Preventive Skin Care from Joel Beck. M.D., F.A.C.S.

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How do you keep your skin looking good? By taking the following proactive steps.

1. Always use sunblock. Sun damages skin. UV-B rays penetrate the top layers of skin and are most responsible for sunburns. UV-A rays penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin. Use a sunblock of at least 30 SPF with zinc oxide to make sure it protects against UV-A and UV-B. Apply every two hours or after getting out of the water.  Sunblock washes off and breaks down after application. For more information about sunscreen ratings, visit the Environmental Working Group’s website, http://www.ewg.org/cosmetics/report/sunscreen09/investigation/sunscreenfaqs#34

2. Avoid laying out in the sun or tanning beds.  Spray tans or airbrush tan available at retail outlets provide the glow you’re looking for – without exposing your skin to harmful sunlight to tanning lamps.  The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently put UV tanning beds into its highest cancer risk category — “carcinogenic to humans.”  Tanning salons typically use lamps that emit both UV-A and UV-B radiation. For more information about the dangers of tanning lamps, visit the FDA’s website, http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm186687.htm

3. Apply eye cream regularly.  Moisturizing the area around your eyes can help reduce wrinkles, but it pays to do your research. Eye cream, which comes in day and night formulas, is a cosmetic and therefore not approved by the FDA. When buying eye cream, as well as other anti-aging products, look for ingredients such as retinoids (retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl propionate, and others), peptides, vitamin C, niacinamide, caffeine, grape seed extract, marine extract, and other antioxidants.  Also be careful of products manufactured outside the U.S., which may have different standards than products made in the U.S.  For more information about anti-aging, go to WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/anti-aging-face#1

4. Use Topical Vitamin C. Vitamin C lotion can help reduce the amount of free radical damage that occurs from sun exposure.  Research shows that topical Vitamin C can improve skin appearance by reducing fine lines and wrinkles, help heal wounds by stabilizing collagen, and protect or reduce the severity of sunburns.  Free radicals can cause tissue damage because they take electrons from your body’s healthy molecules to balance themselves.  Consider not only topical Vitamin C, but also Vitamin C Ester, which can penetrate more deeply into your skin.  For more information about Topical Vitamin C, visit http://www.dermnet.org.nz/treatments/vitamin-c.html

5. Start early with Botox®. Botox® is an FDA-approved injectable treatment that helps smooth away wrinkles around the eyes, brow and frown lines.  It’s best to start using Botox when lines are just beginning to appear. Botox should typically be done every three to six months to maintain the beneficial effect of the treatment.  For more information about Botox® treatments, visit http://www.bayareaaestheticsurgery.com/non-surgical/injectables/botox/


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