Health Series 101: Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen
Although no one wants to equate balmy days at the beach with the threat of disease, recent statistics show exercising some caution before venturing under the sun is worth considering. Skin cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers and makes up nearly 50 percent of all U.S. cancer diagnoses, according to the American Cancer Society www.cancer.org
Don’t panic or get rid of your swimsuit and snorkeling gear just yet, however. In honor of the month and the highly anticipated onset of summer, we spoke with two of our favorite board-certified dermatologists—Dr. Jerome Obed from Broward Dermatology in Miami, Fla. and Dr. Emily Rubenstein from Advanced Dermatology in Lincolnshire, Ill.—to glean some tips to keep your skin healthy and beautiful all year long.
“I recommend a daily skincare regimen, whether simple or complex,” Dr. Obed said. “Since even one instance of sunburn is enough to cause long-term damage, using sunscreen everyday is a critical component to any good skincare routine.”
Dr. Obed’s Tips and Steps for Skin Screening
1. Apply sunscreen or a facial moisturizer with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 each morning after washing your face. Remember to slather sunscreen on other exposed areas of skin everyday as well, regardless of the season. Even chronic exposure to the UV rays emitted from fluorescent lights can be unhealthy.
2. As sun damage is an oxidative process that releases free radicals, eat foods rich in anti-oxidants and use anti-oxidant laden products topically, especially ones infused with vitamins A, E and C. When used in conjunction with sunscreen, a Heliocare supplement—available at most major drugstores—may offer further protection from UV ray damage.
3. Do not smoke and avoid tanning. “There’s no such thing as a healthy tan,” Dr. Obed warned.
4. If concerned about the visible effects of aging, smooth on a retinol nighttime cream rich in vitamin A to your face as part of your evening skincare regiment. When applied topically, vitamin A (retinol palmitate) stimulates collagen growth, which helps reduce wrinkles.
5. Remember to get screened for skin cancer for early detection. Check out the American Academy of Dermatology’s skin cancer screening webpage to locate a free skincare screening offered in your area: www.aad.org
Dr. Rubenstein’s Beauty and Skincare Regimen
1. Before heading out each day, apply a generous coat of broad spectrum UVA-UVB, zinc oxide-based sunblock that offers an SPF of at least 30 to any exposed skin. Remember to slather sunblock on easy-to-miss places like the tops of toes during sandal season. If spending the day outdoors, reapply sunblock about every two hours and after any water exposure.
2. Loose and UV-protective clothing can also help block the damaging effects of UV light. A hat can help protect the scalp and shade the face.
3. If your skin is prone to acne, use a light, oil-free sunscreen that will not clog pores, such as Neutrogena’s break-out free Clear Face. Sensitive skin may benefit from a gentler moisturizing sunscreen like Cetaphil’s UVA/UVB Defense.
4. As sun exposure breaks down the skin’s elastic tissue, ladies concerned with fine lines may want to talk to their dermatologists about getting a prescription for a retinoid, like Retin-A, to reduce wrinkles and improve cell turnover. Smoothing a primer over the face before applying a light foundation reduces the size of pores and gives skin a smoother appearance.
5. For clear and healthy skin, try eating a low-dairy, low-glycemic diet. Thank you Dr. Obed and Dr. Rubenstein for your extensive advice! For more information about Dr. Obed, visit browardderm.com. For more information about Dr. Rubenstein, visit www.advdermatology.com.