The Anti-Aging Advice Your Dermatologist Gives Her Friends
Here's what you won't hear in the patient's chair.
Photo: Eva Katalin Kondoros/istockphoto
What they're telling their friends: Moving more could help you look younger.
Experts aren't exactly sure how it works, but exercise might have anti-aging benefits, some research suggests. (It may be because working out increases blood flow to your skin and pumps up production of enzymes that can repair damage caused by agers like exposure to UV radiation, pollution, stress and free radicals.) "I don't want my friends to miss out on those potential benefits, so I advise them to exercise at least 3 times per week," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, citing a study showing that that amount might be the minimum you can do to see results. As for why you may not hear this advice as a patient, Nazarian cites two factors. One, the research linking exercise to younger-looking skin is still relatively new (most of the studies have come out in the past eight years), the number of studies on it is relatively small compared with, say, the body of research showing salicylic acid improves acne, and docs, herself included, usually wait until science is well established before basing patient recommendations on it. Second, and more simply, "people don't want their dermatologist telling them to go the gym," she says.
About Anti-Aging Products
What they're telling their friends: If you can't apply multiple creams and serums every day, there are alternatives. (Except for sunscreen—you have to wear sunscreen.)
In the patient's chair, you'll likely hear that an arsenal of anti-aging products you apply every day with Swiss army knife precision is the key to younger-looking skin. It's true that a daily regimen full of effective products can give you excellent results, says Ranella Hirsch, MD, board-certified dermatologist, but she also knows that it's not realistic for everyone—whether you're a one-cream-only kind of person, someone whose job keeps them in the sun making retinoid use impossible, or if your sensitive skin can't handle hefty doses of anti-aging active ingredients. "I tell my friends that they have other options besides at-home routines," she says, like her own choice to get laser treatments every four to six weeks instead. (Laser treatments can address agers like dark spots, acne scars and wrinkles.)
What they're telling their friends: You know that line between your brows? You should fix it now.
Ask a derm if injectable wrinkle-reducers like Botox are really all they're cracked up to be and you'll probably get a yes. (We've interviewed dozens of dermatologists for skincare stories and can't recall a doc didn't agree they work well.) But if you're a friend of a skin expert, you might not be the one starting that conversation. "I wouldn't bring up something like Botox with a patient unless they asked first, but if a friend has lines from facial expression and movement and they haven't brought it up, I will," says Nazarian. She does it because starting early can help keep wrinkles from becoming worse: As we age, repeatedly smiling and frowning and furrowing along the way, those types of lines become deeper and more difficult to smooth out—if left alone, you might need fillers to get the job done later. Using injectables now prevents some movement in those facial muscles to keep lines from becoming so deep.