Start Anti-Aging Now
Made a Change? Your Skin Knows
Don't Do What You Always Do
Magnifying Mirrors Are Like Fun-House Mirrors
Stop Touching Already!
Spend More Time Between the Sheets
Good Skin Needs a Schedule
Beware the Margarita Sunburn
Skin Needs Strong Bones
You Can't Scrub Away Chicken Skin
Wear Sunscreen — Even When It's Cloudy
Your Office Could Be Giving You Wrinkles
Don't Rely On Your Foundation for Skin Protection
"When someone asks, 'When do I deal with this line between my eyes?' I'm tempted to say, 'It was time to deal with it when you first noticed it!' I can be blunt like that with family, so when my cousins asked, I told them my philosophy: Clean up your room before it gets too dirty. If you begin with small amounts of Botox or filler in your early 30s when lines start forming, the muscle movement that creates wrinkles is restricted sooner, so you likely won't develop deeper ones. That said, it's okay if you've put it off. Botox, Fraxel, and fillers work into your 40s and beyond; you'll just need somewhat higher doses since the damage will be greater. Most people have it backward: They're worried about overdoing it by coming in too frequently. But if they came earlier and more often, I wouldn't need to do much, so it would cost less and look more natural." —Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., director of 5th Avenue Dermatology Surgery and Laser Center and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai in New York City
"A friend called me about an itchy rash on her face. When I saw her red, swollen bumps, I realized it was rosacea. So many things can trigger rosacea, even if you've never had it before: coffee, milk and cheese, chocolate, red wine, spices. I could have put her on antibiotics, but instead I asked her what had changed in her diet — I knew she was a healthy eater and didn't drink alcohol but loved coffee. Turns out, she had recently started taking it with cream. She stopped, and the inflammation disappeared within a week. If you're having a problem, it helps to think about anything that's new, even if it seems small. Your doctor might make a connection that can get you relief." —Valerie Goldburt, M.D., cosmetic dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery and assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City
"One close friend of mine told me that she sleeps with makeup on — in fact, she's been doing it for decades without any problems. But now that she's in her mid- 40s, she's started to see cystic acne. She tried numerous medications to treat it and nothing worked. When she stopped wearing makeup to bed, it vanished. The moral of the story isn't to wash your face at night; that's a given. It's that what worked for your skin years ago — or even six months ago — can change. Good skin care means being attuned to your skin's needs. So don't resist mixing up a routine that's always worked for you if it no longer does." —Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D.
"Those 20x magnifying makeup mirrors just kill me. All you can see in them are flaws! Nobody should look at you that closely except dermatologists, since that's our job. To the untrained eye, seeing your skin magnified that much encourages picking at otherwise imperceptible blemishes. Plus, it contributes to a poor sense of self because it literally magnifies your imperfections. My mother is in love with them; her excuse is 'I can't see to put my makeup on.' She won't listen to me! I tell everyone I know that if they really can't apply makeup without glasses, find a mirror with magnification of just 5x to 8x that only corrects for nearsightedness." —Dendy Engelman, M.D., associate dermatologic surgeon at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City
"The vast majority of my acne patients touch or squeeze their zits. It's called skin picking, and actually, many dermatologists do it too! So I don't get on people about it. Sometimes you don't realize you're doing it; I have patients who are literally picking in front of me, and when I'm like, 'Are you picking?' They say no! You can't just tell someone — or yourself — to stop, so you need to focus that anxious energy on something else. When one of my girlfriends found herself constantly picking, we discovered that if she wore a rubber band on her wrist and snapped it whenever the impulse arose, it worked to stop her picking. If you want to try something less dramatic first, I tell people to try squeezing a stress ball, or even just go out for a little walk." —Dendy Engelman, M.D.
"At lunch recently, a friend was saying that she took care of her skin but still felt like it was missing that youthful glow, so I told her to have more sex. Obviously, it's good for your relationship — but it also gives your skin radiance. Sex releases anti-inflammatory hormones and endorphins that help combat stress and aging and boost immunity. All that gives you a healthy, postcoital flush. When women are more sexually active, their estrogen levels go up, which improves skin overall by increasing moisture and promoting collagen production. So I encouraged my friend to start having sex more often than whatever she currently was having. We had a giggle about it, and she seemed happy to follow my advice!" —Debbie Palmer, D.O., cofounder and medical director at Dermatology Associates of New York in Harrison, NY, and Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT
"So many friends ask me for product recommendations, and when they do, I remind them that applying formulas at the right time is as important as choosing the right ones. The rule is: Daytime is for protection and nighttime is about repair. Smooth on an antioxidant serum in the morning to neutralize free radicals, which are harmful molecules created when you're exposed to UV light and pollution. They contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin — that's what leads to wrinkles and dark spots. At night, there's no UV to block, so that's a good time to apply moisturizer or serum that contains peptides or retinol; those are proven to stimulate collagen, which'll reduce existing wrinkles and spots and prevent new ones from forming." —Mary Lupo, M.D., director of Tulane University Resident Cosmetic Clinic and clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans
"A good friend came back from vacation with a strange-looking rash on his forearm that looked like someone had dripped brown paint on it. I asked if he had been drinking margaritas, and he looked at me like I was psychic. The reason is that psoralen, an organic compound found in lemons and limes, makes skin supersensitive to UV light, causing a chemical burn called phytophotodermatitis. It's so common that it's jokingly called 'margarita sunburn.' He treated it like any other sunburn, with a moisturizer containing aloe vera or soy, and it faded away." —Rebecca Kazin, M.D., associate director at Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, DC
"I urge all my friends to go to the dentist twice a year for regular checkups. I cannot emphasize how important bone density and dental health are to your face. Without a strong framework, the skin on top appears more lax and wrinkled than it otherwise would. The bones above and below your teeth (right around your nose as well as your chin and jaw) will start to recess, which means you're going to lose some of your cheekbones and jawline. Your teeth will recede too, making the nose and chin jut out and appear witchy. If you ever wore braces, it's a good idea to wear a mouth guard at night to keep your teeth aligned. Overall, make sure you're getting your vitamin D and calcium, and take care of your teeth." —Mary Lupo, M.D.
"I live in South Florida, where we wear sleeveless shirts and tanks year round. My best friend constantly had small, reddish bumps on the back of her arms. That's usually keratosis pilaris (KP), which is an excess of keratin, the main protein that makes up hair, nails, and the skin's outer layer. When keratin clogs the hair follicles, you get KP, which people commonly mistake for rough skin that they think they can exfoliate away with a scrub mitt or loofah mitt or loofah. That's what my friend was doing, but friction was only making it worse. I told her to apply an over-the-counter steroid cream until the redness subsided, followed by a moisturizer that contains glycolic acid, which will dissolve the excess keratin that's plugging up pores. Scrubbing won't do anything but irritate your skin!" —S. Manjula Jegasothy, M.D., founder and cosmetic dermatologist at Miami Skin Institute and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
"I went on vacation in the Caribbean with some close friends recently and we had a ball, enjoying lots of outdoor activities. Some of my friends were having so much fun that they started getting lax about sun protection. One of them said to me when we were on the beach one day, 'I didn't bother to put sunscreen on today, because, look, it's cloudy.' Well, wouldn't you know, the result was a sunburn! I think that lazy summertime feeling we all enjoy so much distracts some people from remembering that they need to protect themselves every time they're outside. It doesn't matter whether you're in the blazing sun or if the weather is blah — thinking you can't suffer sun damage on a cloudy day is a totally false sense of security. Coat yourself with SPF before heading outdoors, and make sure your friends do too. Call me the sunscreen police, but I'm always ready to pull sunscreen out of my bag at a moment's notice and say, 'Here's the bottle' — no excuses! I nag because I care." —Anne Chapas, M.D., founder of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City
"Women I know often don't realize that the sun you get reflectively — like through the glass of your car windshield or office window — can be exposing you to UV rays that are giving you wrinkles. Sun damage occurs two ways, simultaneously: UV rays damage the top layer of your skin, which often creates things like skin growths, skin cancer, and age spots; meanwhile, the sun damages the middle layer of your skin, where collagen lives. Once that collagen gets broken down, a wrinkle appears. Broad-spectrum sunscreen is your first line of defense. And pay attention to how much sun you get in your car, home, and office. Adjust the blinds or your seat accordingly." —Lisa Chipps, M.D., fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology
"My mother and aunts often ask me questions about sun protection in the beauty products they already use, like their foundation or moisturizer. The truth is, the SPF you'll see on these labels won't be sufficient to protect you from sun damage. This is because when something like a foundation with SPF is tested, a much thicker layer of the product is used in the lab — you'd never actually put on enough of it to give you adequate sun protection. So cut the amount of SPF you see on your makeup label in half: If the product says it contains SPF 30, only count on protection of SPF 15. Buy the SPF foundation if you like it for the makeup qualities, but not for the sun-care ones! As I tell my relatives, you shouldn't depend on the SPF in your makeup to protect you — rely instead on applying a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 60 every day." —Anna Chien, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore