13 Things Your Dermatologist Won’t Tell You

Top dermatologists share skin secrets for healthy, young, glowing skin.

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1. I can tell which way you sleep.

1. I can tell which way you sleep. Eddie Guy
Sleeping on your side or stomach creates a furrow on one side of your face. For an easy way to minimize wrinkles, sleep on your back. You may snore, but you’ll age better.

2. If you hit the pillow at night without washing, every single thing you came into contact with that day is on your skin.

2. If you hit the pillow at night without washing, every single thing you came into contact with that day is on your skin.iStockphoto/Thinkstock
If you’re usually too tired to lather up, keep a box of alcohol-free towelettes on your nightstand, grab one as you fall into bed, and swab your face. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when you break out.

3. Anything that makes your skin feel squeaky-clean is stripping out all the moisture, and that’s not a good thing.

3. Anything that makes your skin feel squeaky-clean is stripping out all the moisture, and that’s not a good thing. Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock
If you have dry or sensitive skin, wash with gentle or moisturizing cleanser, not soap.

4. If you’re a woman who’s losing her hair, apply some men’s Rogaine 5 percent minoxidil formula.

4. If you’re a woman who’s losing her hair, apply some men’s Rogaine 5 percent minoxidil formula.Polka Dot Images/Thinkstock
We recommend it off-label all the time. The women’s version is only 2 percent minoxidil.

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5. Try drugstore-brand anti-aging creams first.

5. Try drugstore-brand anti-aging creams first.iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Those from Olay, Neutrogena, and Aveeno have the same active ingredients and can be just as effective as products that cost four to ten times as much at department stores.

6. Please, please, throw away your magnifying mirror.

6. Please, please, throw away your magnifying mirror.iStockphoto/Thinkstock
It makes you want to pick and squeeze, which is the worst thing you can do. If you have acne, think of your face as a no-fly zone for your hands.

7. Young men don’t often come to see me.

7. Young men don’t often come to see me. iStockphoto/Thinkstock
So if I have an appointment with a younger guy, I bet that either A) a woman dragged him in, or B) he has something going on in his private area, usually genital warts or jock itch.

8. Yes, you do have to take off your underwear for the full-body skin exam.

8. Yes, you do have to take off your underwear for the full-body skin exam. iStockphoto/Thinkstock
And please don’t wear makeup or nail polish. I need to see every inch of your skin. I’ve found skin cancer underneath toenails, between toes, in armpits, and in other places where the sun doesn’t shine.

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9. Drinking eight glasses of water a day is not going to hydrate your skin, which is affected by your environment.

9. Drinking eight glasses of water a day is not going to hydrate your skin, which is affected by your environment. Hemera/Thinkstock
If you’re in the dry heat of Phoenix, you can drink water all day long and your skin will still be dry. If you’re in Hawaii, where it’s humid, your skin will be plumped up no matter how much water you drink.

10. A rigorous exercise regimen will make you fitter, but it won’t make you look younger.

10. A rigorous exercise regimen will make you fitter, but it won’t make you look younger.Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Thinner and more athletic people over age 40 have less fat under their skin and can look older than overweight people.

11. Got cracks between your toes?

11. Got cracks between your toes?George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock
People hate it when I tell them this, but it’s often caused by fungus. Over-the-counter creams will clear it up. Sprinkle antifungal powder into socks and shoes so your feet don’t get reinfected.

12. Yes, that could be poison ivy down there.

12. Yes, that could be poison ivy down there. iStockphoto/Thinkstock
To prevent allergic rashes in your genital area, wash your hands when you come in from the yard—before you go to the bathroom.

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13. Are razor bumps ruining your life?

13. Are razor bumps ruining your life? iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Shave either every day or never. Shaving every other day causes the most problems because the hairs get long enough to curl back in.

Sources: Kathy Fields, MD, a San Francisco dermatologist and cofounder of Rodan + Fields; Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego; Diane Madfes, MD, a dermatologist in New York City; and Jonathan Kantor, MD, a dermatologist in St. Augustine, Florida

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