Why some aspects of our body’s largest organ still remain a mystery

By Jené Luciani
May 16, 2012

It's our body's largest organ yet there is still so much we don't know about our skin! From preventing wrinkles to the benefits of facial massage, we went to anti-aging expert Dr. Aaron Tabor to get the scoop on 10 things you don't know about your skin–but should!

"Your skin reflects your overall health," Dr. Tabor says, "so the best thing to remember is to eat a healthy diet and avoid junk food, do not smoke, exercise regularly, and drink plenty of water. It is also important to read the ingredients on all skincare products and avoid any that contain "Glycols" or "PEGS," as they contain harmful chemicals."

Since May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it's the perfect time to start thinking about preventing future damage to your outer later. Read on for more of Dr. Tabor's tips!

Decode Botanicals


Botanicals, or a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavor, and/or scents, can be very useful in skincare products.

"Botanicals that contain beta-carotene can actually improve skin quality," Dr. Tabor says. "Keep in mind that products that contain botanicals should have a color or hue to them, as botanicals have a natural color. If the product you're using claims to have botanicals in it and it is white in color, you should ditch it. The only way skincare products can be white in color is through chemicals."

Rub Away the Years


Massage is beneficial for more than just our backs. "A facial massage helps stimulate fibroblasts (or cells) in the skin to release collagen and restore elasticity that's lost as we age." Many facials offer massage techniques as part of the treatment.

You're Never Too Young


Did you know that your skin is already aging by your early 20s? "Do not wait until you're over 40 years old to use advanced, super-strength products-start right now," Dr. Tabor says. "A 20 year old loses collagen in her face at the same rate as a 40 year old. By using full-strength products right away, you can help delay collagen loss and other signs of aging."

Hands First, Face Second


Think your makeup brush gets dirty? Our hands are carrying around billions of bacteria at any given time-that inevitably gets transferred onto our faces.

"Never put on makeup, use skincare products, or even touch your face until you have thoroughly washed your hands," Dr. Tabor says. "Bacteria are the number one culprit in skin breakouts and, despite what people think, most of the germs that reach your face do not come from the air-they come from your own two hands."

Open Pores are Preferred


Closed pores means less absorption of product. "For maximum benefit, preface your nighttime skincare regimen by opening your pores. The best way to do this is to take a wash cloth or hand towel, soak it in hot water, and then let it rest on your face for a few moments," Dr. Tabor says. Then, apply your nighttime serums and moisturizers.

Your Face is Shrinking


"As we age, we lose bone mass, including the bones in our face. That's right, medical studies show that your face really does shrink as you age!"

Dr. Tabor suggests taking calcium supplements to support facial structure. "The more you can delay osteoporosis by taking calcium, the better," he says. This is the best way to prevent the appearance of skin ‘hanging off' the face.

The Most Important Skincare Products You're Not Using


Vitamins do a body good-in more ways than one. "One of the most important skincare products every woman should have is a high-quality vitamin. After all, your skin reflects how well you are nourished. As you age, make sure your vitamin regimen includes antioxidants and omega-3 oils," Dr. Tabor says.

The Flabby Face Workout?


While facial exercises may sound silly, "it's important to remember that your face has muscles, and toned muscles will always look better than flabby muscles," the doctor says. It's one more reason to smile a more often!

Moisturize More. And More


If you think you've moisturized enough, slather on some more! "Moisturize more than you think you need to. It's best to apply while the skin is still damp so the product can help trap some of the surface moisture into your skin. And, while you're at it, moisturize inside out by staying hydrated. In other words, drink lots of water!" Dr. Tabor says.

Not Just an Old Wives Tale


Putting cucumbers on eyes may sound like an old wives tale, but it's medically proven to work. "Cold cucumbers on puffy eyes really do soothe and reduce swelling. In fact, many high-priced eye products contain extracts that are chemically related to cucumbers," Dr. Tabor says. So head to that fridge and start slicing!