When it comes to helping patients detect skin cancer, combat acne and acne scarring, treat hair loss and nail fungus, and find a customized daily skin care regimen to maintain healthy skin, dermatologists – physicians with extensive training and experience in treating skin, hair and nail conditions – are the specialists to whom millions of people of all ages turn for expert care.
In addition, dermatologists can advise patients looking to improve aging skin on the most appropriate over-the-counter, medical and surgical options available to them. Here are tips from dermatologists who met at the American Academy of Dermatology’s (Academy) SKIN academy, November 8, 2007.
Use Soap on Select Areas of the Body to Avoid Dryness
“Unless you have really oily skin, because you are a teenager or work with oils or gases, you do not need soap to get yourself clean. Pure water does the job to get you clean. However, you do need to use soap on your face, under your arms, and in the groin area. As you get older, the use of soap on the rest of your body can unnecessarily dry your skin.” – Brian B. Adams, MD, MPH, FAAD, associate professor of dermatology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio; director of dermatology, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Don’t Smoke! It Causes Wrinkles
“Quit smoking or, better yet, don’t even start! More and more young people are smoking and doing so to relieve stress, but it’s bad for your skin and causes wrinkles. Deep-set wrinkles will appear around your mouth from puckering, your skin will be dehydrated and dull, and you may experience premature aging.” – Flor A. Mayoral, MD, FAAD, clinical instructor, departments of dermatology and cutaneous surgery, University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.
Wear Sunscreen! It Prevents Wrinkles
“Use sunscreen every day, preferably one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Today, many skin care products contain sunscreen and are multifunctional, which allows you to get many skin benefits from one application. This saves time and money. For example, to protect and maintain healthy skin, use a daily facial moisturizer containing sunscreen. You also can find body lotions that contain sunscreen. These products can help hydrate and protect your skin, especially areas of your body that are sun-exposed throughout the day – like your hands.” – Sandra I. Read, MD, FAAD, instructor of dermatology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
Your Skin Reflects What You Eat
“What you apply to your skin helps give it a healthy, radiant glow, but remember what you put into your body is just as important. A balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants can make a real difference in the appearance of your skin.” – Susan C. Taylor, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.; clinical assistant professor of dermatology and associate faculty, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
Do As Little As Possible to Your Hair
“When it comes to hair care, less is more. Using unnecessary products or subjecting the hair to repeated procedures – such as perms, coloring, waving or straightening – can damage the hair and lead to breakage. Although women use these things to improve the cosmetic appearance of their hair, in the long run they will inevitably cause the hair to lose some of its natural luster and look unhealthy. I advise my patients to do as little as possible to their hair, which will help keep it healthy.” – Zoe D. Draelos, MD, FAAD, private practice, High Point, N.C.
Dermatologists Can Help Turn Back the Hands of Time
“Dermatologists can now use a combination of procedures to give a non-surgical facelift. For many people in their 40s, 50s and even 60s, combining laser and other light-energy treatments with botulinum toxin and fillers can take years off their appearance while maintaining a natural, youthful look using non-invasive procedures. Some procedures, such as photodynamic therapy, can even remove pre-cancerous growths – improving the health of the skin.” – Arielle N.B. Kauvar, MD, FAAD, clinical associate professor of dermatology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.
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