Dr. Gonzales’ Top 5 Must-Dos for Healthy Skin
- Sunscreen - Of course this was going to be number one! There is strong scientific and clinical evidence showing that ultraviolet exposure is the number one risk factor for skin cancer and aging skin. All of us should wear at least an SPF of 15 for daily wear and at least an SPF of 30 when we are out in the sun for more than a few minutes. When outside for more than two hours, reapplying sunscreen is essential. If you are worried about your Vitamin D, then take a Vitamin D supplement that you can buy at the pharmacy or health food store. Vitamin D from the sun is the same as a Vitamin D supplement. My preference is for sunscreens that provide a barrier to ultraviolet light. These sunscreens contain Zinc oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide. Coastal Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology carries a line of these sunscreens.
- Nightly Application of a Topical Retinoid- Topical retinoids such as Retin A, Renova, Retinol, and Tretinoin have been shown over long term use to slow down the aging process. Research has shown that patients who used these topical products long term have correction of some of their fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, topical retinoids can also help reverse some of the uneven skin tone such as “sun spots” that you may have developed from photodamage. Our office has a very effective and cosmetically elegant topical retinoid available for sale.
- Applying Topical Antioxidants - Topical antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Lipoic acid may help to bind to harmful free radicals that our skin develops from sun exposure. If left untreated, these free radicals can destroy healthy cells and promote photodamaged and aging skin. Topical antioxidants are available for purchase at Coastal Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology .
- Monthly Self Skin Exams - I know you were not expecting this one on the list, but it is extremely important to monitor your skin for any new or changing lesions. The Rules of A,B,C, D, and E apply to any suspicious lesion. A stands for Asymmetry, B stands for irregular Border, C stands for variations in Color, D stands for Diameter (any mole larger than the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil is considered atypical), and E stands for an Evolving or changing mole. Have a loved one or friend help you once a month to look at areas that you can’t see on your skin such as your back. When people work together in monitoring their “spots” research has shown that skin cancers are detected much earlier with improved survival rates.
- Skin Checks by Your Dermatologist - This one was obvious. If you have any new or changing lesions don’t be shy. If you have lots of moles it’s time to be seen. If you have had several sunburns or many hours out having fun in the sun, a skin check is meant just for you. It is better to have that spot evaluated and given reassurance than to wonder if that spot is possibly bad. I am a board certified dermatologist with special training in identifying atypical moles and skin cancers. If there is something suspicious we will make sure that it is removed for you with the least painful and most scientifically advanced surgical therapies available.