Dr. Debra Luftman: The Most Effective Treatments For Each Decade

Every top makeup artist stresses that great makeup starts with a good canvas. Beverly Hills dermatologist and author, Dr. Debra Luftman, believes the investment should not result in expensive products, but on an overall approach to good health, which helps nurture great skin.

I was referred to Dr. Luftman by another doctor, who referenced her as “one of the best.” For seven months, I had suffered with a skin issue and had seen four doctors with varying specialities. Dr. Luftman diagnosed me in minutes (literally). Six weeks later, my skin was back to normal. She’s not only a specialist on dermatology, but also cosmetic dermatology, offering the latest advancements at both her practices. With so many choices, it’s wonderful to have her expertise help navigate through all the options out there.


In your book, The Beauty Prescription, you talk about the beauty-brain loop. What is the loop and how does it affect one’s attractiveness?

A. The Beauty-Brain Loop is a four-stage cycle of Inner Beauty, Health, Outer Beauty and Environment. Changes in any area of the loop can positively impact the other areas. Improve your self-esteem (Inner Beauty) and you start taking better care of yourself (Health) and the next thing you know you are glowing (Outer Beauty). Then your world (Environment) will act in kind.

Beauty, Attractiveness and Magnetism are not the same thing. Beauty is physical. Attractiveness comes from personality, self-love, energy, passion, wit, humor and confidence. Combine both and you get Magnetism, the quality that makes you irresistible.

Many women live with chronic stress without realizing it until it’s taken a toll. What’s the role that stress plays on the skin?

A. Stress can affect the skin in a big way! Stress activates certain “stress hormones,” like adrenaline. This can cause an increase in sebaceous activity, causing acne breakouts.

“Stress also contributes to activation of some chronic skin disorders like Rosacea, Psoriasis and Eczema, as well as an increase in skin aging.”

When it comes to stress, the best thing is to find time for “stress busters.” Getting enough sleep, eating well and exercise can do wonders for your skin and at the same time release stress. Activities such as yoga, meditation or even walking in green spaces allows those stress relieving hormones to be released and balance to occur.

What are the best ways to protect and treat skin during the winter months?


“Turn down the hot water! During the winter, hot water can actually strip the skin of natural oils and hydration.”

Taking a lukewarm shower, only partially drying off and immediately applying moisturizers will make your skin retain its natural moisture and decrease the potential for winter itch.

Protecting Your Lips During Winter Months:

For lips I like to carry a tube of Aquaphor with me and reapply when they feel dry. Using a lip SPF, like Blistex with SPF 30, also protects the lips in winter. 

You’re an authority on numerous anti-aging treatments. What should women add to their regime in their 30’s and 40’s?

Your 30’s and 40’s:

A. The most important anti-aging product is still wearing a daily SPF of 30. Adding a topical Retinoid (Renova, or Retin-A) will help regenerate the collagen which starts breaking down in one’s 30s. Some low cost treatments for anti-aging include chemical peels – glycolic and salicylic.

What are the treatments for women in their 50’s and 60’s?

Your 50’s and 60’s:

A. The newest treatment for anti-aging in this group involves an update on the Radiofrequency treatment called Thermage. Thermage, now “Thermage with CPT,” is a skin tightening technique where the skin is treated with a pulsated treatment head, helping the skin tighten and regenerate collagen. There are immediate results and then continual results for 6 months. It is a one time treatment, with results lasting up to 3 years.

Also the new laser “Clear and Brilliant” treats fine lines and pigmentation; it works like a “baby Fraxel Laser,” maintaining beautiful skin.

When choosing an eye cream, should one look for particular ingredients to get the best results?

A. It really depends on what the under eye issues are! For dark circles – look for ingredients like caffeine or vitamin K. For crows feet – look for hyaluronic acid or peptides.

One way you talk about enhancing the richness of life is to look at things the way an artist or photographer would. How can a person begin to see more beauty in the world and retrain their perceptions?

A. We talk about the “park bench experiment,” just going to your local park, sitting on the park bench, allowing all the beauty of the plants and flowers to visually stimulate your sense of beauty. Also be conscious of the floral scents, the bird songs, even the children playing, will help retrain your brain to the beauty around you.

What are some products you swear by and why?

A. I am a believer that when it comes to skin care, you must keep it simple!

1. Sunscreen – the obvious, prevents signs of aging and skin cancer

2. Retinoids – repairs collagen

3. Glycolic Cleansers – exfoliates dead skin

4. Eyecream with peptides – smooths crows feet

5. Dove Beauty Bar – a classic, keeps body skin hydrated

6. Aquaphor – again, great to keep lips, cuticles and heels smooth


Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Luftman has always felt that there is an important link between overall health, skin health and emotional well being. She attended and graduated medical school at Tufts University and completed her residency in internal medicine and dermatology at UCLA. Dr. Luftman currently divides her time between her two office practices.