Skin care is incredibly tricky to figure out. It seems as if every minute there’s a new product out there promising to give you skin that’s softer than a baby’s ass, because that’s the goal, right? The “eternal beauty” overload has gotten so out of hand that our bathrooms have basically turned into our own personal Ultas, fully stocked with every serum, moisturizer, and anti-aging goop out there. But if anyone has discovered the true fountain of youth, hands down, it’s Martha Stewart. You know exactly what I’m talking about: it was the poolside selfie seen around the world. Her smooth skin and smouldering smize sent shockwaves through the nation and had everyone frantically googling her skincare routine. Stewart’s flawless thirst trap is proof that age is just a number, and that with the right skin care routine, you too can confidently take filter-free selfies by the pool. While there’s no need to go off and start slathering your face with 10 different serums at once, there are certain skin care steps that can help us achieve Martha Stewart’s smooth skin. To find out exactly what anti-aging tips we should all be following, I went straight to the source—Martha Stewart’s Dermatologist.
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My pool in East Hampton is the place to be on a 89 degree day! When I built the pool thirty years ago it was designed to be as chlorine free as possible, with a natural concrete finish-no paint- and it fit in a long narrow space between the house and the property line. I made it extra deep for diving and with no protruding steps so we could really race the length without worrying about obstacles. After all these years, It is a fun place to swim!!!
Engaging With Anti-Aging
Let’s kick this off with what everyone wants to know. How does Martha Stewart do it? According to Stewart’s go-to skin guy, private practice Dermatologist Dr. Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD FAAD at Hudson Dermatology and Laser Surgery, “She is the best!” No argument there. Besides great genetics, Dr. Bhanusali says, “She starts almost every morning with a CBD-based anti-inflammatory sheet mask that we custom made for her.” Dr. Bhanusali continues, “For daily serum, we made something that combined hydrating ingredients with those that can stimulate and maintain collagen, as well as antioxidants to fight against the sun’s UV rays.” And to finish it off, “We created a richer, CBD-infused night cream that calms the skin and helps restore it.” So apparently skin care can be as easy as
ABC CBD. Additionally, Dr. Bhanusali says, “Throughout the day, we made her a hydrating calming mist to keep the skin looking dewy.” Stewart is an absolute stunner, so it’s great to hear that her skin care regimen is totally achievable with the right guidance.
But at what age should you start getting serious about anti-aging? Dr. Bhanusali likes to think of it more as “skin optimization”. He recommends that, “Once you’re in your mid-twenties, I like to introduce a retinoid to help create the foundation of good collagen production. Into the 30s, I add in more antioxidants and maintenance lasering if needed.” Not to give you a panic attack or anything, but you’re older today than you were yesterday, that’s just a fact, so it’s not totally unbelievable to start thinking about preserving your skin. So where do you start? Dr. Bhanusali says, “I am super biased, but I can’t stress how important it is to see a board-certified Dermatologist. It’s no secret that there are lots of potions and devices out there that don’t do much.” You can actually end up saving yourself some money by seeing a specialist. Take facial rollers, for example: odds are the majority of you caved with the trend and invested in a jade roller or similar device. According to Dr. Bhanusali, they don’t really do enough to justify the price. Instead he says, “My favorite derm hack is to put a spoon in the fridge at night. Each morning, remove it and lightly press it under each eye and gently massage upwards on the cheeks for 2-3 minutes.” Costs nothing and depuffs just as well! Big spoon, little spoon, whatever your preference is, it’s a lot cheaper than spending your money on a fancy facial roller.
A Wrinkle In Time
Age before beauty? How about we follow Martha Stewart’s lead and blend the two. Beauty is timeless, and when you put as much love and care into your skin as you do when ordering a pizza at 3am, beautiful things can happen—like a large pizza and cheesy bread, or skin that’s better than any Instagram filter. Aging is a natural progression of life, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take measures to slow that process down. For instance, stop sleeping in your makeup. And if you don’t think that statement applies to you, then please stop lying about sleeping in your makeup. We all do it. It may not be every night, but we’ve all gone to brunch with makeup that was leftover from the night before, it happens. So on a scale of 1-10, how bad is it to sleep in your makeup? Dr. Bhanusali rules that, “As a one-off, maybe 2-3 out of 10. If it’s a habit, 10 out 10. It can lead to breakouts, oil buildup, and even collagen breakdown over time.” Do yourself a favor and leave your makeup wipes somewhere easily accessible after a long day or night out so you can let your skin rest when you do.
Moreso, if you take anything away from this, it should be that your mom was right about sunscreen. All those annoying times she made you cover up really were important. You should be constantly applying sunscreen, every day. As Dr. Bhanusali says, “Sunscreen should be the staple of the early years and beyond.” To get the most out of your sunscreen, you should be using a minimum of SPF 30. Dr. Bhanusali emphasizes, “More than literally anything in the world, it’s the simplest and most powerful intervention to not just protect against skin cancer, but also the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” Just. F*cking. Use it.
The Skin Care Setlist
So, what is the secret to the fountain of youth? While routines will ultimately vary between skin types and individual needs, there is a solution for everyone. Dr. Bhanusali recommends using a “Moisturizer with SPF 30, two types of cleansers [gentle for daily use and exfoliating for biweekly use], an antioxidant [use sparingly], and retinoids [to stimulate collagen] or bakuchiol [for sensitive skin].” It’s cool, we can pause here while you check your cabinets and update your shopping cart. All set? Let’s continue.
Now that you know what you need, it’s time to figure out what the hell to do with it all, besides the obvious: put it on your face. Dr. Bhanusali breaks it down. “In the morning: first cleanse, then antioxidant, and finish with moisturizer with SPF. At night: first cleanse, then retinoid/bakuchiol, and finish with calming cream if needed.” Dr. Bhanusali also adds that, “Throughout the day, I like hydrating mists or products with a touch of hyaluronic acid to keep skin feeling and looking fresh.”
Within our cleansing routine we should be alternating between gentle daily cleansers and exfoliators. You can’t really mess up with gentle cleansers, but exfoliating can require a bit more strategy. Dr. Bhanusali tells us that, “Most people over do it and it’s one of the more common causes of adult acne.” Yikes. He continues, “I like exfoliation 1-2x a week for drier skin, 2-4x a week for combo skin, and 4-6x a week for oily skin.” Choose your fighter and exfoliate with caution and care.
Now that we have our routines nailed down, it is important to note that occasionally we can all be guilty of doing too much. Skin care is not the time to be extra. Dr. Bhanusali notes that we should, “1,000%” be letting our skin breathe sometimes. In figuring out what works best for your skin, you should first determine what it does and doesn’t need. So yes, go for the once a week self-care day and do the clay mask, but like in any relationship, don’t forget to also give your skin some space and time to breathe. When in doubt just ask yourself, “What would Martha Stewart do?” In fact, apply that thinking to every aspect of your life and you’ll be set.
Images: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com; marthastewart48 / Instagram