Keeping Your Skin Healthy


The importance of keeping your skin healthy cannot be overemphasized. It’s the body’s initial defense against unwellness and infection, and it protects your internal organs from injuries. It is, in fact, the most important organ within the body. The skin helps regulate blood heat and prevents excess fluid loss, and it also helps your body remove excess water and salt.

Skin conditions will have an effect on anyone—young and previous, men and women. Acne, psoriasisand skin problem square measure simply a couple of samples of common skin disorders. The good news is that there square measure variety of easy ways that to stay skin healthy, and there also are now many options available to treat skin conditions, if treatment is necessary.

If you’re thinking that you’ll have a disease of the skin or have to be compelled to find out how to raised take care of your skin, consultation with a dermatologist—a physician who specializes in treating the skin and keeping it healthy—may be in order. Skin issues are often tough to diagnose as a result of several skin conditions share similar symptoms. An evaluation is key to effective treatment.

The Structure of Skin

To understand the way to keep your skin healthy, it may help to learn about your skin’s structure.

Skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin—about the thickness of a piece of paper), the dermis (the middle layer) and the subcutaneouslayer (the deepest layer). The thickness of the dermis varies depending on the location. For example, eyelid dermis is quite thin, but back dermis is about half an inch thick. The epidermis has three sub-layers: the stratum corneum, the squamous cell layer and the basal cell layer.

  • The stratum or outer layer of the cuticle is that the layer of skin which will be seen and felt. Proteins referred to as albuminoid, a fatty, waterproof envelope, and flat, closely packed dead cells make up the stratum corneum. This layer is that the barrier between your body and therefore the outside world.
  • The squamous cell layer produces keratin for the stratum corneum and also transports water.
  • The basal cell layer is that the lowest layer of the cuticle. This is wherever the skin cells square measure reproduced and provides rise to the additional superficial layers of the cuticle. The most common style of carcinoma, basal cell malignant neoplastic disease, arises from this cell layer.Melanocytes, which produce melanin, or skin pigment, sit along this layer among these cells. Melanoma, one of the three most common forms of skin cancer, originates from these pigment-producing cells.

It takes concerning one month for skin cells to maneuver from the basal cell layer to the highest of the stratum and slough off.

The dermis is the middle layer of skin. It is a various combination of blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles and sebaceous (or oil) glands. The proteins collagen and elastinare found in the dermis. They provide support and elasticity to the skin. The sun’s rays will break down these proteins and, eventually, the skin begins to wrinkle and sag.

The body covering layer, or subcutis, is a layer of fatty tissue that provides nourishment to the dermis and upper layers of skin. It conjointly conserves body heat and cushions internal organs against trauma. Blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands and deeper hair follicles extend from the dermis into the fat (hypodermis).

Look Your Best—Limit Sun Exposure

Facial skin generally appearance its best throughout a woman’s 20s. As you age, your skin becomes thinner and often drier. Thinning skin may be a results of a breakdown of scleroprotein and albuminoid fibers. As it ages, skin loses elasticity—especially if it has been exposed to excessive sunlight—and becomes more fragile and drier. However, there are a number of dietary and lifestyle changes that you can make to help keep your skin healthy and young-looking.

Because exposure to the sun causes most of the skin changes related to aging, protecting the skin from the sun is the single most important skin care practice you can adopt. Significant exposure to the sun can wrinkle and dry the skin. Uneven pigmentation—from freckles to tiny or massive brown spots—is another aspect result of frequent sunning. Melasma, commonly associated with pregnancy, is brought out by the sun and produces large brown patches on the forehead and cheeks.

The most serious consequence of sun exposure is carcinoma. Skin cancer is that the most typical variety of cancer, making up nearly half of all diagnosed cases of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Most sun injury happens before the age of eighteen, but skin cancer can take up to 20 or more years to develop; children who experience just a few serious sunburns square measure believed to own AN multiplied risk of developing carcinoma later in life.


Primary care physicians ar able to valuate several skin conditions. They may be the first health care professionals you discuss your skin problems with. However, dermatologists ar physicians with intensive coaching in skin care and skin disorders. Skin conditions can be difficult to diagnose because there are so many skin problems and symptoms may be similar. Consultation with a dermatologist is recommended to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. It may be the more cost-effective means of diagnosing and treating skin disease.

  • Acne. This aggravating condition may be mild with small blackheads and whiteheads; moderate, with some inflammation, pustules (closed pus-containing pockets) and red pimples; or severe, with large cysts or nodules. Severe acne can result in permanent scarring. Contrary to well-liked belief, greasy foods and dirt do not cause acne. Acne is caused by genetic influences—if your parents had acne, you are more likely to develop it. Hormones, specifically male hormones known as androgens, of which testosterone is the best known, also play a major role in acne’s development.Acne is a buildup of oil, microorganisms and dead skin cells in the hair follicles under the skin. When the follicle ruptures, the rupture triggers an “acne cascade,” which inflames surrounding tissue. Androgens ar a significant influence on skin problem as a result of they stimulate the hormone-sensitive oily glands, that manufacture secretion. That’s why you don’t see acne before puberty. In women, contraception pills will either irritate or improve skin problem. This probably depends on your response to progestin—one of the hormones used in many birth control pills. Greasy hair and skin product, perspiration, headbands and different things which will plug up pores create skin problem worse. Stress may trigger acne flare-ups. Squeezing pimples can make acne worse and more likely to leave scars.
  • Rosacea. According to the National Rosacea Society, more than 16 million Americans have rosacea, but most of them don’t know it. It is most common in fair-skinned women between ages 30 and 50, although it can occur in all races. Rosacea can present itself in different ways. It may appear as pink or red flushing or dilated blood vessels alone or with pus-filled bumps or deeper red bumps. It can even cause skin thickening and enlargement, usually around the nose. Rosacea could worsen with exposure to bound factors like hot or cold temperatures, sunlight, alcohol, spicy foods, stress and heavy exercise. Chronic use of topical steroids on the face could cause steroid acne. The cause of rosacea is unknown.
  • Eczema. An estimated 15 million people in the United States have some form of eczema. Also known as atopic dermatitis, this condition causes an itchy, red, cracked, scaly rash that can occur anywhere on the body, but most commonly on the arms and the backs of the knees, as well as on the hands, feet, face and neck. It is hereditary and often occurs in individuals who suffer asthma or hay fever. Dry skin, bound soaps and bathing too oftentimes worsen the condition; moisturizers and wet air could improve it. Adults could get a kind known as nummular skin disease, which tends to be scaly, coin-shaped spots on the arms and legs.
  • Dandruff. Mistakenly attributed to dryness because of the flaking it causes, dandruff is caused by inflammation in the scalp. The microscopic scales accumulate and then fall off in visible flakes.
  • Hives. Called urticaria, hives are an allergic reaction. It’s rarely clear what triggers hives. They can be stress-related. These pink, itchy swellings are caused by the release of histamine and other chemicals in the skin. Eggs, chocolate, seafood, nuts, milk and medications ar occasional triggers of hives for a few individuals, as are exposure to cold temperatures or infections. Individual hive lesions generally fade in 24 hours or less. When hives develop within the throat, breathing can become difficult and may be life threatening, and immediate treatment is required.
  • Psoriasis. A chronic sickness poignant up to seven.5 million Americans, psoriasis causes the skin to become inflamed with red, thickened areas that become covered with flaky, silvery scales. The condition isn’t contagious, and the ultimate cause is not known, although it is thought to be an immunologic genetic disorder. Because of this immune stimulation, the uppermost layer of skin cells multiplies at an accelerated rate. A normal epidermis is replenished about every 28 days, but psoriasis causes the skin cells to multiply so quickly that it replenishes every two to four days. This new skin grows so fast the cells don’t have a chance to slough normally. Psoriasis usually seems on elbows, knees and scalp, but it can also arise on your lower back, buttocks, palms, soles and genital region. Psoriasis can occur in areas of trauma such as severe sunburns or surgical scars. Psoriasis may be associated with a specific type of arthritis, known as psoriatic arthritis. Lesions can be triggered by stress, infection, climate changes and medications. There is no cure for this condition, but treatments can reduce skin inflammation.
  • Stretch marks. During pregnancy, as a woman’s skin stretches to accommodate her baby’s growth, stretch marks may appear. They are at the start lightweight pink or purple lines that eventually fade to white. Stretch marks are most often found on the breasts, thighs, abdomen or hips. Stretch marks may be caused by pubescent growth spurts or different fast weight gain or muscle buildup.

Skin Cancer

An early warning sign of severe sun damage is the development actinic keratoses. Most common in people over age 40, this precancerous condition develops as a result of cumulative, extensive sun exposure and can lead to skin cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma. Actinic keratoses are responsible for more than 2 million visits to dermatologists each year in the United States. These lesions appear as scaly red/brown bumps on the face, ears, neck, lips and forearms or on the backs of the hands. These lesions could itch or feel tender, particularly once exposed to daylight.

There area unit 2 main teams of carcinoma: nonmelanoma skin cancer, the foremost common style of carcinoma, and melanoma (sometimes referred to as “malignant melanoma”) skin cancer.

Basal cell cancer and epithelial cell cancer area unit the foremost common styles of nonmelanoma skin cancers. There more than 1 million cases each year in the United States. These styles of cancer begin within the skin’s basal cell layer or epithelial cell layer. Men area unit at higher risk than girls for basal cell cancer and epithelial cell cancer.

Melanoma is that the least common however most aggressive of the 3 commonest styles of carcinoma. Melanoma originates within the skin’s melanocytes—the cells that turn out pigment, or melanin. Melanoma generally seems in or around a mole, but it may also develop on clear skin. It may be a flat, brown, black or tan spot or a raised bump. Unlike a noncancerous mole, melanoma often is irregularly shaped.

About 68,720 new cases of skin cancer were diagnosed in 2009—less than five p.c of all diagnosed skin cancers. But skin cancer accounts for an outsized majority of carcinoma deaths, according to the ACS.

Anyone could develop carcinoma, but people with fair complexions are more susceptible to precancerous conditions and skin cancer than people with darker skin tones. Caucasians have a multiple enhanced risk of developing carcinoma than African Americans. Darker skin has a lot of animal pigment, which provides some natural protection against the sun’s damaging rays. In addition to truthful skin, other risk factors for skin cancer include:

  • exposure to toxic materials, such as arsenic
  • radiation therapy
  • chronic non-healing or scarred skin such as long-standing ulcers or severe burn scars
  • a family history of melanoma skin cancer or other conditions that are more likely to develop into skin cancer (such as dysplastic nevus syndrome)
  • a personal history of skin cancer
  • a tendency to freckle or burn easily
  • lots of sun exposure throughout your life
  • many sunburns as a child or adolescent
  • outdoor summer employment during adolescence
  • burns
  • tanning bed use (Frequent use of tanning beds may increase your risk of melanoma by 40 to 75 percent, depending upon frequency of use and age you began tanning.)

Check Your Skin Regularly

Precancerous skin changes and carcinoma area unit sometimes straightforward to acknowledge and area unit typically curable once detected and treated in early stages.

The first step in police investigation abnormalities which will be carcinoma begins with you. Examine your skin once a month for any suspicious changes. Sores that will not heal may additionally indicate carcinoma or malignant neoplasm conditions that require attention.

The yankee Academy of medicine has developed AN easy-to-use technique to guage your skin for skin cancer. Look for the “ABCDEs”:

  • Asymmetry: One half of the spot is not shaped like the other half
  • Border irregularity: Poorly defined or “scalloped” border
  • Color: Shades of tan, brown, black and sometimes red, white and blue, vary across the spot
  • Diameter: The spot is larger than six millimeters, the diameter of a pencil eraser, however, skin cancers can also be smaller
  • Evolving: The mole looks different from the other moles on the body and is changing in size, shape or color.

A condition known as abnormality nevus/melanoma syndrome will increase a human risk for developing skin cancer. A “nevus” is a mole. These specific moles area unit typically on an irregular basis formed and should be larger than alternative moles. They can seem anyplace on the body—sun-exposed or not. This condition tends to run in families. A person with this condition may have many moles on her body or just a few. Researchers believe that a genetic predisposition for abnormality blemish syndrome could exist.

Diagnosing Skin Cancer

There are several types of skin biopsies that health care professionals may perform if you have suspicious-looking growths that could be skin cancer. A skin biopsy involves giving you a local anesthetic, after which a sample of skin will be taken for examination under a microscope. You may feel minor discomfort—a small needle stick and burning—for a few seconds. Types of biopsies are as follows:

  • Shave biopsy. The epidermis and the upper part of the dermis are shaved off in a thin slice. This procedure is performed with local anesthesia.
  • Punch biopsy. A sample of the entire thickness of the skin is taken (about 1/8 inch) with an instrument that takes a cylindrical core sample of the skin and a small part of the underlying fat layer.
  • Incisional biopsy and excisional biopsy. With a scalpel, a wider and deeper sample of skin with various amounts of the underlying fat will be removed, and then the wound is closed with stitches or staples. Incisional biopsy removes a portion of the growth, and excisional biopsy is used to remove or sample broad or deep growths.


There are many new and refined treatment options available today for skin conditions. Consultation with a dermatologist is recommended to determine which option is best for your condition as well as for recommendations about how to keep your skin healthy. Here are a few treatment options for common skin conditions.

  • Acne. Treatment can include topical or oral antibiotics and creams to remove plugs at the opening of the oil glands. Birth control pills can sometimes improve acne. When washing, you should use a mild soap and avoid scrubbing. Topical benzoyl peroxide can help reduce bacteria, and retinoic acid can help unblock pores. Acne washes and nonprescription preparations may also be helpful. Isotretinoin (Accutane), a prescription medication, can provide long-term remission of severe acne in some people. Accutane often causes side effects such as dry eyes, lips, nose, mouth and skin, itching, nosebleeds, muscle aches, sun sensitivity and poor vision at night. In rare cases, the drug may also increase risk of depression and suicide. Discuss these risks with your health care professional, and if you feel unusually sad or overwhelmed while taking Accutane, seek medical attention immediately.When not treated, moderate and severe acne can cause significant scarring. Cosmetic treatment for scarring includes chemical peels, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion and laser resurfacing. For deep, crater-like scars where laser resurfacing is ineffective, there is soft tissue augmentation. This is a procedure in which the patient’s fat (from another part of the body) is used to correct the deep contour, or soft tissue fillers like collagen, hyaluronic acid or fascia lata may be used.
  • Rosacea. While the cause of rosacea is unknown, there are a number of lifestyle factors, triggers and habits that may contribute to flare-ups. Your health care professional, specifically a dermatologist, can help you determine your personal triggers and provide guidance on the right skin care routines for you. Triggers may include stress, alcoholic beverages, spicy foods and intense weather conditions such as heat, humidity and wind. Practice “sun safety” whenever possible and use sunscreen; wear light-colored, tightly woven protective clothing; and avoid the sun. Using fragrance-free skin care and make-up products and avoiding deodorant soaps can help reduce skin irritation. Rosacea also may be aggravated by ingredients such as menthol, alcohol and peppermint. Consult your dermatologist on which products are best for your skin.Your dermatologist may also prescribe medications for your rosacea. There are topical creams and gels, as well as an oral anti-inflammatory medication FDA approved for rosacea. To treat persistent facial redness, the most common symptom of rosacea, a new treatment option is now available. Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33%, is the first FDA-approved medication developed to treat the persistent facial redness of rosacea. Mirvaso is thought to work by constricting dilated facial blood vessels that increase blood flow to the skin and cause the face to look red and flushed. Used daily, topical Mirvaso works quickly and reduces redness for up to 12 hours. Erythema, flushing, skin burning sensation and contact dermatitis are the most common side effects of brimonidine. Because Mirvaso is an alpha-2 adrenergic agent, it can lower blood pressure and should be used with caution in patients with uncontrolled cardiovascular disease.There are several medications approved to treat the bumps and blemishes of rosacea, including topical metronidazole and topical azelaic acid. Common side effects of metronidazole include cold symptoms, upper respiratory tract infection, and headache. Other topical treatments may include sulfacetamide/sulfur cream or wash, but many find the odor unpleasant. An oral anti-inflammatory, doxycycline, is approved in a low-dose formulation to treat the bumps and pimples associated with rosacea. This once-daily pill is a convenient alternative to creams and gels and has not been shown to cause bacterial resistance. Common side effects include cold symptoms, sinus infection, diarrhea, hypertension and increased liver enzymes.
  • Eczema. Treatment includes oral antihistamines for relief of the severe haptic sensation, likewise as topical steroids to alleviate inflammation and cutaneous sensation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved 2 ointments—tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel)—to treat skin disease. Both are in a class of drugs called topical immunomodulators (TIMS), which are steroid-free and appropriate and effective for patients seeking an option to avoid the side effects associated with steroids. However, as a result of the impact of extended use of those medications is unknown, the authority recommends that Elidel and Protopic solely be used once someone cannot tolerate alternative skin disease treatments or when all other treatments have failed.Your doctor may prescribe a short course of oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to relieve inflammation. Low-potency corticosteroids are obtainable over-the-counter, however discuss with your doctor before taking them. Moisturizers ar an important a part of skin disease medical care however ought to be chosen fastidiously as a result of they will inflame sensitive skin. Newer product referred to as barrier repair creams don’t have any topical steroids and should repair the skin disruption caused by skin disease. These may be an adjuctive therapy or solo therapy. Petroleum jelly is a superb bland material for this condition. And anti-itch lotions like calamine lotion and Benadryl can also provide some relief.
  • Dandruff. Medicated shampoos containing tar (Ionil T, T/Gel, Pentrax), hydroxy acid (X-Seb T and, Meted), selenium (Selsun Blue), zinc (Head & Shoulders, ZNP) or sulfur (Sebulex) can help this condition. For best results, purchase 2 or 3 sorts and alternate them. Prescription shampoos and topical steroid medications is also necessary in difficult-to-treat cases.
  • Hives. Antihistamines and sometimes oral steroids are prescribed to treat hives. In the case of a severe attack of hives, an emergency adrenaline (epinephrine) injection and a trip to the emergency room may be necessary.
  • Psoriasis. There’s no cure for this condition, but treatments can reduce skin inflammation. Topical steroid medications ar ofttimes prescribed, however the condition usually returns quickly once treatment ends. UVB light therapy, sunlight, oral and topical vitamin A derivatives, coal tar, salicylic acid, hydroxyurea (which can be combined with light therapy), anthralin and topical vitamin D derivatives often help. Anthralin (Dritho-Scalp), a medication believed to normalize DNA activity in cells, can help improve smoothness of the skin. The oral medication tacrolimus (Prograf) and new injectable medications used for treating arthritis, such as etanercept (Enbrel) or infliximab (Remicade), seem to be very effective for some individuals with psoriasis. For more severe forms of psoriasis, methotrexate (Trexall), an immunosuppressant drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions, is sometimes prescribed. This medication, which might be taken by pill or injection, slows cell production by suppressing the immune system. Patients taking immunosuppressive drug should be closely monitored to avoid attainable liver injury and/or diminished cell counts. Pregnant girls or those that ar reaching to become pregnant shouldn’t use immunosuppressive drug. Cyclosporine, another immunosuppressant drug, is also sometimes prescribed. This medication increases risk for high blood pressure and kidney problems.
  • Stretch marks. There is no cure for stretch marks, though topical retinoic acid and optical device treatments could lighten them. Treatment might not be well worth the value since it will not utterly eliminate stretch marks. Topical camouflaging makeup provides a fast concealment for stretch marks.

Skin Cancer Treatments

There are three primary kinds of treatments your health care professional may use to treat your actinic keratoses (precancerous lesions) or your skin cancer:

  • surgery, which removes the cancer, or destroys these abnormal cells
  • chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill these abnormal cells
  • radiation therapy, which uses x-rays to kill cancer cells
  • immunotherapy, which encourages a person’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells

Most often, your health care professional will choose surgery. Common types of skin cancer surgery techniques include:

  • Cryosurgery freezes the tumor, which kills it.
  • Electrodessication and curettage involves your health care professional coring out the skin cancer with a special tool and using an electric current to burn the tumor and destroy any additional tumor cells.
  • Simple excision cuts the cancer from the skin in a football shape, along with a border of some of the healthy tissue around it.
  • Mohs micrographic surgery removes the cancer and could be a tissue-sparing technique. The specialised physician removes the cancer and maps it out, then examines the skin under a microscope, only taking additional pieces if any cancer remains. This method allows a complex repair to be done that day and know that the cancer is gone and that a second procedure will not be required. This type of procedure is employed for perennial skin cancers or on delicate areas of the face like the nose.
  • Lymph node surgery. If the doctors are concerned that skin cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes, they will perform a lymph node dissection and check the nodes for signs of cancer under a microscope (a biopsy).
  • Laser therapy uses a highly focused beam of light to destroy the cancer cells with minimal bleeding, swelling and scarring and little damage to surrounding tissue. Laser therapy is usually used to treat superficial skin cancers.

Removal giant|of huge|of enormous} tumors creates large defects, so sometimes skin is taken from another part of your body and grafted over the area where the cancer was removed.

Chemotherapy may be a topical cream or lotion placed on the skin to kill cancer cells, an orally ingested drug or a drug that is injected directly into the tumor or a vein or muscle.

Radiation therapy shrinks tumors with x-rays geared toward the affected space from outside the body.

And bound medicine referred to as response modulators will cause associate response to the cancer, which causes it to shrink.

A newer and fewer common technique referred to as photodynamic medical care uses a precise variety of light-weight and a special (light-sensitive) chemical to kill cancer cells. Photodynamic therapy can be used to treat actinic keratoses and is also used to treat or shrink non-melanoma skin cancers.


Skin care starts with you. Many straightforward manner changes—such as up your diet and learning basic skin care techniques will improve your skin’s look. Discuss bar tips along with your health care skilled, and take into account these steps:

  • good nutrition
  • drinking six to eight glasses of water per day
  • avoiding alcohol
  • stopping smoking
  • using sunscreen regularly
  • avoiding sun exposure during peak sun hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • wearing protective clothing when outside

Most health care professionals recommend a simple cleansing regimen as the best approach to keep skin healthy: a gentle cleanser using warm (not hot) water, no abrasive scrubs and, when necessary, a moisturizer with sunscreen protection. In addition, you should gently pat your skin dry rather than rub it vigorously after a bath or shower to help avoid irritation and itching.

Dry Skin

Moisturizers for dry skin are available 3 preparations: lotions, creams and ointments. Lotions ar least effective at exchange and holding lost wetness in terribly dry skin. But they disappear once application terribly quickly, creating them the foremost convenient to use and probably useful for traditional and oily skin. Creams are heavier than lotions and are therefore more effective at sealing in moisture for normal to dry skin. Ointments, such as Vaseline, are thick and are best for preventing moisture from escaping from the skin, but you may find that they are inconvenient to use regularly. Health care professionals advise women with very dry skin against using soap and also alcohol-based astringents (toners), which typically dry out the skin.

Making Skin Look Younger

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) (AHAs, glycolic acid, lactic acid), antioxidants (vitamins A, E, C) and vitamin A derivatives (Retin-A, Renova and retinol) in moisturizers are frequently promoted as products that can make skin younger looking. Here’s what to expect from these and other newly available products:

  • AHAs. They contain lactic acid (found in milk), fruit acids and glycolic acids (found in sugar cane). AHAs, like tretinoin derivatives, work by peeling away dead and thickened areas of the skin. Cosmetic treatments containing extremely targeted AHAs, called chemical peels, have long been available from dermatologists. AHAs utilized by trained cosmetologists contain twenty to thirty % concentration of AHAs and supply a superficial smoothing of the skin’s texture like microdermabrasion. These treatments must be repeated every three to six months to maintain results. Doctors will use AHA merchandise with concentrations of up to seventy % in chemical peels to erase fine wrinkles and take away surface scars; the results of those treatments will last up to five years. Over-the-counter (OTC) preparations are required by the FDA to contain less than 10 percent concentration of AHAs. They may offer a bit improvement of scaly skin. Higher concentrations of the active ingredients in unlisted merchandise ar buffered and so neutral to stop peeling. These unlisted AHA merchandise don’t seem to be glorious to enhance skin wrinkling. Improvements with these or prescription products last only as long as the product is used. Long-term effects of AHAs are unknown. They can irritate the skin and make it more sensitive to sunlight. Signs of sensitivity are redness and burning.
  • Antioxidants. Vitamins A, E and C are known as antioxidants. Their claim to fame as skin health aides is in their ability to fight free radicals, the highly reactive molecules generated by oxygen, sunlight, smoking and pollution that can break down the collagen fibers of the skin. Some studies show some promise, but overall, research is inconclusive about how effective antioxidants are for improving the skin’s appearance. Ingestion of large amounts of some of these vitamins can be toxic. High doses of vitamin A, when taken during pregnancy, are suspected of increasing the risk of birth defects. Topical treatments of antioxidants will cause rashes, however little amounts ar most likely not harmful for many skin sorts.
  • Renova. This prescription cream is basically Retin-A in a moisturizing base that decreases the redness and burning associated with Retin-A. The active ingredient in Retin-A and Renova is tretinoin, a vitamin A derivative. You must use these products daily for months to notice improvement, and it will probably last only as long as the cream is used. Renova and Retin-A may make the skin sun-sensitive, so wearing sunscreen and protective clothing during treatment is important. Side effects include redness, dryness and sensitivity. Oral or topical use of retinoids during pregnancy or while planning a pregnancy should be avoided.
  • Injectable wrinkle fillers.  Botox is the best known of these, but there are several other injectable wrinkle fillers also approved by the FDA. Here’s a look at some:
      • Botox injections. Botulinum (or botulism) poison A (Botox Cosmetics, Dysport) is a prescription drug that may be used to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows. Botulinum toxin A may be a macromolecule created by the microorganism Clostridium botulinum. When used as associate anti-aging agent, small doses of a purified, sterile form of the toxin are injected into certain facial muscles to temporarily paralyze and weaken them. When the muscles can’t contract normally, frown lines disappear. According to the FDA, Botox treatments should not be injected more frequently than once every three months, and the lowest effective dose should be used. The most common aspect effects following injections embody headache, dry eyes and mouth, flu-like symptoms, nausea and weakness of the muscles near the injection site. Check with your doctor if any of those aspect effects persist. Less frequent adverse reactions embody fever, bleeding at the injection site, irregular heartbeat and vision changes. If you expertise any of those aspect effects, seek medical attention right away. These reactions were temporary but could last as long as several months.
      • Restylane and Perlane square measure soft-tissue fillers used for moderate to severe wrinkles round the nose and mouth. They use a synthetic form of hyaluronic acid. Perlane contains additional mucopolysaccharide and thus works higher for filling deep lines, while Restylane is used in fine lines or in thin-skinned people. One injection is needed for six to 12 months of effectiveness, depending on the patient and the area being treated.
      • Juvederm, also a soft-tissue filler for moderate to severe wrinkles, is a natural hyaluronic acid, which works similarly to Restylane, but degrades more slowly and lasts longer. The treatment may last 12 months.
      • Hylaform is used for moderate to severe wrinkles and folds. It is a form of hyaluronic acid made from rooster combs.
      • Captique is used for wrinkles around the nose and mouth. Results are immediate. Two to three touchups a year are usually needed to maintain results.

    Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane now come with lidocaine in the product, which makes the procedure much more comfortable.

  • Natural products. The pharmacological effects of materials such as seaweed and oatmeal, often used in face masks or peels, are unknown. Papain, an enzyme found in papaya, is helpful in sloughing off dead skin cells, but can be expensive.
  • Synthetic fillers (Artefill, Radiesse, Sculptra). Synthetic fillers square measure used for filling facial wrinkles and folds. It takes less than an hour for synthetic filler injections, and the results can last anywhere from six months to five or more years, depending on the filler product. Synthetic fillers differ depending on the brand:
    • Artefill contains 20 percent polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) beads suspended in 80 percent collagen. A few months after injection, the collagen breaks down, sparking your body to produce its own natural collagen to fill in the space. Unlike other fillers, Artefill is not absorbed by the body.
    • Radiesse is an injectable calcium hydroxylapatite gel. Calcium hydroxyapatite is found in teeth and bones and is used for numerous medical applications including cheek, jaw, skull and chin implants. Another brand name is Radiance.
    • Sculptra is an injectable polylactic acid. This compound is employed in varied medical product, such as stitches and screws used to repair broken bones. Although Sculptra has solely been approved to revive form and contour to the faces of these with AIDS, it is often used “off label” for cosmetic treatments. Sculptra usually requires three monthly treatments to rebuild the lost volume. It may take up to four to six weeks to see the full effect, and while Sculptra is considered semi-permanent, you may need an occasional touch-up treatment.
  • Collagen products. Collagen product is on the marketplace for over twenty years. Some of the foremost standard square measure CosmoDerm, CosmoPlast, Zyderm and Zyplast. Other collagens utilized in cosmetic procedures embody Artefill, a combination of bovine albuminoid and small plastic spheres; Autologen, albuminoid from your own skin; Isolagen, albuminoid taken from your own skin and cloned and processed into a liquid form; and Dermalogen, collagen from human cadaver skin that has been sterilized, purified and processed into a liquid form.

Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Reducing your exposure to the sun is the best way to keep your skin healthy. Here’s why:

Sunlight consists of two main types of ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage skin—UVA and UVB rays.

UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer. This type of sunlight intensifies during the summer and can do more damage more quickly than UVA rays. The epidermis absorbs most of the intensity of UVB rays. UVB rays cannot pass through glass, although UVA rays can. UVC rays, another spectrum in sunlight, are also potentially harmful, but the ozone layer blocks them from reaching the earth. UVA and UVB rays are present all year and are hazardous whether they are direct or reflected.

When the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the surface of the skin, the skin reacts by producing melanin—otherwise known as a tan—to protect itself. UVA rays are milder than UVB rays, but because their wavelengths are longer, they penetrate deeper through the skin’s layers. UVA rays contribute to wrinkling the skin, as well as to the development of skin cancer.

UVA rays also are used in tanning booths. UVA rays in tanning booths not only inflict damage similar to sunlight, they are also more intense in a tanning booth than the equivalent time spent in natural sunlight.


Sunscreens should be an important part of your skin health routine because they absorb or block UV rays. Sunscreens are rated by how much sun protection factor (SPF) they offer. SPF calculations are based on laboratory comparisons of how much sunlight will cause mild sunburn on the unprotected skin of a person with a fair complexion and on the same skin area protected by sunscreen.

The effectiveness of a sunscreen is dependent on the types of sun protective chemicals used, the thickness of the cream or lotions and the amount of product applied to the skin. Not all sunscreens provide protection against UVA radiation. Be sure that the sunscreen you purchase states it provides UVA/UVB protection. While sunscreen use helps to minimize damaging sunburns, it doesn’t completely prevent burning.

A sunscreen with SPF-30 or greater should be used all year for all skin types. If you develop a rash or other type of allergic response to a sunscreen, try a different brand or form (lotion vs. gel, or protective clothing, for example) or switch to a sunscreen containing the active ingredients of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These products don’t require chemical interaction with the skin to be effective, provide a protective shield-like barrier and rarely cause rashes. All sunscreens need to be reapplied after water contact or sweating.

For the best protection from the sun’s harmful rays:

  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure, with careful attention to sun-exposed areas such as the face, hands and arms.
  • Apply lip balm that contains a sunscreen to protect sun-sensitive lips.
  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when its rays are strongest.
  • Wear a large (three-inch), brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your scalp and eyes.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, but you should apply it more frequently if you have been swimming or sweating. Use about 1 ounce of cream—about one shot glass—to cover your entire body with each application.
  • Stay in the shade whenever you can.
  • Limit the time you spend in the sun.
  • Be aware that the sun’s ultraviolet rays can reflect off water, sand, concrete and snow, and can reach below the water’s surface as well as burn on an overcast day.
  • If you are taking an antibiotic or other medication, ask your health care professional if it may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and what you should do about it.

Don’t forsake the sun altogether. Learn how to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and practice “sun safety” whenever you can—cover up with sunscreen and wear light-colored, tightly woven protective clothing and be sensible about how much time you spend in the sun. These steps can help reduce your risk for developing skin cancer and keep your skin looking its best.


Facts to Know


  1. When the skin becomes dry it needs water and oil to help rejuvenate it.
  2. The skin is your body’s first defense against disease and infection. It is the largest organ in the body. It helps regulate body temperature and prevent fluid loss; furthermore, it helps your body remove excess water and salt.
  3. The process of producing healthy new skin cells and removing or shedding old cells takes about 28 days.
  4. As you age, your skin becomes thinner and often drier. Thinning skin is largely a result of a breakdown of collagen fibers. As it ages, skin loses elasticity and becomes more fragile, especially if it has been exposed to excessive sunlight.
  5. Because exposure to the sun influences how well your skin ages, protecting the skin from the sun is the single most important practice in skin care.
  6. Continuous exposure to the sun will wrinkle, dry out and age the skin, leaving it coarse. Uneven pigmentation—from freckles to brown spots—is another side effect of frequent sunning.
  7. The most serious consequence of sun exposure is skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, making up nearly half of all diagnosed cases of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
  8. Skin cancer can take up to 20 years or more to develop; it’s important to remember that a person’s average lifetime sun exposure risk is determined by age 18.
  9. Anyone can develop skin cancer, although people with fair complexions tend to be more susceptible to specific types of skin cancer and precancerous conditions than people with darker skin tones.
  10. The earliest warning sign of severe skin damage is the development of actinic keratoses. Lesions appear as scaly red/brown bumps on the face, ears, neck, lips and forearms or on the backs of the hands.


Key Q&A


  1. What causes acne? Acne is caused by genes and male hormones called androgens, which women have, too. Hormones are a major influence on acne. That’s why you always do not see skin disorder before time of life. Bacteria contribute to acne—which is why either oral or topical antibiotics facilitate. Greasy ointments, perspiration, headbands and other things that can plug up pores make acne worse. Stress may also make it worse. What you eat is mostly not a significant contributory issue to developing skin disorder, though some analysis has steered that an important sugar diet could worsen skin disorder in some choose patients
  2. Are tanning beds safer than the sun?No. Tanning beds not only inflict the same type of skin and eye damage as the sun, but their rays are also stronger than natural sunlight. Tanning beds typically use UVA rays. Although UVA rays area unit milder than UVB rays—the main reason behind sunburn and sun cancer—UVA wavelengths area unit longer, and that they penetrate deeper through the skin’s layers. UVA rays contribute to wrinkling the skin, similarly on the event of carcinoma. Some diseases, like discoidal or general lupus, and a few oral medications, such as those containing sulfur, are aggravated by light exposure, especially in the UVA range. Regular tanning bed use particularly in teenagers could increase the chance of malignant melanoma up to seventy fifth.
  3. Can dermabrasion, chemical peels or laser treatments get rid of wrinkles? What are the risks and benefits of each and how long do the effects last? What other treatments are available?Yes, they can. Although the improvements can last many years, they are usually not permanent and may have to be repeated periodically. Dermabrasion and medium-depth chemical peels have each been used for several years to boost the looks of superficial wrinkling, to eliminate sun-induced pigmentation and keratoses and to improve the overall surface texture of the skin. In the past decade, laser resurfacing has grown popular because it may be easier to control and therefore produces a more predictable outcome. Laser resurfacing, however, is usually more expensive and frequently involves longer healing times, possibly requiring the patient to remain at home until healing is complete. The newest laser resurfacing procedures are fractionated. These include ablative (which disrupts the epidermis) and non-ablative (which sends heat into the dermis and leaves the epidermis intact). These procedures require multiple treatments, but have reduced healing times. All of these procedures, if done correctly, are relatively safe, although localized scarring and pigment alterations can occur in a small percentage of patients.Botox or Dysport, (botulism toxin type A) helps sleek moderate to severe facial frown lines for up to 6 months. Small doses of a sublimate, sterile form of the toxin are injected into certain facial muscles, which temporarily paralyzes and weakens them. When the muscles can’t contract normally, frown lines disappear. According to the federal agency, Botox treatments should not be injected more frequently than once every three months, and the lowest effective dose should be used. Side effects could embody nausea, rash, localized muscle weakness, flu-like symptoms and redness at the injection site. These side effects are usually temporary. If they persist, call your doctor.
  4. If I have dandruff, does that mean my scalp is dry?No! Mistakenly attributed to dryness because of the flaking it causes, dandruff is actually caused by inflammation of the scalp. Medicated shampoos can help this condition.
  5. Do Renova and Retin-A work to reduce acne and wrinkles?Yes.Retin-A was developed nearly 40 years ago as an acne treatment. It works on skin disorder principally by fixing the expansion of the highest layer of the skin to undo pores. Retin-A can be irritating for some people. Retin-A is typically used at night. Several years ago, researchers found that Retin-A had a beneficial effect on the dermis and worked for wrinkles as well. Truthfully, it doesn’t work for the deeper wrinkles on the face, but does have an effect on the more superficial wrinkles. The company that makes Retin-A also produces Renova cream, which is basically a less irritating form of Retin-A.
  6. What type of SPF should I look for in sunscreen?Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF number only relates to the UVB protection. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide preparations provide good protection and little problem with skin rashes.
  7. Should I avoid the sun altogether?No! Who wants to stay inside all the time? Bright, beautiful days should be enjoyed. Plus, sun exposure helps your body make bone-protecting vitamin D. Sunlight isn’t entirely bad, but tanning and long-term exposure are. Learn how to protect your skin, and protect it whenever you’re outside. Certain companies sell specialized sun-protective clothing and hats providing additional protection to the skin. These are also good for children. Ask your dermatologist about these or look for them on the Internet.
  8. Does sunscreen prevent sunburn?While sunscreen helps to minimize damaging sunburns, it doesn’t completely prevent burning. You still need to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when its rays are strongest; wear a large-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your scalp and eyes; cover other sun-exposed parts of your body; stay in the shade when possible; and limit the time you spend in the sun.
  9. My skin is sensitive and acne-prone and sunscreen irritates it. What can I do?If you’re prone to rashes, try different brands and types of sunscreen until you find one that doesn’t cause a rash. Gels may be drying, but they may be preferable to lotion or cream sunscreens if you have oily skin and are acne-prone. Discuss your skin reactions with a dermatologist for other suggestions.
  10. I’ve never had moles before but I just noticed a brown spot on my skin. Should I be worried?Although melanoma may begin in or around a pre-existing mole, it often appears without warning on clear skin. You should bring your condition to the attention of your health care professional for further evaluation and an accurate diagnosis.