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CLASS OF '84

The Dirty Little Secret About Bathing

Like to sing in the shower? Better substitute jingles for those arias—for your skin’s sake. Americans are "personal-hygiene maniacs," frets Dr. Barney Kenet CGS’84, a dermatological surgeon at New York Hospital/ Cornell University Medical Illustration by Rich LillashCenter and skin-care consultant to many celebrities. Kenet crusades against overcleansing—which can lead to a dry, itchy epidermis—and on behalf of common-sense skin care in How to Wash Your Face (Simon & Schuster), cowritten with his wife, Patricia Lawler. "Washing, shaving, moisturizing and even the mundane task of drying your skin," he argues, "have a significant impact on the way you look."
   
Kenet recommends, for example, that people reduce shower lengths to five minutes (women typically average 12), lower the water temperature and forgo bathing altogether at least one day a week. If the idea of abstinence makes you sweat, Kenet assures the reader that soap and a gentle washcloth taken to a few odor-prone spots will suffice between soaks. People over age 60 need to bathe only three times a week, he adds.
   
His book debunks a number of youth-promising products sold at cosmetic counters and delves into the ways that stress, allergies, nutrition and the environment can affect skin condition. One beauty product you can’t do without, Kenet says, is sunscreen. As founder and president of the American Melanoma Foundation, he extols the skin- and life-saving benefits of its daily use.


   
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Copyright 1999 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 10/28/99