6 Things Every Dermatologist Gets Asked Over And Over Again
Wouldn't you love to have a dermatologist in the family who you could ask "What the heck is this?" and drop trou anytime you see a suspicious spot? Since we're not all so lucky, we reached out to top derms to find out what they're most commonly asked by family and friends—or even random people they've just met—and what you need to know about keeping your skin healthy and youthful.
"Do I need Botox?"
While she won't answer in a group setting, Amy Wechsler, MD, a dermatologist and psychiatrist in New York City, says that in private she'll always be honest. "What they're really wondering is if they'll look frozen if they get Botox, and I always reassure them that they won't," she says. Another worry: If I start, will I be able to stop? Actually, she says, starting earlier prevents the collagen breakdown that etches lines into skin—so you'll need less as you go along.
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"What do you do to your face?"
People are naturally curious and the question inevitably gets asked. "I don't care if people know I've had Botox for 20 years already," says New York City dermatologist Doris Day, MD. "I am religious about exfoliating and get chemical peels. But I don't feel like I look 'done.' I have some lines and wrinkles, and I don't mind." (Check out these 10 new anti-aging procedures doctors swear by.)
"Is this cancer?"
Typically, someone will show them a spot on their back, leg, chest…you name it. "It's an awkward question," says Day. "Sometimes it's easy to answer because it's obviously not cancer. I tell them it's something different like seborrheic keratosis and reassure them not to worry," she explains. But she can't (and won't) diagnose someone with skin cancer on the fly. Your doctor uses special lighting, magnification, and instruments to evaluate skin cancers, so the only way to get an accurate diagnosis for a suspicious spot is to see your derm.
"What's the magic product I need to buy?"
It's not the latest product flecked with gold or a super tech-advanced cream—it's SPF. Beyond fancy products and pricey treatments, SPF is the most important factor in an anti-aging regimen. (And applying it every day is key.) "I strongly advocate for a physical-barrier sunscreen with zinc oxide," says Jessica Weiser, MD, a dermatologist with the New York Dermatology Group. "Prevention is crucial to maintaining youthful, radiant skin. I carry sunscreen and reapply throughout the day—rain or shine," she says. Weiser recommends Elta MD sunscreens to anyone who asks.
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"Okay, but what else do you use? There has to be a secret!"
Ava Shamban, MD, Beverly Hills dermatologist and author ofHeal Your Skin, isn't shy about her skin-care routine, and it's astoundingly simple: In addition to SPF, she applies an antioxidant-rich cream and a retinoid (such as Retin-A) every night. She also often recommends a simple moisturizer such as CeraVe Moisturizing Cream.
"Good skin is just genetic, right?"
Nope. All our derms agree: Great skin goes beyond genes (and for that matter, creams, too). Doing things that are good for your collagen, such as working out, having sex, and not smoking helps keep skin young, says Wechsler. And make sure to eat well. "Sugars, processed foods, saturated fats, and alcohol all contribute to skin aging by increasing dullness, speeding loss of elasticity, and accelerating collagen breakdown," adds Weiser. She recommends lots of green leafy vegetables, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and whole grains. (Check out these 8 foods for seriously pretty skin.) "What you do for your insides shows on your outsides," adds Shamban. "That means take your hands off the French fries."
Video: 6 Skincare Rules This Dermatologist ALWAYS Follows + Skin Smoothie recipe
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