healthy gut bacteria can also help treat or prevent something called metabolic syndrome—a combination of risk factors that increase a person’s chances of getting cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke.[iii] (People with metabolic syndrome are twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as the general population, according to the National Institutes of Health.)

"A healthy gut is also key to a healthy immune system. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of our immune tissue is located in the digestive system!"

But also, experts indicate that people with certain diseases often have a very different mix of bacteria in their intestines compared to healthier people[iv]. (Some bacteria can help strengthen the immune system[v] and even prevent obesity[vi] while others can promote inflammation.) And what’s more, it’s not one particular type of bacteria that makes a difference; it’s a diversity of bacteria that’s turning out to create a more healthful balance in the body.[vii]

> Benefits of Fermented Foods Cultures worldwide have been taking in healthy bacteria—or living organisms—for hundreds, if not thousands, of years typically through fermented local foods. (Fermentation helped preserve foods years ago, but many local cultures also made the link between these fermented foods and better health.) Here’s a sampling of some of the indigenous foods different cultures ate (and, in some cases, still eat today):

During the Roman era, people consumed sauerkraut (essentially pickled cabbage); in ancient India, it was common to enjoy lassi, a pre-dinner sour-milk-based yogurt drink that’s rich in healthy bacteria; in Bulgaria, people regularly drank fermented milk and kefir (also popular today); Ukrainians consumed healthy bacteria from raw yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk (a fermented dairy product); and Asian cultures regularly ate pickled cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots. All these foods are rich in local microorganisms that help balance out the gut.

"Some studies show that eating fermented foods, like sauerkraut (which is cabbage fermented with salt), actually helps prevent disease." 

In studies of Polish women, researchers found that those who ate lots of sauerkraut had lower rates of breast cancer than those who didn't eat it (or ate much less of it) [x].

> Importance of Local Foods But just as early Mediterranean cultures taught us about the importance of a local, plant-based diet, these cultures have something to teach us about the importance of eating local foods. Some experts are now saying that local foods contain a diverse community of local microorganisms that are good for your particular digestion—and your gut overall—helping reduce gas and bloating and increasing regularity. The theory: each region has certain bacteria indigenous to the region and to the people in that region and can help these people stay healthy.

This idea of a healthy gut goes way beyond probiotics (which means “for life”), which are healthy bacteria—or live microorganisms—like lactobacillus, Streptococcus thermaphilus, and bifidobacterium that are often found in yogurt, kefir, some types of cheeses, and in many supplements. These probiotics have helped many people regulate their digestive system by creating a better balance of healthy bacteria in the gut (also called “intestinal flora”).

The health of our skin also reflects this internal environment of our gut—as well as the balance of bacteria on our skin. We’re quick to blame bacteria for causing problems like acne, but what many don’t realize is we need a healthy balance of bacteria on the skin, too, for healthy, problem-free skin.

"Skin disorders like acne, rosacea, and psoriasis have been linked with gut problems (including food allergies and leaky gut syndrome)." 

This may be why research shows that probiotics may help treat atopic dermatitis[viii], a type of eczema where the skin is super sensitive and is dry, scaly, and itchy.

The right balance of bacteria on the skin, too, contributes to the defense mechanisms of the skin (aka proper immune system functioning). That’s why an imbalance on the skin—as in the gut—can contribute to conditions like atopic dermatitis, too[ix].

There’s definitely something to this idea that bacteria—particularly local bacteria from the areas in which we live—is helpful to our health! So if you need even more reason to eat local, or add fermented foods to your daily diet, this is just one more, compelling reason. 

Happy, healthy eating!





[1] “What is Your Gut Telling You,” Sonya Collins, WebMd.Com, August 20, 2014;

[ii] “The Role of the Skin Microbiome in Health and Disease,” Rodrigo Barros, MD Magazine, February 22, 2015;

[iii] “Metabolic Syndrome May Be Prevented By Healthy Gut Bacteria,” David McNamee, Medical News Today, November 24, 2014;; Intestinal Epithelial Cell Toll-like Receptor 5 Regulates the Intestinal Microbiota to Prevent Low-Grade Inflammation and Metabolic Syndrome in Mice,” Benoit Chassaing, Ruth E. Ley, Andrew T. Getwirtz, Gastroenterology, 2014, 147(6), 1363;

[iv] “5 Claims About Probiotics and Good Gut Health,” Houston Methodist, July 22, 2013;

[v] “Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease,” Eamonn M. Quigley, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, September 2013, 9(9): 560-569;

[vi] “When Obesity is an Inherited Trait, Maybe Gut Bacteria is the Link,” Melissa Healy, LA Times, November 6, 2014;; “Human Genetics Shape the Gut Microbiome,” Julia K. Goodrich, Jillian L. Waters, Angela C. Poole, et al., Cell, November 6, 2014, 159(4), 789-799;

[vii] “How Bacteria in Our Bodies Protect Our Health,” Jennifer Ackerman, Scientific American, 306(6);

[viii] “Probiotic ‘Promising’ to Prevent and Treat Atopic Dermatitis,” Kate Johnson, Medscape Multispecialty Medical News, November 9, 2014;

[ix] “The Role of the Skin Microbiome in Health and Disease,” Rodrigo Barros, MD Magazine, February 22, 2015; Disease?e5=Email_md5&utm_source=Informz&utm_medium=HCPLive&utm_campaign=Trending%20News%202/22/15

[x] “Sauerkraut, Uncooked, May Prevent Cancer,” Well Being Journal;

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Spirituality is important for the health—and healthy skin—says New York dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer. Here, simple everyday tips for spiritual enlightenment.

It's the smallest things in our life that have the biggest impact on our health and happiness.

Whenever my patients come into my office, I offer them much more than just skincare advice. I talk to them about their lives, too, and as a result, they tell me they leave feeling better about themselves. I’m a big believer that confidence and happiness in one’s life—along with strong self-esteem—contributes to great skin and a healthy body as well.

Here’s the key: what I’ve found is that it’s often the simplest gestures every day that can make us feel better, boost our mood, and calm us—reducing stress and boosting health, including the health of our skin. I call this everyday spiritual enlightenment. Here are a few of the simple reminders that I give to my patients; these are good bits of advice for everyone!

√ Go out and enjoy life; don’t wait for the right moment. How many of us wait for enough money or the exact right time to take a vacation or do something that we love. (So many unused vacation days go to waste for so many Americans.) Don’t wait: schedule that time off or visit to that place you’ve always wanted to see. I’ve always had believed that this is important for health—so it wasn’t a surprise to me when one study from the University of California-Berkeley found a link between positive emotions— especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art and spirituality—with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. (Sustained high levels of cytokines are associated with poorer health and disorders such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s.)

√ Don't just evaluate situations with your mind, pay attention to how you feel (your gut response or intuition), too. Your mind can lie but your feelings/emotions won't. I liken the gut to our own inner GPS!

√ Live in the now, not in the yesterday or tomorrow. Enjoy and feel the power of the moment. Be there totally. Life is now. Feel your presence. I love this from the Dalai Lama, which speaks to just this:

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate this health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the  present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

√ Find something to be thankful for every day. Be thankful to be alive, for family, friends, health, for a good deed from a stranger.

√ Learn how to forgive. Letting go of bitterness and grudges helps free up that energy that you’re devoting to the negativity. Forgiveness, research has shown, is also good for your health, bettering your sleep quality, your blood pressure, your heart rate (and your heart health), your anxiety levels, rates of depression, stress, and even cholesterol levels. So do your health a favor: add more peace to your life and forgive!

√ Don’t only focus on your outer purpose or goal (career, riches) but also on each step of the way and how we build our inner purpose/consciousness. Our journey in life has both an outer purpose (to reach a goal or accomplish something) and an inner purpose (this is the journey into yourself)—and they’re both intricately entwined and both essential to your overall health. In fact, one fascinating study[ii] actually found that having a purpose in life motivates a person to optimize their health, which means they’re more likely to take care of themselves.

This follows the philosophy: "Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside." 

√ Avoid repetitive negative thoughts, such as judgment, criticism, hatred, or anger. Try to focus on the positive.

√ Be selective of those in your inner circle. If someone is always negative, complaining, and criticizing others, it will also affect you. Like mom always used to say, be careful of the friends you choose. Limit your time in bad relationships.

√ Show kindness and compassion to others. It's contagious and just feels good!

Stay positive, enjoy life & be well,




“Positive Affect and Markers of Inflammation: Discrete Positive Emotions Predict Lower Levels of Inflammatory Cytokines”, Jennifer E. Stellar, Neha John-Henderson, Craig L. Anderson, et al., Emotion, Jan. 19, 2015;

[ii] “Forgive to Live: New Research Shows Forgiveness is Good for the Heart,” Amy Westervelt, Good, August 25, 2012;

[iii] “’Purpose in Life’ Can Help Reduce Medical Costs,” Karen Kaplan, The Seattle Times, November 3, 2014;

Posted by on

0 comment(s) | Beauty from the Inside Out, | Healthy Living

New York Dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer explains why happiness plays such an important role in the health of our skin, our bodies, and our minds.

Babies and children are so full of natural happiness and joy. Getting back to this in our own lives, as adults, will help us live longer—and healthier.

We underestimate the value of happiness in our lives. But the truth is that by following our hearts—in our lives—and taking time to truly enjoy every moment of every day, we can make a huge impact on our happiness and on our health.

One way to do this is to take positive steps to happiness through friends and family: studies have shown that healthy relationships are good for us emotionally and physically. People with happy relationships—and an overall positive view of life—are less stressed overall and have a better immune system, decreased health issues (like heart disease), decreased levels of stress, and increased longevity[ii].

And I would argue—from what I see in my own busy practice—happiness plays a huge part in radiant, healthy skin, too. The happier you are with your life, the better your outlook, and the more likely you are to take positive steps to care for your body, your skin, your hair, and your overall health.

Just feeling positive—and looking at life from a glass-half-full perspective—can do wonders for your health. Friends and family are a huge part of this, but the other part is making the choice to be happy and to not let the bad things in life get you down. Compelling research continues to show that these positive, happy emotions and an overall enjoyment of life contribute to better health and a longer lifespan[iii]. (One Dutch study found that just cheerfulness helped older people live almost 7.5 years longer.[iv])

In fact, in research conducted by University of Illinois, this happiness/health/longevity link is stronger than the data linking obesity to reduced longevity[v]. One possible reason for this link between happiness and health: researchers have found that being happy increases our antibodies—critical proteins utilized by the immune system to fight off viruses, bacteria, and more—by a whopping 50 percent[vi]!

So if you do one thing this month, do this: go out and embrace your friends, family, and loved ones. You'll be healthier...and a whole lot happier.

Stay happy!




“Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry,” Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Gregory E. Miller, Psychological Bulletin, July 2004, 130(4), 601-630;

[ii] “Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity,” Ed Diener and Micaela Y. Chan, Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, March 2011, 3(1), 1-43;

[iii] “Happiness and Health,” Sara Rimer, Harvard School of Public Health News, Winter 2011;; “How Happiness Affects Your Health,” March 27, 2013;

[iv] “Dispositional Optimism and All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of Elderly Dutch Men and Women,” Erik J. Giltay, Johanna M. Geleijnse, Frans G. Zitman, et al., JAMA Psychiatry, November 2004, 61(11), 1126-1135;

[v]  “Study: Happiness Improves Health and Lengthens Life,” Diana Yates, Illinois News Bureau, March 1, 2011;

[vi] “Study Probes How Emotions Affect the Immune System,” Jane Collingwood, PsychCentral, May 22, 2014;


"When you go in search of honey, you must expect to be stung by bees." No matter what your goal, stay strong & persevere! #quoteoftheday

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