Beauty Watch: Seven Skin Care Tips for Any Age

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November is National Healthy Skin Month and the perfect time to learn how to maintain healthy skin care habits. Studies have demonstrated that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and indoor tanning damages the DNA in our skin cells. This not only increases a person's risk for skin cancer, it can also lead to premature skin aging in the form of wrinkles and sun spots. 

 

 "It's possible to have vibrant skin at any age, as long as you take steps to properly care for your skin," said board-certified dermatologist Bethanee J. Schlosser, MD, PhD, FAAD, assistant professor of dermatology and director of Women's Skin Health at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "For example, wearing sunscreen protects the skin from both harmful UVA and UVB rays and is one of the most effective ways to prevent wrinkling and sun damage."

For additional ways to prevent premature skin aging, Dr. Schlosser recommends the following tips:

  1. Use gentle skin care products: For healthier-looking skin, consider using mild, unscented products year-round. Deodorant soaps, alcohol-based toners and products that contain fragrance can leave aging skin feeling irritated and dry.
  2. Consider using an AHA or retinoid product:Products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or retinoids can make your skin look younger. If you want to reduce the signs of aging, ask your dermatologist if a product that contains a retinoid, such as tretinoin, may be right for you. Also consider using products with antioxidants, as these may help repair and prevent further skin damage. Regimens can also be tailored to minimize potential skin irritation.
  3. Be gentle with acne-prone skin: If you struggle with acne as an adult, use – and overuse – of anti-acne cleansers and products may irritate your skin. Consider switching to a mild cleanser with salicylic acid or sulfur. Make sure all skin care products and cosmetics are labeled non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic or oil-free. In addition, wash gently, as scrubbing can further irritate the skin.
  4. Moisturize: Oil production in the skin diminishes in our 40s, so it is important to moisturize your skin regularly. The best time to moisturize is right after taking a bath or shower. If your skin still feels dry with consistent daily moisturizing, apply moisturizer a few times throughout the day.
  5. Protect your skin from the sun: Research has shown that ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun accelerate skin aging – making sun protection a critical part of every anti-aging skin care plan. To protect your skin, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your face, neck and body whenever you are going outside. For additional protection, seek shade and wear sun-protective clothing whenever possible.
  6. Keep your hands protected: Be sure to also apply sunscreen to your hands to protect them from premature aging. Consider applying a glycolic acid or antioxidant product to your hands to help repair sun damage.
  7. Do not smoke: Tobacco smoke contains toxins that can lead to "smoker's" face - a term used by doctors to describe the dull and dry complexion, loss of skin firmness, premature lines and wrinkles, especially around the mouth, and leathery-looking skin that smokers often have.

"Many things cause our skin to age – some we cannot do anything about, and others we can influence," said Dr. Schlosser. "If your complexion bothers you or you're worried about wrinkles, you should consult a board-certified dermatologist."  

The "Skin Care in Your 40s and 50s" video is posted to the Academy website and the Academy's YouTube channel. This video is part of the Dermatology A to Z: Video Series, which offers relatable videos that demonstrate tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the Academy's website and YouTube channel each month.

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Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails.

For more information www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook(American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), orYouTube (AcademyofDermatology).

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