By now, you’re probably pretty familiar with classic dermatologist advice: Wear sunscreen daily, cleanse and moisturize your skin, and don’t pick that zit! But increasingly, specialists from other areas of medicine are bringing their unique, science-informed perspectives to the world of skincare. From gastroenterology to gynecology, here’s what other experts can teach you about your skin.What a gastroenterologist knows:Your digestive tract protects skin. Probiotics are rich in the proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates that stabilize the skin’s immune system and help protect against environmental aggressors, says New York gastroenterologist Roshini Raj, who co-founded the Tula skincare line that uses probiotic technology. “Topical use of probiotics has been shown to stimulate skin’s protective mechanism, balance ‘good’ bacteria in skin, guard against UV damage and improve elasticity and collagen production,” she explains. To get your probiotics internally too, eat fermented foods like kefir, kimchi and miso, or try the dairy-free, vegan and kosher GoodBelly probiotic, Dr. Raj recommends.What a gynecologist knows:Hormones age skin. Estrogen peaks in our 20s and then slowly declines over the next few decades, causing every woman to age hormonally with texture and clarity changes. “Declining estrogen results in loss of collagen in our skin and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” explains gynecologist Rebecca Booth, a co-founder of VENeffect skincare that implements natural plant-phytoestrogens to improve elasticity in skin. Ingredients are inspired from the reproductive vitality of plants. By stabilizing levels, Dr. Booth says the healthy glow of skin at peak hormonal balance can be restored and preserved.
What a psychiatrist knows:Stress makes skin more sensitive. Feeling unnerved by your morning commute or that argument with your beau? The ensuing release of the “stress hormones” known as cortisol and adrenaline in your body are intended to help prepare vital organs as you flee from danger. “But in doing so, these hormones end up diverting blood away from your skin…over the long term, your skin can become more permeable and sensitive to factors like weather and makeup,” says psychiatrist Josie Howard, a consulting doctor to Simple Skincare that makes a range of wipes, cleansers, moisturizers and eye creams gentle enough for even stressed, sensitized skin.
What an internist knows:Genetics determine if you’re a wrinkler or a sagger. Austin internist Ruthie Harper uses a cheek swab DNA test to study your SNIPS (single-nucleotide polymorphisms), which are 15 genetic markers that reveal skin’s predisposition to age in five categories: collagen formation, sun and antioxidant protection, glycation and inflammation control. Results can help you learn whether your skin will do things like sun spot, wrinkle, sag or encounter rosacea with age. (A less scientific but no-cost alternative? Look at your parents!) “You can then focus your anti-aging approach to treat what you’re predisposed to—and ideally, you can start doing it preventatively,” says Dr. Harper, who founded the SkinShift line of anti-aging products that address the above top concerns.