Slow skin aging today! Tips from an expert

I don’t mind the laugh lines, or the crow’s feet – if that’s the price of having a life full of laughter, it seems like a reasonable price to pay. But I admit I’m beginning to notice those little skin discolorations that pop up, the increasing lack of elasticity of my skin, and the general aging of my skin and that…that’s not so fun. When a recent Australian study hit the mainstream media last month suggesting that regular, proper use of sunscreen could significantly decrease the progression of skin aging, we turned to Dr. Gerald Goldberg of Pima Dermatology to weigh in on whether the study mirrors what he sees in his practice. We also asked him for his suggestions to slow photo-aging (aging as a result of the sun).

Dr. Goldberg’s suggestions to slow the photoaging of our skin:

1. Tone down the intensity! Sun Intensity that is

SunIntensityWe’re referring to sun intensity. Dr. Goldberg encourages us to, “Be aware of the intensity of the sun and avoid activities in the mid-day sun (10am – 3pm) whenever possible. There is a sun intensity index in the morning paper to help guide you.” You can also check it out on the EPA Sunwise site or download the EPA SunWise UV Index to your smartphone.

Sun hats protect against skin aging

It would look just as cute on you. Protect your skin

2. Glam it up with a  sun hat!

Go for style and practicality with a broad-brimmed hat. Dr. Goldberg says “Always wear a hat and/or long sleeves or protective clothing in the sun whenever possible.”

In recent years hats have exploded into Main Street and you can find cheap broad-brimmed hats even at the big box stores as well as boutiques. Heck, I’ve picked up hats at the hardware store, although they weren’t particularly glamorous. I’m also a fan of fabric hats that can be balled up and thrown in a bag without incurring damage and then shoved in the washing machine before the sweat stains show up!

3. Apply, apply, apply – sunscreen

cdctruthabouttanningIt’s tempting to just scrounge around and dig out that old bottle that’s been lying around forever, but did you know sunscreen has an expiration date? Sunscreen’s effectiveness goes down with time. Plus why has it expired? Are you not applying it every day? Are you applying in thick enough quantities? Dr. Goldberg suggests that whenever you are going out you need to “apply an adequate layer of quality sunscreen – SPF 30+ broad spectrum and water-resistant sunscreen. Reapply after 2-3 hours if you are still in the sun OR if you’ve been in the water, sweating or other activity.“

As someone who developed melanoma (the super nasty skin cancer) in her late 20’s I’m pretty good about doing this, but I’ve found is that it is worth spending a little more if I like the smell and texture of the sunscreen. In the end it’s cheaper if I actually use it and it protects me from the ravages of the sun than a half-dozen partially used bottles of sunscreen that I don’t like to put on. A nice moisturizer with UVA and UVB protection encourages me to apply it everyday after showering and then I carry some in my bag to apply later in the day.

4. Don’t SMOKE!

Yep, add aging of skin to the long list of reasons not to smoke. If you need help breaking the habit talk to your physician about programs that might be available, there are also support programs from the state and other agencies.

5. Rebirth – Okay not quite, how about rejuvenation?

The marketplace is chock full of products promising younger, rejuvenated skin, and some actually have scientific backing. Dr. Goldberg says “Consider one of many topically applied skin rejuvenation products such as Vitamin A (tretinoin or retinol), Niacin products, or antioxidants (Vitamin C, coffeeberry. Etc.)” Talk to your dermatologist for more information on what products may have merit.

Dr. Goldberg, Do you see the positive impact of regular sunscreen use on prevention of photo-aging in patients?

Dr. Gerald GoldbergThe sun is strong, ubiquitous (>300 days a year of sunshine) and potentially damaging for those of us living in Southern Arizona! One of the most effective weapons to protect the skin and delay signs of aging is regular us of sunscreens along with the practice of other sun safe behaviors.

Those individuals who have practiced the “ABC’s” including A- sun Avoidance, B – use of sun Blocks, and C – Covering up reap the benefits in terms of maintaining healthy skin.

In practice we see folks regularly who show the ravages of chronic unprotected, overexposure to the sun. Not only do they suffer the effects of acute overindulgence and sunburn, but the effects of chronic sun and the ‘peau d’orange” (orange peel) thickening of prematurely aged skin. Conversely, when people have protected themselves with appropriate sunscreen usage (SPF 30 or higher), broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB protective sunscreens, and water-resistant products they minimize the early and later effects of chronic sun exposure.

We must remember that tanning is an injury response of the skin to the sun and that regular use of adequately applied broad spectrum sunscreens along with other safe sun behaviors can keep your skin healthy and delay the photoaging effects of the sun.

For more TMC pieces on the protecting your skin from the sun check here.

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