Good Skin Secrets Only Friends of Dermatologists Know

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

In a perfect world, we'd have a dermatologist at our beck and call 24/7 and preferably within walking distance for emergency pre-date extractions. (But, seriously, is there any app for that? If not, there definitely should be.) In the meantime, however, and while the Apple gods get to work on that, we stumbled upon this article from Harper's Bazaar, which struck a similar curiosity cord: what it would be like to have a dermatologist as part of our inner friend circle. The skin-saving hook? The publication asked Doris Day (a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Centers) to spill all the derm-approved deets she recommends to her closest friends. Juicy, eh? While some of her suggestions were honestly predictable— ahem, sunscreen is the word, folks—but some were less expected.

1. Take Beauty Sleep Seriously

To be honest, we were kind of surprised by this one since word on whether or not the all-too-common phrase is slightly murky. Is "beauty" sleep actually a thing? Experts debate the matter. That being said, Day seems to fall in the camp that supports ample hours of shut-eye as a successful skin assistant.

Her mantra? Getting at least eight hours of sleep translates to giving tired skin the time it craves to rest and recharge. Day explains that stress hormones like cortisol plummet at night while growth hormones simultaneously rise— creating the perfect breeding ground for the cellular repair that makes our skin look clear and glowy. (Just make sure you wipe your day and makeup off before hitting the sheets!)

2. Break Your Fast After 14 Hours

Here's an unexpected bit of news. When you do or don't eat (and how long you fast while you sleep between dinner and breakfast) could actually make a huge difference in regard to the health of your skin.

"I'm a big fan of intermittent fasting," says Day. "That means a 14-hours-a- day fast—eight hours as you're sleeping at night and then two to three hours on either side of that. It helps regulate metabolism and energy even more than sleep, and that allows the skin to repair itself."

According to Day, glow benefits could include a firmer, more hydrated and resilient complexion.

3. Soak Yourself in Sunscreen

All right, you knew this was coming! Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. We know it's important, but as Day explains, we're probably still not heavy-handed enough with our application. Whoops.

Use a dime-size amount of sunscreen for your neck and chest. Do it twice as layering is key in applying the correct amount of SPF.

Also, don't forget the sides of your face, as Day says people often remember their nose and upper lip but then neglect the outer corners around the hairline and peripheries. (Oh, she also tells her friends to wear gloves while they're driving behind the wheel!)

4. Eat All the Antioxidants

How many times have we heard we are what we eat? Well, in this week's news, dermatologists are joining the band of nutritionists who have told us time and time again to load up on antioxidant-rich fares (think berries and veggies aplenty—eat the rainbow!) in the name of a naturally radiant complexion.

"They're so powerful from an anti-aging perspective when ingested and applied to your skin," Day explains. "Antioxidants help your skin defend itself from insult —from UV rays, from pollution, from stress, and from the bad sugars you end up eating anyway."

Additionally, Day recommends considering an extra supplement. She likes any high-quality pick that contains the specific antioxidant resveratrol. (And no, an extra glass of wine doesn't count!)

5. Decrease Sugar Intake

In the same vein, cutting down on sugar, which, yes, you've likely heard before in the name of a breakout-free face, could be key for warding off early signs of aging. Luckily, unrefined sources of sugar like the aforementioned fruit is still fair game—it's the processed and non-naturally occurring forms your complexion desires you to steer clear of.

"Sugar is inflammatory, and inflammation causes you to age faster. It causes a hardening of the skin, wrinkles, and a look of sallowness or blotchiness," Day confirmed to the publication. "Your skin just looks stressed and tired when you're eating a diet that includes simple sugars and highly processed foods." Now, does that mean we'll cut out some of our favorite sugar-containing treats entirely? Heck no. Does it provide some food for face, though? You bet.

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