It all started with a selfie. Well, there have been many, but there was *one* that started it all. It came in the middle of the pandemic, at a time when everyone's skin seemed to be in total disarray—all but Martha Stewart's, apparently. Live from her East Hampton pool, Stewart posted a pouty selfie to her feed and broke the internet in one fell swoop, leaving the masses to garble over what it takes to achieve such an unimpeachable glow at 79 years. My immediate reaction was to reach out to Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD, FAAD, Martha Stewart's dermatologist (as well as mine!) to get the full download. The tips he gave me then have lived in my mind rent-free ever since.
While Bhanusali's skincare philosophy is simple—use the right core ingredients over time, and you'll be on your way to keeping that fountain-of-youth-esque glow—he still reminds his patients that aging is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it's a wonderful privilege that all should gleefully embrace while keeping all the necessary tools in their kits to protect their skin for years to come.
For the dermatologist skincare tips and tricks that he prescribes (and that Stewart lives by), read on.
Rule #1: Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen
According to a study by the Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 80% of facial aging—including loss of skin elasticity, irregular pigmentation, and deep wrinkling—is attributed to sun exposure. Sunscreen with the right SPF can cut down on this at length. "Martha has been religious about sunscreen since she was super young, and more than anything, it's the number one reason she is aging gracefully," says Bhanusali.
As far as the products that he swears by, he says, "Sunscreen truly varies from person to person. I've seen that some patients love one product while others don't like it at all. My general rule is to try a few, and the one you'll use [the most] is the one I am happiest with. Some personal ones I like are the Supergoop! Unseen ($17), Elta MD's line, and the SkinBetter Stick ($55)." What's important as you shop is to keep an eye on SPF. Bhanusali advises his patients to use "minimum SPF 30 if day-to-day and 50 if heading to the beach!"
Rule #2: Focus on Restoring, Not Exfoliating
When putting together your skincare routine, "focus on calming and restoring instead of stripping and exfoliating," says Bhanusali. "Martha focuses on calming ingredients and moisturizers. She isn’t a big fan of harsh acids or anything that can disrupt. Instead, she uses more soothing and hydrating ingredients like CBD, hyaluronic acid, and squalane. One of the [main] issues I see in the office [is] people over-exfoliating and causing more harm than good." For cleanser, try AmorePacific's green tea–infused enzyme cleanser. Then, follow it with The Nue Co.'s barrier-restoring moisturizer, which features all-star ingredients like squalane and niacinamide.
Rule #3: Don't Forget Your Hands
"Martha is also religious about keeping her hands covered with sunscreen and always hydrated," says Bhanusali. "Hands are one of the big giveaways of aging, and protecting them is key." For daytime, break out Paula's Choice's face and body sunscreen ($17), which is sweat resistant and offers UVA and UVB protection. Grown Alchemist's hand cream ($27) will do the trick at nighttime, which features another ingredient on Bhanusali's hero list: argan extract.
Rule #4: Give Masking a Try
"Masking is great for your skin and also your wellness," Bhanusali says. "Martha is famous for using hydrating sheet masks daily (she uses a CBD one), especially before filming." As far as when, where, and how to get into sheet-masking, Bhanusali suggests taking "10 to 15 minutes each morning to prep the skin for a day or work." Apart from helping cool and restore the skin barrier, masking "will also give the user a chance for some peace and quiet before the pace picks up for the day." Lancôme's Génifique masks are packed with vitamin C, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, but for those looking for a CBD-based face mask like Stewart's, Māsk's box set is sure to soothe you.
Rule #5: Age Is Just a Number
"Martha, more than anyone on earth, is ageless," Bhanusali says, but not just because of her glowing complexion. "She has more energy than any teenager I know. Sometimes, people fixate on a number, and my biggest advice [is] take care of your mind and body, give yourself grace, and always remember age is just a number and by no means defines you."