13 Things Your Dermatologist Won’t Tell You

Updated: Mar. 01, 2019

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

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I can tell which way you sleep

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. Follow these skin care tips that dermatologists use on themselves.

face of young beautiful healthy woman looking in the mirror
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If you hit the pillow at night without washing, every single thing you came into contact with that day is on your skin

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.

Woman wakes from sleep and she was cleansing the morning before shower

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

If you have dry or sensitive skin, wash with gentle or moisturizing cleanser, not soap.

This is the first thing your dermatologist notices about you.

shampoo conditioner

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

We recommend it off-label all the time. The women’s version is only 2 percent minoxidil.

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Try drugstore-brand anti-aging creams first

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. Don’t miss the worst skin care advice dermatologists have ever heard.

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Please, please, throw away your magnifying mirror

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.

doctor talking to her male patient at office
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Young men don’t often come to see me

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. Watch out for these signs that you need to see your dermatologist STAT.

Dermatologist examines a birthmark of patient, close up
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Yes, you do have to take off your underwear for the full-body skin exam

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

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. Try these dermatologist secrets to looking younger.


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

Thinner and more athletic people over age 40 have less fat under their skin and can look older than overweight people.

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Got cracks between your toes?

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. Make sure you start these smart habits that dermatologists do every spring.

Woman in a bathrobe is washing hands.
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Yes, that could be poison ivy down there

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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Are razor bumps ruining your life?

Shave either every day or never. Shaving every other day causes the most problems because the hairs get long enough to curl back in. You’ll want to check out the ways you’re probably shaving your legs wrong.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest