As a board certified dermatologist and psychiatrist, I see countless patients in my New York City practice asking how they can be more beautiful. Whether it's erasing lines and wrinkles or helping combat acne or other unwanted marks, women come in with a slew of questions and concerns, and it's my job to address them.
I have long been a believer in the mind-beauty connection, a belief that what is happening on the inside can impact what is happening on the outside, and vice versa. Keeping this in mind, I offer a holistic approach to treatment, and always share a few pieces of advice with any patient wanting to look and feel her best.
1. Be sure to get enough sleep.
Sleep is free cosmetic medicine, plain and simple. If you’re not able to get enough sleep, your hormonal cycles will be disrupted, leading to a haggard appearance, increased signs of visible aging, and mood or emotional problems. On top of it all, not getting enough sleep may also be impacting your weight.
Growth hormone, which is secreted during sleep, is a powerful player in your ability to maintain your weight, and without it your fat-to-muscle ratio can be thrown off. If catching zzz’s is challenging for you, turn your evening into a ritual. Soak in a warm bath, unplug from electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed, and keep your room cool and dark, free from any unwanted lights or distracting noises.
2. Eat smart.
For many women, losing a few pounds is a constant goal, but skipping meals to fit into your little black dress can lead to real problems. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level will help you regulate your mood, which can then help you control your level of perceived stress.
As we all know, stress can be an instant skin-ager, not to mention that when individuals feel overwhelmed, they're more likely to binge eat, which can lead to weight gain. Skip this by maintaining a healthy diet of leafy greens and other vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Your body and your mind (and probably your friends, too) will thank you.
3. Take a deep breath.
Feeling stressed? We all know that stress is one of the biggest skin-agers around. Combat this by trying your hand at Eastern practices such as yoga, tai chi, or Pilates. All of these have foundations in deep, controlled breathing, an exercise that has real beauty benefits. Your lymphatic system gets a boost from these deep breaths, helping it to deliver nutrients and collect cellular waste while destroying pathogens, including those that can downgrade your skin health. Not to mention that deep breathing immediately helps restore your body to a state of calm, allowing the stress of the day to fade away.
4. Indulge! (The healthy way, that is.)
One of the biggest stress-savers, not to mention beauty boosts, is spending a night in indulging in beauty treatments. Try a do-it-yourself approach by whipping up a face mask with ingredients found in your kitchen cabinets.
My personal favorite is a moisturizing honey mask, as the honey acts as a natural humectant, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and offering a more youthful looking face. Simply mix two tablespoons of honey with two teaspoons of whole milk. Warm slightly in the microwave and then smooth the mixture onto your face and relax for 10 minutes. Once complete, rinse off your face and enjoy the results.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you’re facing an issue like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, unwanted wrinkles or lines, possible skin cancer … (this list goes on and on), talk to your doctor. There's no reason you have to suffer in silence, and together you will find a treatment that works for you, leaving you feeling in control and confident. And really — what is more beautiful than that?