20 Things Your Dermatologist Won't Tell You

Rule #1: Take a hands-off approach.

Whether you're 15 or 55, chances are there's something about your skin you'd like to change. When we're younger, acne tends to be our biggest complexion complaint, with 85 percent of individuals between ages 12 and 24 dealing with acne, and 43 percent still suffering from the condition in their 30s.

As we age, wrinkles tend to get the bulk of our attention. In fact, 7 million Botox injections were performed in American in 2016, in addition to 2.6 million fillers—which represents a significant jump from the previous year. However, despite the billions of dollars we're spending on skincare every year, there are some tried-and-true methods of healing our skin woes that we tend to overlook when trying to achieve a perfect complexion.

We've rounded up the secrets your dermatologist won't tell you about how to treat those skin issues plaguing you, all of which will help you look healthier, happier, and younger in no time. And when you want to make the most of your next office visit, push for the 9 Medical Tests You Should Always Demand from Your Doctor!

Acne Isn't the Result of Unclean Skin

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Despite the persistent rumors about what causes acne, it's not actually the result of your occasional pizza night or scoop of chocolate ice cream. A lack of washing your face probably isn't the culprit, either.

"Acne is not caused by dirty skin and typically foods like chocolate and pizza have no effect on acne," says Dr. Janet H. Prystowsky, MD, a Manhattan-based board-certified dermatologic surgeon and founder of Liviad Skincare. And when you want to take your skin-care regimen to the next level, start with the 20 Best Ways to Erase Wrinkles!

Sun Exposure is More Serious Than You Think

staying out of the sun keep wrinkles away

Basking in the sun will give you more than just a glow. In fact, it may be one of the major reasons you look older than you actually are.

"Tanning causes premature aging. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen if you are going to be exposed to sunlight for more than 10-15 minutes. This [even] applies to New York City; high altitude and warmer climates may require sunscreen at ALL times," says Prystowsky. And when you're ready to revolutionize your skincare routine, start with the 40 Ways to Guarantee Healthy Skin After 40!

And Sunshine Won't Cure Your Acne

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While you may notice a slight reduction in your blemishes after a day in the sun, you're only making your skin worse in the long run.

"[Sunlight] kills the Propionibacterium causing acne, [and] temporarily dries up your oil glands. This can improve acne for a short while, but the UV damage isn't worth it with so many other options available that don't cause skin cancer," says one dermatologist.

Stress is One of the Biggest Contributors to Skin Issues

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If your skin is acting up, try taking some time to de-stress before you shell out huge amounts of cash for skincare treatments. "Stress can cause hormonal alterations and alter the immune system. These changes can cause acne flare ups as well as eczema and psoriasis flare ups. Even alopecia (hair loss) can occur from stress," says Prystowsky. And while you're maintaining your look, here's the Haircut That Will Shave 10 Years Off Your Age. 

Leaving Makeup on When You Exercise is a Recipe for Bad Skin

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Think leaving makeup on when you hit the gym is no big deal? Think again. Not only does leaving makeup on put you at risk for blemishes, it can also interfere with your body's sweat production. "Makeup makes it harder to sweat properly because it clogs your sweat pores," explains Dr. Prystowsky. And for more skincare advice, Here's How Meghan Markle Keeps Her Skin Glowing. 

Cut the Protein Shakes for Better Skin

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Those protein shakes may be great for your gains, but they're doing no favors for your skin. "Foods or supplements that contain whey may aggravate acne," cautions Dr. Prystowsky. Luckily, the 6 Miracle Meals Top Doctors Eat are healthy, filling alternatives.

Some Sun Damage Can Be Healed

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While the best course of action is to avoid direct sunlight with protective clothing and sunscreen, you can heal some of the visible signs of sun damage. "The best treatment for sun damaged skin is vitamin A (retinyl palmitate, retinol or tretinoin) skin cream products," says Dr. Prystowsky. Luckily, you can get these with or without a prescription.

Picking at Your Skin Always Does More Harm Than Good

overnight, young woman

Dr. Pimple Popper is a pro at what she does. You are not. If you pick at your blemishes, all you're going to do is push bacteria deeper into your skin, and potentially scar yourself. "Messing with spots makes them more inflamed and ironically too much washing the face can irritate the skin further still," says one doctor.

Acne-Prone Skin Should Be Babied

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If you're treating your skin harshly to heal acne, you're likely compounding the problem. "Rubbing and scrubbing acne will make it worse. Try glycolic acid pads instead. Glycolic acid is also found in citrus fruits so it is a natural way to combat acne," recommends Prystowsky.

Supplements May Provide Some Skin Cancer Protection

Pill bottle

Skipping the sun is the best thing you can do to prevent against skin cancer. However, there are some supplements that may help lower your risk, as well. "Niacinamide and Heliocare are 2 supplements that will help decrease the damaging effects of the sun on your skin; this will translate into decreased skin cancer risk from sun exposure," says Prystowsky. And for more ways to keep your skin healthy from the inside out, add the 10 Supplements You Should Be Taking to your routine!

Unwashed Makeup Brushes Can Do Serious Harm

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Not washing your makeup brushes does more than put you at risk for blemishes. In fact, it could lead to an ugly, even fatal, infection. "It will increase your chances of infection as brushes may get contaminated with bacteria such as Staph," says Prystowsky, who recommends washing brushes at least once a week. Luckily, you can still reduce the time you spend at the sink and Simplify Your Life with These 20 Multitasking Beauty Products!

A Humidifier Might Be Your Healthy Skin Secret Weapon

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The same little machine you use to break up colds can work wonders for your skin, too. "Use a warm mist humidifier to help relax and rehydrate dry skin. Peppermint oil can add a nice relaxing scent as well," says Prystowsky.

Pore Strips Only Provide a Temporary Fix

Woman using pore strip

While your skin may look less congested after using a pore strip, don't count on it having any long-term effects. "Pore strips extract the clogging sebum from your pores, which will look better for a short period of time," says Prystowsky.

A Simple At-Home Treatment Can Fix Those Scaly Feet

bed skirt feet

If you dread sandal season, you're not alone. Luckily, you don't have to risk an infection having your heels pumiced at a salon to enjoy smooth skin on your feet. "If you have cracked heels, find a moisturizer with 12% ammonium lactate. It will exfoliate and soften dry, cracked heels," says Prystowsky.

Makeup Wipes Aren't a Substitute for Proper Face-Washing

Woman using makeup wipe

While using a makeup wipe can help you remove that mascara and foundation before a workout, it's hardly a substitute for proper skincare. If you want to keep your skin healthy, make sure to wash your face as well. However, if you can't wash your face, makeup wipes are better than nothing. "They can be helpful in a pinch if you do not have water available," says Prystowsky.

Before You Try Botox, Try Sleep

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If your skin is looking older than its chronological age, try adding some shut-eye to your routine before you start undergoing expensive procedures. Dr. Prystowsky says that a lack of sleep, lack of exercise, smoking, and sun exposure are the most common culprits behind sagging skin.

Those Serums May Not Be the Miracle Cure You're Hoping For

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While many people are willing to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars on serums, those topical treatments may not be as effective as you think. "Serums are targeted spot treatments, but generally aren't worth the hassle," says Dr. Prystowsky. "Stick with specialized moisturizers and save yourself the headache."

Before Buying Products for Dry Skin, Quit Drinking

healthier woman

Before you spend your entire paycheck on moisturizers to treat your dry skin, try cutting the cocktails for a few weeks. "Alcohol will tend to dehydrate your skin," says Prystowsky.

Don't DIY It

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While slathering guacamole on your face may be fun, it's unlikely to yield the results you were hoping for. "Ditch the DIY," recommends Prystowsky. "It's tempting to make your own beauty products at home, but more often than not, it's only going to cause trouble and set you back from your goals."

The Sooner You See a Dermatologist, the Better

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Just because you have healthy-looking skin doesn't mean you can skip the trips to the dermatologist. Dr. Prystowsky recommends that patients see her "Any time they have a skin problem, but for skin cancer screenings at least by age 25,  if not earlier." If you notice changes in your skin, make sure you make an appointment right away.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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