A Minute With: Dr. Doris Day

A Minute With: Dr. Doris Day featured image

As one of the most preeminent skin care experts in the country, New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD has seen—and diagnosed—it all. Not only have you seen her throughout the pages of our magazine as one of NewBeauty’s most trusted experts, you’ve seen her on TV, heard her on talk shows and perhaps even read one of her books or columns. Below, the celebrity dermatologist reveals the top myths everyone should stop believing immediately, warns about the one beauty mistake no one should ever make and writes the ultimate prescription for flawless skin. 

NewBeauty: What’s a common skin care concern that people are too embarrassed to ask about? 
Dr. Day: Excessive sweating. I let people know that it’s actually incredibly common—and it’s so treatable. For excessive sweating, there’s a prescription antiperspirant called DrySol that is very effective. Many people also don’t know that you can use Botox, which has been life changing for controlling excessive sweating and is FDA approved for the underarms, hair, feet, groin and foreheads. Plus it could even be covered by insurance. 

NB: What’s a beauty trend you’ve seen over the course of your career that you wish would go away? 
Dr. Day: I think it’s a mistake to blindly jump on trends and just take what’s new and overdo it. For example, many people might read about a new filler being approved and they get it all over their face. Just because something has a good safety profile doesn’t mean it works for everyone. And the person who is doing the procedure is just as important—if not more important than the product. I always advise people not to get too excited and think it’s all safe. 

NB: What’s the most underrated product or procedure? 
Dr. Day: Sunscreen. The most underrated product is prevention. I once had a patient come in whose mom is an operating room nurse for a plastic surgeon and she was completely tan. Her mentality? If I have damage, someone will just laser it off for me. People think there’s a fix for everything, but it’s so much easier to prevent rather than fix it. 

NB: The craziest thing you’ve seen in your practice? 
Dr. Day: I’ve had patients come in after they’ve injected themselves with things like baby oil because they saw it in a YouTube video. They think it’s safe and that they’re saving money by cutting corners, but the truth is, DIY injectables can lead to death or permanent scarring and disfigurement. And even scarier, you might not know or see the effects of this until months or even years later. 

NB: The one anti-aging myth you wish everyone would stop believing? 
Dr. Day: That retinols thin your skin—they don’t. Conversely, they make the deeper layers of your skin thicker which leads to firmness, resilience and gives it that youthful quality. Where the misconception comes in is that retinol helps to normalize cell turnover, which means that skin cells mature—and slough off—more appropriately. So yes, there’s flaking at first and people think their skin is thinning, but it’s not. It’s just the outermost layer–which was too thick to begin with, causing their dull complexion—that’s coming off at a more appropriate pace. 

NB: Why is it so hard for women to achieve perfect skin? 
Dr. Day: Because there are so many elements that affect skin—everything from your diet to touching your face to pollution, makeup and weather just to name a few. Every time you get one thing right, something else throws it off and it’s hard to pay attention to all those factors. The good news is, we have so many new advances in technology and an understanding of skin cells and structure and the aging process. The important thing is that you have to start early. Skin aging starts in your 20s and you should be incorporating antioxidants into skin care that early on. But even if you haven’t, it’s never too late to start. 

NB: So what’s the foundation of youth? 
Dr. Day: Managing your stress. It manifests itself on your skin, whether it’s lines caused by furrowing your brows or pursing your lips or a dull complexion and acne caused by binge eating junk food. Don’t stress about growing older—it’s inevitable. There’s a difference between aging gracefully and aging helplessly. Eat a healthy diet, exercise, think happy thoughts, enjoy your life, and have sex. There’s skin care and fillers and peels and lasers that’ll take care of the rest of it.

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