Montclair has a plethora of interesting people, with many unique stories to tell. Jeanine Downie, MD, is one such story: she’s a third-generation doctor with West Indian roots — born and raised in New Jersey. But her medical genes run deep: her grandfather was a dentist back in Harlem, NY, and her mother is still a practicing pediatrician at the age of 87. True to her roots, Jeanine decided to follow in her family’s footsteps and become not only a successful dermatologist, but also an entrepreneur. She founded Image Dermatology in 2000, and has been in business for almost 22 years, and has been featured on The Today Show and more. Here is her story.
Montclair Girl: Do you live in Essex County?
Jeanine Downie MD: Yes, I live in West Orange but I grew up in Teaneck in Bergen County, and I was born in Jersey City.
MG: Where did you go to school?
JD: I went to Tufts University for my undergraduate degree; to American University for my masters in biology; then to medical school at SUNY-Health Science Center at Brooklyn [now called SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University], then an internship at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center, and residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
MG: What inspired you to get into dermatology?
JD: My inspiration to become a dermatologist comes from my grandfather and mother, and also from the fact that I had very bad skin growing up with lots of acne and eczema. Both of my brothers were models and I thought to myself, I have got to fix my skin! Additionally, I always loved science and wanted to help people.
MG: What services does Image Dermatology offer?
JD: Image Dermatology is a full spectrum dermatology private practice. We offer cosmetic dermatology including Botox, filler, laser treatments, chemical peels, non-invasive fat removal, leg vein therapy (sclerotherapy), mole removal, non-ablative laser resurfacing, radio frequency/micro-needling and skin tightening as well as laser hair removal, freckle removal and much more.
In terms of medical dermatology, we offer skin cancer screenings, skin cancer removal, acne visits, psoriasis visits, eczema visits, and the full spectrum of dermatologic medical encounters. We do take some insurances.
MG: What would you say sets Image Dermatology apart from other practices?
JD: I practice with Megan Kera, our physician assistant. She has been with me for almost six years and we consider ourselves the dynamic duo. Our philosophy at image Dermatology is that we offer competent, compassionate care using the most medically advanced techniques available.
What sets us apart from other dermatology practices is the fact that we have excellent patient outcomes. We get to know our patients personally and deliver the results that they want and need. Additionally, we participate in many clinical trials so we have the most cutting-edge technology available to us all the time. I lecture nationally and internationally and learn from my colleagues and peers around the world and bring home the very best of everything for my patients. Finally, I have published over 87 scientific articles which is rare for someone in private practice. All that research and writing brings a well-rounded, superior level of medical dermatology and cosmetic dermatology expertise to each and every patient.
MG: Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?
JD: My biggest sources of inspiration are from my husband and my daughter; they always push me to do better, learn more and go farther. They are 150% supportive of me no matter what it is that I want to achieve, and they inspire me to be the best physician that I can be every single day.
MG: What are your goals for this year?
JD: My goals for the next year include: Publishing more articles, attaining more speaking engagements both nationally and internationally as hopefully COVID calms down, becoming involved in more clinical trials, and always supporting my daughter and my husband in their goals and endeavors. Oh yes, and at some point, I need to write a second book!
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MG: What’s a typical day look like for you?
JD: A typical day looks like [waking] up at 6:15AM, exercising at 6:50AM until around 7:30 AM every morning with a combination of treadmill and weights, then getting dressed, eating breakfast with high protein like eggs, and hitting the office by 8:30AM.
Tuesday through Friday I see patients for roughly 10 hours a day. Fridays we try to end by 5PM so maybe that’s only 8.5 hours! After work is emails; I do a lot of consulting for big Pharma companies, clinical trial work, working on lectures and articles, and then eating something and going to bed to do it all over again the next day! My days are fulfilling but definitely exhausting. And I drink no coffee, no tea, and no alcohol. My patients complain that I must have a battery but I promise you I do not.
MG: What has been the highlight in your career/life so far?
JD: There have been several highlights of my career, but three have been:
Consulting across the country for Christian Dior with the brand’s skincare line for seven years. I met tons of fantastic people all over the country, many of whom became my patients and many of whom I am still friends with now. Lecturing in Seoul, Korea for the World Congress of Dermatology in 2011 in front of an audience of about 3500 people. Being a co-host on my YouTube show ‘The Gist,’ and being a guest since 2004 intermittently on The Today Show.
My personal life highlights: marrying my fantastic husband of now 25 years and having our wonderful daughter who is now 18 years old.
MG: Tell us about your initiative and dedication to fighting skin cancer?
JD: My dedication to fighting skin cancer probably started in med school. Being able to help to clear people of cancers that could otherwise kill them has been incredibly rewarding. The skin of color patients is significantly underdiagnosed and therefore these patients do not receive care as promptly as they should. I lecture nationally and internationally on skin cancer as well and have published several articles about the epidemic of skin cancer which is unfortunately increasing. I am a Skin Cancer Foundation Fellow so I discuss skin cancer frequently on multiple TV outlets including The Today Show, Good Morning America, and the Dr. Oz Show.
MG: What are some tips for people to help identify potential skin cancer?
JD: Tips to help identify have skin cancer include: if you have a non-healing pimple or ulceration; if you have a mole changing; if you have ever used a tanning bed; or have a family history of skin cancer then get yourself checked! We recommend that everybody gets checked once a year with a board-certified dermatologist for a total skin cancer screening.
MG: What are the most common skin issues you’ve been treating of late?
JD: The most common skin issue I am treating as of late is “zoom face”! That is, people look at themselves on their Zoom calls and run in for Botox, filler, laser, or non-ablative resurfacing! Men and women ask me, “Do I really look like this?” Unfortunately, as I mentioned last October 2020 on the Today Show, Zoom magnifies and intensifies your pores, your dark spots, your pimples, and your wrinkles so people freak out, and that is what I have been dealing with a lot as a cosmetic dermatologist!
MG: What are some tips for people to maintain healthy this fall as the weather transitions?
JD: Tips for people to maintain healthy skin as the weather transitions and gets cooler include: increasing the use of moisturizer by using thicker lotions and creams, sleeping with a humidifier because that will add moisture to your skin hair and nails, using unscented detergent, using moisturizing body cleansers and continuing to use sunblock with an SPF of 30 even though the suns rays may not be as strong in the fall and winter months.
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MG: What is your favorite restaurant in Montclair?
JD: My favorite restaurants in Montclair include Fascino, Faubourg, and Raymond’s.
MG: What is your favorite boutique in Montclair?
JD: My favorite boutique was Dem Two Hands, which is now closed.
MG: What do you love most about Montclair?
JD: What I love most about Montclair is the diversity, the restaurants, and the wonderful Montclair Art Museum!
MG: What is your favorite thing to do in Essex County?
JD: My favorite thing to do in Essex County is go running in West Orange around the reservoir. They have a bunch of new trails and paths and it is really fun.
MG: Tell us about another business in the area you admire.
JD: Another business in the area that I greatly admire is Adrenaline Fitness in Cedar Grove. My trainer, Jody Sancetta, and her husband who is my husband‘s trainer, Chris Sancetta, have been in business for almost 20 years and are fantastic! I love the way they run their business and adore them both personally. They have high expectations and keep us both extremely fit.
MG: What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Essex County?
JD: My favorite place to spend time outdoors in Essex County is the Reservoir or Turtleback Zoo.
MG: What is your favorite place to work out in Essex County?
JD: My favorite place to work out is running around my neighborhood, Essex Fells, the Reservoir, or training at Adrenaline Fitness.
MG: Where do you go out with friends in the area?
JD: I go out with friends or my staff in Montclair to the restaurants De Novo, Halcyon, and Faubourg.
MG: What is something you think needs to come to Montclair?
JD: I think one of the only things that Montclair “needs” is a top-notch spa with great massages and body treatments.
MG: Anything else you want to share about Montclair or yourself?
JD: I run about 20 to 25 miles a week, and I exercise seven days a week with a combination of cardio and weights. Like I said before, I drink no coffee, no tea, and no alcohol. I do not smoke, vape, or smoke weed. I do not tan, and I wear sunblock with an SPF of 30 every single day and reapply it several times a day. I drink over 12 glasses of water a day and am somewhat annoying with my health habits. On the negative side, I love sugar especially chocolate. I also do not get enough sleep!