The Secret To Looking Young From A Dermatologist

Grace Miller* is a 76 year-old woman who came to see me for a skin screening exam. I knew her age and history because I perused her electronic medical record at my desk before I met her. She was a midwestern girl who came to San Diego years ago with her husband, who was in the Navy, and decided to stay rather than fight another Chicago winter. He has since passed-away and she now lived alone in the house they built overlooking the Pacific.

She had sandy-brown hair and sparkling blue eyes and wore a beautiful gold sweater and stone necklace. Dangle earrings sparkled under the exam lights. Her appearance belied her age — she looked 20 years younger than 76.

She had a few crows feet around her eyes and lines around her mouth. Her eyelids were slightly overhanging and her neck had soft wrinkles. Her jewerly and designer bag suggested that she had the means to live comfortably. She laughed when I asked her what her secret was to looking young. “I’ve used Oil of Olay for as long as I can remember,” she admitted, but that was all. As I examined her, she thought aloud about my question:

She avoided excess sun, but never wore sunscreen.

She never smoked.

She walks regularly, but does not adhere to any prescribed diet.

She has never used antioxidant, antiaging, or antiwrinkle creams.

She has never had Botox.

And she looked fabulous.

“The secret,” she replied after thinking it through, “I guess it’s not wasting a lot money trying to look young, but spending plenty of money to look beautiful.” I’ve got to write that down, I thought.

No antioxidant cream, low glycemic diet, sunscreen, or cosmetic procedure will stop you from aging. Anti-aging, aging backwards, age-defying, and age reversal are unreal concepts and false promises made up in board rooms on Madison Avenue.

Do you want to know the secret to looking young? Walk away from the antioxidant cream counter and walk into the shoe section. If you want to look young, then be beautiful — it is a much better use of your money.

*Grace Miller is not her real name.

**I received no free women’s shoes to write this post.

Photo: Litmuse (flickr)

28 thoughts on “The Secret To Looking Young From A Dermatologist”

  1. What a great post!

    Grace reminds me of my grandmother!

    It is all about feeling beautiful and loving your self everyday and every moment.

    Finally a doctor prescribing shoes!

  2. “Anti-aging, aging backwards, age-defying, and age reversal are unreal concepts and false promises made up in board rooms on Madison Avenue.” You’re wrong “anti aging” is real. The venerable science called biogerontology has existed for almost a century and renown scientists have been publishing work on how to slow (or even reverse) aging in high-impact journals for decades (e.g. research on calorie restriction, the hyped resveratrol or recently rapamycin published by the likes of Nature & Science).

    This statement is not only absolutely wrong, it’s also highly insulting to all of us, scientists and laymen, who are serious about healthy life extension.

  3. @kismet Thank you for your comments. Biogerontology is a real science. More science is needed to mitigate the ill-effects of aging, to prolong life, to promote aging healthfully, and to maintain physical and mental health for as long as possible.

    It’s an insult to biogerontology to couch the innumerable ineffectual products labeled as age-reversing, anti-aging, or age-defying in the same category as real science like caloric restriction.

    Anti-aging is a ubiquitous claim that sells products but does little or nothing to improve people’s lives. I advise people to eat well, exercise, and spend money on looking great rather than on expensive creams or silly procedures.

    Prolonging life is not anti-aging; rather, it is pro-aging. Nothing in the cosmetic counter will help you live a longer, healthier life.

    People who look young are people who look beautiful. Live the healthiest life you can and wear great shoes.

  4. Looking young comes from within, if you feel young and happy then it reflects on your physical appearance

  5. junecutie says:

    Love makes you beautiful. Love keeps you young. Love yourself with all your flaws because they are what make you special, and you ARE special. Love someone else almost as much as you love yourself and sometimes more, depending on what they need. Adopt a pet. Spend time every day talking to your pet and taking as good care of them as you can manage. Your pet will think you are perfect and show you every day how they feel. Pray and or meditate every day. Your relationship with your higher power will get you through a lot of rough spots. None of these things come from a cosmetics counter or lab. You can spend your money on products, if that makes you happy. But you will be happier finding other ways to indulge yourself.

  6. I love Beauty with Brains, it’s so important that there are women out there who are taking and intelligent approach to all the crazy hype that is portrayed by the media.

    It’s interesting to see what keeps a mature woman looking good. I always admire these women and I think its to do with a grace and dignity that comes with their style, there is nothing more aging than desperation… to stay young, stay famous,stay rich… whatever .

    I saw the musical Nine last night and Sophia Loren has certainly got that mature glamour that is timeless.

    The truth is genetics play a lot, but perhaps not as much as a mother who starts you off on a good regime from a young age… I was lucky.

    Top tips from my mother… never leave my make up on overnight, eat well, drink lots of water, always dress 5 years younger than your age.

    I totally agree with the comments about inner beauty, relationship with a higher power, spirit of the universe, nature… whatever you believe in really helps. My cats bring me so much joy. Also meditation promotes calm… keeps frown lines at bay.

    Top tips
    Buy the best creams you can afford
    Research the ingredients
    Don’t sunbath, but do enjoy the sunshine (with a hat on if possible) as it can really fight off depression …. SPF every day (both UVA and UVB) even winter, at least SPF 15
    Fake tan
    Exercise – not just loosing weight, but the chemical rush of endorphins really help give someone a youthful energy. The guy who invented Pilates said “ you are as young as you are flexible!”
    As you get older wear less make up
    Dancing… everyone looks young when they dance
    5 veg a day, lots of water
    Never give up learning, an active mind is a young mind. Knowledge is power.
    Get as much sleep as you can, 8-10 hours, stress and lack of sleep makes skin worse

    These are my tactics anyway, looking forward to hearing some more from you beautiful things xxx

  7. @dita
    Dear dita i love tips from my mom: never leave make up on overnight, eat well, drink lots of water, always dress 5 years younger than your age!! and that one: Research cream’s and food ingredients. i always tell to my patients: if you do not know or cannot read the ingredient on the label, do not buy it!!

  8. True beauty originates from within–watch it emenate from any smiling woman’s face, no matter the age, and you will find beauty.

    Yep, beauty within, lots of water, and lots of sleep. For us guys too.

    Great post. Enjoy the day.

  9. @ Veronica— Most of us are not cosmetic chemists or dermatologists. Many do not know what, say, tretinoin or even zinc oxide are–which are my two secrets–plus titanium dioxide, for looking, I am told, under 40, instead of 50.

    Finally, not being underweight helps, too. A little natural subcutaneous fat is an older woman’s friend.

  10. Annette Hatton says:

    In the opening blog there is a statement, “Anti-aging, aging backwards, age-defying, and age reversal are unreal concepts and false promises made up in board rooms on Madison Avenue,” that I would like to challenge as now obsolete. The weekend of 23 January 2010 a new line of products was launched by the company I represent that slows-down, stops and reverses the signs of aging and the aging process on the genetic level.

    This company is taking the science of anti-aging to a completely new level by studying the genetic origins of how and why we age. Developed in collaboration with leading scientists, this product line is based on the discovery of internal sources of aging that contribute to an aging appearance, age-related super markers. The products target these super markers, which are the ultimate sources of aging that can influence how we age.

    Based on this discovery, the company is further able to identify critical super markers called youth gene clusters, which are functional groups of genes that regulate how we appear to age. Our product’s proprietary science understands how to reset these youth gene clusters to their youthful patterns of activity. This revolutionary discovery is based upon the company’s exclusive collaborations with lading scientists around the globe, millions of dollars in development and years of combined anti-aging and genetic research.

    It will work one hundred percent of the time on one hundred percent of the people who use the product.

    For more information and proof of the above statements, contact me… and I will be happy to give you links to the company’s website.

  11. Lisa Radist says:

    No wonder I love shoes so much! Great post!

  12. If you wish to be beautiful, be happy, do what makes you happy, and have people and things surrounding you that make you happy. It is the joy inside yourself that enables you to give genuine appreciation for people and have authentic gratitude for what you have – and that appreciation and gratitude never, ever gets old.

  13. Just found your blog through Food Blogga (that I subscribe to).

    First thing that called my attention to this particular post, is that I have a small photo of Audrey Hepburn on my bench in the lab, just as inspiration… 🙂 I do find her one of the most beautiful women ever to walk our planet.

    Your article is perfect, in my opinion. I will turn 50 in a couple of weeks, and follow pretty much all your suggestions, including 5-6 days of exercise per week (I am a runner and P90X-addict 😉

    I forwarded your article to a bunch of friends, and will be following your blog. (I do have a food blog myself, but it’s a baby blog still, only a few months old)

  14. Thank you, I appreciate your taking time to comment and the compliments. All the best, -JB

    PS- P90X rocks.

  15. Im 32 and am regularl mistaken from anywhere from 18 to 27 but not a day more. I do all the same things and am a Midwestern girl myself.

    I get asked often how I look this way. I laugh and say “stress and lack of sunlight” or something equally glib, but the truth is, I:

    * Don’t smoke
    * Avoid excess sun but hate sunscreen (makes me break out)
    * Don’t diet but get moderate exercise
    * Don’t belive all the anti-aging hype. I’ll take an at-home facial mask whipped up in the kitchen any day over some hoity-toity colagen filler.

  16. Great Read. To look young you have to feel it within. Apart from that, drink 10-12 glasses of water in a day, walk for at least 45 minutes, massage face with an almond oil before going to bed. This works.

  17. I always say; “Red wine, sex and sleep make you look young”.

  18. Hey all

    To get a discount on Nu skin products just become a Nu Skin distributor, and you can purchase all the Nu Skin products at wholesale, saving 30%.

    Go to nuskin’s website. Choose country. Click “sign up” then “individual” and in the sponsor distributor Id write: IL1148187 – Fill in the form and save up to 30% on all the products.

    Usually there’s a $25 fee to become a distributor, but if you make a purchase it’s free –

    If you just want to purchase NuSkin wonderful products and not to become a distributor, just use this ID number – IL1148187 – to order.

    Enjoy and have a young life,


  19. What great and honest advice:

    No antioxidant cream, low glycemic diet, sunscreen, or cosmetic
    procedure will stop you from aging. Anti-aging, aging backwards, age-
    defying, and age reversal are unreal concepts and false promises made
    up in board rooms on Madison Avenue.

    And I should know – I used to work on Madison Avenue myself.

    My latest novel (_Cream_, 2011, iUniverse) is a nasty, funny, biting social satire, an expose of just this topic. Here’s the blurb straight from Amazon:

    What if you invented a skincare cream that made people younger? Not just look younger, but feel, think, and act younger, too? What if it became wildly popular?

    And what if it worked just a little too well?

    A 20-year-veteran of marketing and advertising by day, author Dave Dumanis (The Pink and White Bunnyrabbit Story, Alphabetical Disorder) “gives back” in this modern-day fountain of youth story gone horribly wrong.

    You can grab the book from Amazon at the link above. (Sorry for the oneetime plug.) Here it is again:

  20. I really enjoyed reading this blog. A few comments were left, where the individuals wrote that looking young comes from within. I completely agree with them, but in different terms. Many times for a women or a men to look young on the outside, depends on what they put into their bodies. I think that natural supplements and healthy foods are a key ingredient for looking young. There are many supplements and products out there that companies just want to make a lot of money and don’t really care if their product helps or not. I do believe that there are a few companies that really care about the consumer and want to help them feel and look younger.

  21. This is AUDREY HEPBURN!

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