Madonna’s Little-Known Skin Secret

Written by: on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
Madonna with glowing skin

Madonna's 54, but you wouldn't guess it from her skin!

Madonna is 54 and has pretty darn great skin, despite the fact that this material mom of four is currently on a grueling world tour. (I definitely want skin like this when I’m 54!) What’s her secret? We tracked down Madonna’s personal facialist Michelle Peck—recently back from Bora Bora. And while Peck wouldn’t reveal exactly what she does daily to the singer’s complexion (“that’s proprietary,” she told me), I did get Peck to admit that she uses oxygen at the end of each treatment. Why oxygen? “We’re all running around every day and our skin lacks oxygen,” says Peck. “Using oxygen on the skin gives it a healthy glow.” Because in essence, says Peck, when you give skin a little bit of oxygen, it is healthier.

“When we’re on tour, the schedule is grueling,” Peck explains. “We’re in and out of planes, we’re going from 90-degree weather to 30-degree weather, there’s a lack of sleep. My job is to help keep Madonna glowing and looking healthy.” A stressful task for anyone!

Intraceuticals Daily Serum with oxygen

Your skin will drink in this oxygen-based serum!

“I use hyperbaric pressure to get oxygen serums to the inner layers of the skin,” says Peck. “It visibly plumps the skin, starting with the first treatment, and the effect can last four to seven days. I use one on Madonna before every single show and before events like the Oscars.” Which oxygen serums are best? The Rejuvenate Daily Serum by Intraceuticals, along with the brand-new Boosters, targeted treatments that help target your skin problems ($149 for the serum, $49 for each booster; “I use the Collagen Booster on Madonna,” says Peck. “That’s my favorite.”

But as we dug a little bit more, we realized that Peck’s ability to keep clients like Madonna glowing go deeper than just the skin. Peck regularly doles out healthy-living advice during her two-hour sessions with her clients. (This may be why some clients tell her she doesn’t just “do faces”, she “takes care of their souls, too”):

1)   Find quiet time, every day. “Develop a practice that works for you, that works for your schedule,” says Peck. “If that’s meditation or yoga, that’s great. Whatever it is, you need to do it daily. “I like transcendental meditation,” she says, “because I can do it anywhere, including on the plane between tour stops, and it doesn’t involve chanting.”

2)   Stay away from sugar. So many studies have shown that it’s just plain bad for you, for your immune system, for your skin, says Peck. A little around that time of the month is fine, but other than that, you—and your skin—will be better off without it.

3)   Feed your skin. “It’s true that you are what you eat,” says Peck, who recommends that her clients to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken, and non-genetically modified food. “Don’t live to eat. Eat to live.”

4)   Get at least 8 hours of sleep, no exceptions. “Your body really needs that rest for your cells to rejuvenate,” explains Peck, who stresses: “It’s so important. No matter what, I sleep 8 hours a night.”

5)   Sleep on a silk pillowcase. Toss the cotton, no matter the thread count, and start sleeping on silk. It’s better for your skin—creating fewer wrinkles on your face, particularly if you’re a stomach sleeper. “My grandmother taught me this, and it works,” says Peck, who adds that it’s also good for the hair.

Madonna's facialist Michelle Peck

You won't ever see Michelle Peck with a tan—or a sunburn!

6)   Avoid the sun. “I just got back from Bora Bora, and I’m still white as a ghost,” says Peck, who encourages all her private clients (including Madonna) to stay out of the sun.

7)   Take care of your mental health. “Find ‘me’ time that includes fulfillment and purposefulness,” says Peck, who adds that this is particularly important for women. “Women are the spiritual centers of the universe.” Peck loves reading as one way to support mental health; books she’s reading now include: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, and The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, M.D.

“If you’re not taking care of your inside,” says Peck, “you’re just wasting your time and money on treatments.” With holistically minded advice like this at her beck-and-call, maybe this is the real reason Madonna glows—from the inside out.

The Best—and Worst—Cities for Your Skin

Written by: on Thursday, July 12th, 2012
Woman with beautiful skin

Want beautiful, healthy skin? The environment you live in plays a role.

You diligently take care of your skin morning and night…but it may not be enough if you live in one of the 10 cities ranked the “worst” for your skin by the website, (below).


daily glow's best-worst-cities-for-skinBut rather than getting depressed about where you live, or packing up and heading to a “healthier” city, follow these tips to keep your complexion healthy—no matter what zip code you call home.

1. Examine your moles…regularly. Skin cancer rates were used by dailyglow to rate cities. The best way to prevent skin cancer (which is the most preventable cancer when caught early) is to know your ABCDs:

A (Asymmetry): One half of your mole is unlike the other half

B (Border): Your mole has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border

C (Color): Your mole is varied in color from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black, or is sometimes white, red, or even bluish

D (Diameter): Your mole has a diameter greater than 6 millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser).

If your mole has one of these characteristics, book a visit with your dermatologist asap…which brings me to the next point.

 2. Find a good dermatologist—and keep him/her on speed dial. The number of dermatologists per capita was another of the criteria used by dailyglow to rate cities. If you need to locate a good derm in your area, click on You should see your dermatologist for mole checks every six months (if you’re at high risk) or 12 months (if you’re at lower risk). Dermatologists can also diagnose and treat other conditions to keep your skin at its healthy best.
3. Eat a healthy diet. Fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein (like legumes, chicken, and fish), omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, chia and flaxseeds, and walnuts…to name just a few foods), and plenty of water will keep your body—and your skin—healthy, no matter where you live. A poor diet that’s devoid of key vitamins and minerals (think: fast food, fried foods, processed foods, and soda) will result in pale, lackluster skin (and hair).


4. Make antioxidants part of your daily life. Dailyglow rated cities partly based on the amount of pollution. Car exhaust, factory pollution, pesticides, and other environmental pollutants are one of the top sources of free radicals, unstable molecules that can change the function and structure of cells (including skin cells) in the body. Experts believe that, unchecked, free radicals in the body can trigger premature aging of the skin, as well as many diseases, including cancer.

Antioxidants are the body’s main defense against free radicals. You should be eating them (they’re found in brightly colored fruits and veggies) and slathering them on your skin (I’m a huge fan of the antioxidant line, Replere, created by dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer; each of the products in this line has one of the highest documented amounts of antioxidants of any skin-care products.)

5. Always apply sunscreen when you’re headed outdoors. Even incidental sun exposure (e.g. when you’re walking to/from your car) can trigger premature aging—and skin cancer. That’s why I like to use a body moisturizer with SPF every day. (Aveeno and Lubriderm make good ones.) Also, important to note: most car side windows protect you from UVB rays but not UVA rays (the kind that cause premature aging and skin cancer). That means you’ll need to apply that SPF moisturizer before road trips too.

The bottom line: even if your city is ranked one of the best, you’ve still got to take the necessary steps to care of your skin every day!





5 Healthy Skin Secrets of a Celebrity Dermatologist

Written by: on Monday, January 30th, 2012
Dermatologist Debra Jaliman

With youthful skin like this, you'd never know that Debra Jaliman has a 20-year-old daughter!

So many women I’ve spoken with are overwhelmed by skin care: which products to use, what to do about the little lines here and there, how to treat a certain condition, and more. Typically you’d have to book an appointment with a dermatologist to get answers to all your questions (or chance it with Internet answers). But not so anymore.

Celebrity dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., has written a book (out March 13; preorder for $15.34 from that demystifies everything about skincare. Called Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, the book features seven-seven rules about skin care. Sounds like a lot, right? That’s exactly what I thought when I picked up this book. BUT, the way Jaliman writes (each rule is short, sweet and super easy for everyone to understand), I actually enjoyed reading every single rule—and page. A few of her secrets that resonated with me (I’ve dog-eared the pages on these):

1) Don’t waste money on expensive cleansers. Spend it on moisturizers, sunscreens, and anti-aging products instead. Otherwise, “you’re just washing money down the drain,” says Jaliman. This is one rule that I myself follow—and was happy to see it in Jaliman’s book: I buy drugstore cleansers (despite trying to be persuaded otherwise by department/specialty store salespeople). My favorite cleanser is Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash because it keeps adult breakouts at bay. (I also use Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover to take off mascaras, shadow, and liner.) Then I splurge on serums: one for day (I love SkinAuthority’s Wrinkle Reversing Serum,

Wrinkle Reversing Serum from SkinAuthority

My favorite serum for day—in an airtight pump container.

which absorbs quickly and makes my skin healthy and radiant; $125, and one for night (I’m addicted to Skinceuticals Phloretin CF antioxidant serum; $162,; both are pricey, but are worth the smooth-skin results you get. Just use sparingly so you don’t go through the containers too quickly.

2) Buy physical sunscreens that are white, not clear. Despite all my years of working in health and beauty, I had never heard this advice before. According to Jaliman, the whitish part of the sunscreen is what “makes these products safe to use. They appear white because the particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide [the protective ingredients] are too big for the skin to absorb”.  Jaliman goes on to say that “particle size matters…and this is one area where big truly is better”. But “when [the sunscreen] comes out clear from the tube, the manufacturer has used nanoparticles that are many times smaller. And scientists are growing increasingly concerned about nanoparticles and their possible effects. Recent studies have shown that people whose sunscreens contain zinc nanoparticles have increased levels of zinc in their blood.” Hmm…a bit disturbing, but good advice that I’ll be putting into practice ASAP. One sunscreen I do love—and feel comfortable using on me and my kids: Soléo Organics All-Natural Sunscreen ($19.96;

3) Take it nice and slow.“I always tell my patients to approach skin treatment the way they would approach exercise. Nobody should run a marathon the first day out on the track: by the same token, you should gradually build up a tolerance to any skin treatment.” I just love this analogy. People expect miracles when it comes to skin care (just as they do with weight loss or exercise regimens)— but slow and

Skin Rules Book

The new beauty bible: every woman should read it!

steady wins the race when it comes to keeping your skin healthy.

4) Good things come in tubes and pumps. Anything else, says Jaliman, “deteriorates quickly when exposed to air and sunlight, which happens every time a jar is opened”. If you want to use a product in a jar, use a cotton swab (or the little spatula that sometimes comes with it) instead of your fingers to get the product out. “Every time you stick your finger into a jar, you are introducing bacteria into it,” she explains.

5) Take biotin for cracked, brittle nails. “Far more effective than those ‘nail-strengthening’ polishes is a daily dose of biotin (vitamin B-7),” says Jaliman. “Most recent studies recommend 2.5 milligrams a day.” I’ve started taking biotin after reading this! But Jaliman also adds:

Avoid the UV heating lamps used in salons to speed drying of nail polishes “because those UV rays age your hands”.

Stay away from nail gels; “more and more salons are offering them, but there are increasing reports of serious side effects, including neurological damage (they’re so hard to get off that nails can be damaged in

woman with smooth skin smiling outdoors

You'll look more youthful with this advice from dermatologist Debra Jaliman.

the process),” explains Jaliman.

Ban nail extensions. “People don’t realize that the space between the fake nail and the real nail is the ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow,” says Jaliman, who adds: “Sooner or later, people who use nail extensions are going to get an infection…If you like long nails, take biotin and grow your own instead.”

Just a few of the helpful tips she includes…

What I also love about this book: despite the fact that Jaliman has her own line of great products, she never mentions them once in this book and actually goes out of her way to recommend other products—drugstore brands and pricier options—to go along with each rule. So you know exactly what to buy to get results. In my mind, this gives her even more credibility as a smart, objective dermatologist.

I’m not one for casually reading skin-care books, but this one is a keeper: it’s the new “bible” of skin-care for every woman. I highly recommend reading this…and putting Jaliman’s advice into practice. Your skin will thank you for it! (And just so you know, I’m not even a patient of Jaliman’s…I just love the book!)