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home>>beauty & fashion>>skin care>>healthy glow all winter long

How to Keep a Healthy Glow all Winter Long

by: ARA Content

(ARA) - Just like your tan lines, the long sunny summer days have faded. Those hours spent soaking up the sun are becoming just a memory, but your skin won't forget.

Whether seeking the perfect summer tan or achieving that "sun-kissed glow" that comes from spending more time enjoying outdoor activities, the sun has left a lasting mark on your skin.

"What most people don't realize is that the sun's effect on the skin accumulates over the years," says Dr. Zein Obagi, a Beverly Hills dermatologist and developer of the Obagi Nu-Derm System. "You cannot point to one particularly bad sunburn as the culprit, the damage done by the sun builds each time we leave our skin unprotected and becomes evident as we age."

What most people in their 30s and 40s attribute to aging, dermatologists identify as the effects of sun damage coming to the surface of the skin.

Kathleen Johnson, 44, fair-skinned and a long time sun lover from Southern California began to notice the signs this past summer. "When I went out to sit in the sun without sunscreen, even for 20 minutes or so, within the hour small red bumps would begin to appear on my arms and legs," she said. "They would itch and last for a day or two and be gone."

Skin sensitivity is just one sign of sun damage according to Dr. Obagi. After years in the sun your skin will show several telltale signs that it was not properly protected by sunscreen or by keeping exposed skin covered with clothing or shaded. The most common of these signs are darkening patches of skin known as hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles -- especially around the eyes and mouth, thinning of the skin, broken veins, skin sensitivity and, in some instances, skin cancer.

By the time many patients make an appointment with their dermatologist, or in some cases their plastic surgeon, they have self-diagnosed the problems as aging and probably have self-treated those lines and wrinkles with an over-the-counter product.

"While over-the-counter products can make short-term improvements by delaying the inevitable signs of aging, only prescription skin care products can treat the effects of sun damage at the cellular level," explains Dr. Obagi. "And, the sooner we can begin to treat the effects of sun damage, the sooner we can transform' the skin to look and act younger and healthier."

Right about the time we hit 30, our bodies reduce the production of collagen, which causes skin to become saggy and wrinkled. But like unused muscles that can be rebuilt with the right exercise program, collagen production can be stimulated by topical prescription skin care, allowing the healing process to begin.

Dr. Obagi offers the following advice for optimum skin health:

* Your best line of defense against sun damage is prevention. Begin teaching children as young as three and four years of age about the importance of sunscreen and lead by example.

* Buy sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and look for the one with the highest concentration these offer the best broad spectrum protection. Don't associate these new zinc oxide formulations with the thick white creams of the past, most frequently associated with life guard's noses. New formulations of zinc oxide are nearly transparent and provide the best sun protection from UVA rays, which are associated with premature aging. Zinc oxide works both by reflecting and absorbing the sun's ultra-violet rays (UVA and UVB).

* If you are in direct sunlight reapply the sunscreen every two to three hours, otherwise a daily application before leaving the house is sufficient.

* Avoid unnecessary sun exposure, especially during the sun's peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). This applies to all outdoor activities: athletics, shopping, picnicking, walking or jogging, gardening, even waiting for a bus.

* Sunscreen protection is not just for the summer. UVA rays are the same strength year round, making a stronger case for using sunscreen on a daily basis. UVA rays, like those used in tanning salons, were once considered "safe rays," but research has demonstrated a link to immune system damage, leading to skin cancer.

* Seek treatment sooner rather than later. Visiting a board-certified dermatologist on an annual basis can mean the difference between a topical treatment and more aggressive therapies.

* As the skin begins to respond to treatment and improvement is noticed it is important to maintain the steps that were taken to restore the skin to a healthier and younger looking state.

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About The Author
Courtesy of ARA Content

EDITOR'S NOTE: Dr. Obagi is a researcher, innovator, scientist and board-certified dermatologist, who has dedicated his career to developing transformation techniques for restoring damaged skin to a younger and healthier state. His Nu-Derm System transforms the skin's cellular function, making the skin look and act younger and healthier by triggering a "Therapeutic Cascade." The Nu-Derm System is available exclusively through plastic surgeons and dermatologists, and is physician prescribed and monitored.
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The information of this page is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for your dermatologist's advice or treatment. For further details, please read our disclaimer.

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