Skin care is an age-old phenomenon. The ancient Egyptians wore cosmetics, as they believed it had magical powers. In 1400 B.C. the Egyptians used herbs and oils to help protect their skin from the harsh sun filled environment. Thereafter the Greeks used a similar barrier to protect athletes during the games. Lactic Acid was developed in Ancient Egypt for skin rejuvenation and used by the nobles. It goes without say that skin care and skin protection is just as important to us as any other facet of our health and has been integral part of our lives since the dawn of time.
First and Foremost, protect yourself from UV light!!! A lifetime of sun exposure can cause premature aging in the form of wrinkles, age spots, and a variety of skin problems, worst of which is cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. There is about one death every hour from melanoma, the most viscous form of skin cancer. Most of us assume that it is only important to protect ourselves during warmer days or when going to the beach or pool. Yet the risk of UV exposure during the winter months can be equally high.
This is especially true when hitting the slopes. Time can fly by when we are having a great time, and when it’s cool out there; one doesn’t really pay attention to the sun. But all that accumulated UV exposure, over the years, can be extremely detrimental. So definitely make that bottle of SPF part of your Ski-gear.
So how do we pick the best sunscreen? The ideal sunscreen would completely block harmful UV rays that cause sunburn AND block those that cause damaging free radicals (what ages our skin). It would remain effective for hours and not be harmful for the skin as it breaks down. Finally, it would smell and feel very pleasant. Washington DC’s, Environmental Working Group (the EWG) has determined currently in the United States, mineral sunscreens have the best safety profile. These products are relatively stable, do not penetrate the skin, and offer a good amount of UV protection, not available in many sunscreens sold over the counter. Titanium and Zinc Oxide are great examples of these mineral-based sunscreens available in the US market. Another great contender is Avobenzone, which offers wonderful UVA protection without other competing products that may disrupt natural hormones.
Look for an SPF of about 30-50. There is no evidence that shows higher than SPF 50 products have more of a benefit and in fact are very misleading. The SPF only is an indicator of UVB protection, not really UVA. This means that a person wearing an SPF of say, 80 may be tempted to stay in the sun longer because she is not burning, all the while she is getting an increased dose of the very harmful UVA light. The Beautologie Be-blocked sunscreen provides the perfect blend of mineral blockers, Avobenzone and goes on smoothly without a greasy feel.
In addition to finding that perfect sunscreen we need to use common sense. Seek shade, especially when the sun is at its strongest, between 10:00 am and 4 pm. Also wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, full-length pants and wide brimmed hats. Avoid tanning beds, which concentrate the UV light onto the body. We all need and love the sun, but remember what they say about too much of a good thing.
What about skin care and skin treatment products?
Unfortunately we live in a world of quick fixes and large retailers who sell us brand name products, that over promise and under deliver. Are these over the counter products sold to us at department stores and pharmacies really worth all the money and the hype? Do they really work? The answer is maybe, BUT not nearly as much as they promise. They are not prescription products and therefore will never be as effective as medication. The problem is that they are marketed as almost prescription products but are usually substandard. Most consumers buy these overly expensive quick fixes in a bottle; and just use them once or twice. After seeing no satisfying results they are left to sit on the vanity, never to be used again.
The truth is, you will probably never really find an over the counter face-lift-in- a bottle. Of course the other big issue with OTC regimens is, whom do you go to for advice on what to pick? Where do you go if you have problems or reactions with them? The best solution for someone looking to truly improve the appearance of his or her skin is to seek an expert, your physician. Unlike physician prescribed creams, cosmetics do not change or affect the skins structure or function. Cosmetic makers can sell products without FDA approval. Fortunately there are proven medical & pharmaceutical grade skin care regimens that have shown time and time again to dramatically reverse the signs of aging. Consulting your physician about what products would best suit you individual needs will most likely lead you on a path of turning back the clock and maintaining very healthy skin.
There is so much more to maintaining that beautiful healthy glow. Do not smoke!!! Smoking narrows blood vessels in the outer layers of the skin, which leads to less oxygen and nutrients being delivered to the skin. Tobacco and nicotine also damages collagen and elastin, the components that give your skin its elasticity and overall fullness. Eat a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. What you eat affects every organ in your body. Your skin, being largest organ, depends greatly on what you eat. Manage stress! Uncontrolled amounts of stress can lead to acne breakouts and other skin problems. We know stress raises cortisol levels in the body, which can impede wound healing and affect the skin general.
As we can see there is so much that our skin depends on. It is, again the largest organ in our body. We have to take care of it with all the tools in our box. If you have any concerns about keeping you skin healthy and reversing damaged skin call us at Beautologie Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center 661.327.3800 or visit beautologie.com
Milan R. Shah M.D. Laser and Aesthetic Medicine
Beautologie Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center