2. Diet rich in fruits and vegetables
3. Topical Retinoids (vitamin A cream) like Renova, Retin A, Tazorac
4. Growth factor creams such as Skin Medica TNS
5. Laser Resurfacing, using new lasers such as the Fractional erbium or fractional CO2
If I were to make a list of 10 things, sunscreen would be #1, 2 and 3. It is that important! Sun protection is the key element for both beautiful skin and skin cancer prevention. Slather it on- a shot glass full for your whole body and keep re-applying every 80 minutes. And, try to limit sun exposure in the midday between 11 am and 2 pm. In addition, stay out of the indoor tanning beds.
Topical retinoids or vitamin A has proved to be the best anit-aging cream for repairing sun damage. The most effective products, which are available only by prescription, Renova (or or generic Refissa), Retin A (or generic tretinoin) improve rough skin texture, reduce abnormal pigmentation, smooth fine lines and stimulate new collagen. Over the counter products with retinol, a lower potency vitamin A, do not work as well for skin repair. Be advised, the best use of the prescription strength vitamin A creams is under a doctor’s supervision, skin irritation will result if not used properly.
Growth factor creams are the newest innovation in anti-aging products. One of the original products in this category, TNS Recovery Complex by SkinMedica, contains growth factors derived from skin cell cultures. Growth factors are proteins that occur naturally in the body and play an important role in skin health. TNS has been shown to have similar benefits to retinoids. Use of a growth factor cream, combined with a retinoid, and daily sunscreen is an optimal home program for skin repair and rejuvenation. These products are sold mainly in dermatology practices.
A healthy diet and lifestyle has proven benefits in promoting beautiful skin.. In a recent study, strawberry extract, which contains the antioxidant polyphenol, provided UVA protection when applied to the skin. Other foods high in antioxidants that have potential sun-protective benefits include tomatoes (high in lycopene), blueberries and blackberries (high in anthocyanin), green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale (carotenoids) and fish such as salmon ( high in omega fatty acids). Sun protection is boosted by these anti-oxidants but they are not a replacement for sunscreen. By promoting overall health, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish enhances the beauty of the skin.
For those with more severe sun damage, wrinkling, or irregular pigmentation, laser resurfacing with the fractional erbium ( Fraxel ) or fractional CO2 can reverse many years of sun damage. The Fraxel laser is done over a series of 4 or 5 sessions with a 2-3 day healing time. The fractional CO2 laser is done in a single treatment with 7-8 days healing time. Both lasers can erase irregular pigmentation, smooth out facial lines and smooth rough skin in a more dramatic way than a home program. And, as an additional benefit, your skin will be healthier and less likely to develop skin cancer. To see if this treatment is right for you, call our office for a consultation.