A Dermatologist on Skin Aging

Dermatologists have long appreciated that sun exposure is a major factor in skin aging. The most important way to prevent skin aging is to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun.

Dermatologists recommend that you apply a sunscreen daily with an SPF of at least 15. Additionally, it is important to be certain that the sunscreen you are using blocks both the ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. Ultraviolet A rays are the rays that tan the skin and ultraviolet B are the rays that burn the skin. Both UVA and UVB rays contribute to skin cancer while UVA rays are primarily responsible for skin aging. It is important to remember that sunscreens lose their effectiveness when you are sweating or swimming, so you need to reapply sunscreen every two hours while engaging in outdoor activities. Use at least one ounce of sunscreen per application. This is the amount that fills a shot glass. As part of a comprehensive sun protection program, you need to also wear sun protective clothing like hats and long sleeve shirts and make sure to schedule outdoor activities either early in the day or late in the afternoon to avoid the peak hours of the sun (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). This prevention strategy helps keep skin looking young and healthy.

Topical Antioxidants
Another great way to protect your skin from sun damage and premature aging is to use topical antioxidants. Scientific studies have shown that sun exposure causes buildup of free radicals within the cells causing damage to cell membranes, DNA, and collagen. It is believed that the collagen breakdown that occurs from damaging free radicals causes wrinkling. Antioxidants are compounds that can neutralize free radicals, thereby protecting skin from their damaging effects. By applying antioxidants to the skin, we can boost the skin's natural protective mechanisms and protect it from free radical damage.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant found in a variety of skin care products. When applied to the skin, vitamin C not only neutralizes free radicals, but also encourages collagen production in the dermis. Vitamin C lightens brown spots caused by the sun, thus improving the overall appearance of sun damaged skin. Topical vitamin C is a favorite among dermatologists because it protects and repairs aging skin.

Alphahydroxy Acids
Another popular ingredient used by dermatologists and available in many skin products on the market is hydroxy acids. Alphahydroxy acids are derived from fruit and milk sugars. The most commonly used alpha hydroxy acids are glycolic acid and lactic acid because they have a special ability to penetrate the skin. The use of fruit acids to treat the skin goes back to the time of Cleopatra. Cleopatra, who was known for her beauty, bathed her skin in milk to keep it looking young. Milk is a natural source of lactic acid, a fruit acid that is popular today. Other fruit acids include glycolic acid and gluconolacotone, both of which improve that appearance of aging skin. Fruit acids work by making skin cells shed more evenly, thus leaving the skin smooth and bright. Fruit acids can also stimulate collagen production, improving the wrinkling seen in aging skin. Fruit acids pack a powerful punch against skin aging.

Taking an Active Role in the Aging Process
Aging is a natural process and unfortunately no one can avoid it, but you can take an active role when it comes to preventing and slowing the signs of aging. Using products that contain ingredients such as vitamin C and hydroxyl acids and ensuring proper SPF protection will ensure the greatest benefits and results in maintaining healthy, youthful skin.

Patricia K. Farris
M.D., F.A.A.D.

An authority on topical treatments for aging skin and cosmeceuticals, Dr. Farris provides valuable insight to Nu Skin in the development of new anti-aging skin care products. Because of her vital knowledge, she has lectured internationally on this subject and appeared in more than 200 health related television segments on dermatology, including appearances on CNN and NBC Weekend. She has also been quoted extensively in newspapers and magazines such as Newsweek, Allure, In Style, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Currently, Dr. Farris is a clinical assistant professor at Tulane University School of Medicine and maintains a private practice in Metairie, Louisiana.