Dr. Lisa R. Ginn and Dr. Robert Weiss, both board-certified dermatologists, offer some advice for skin care:
Sun protection. Using both sunscreen and protective clothing such as hats is key. "Sunscreens don't have to be expensive," says Ginn, but the sun protection factor, or SPF, is important. According to data from the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is recommended; Ginn adds that some patients can go as high as a SPF of 50 in the summer. "The higher the number, the longer one can stay out there [in the sun] without as many applications," says Weiss. But since many of the sunscreens aren't really sweat-proof (although they're often advertised as such, he notes) the main thing is to "apply sunscreen frequently."
Try some Vitamin C. Ginn says vitamin C applied topically can be helpful in terms of sun protection. "We're learning more about the antioxidant benefits of vitamin C to the skin." She advises incorporating a vitamin C serum into your daily facial skincare regimen year-round. "If there is one place to splurge on your skincare products, it's with a good vitamin C serum, as they tend to be three to four times more potent than vitamin C creams," she says. Weiss agrees, adding that "a good time to apply is in the morning. It can work while you are getting sun exposure, and adds an extra element of protection. Smooth "on the face; for women also on the decolletage."
Remember the Rs: retinoids and resveratrol. Retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A (i.e. retinol), are associated with boosting collagen production."They can help reverse sun damage, soften the skin and decrease wrinkles," says Weiss, who adds that retinoids may also "increase the pathways, to make new collagen." Resveratrol is a member of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols; they are believed to have antioxidant properties. "Resveratrol is one of the properties you'll find in red wine. You would have to drink 100 bottles to get some of the benefits," Weiss says, chuckling. "It can help improve the texture of the skin."
Exfoliate. "A tan is dead skin," says Ginn. Procedures such as microdermabrasion help remove dead skin and increase the rate of "healthy skin turn- over."
Be proactive. "Taking care of skin while you're in your 20s is important," says Ginn. "The results of sun damage begin quite early in life. By the time we see age spots, a lot of the damage is already done. Preventive skin care is not only crucial to minimizing the development of skin cancer, she adds, it is "golden in delaying skin aging and maintaining a healthy, natural and youthful appearance in your 40s and beyond."