February 1, 2023

Skimm’d while deciding whether to HIIT it or quit it

Putting your health first shouldn’t be hard. Skimm Well is here to break down the latest in health and answer your burning wellness questions with science-backed insight from experts. Tell us what you need by submitting a question here.

quote of the week

"I want a generation of people that are saying, 'We birthed on our own terms, with our own voices.'"

- Black doula Eve Akins on improving maternal health care for Black women. That’s work worth celebrating this (and every) month.

we have to talk about…

Woman receives botox treatment
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Getty Images

The cost of not aging

We still haven’t found the fountain of youth, but the US spends *billions* each year searching for it. The growing anti-aging market has 20-somethings splurging on “Baby Botox” and teens using their babysitting money to avoid wrinkles. While the ultrarich funnel money toward research and experimental procedures — including one man who spends a cool $2 million a year hoping to attain the body of an 18-year-old (he’s 45).

What have we got against aging?

The more birthdays you have, the closer you may feel to death. Understandably scary. Aging also brings a potentially higher risk for chronic diseases and can make you feel less relevant to society. In part because of ageism, but also because places like the US and UK don’t revere the elderly like they do in, say, China or Korea. One UK report found millennials had the most negative view of getting old, with nearly a quarter saying it was “normal” to be unhappy and depressed in old age. Not exactly a surprising view from a culture that celebrates people on “30 Under 30” lists and considers it a compliment to say a woman 'looks good for her age.'

What’re some ways to accept getting older?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting smoother skin or a “radiant glow,” and some aesthetic procedures can boost your self-esteem. But they’ll cost you. There’s also nothing inherently unhealthy about letting your face form lines from a lifetime of laughing and brow-furrowing.

Loneliness and depression among the elderly are real concerns, so what does help with healthy aging? The key could be to embrace the process. A recent study found those most comfortable with aging had a lower risk of certain chronic conditions and death. Also good for longevity: incorporating movement into your daily life and fostering close bonds with friends and family.


Aging is a part of being alive. So you literally can’t stop it. While societal expectations may pressure you to have a more “youthful” appearance, remember that how you look on the outside doesn’t reflect your value within your family and community. And know that with age tends to come an increase in happiness.

and also...this

Who wants to rein in the CBD industry...

The FDA. The agency is seeking more authority from Congress to regulate the CBD market after concluding the products pose potential health risks. The FDA wants to get the vast and disorganized market under control by clearing up misleading labels, unreliable dosages, and contaminated formulations. Safety? Dope.

What might have been overhyped…

Oxytocin. The so-called “love hormone” has long been billed as the essential ingredient for forging romantic and familial bonds. But a new study has found that prairie voles — monogamous, cuddly rodents that have been a keystone in research on the topic — can find and maintain lifelong romances without oxytocin. The study upends decades of research and suggests other ingredients go into the recipe for love. Still waiting on the updated list. 

Who’s going to be closing early…

Some major pharmacy chains. Walmart and CVS announced that starting in the spring, many of their pharmacies will limit working hours in response to staffing issues (burnout throughout health care probably hasn’t helped, either). But while they cut back, Amazon Pharmacy is cutting in.

What we’re savoring before bed… 

Positive memories.

ask an expert

Woman looking at face in mirror

What are the best ways to treat hormonal acne?

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nazanin Saedi says: 

There are two main ways to treat hormonal acne. One is to get on birth control, which helps regulate your hormones. And then I like giving patients spironolactone. It can help prevent breakouts in areas like the chin, where women tend to get hormonal acne, because its androgen-blocking abilities treat the root cause. Dermatologists give it out like Pez.

[Note: You’ll need a prescription from a dermatologist for spironolactone and most other hormonal acne treatments, so be sure to ask about the drug’s potential health risks.

This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

well, actually

Woman holds pack of hormonal contraceptive birth control

We’re here to fact-check health trends, wellness assumptions, and myths. Such as:

“Birth control can change your sexual orientation.”

Well, actually, the “causes” of sexual orientation are more complicated. 

Maybe you’ve heard about the woman who said she became a lesbian after getting off the pill, or about the other women who said their sexual preferences changed post-birth control. Anecdotes aren’t data, but these stories seem to “accept the narrative that you can be reduced down to your hormones,” said OB-GYN Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz

What we know: The pill can dampen sexual desire overall. And some studies on straight women suggest those who weren’t on the pill had a stronger preference for masculine partners when they were ovulating, while women on the pill (who don’t typically ovulate) didn’t. These studies didn’t look at whether sexual orientation changed after going off the pill, and they were all small. 

Sexual orientation is fluid. When talking about whether the pill can change it, Dr. Gilberg-Lenz wondered, is it actually the pill “or are they coming out because the culture didn’t allow them to [before]?”

Subscribe to Skimm Well

Sign up here to receive our wellness newsletter filled with actionable advice, expert-vetted content, product recs, and more — delivered directly to your inbox.