New York specialist offers tips for protecting your skin from the No. 1 source of premature aging: Sun damage
An estimated 90% of skin aging is caused by exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s rays or artificial sources, such as tanning beds, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The types of damage caused by repeated, cumulative exposure to UV light include:
- Hyperpigmentation or brown spots
- Dry, leathery texture
- Broken capillaries (telangiectasia)
- Premature laxity, lines and wrinkles
Additionally, some splotches may be something much more nefarious than an “age spot”; they can be pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. Protecting your skin from sun damage in New York City and elsewhere depends on a mix of the right products, avoidance and lifestyle measures, and ongoing professional skin checks by Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Stephen L. Comite.
Make sun protection a healthy habit
Even if you eat nutritiously and exercise consistently, you cannot be truly healthy if you don’t practice good protection against harmful UV rays. Dr. Comite continuously keeps up on the latest dermatological research. So, you can trust that his recommendations are based on sound science and a vast wealth of experience. To protect the beauty of your skin and health of your body:
- Choose a sunscreen that is labeled as “broad-spectrum,” which means it blocks UV-A and UV-B light. Research also indicates that a higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF) does provide greater benefits. Formerly, it was thought any product above SPF 30 provided the same amount of protection. Wear sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy or overcast outside as the sun’s rays can still peek through and damage your body’s “shield.” We also recommend that patients look for products containing ingredients such as Parsol 1789 or Mexoryl (ecamsule), or physical sunblocks such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Patients who have a history of multiple skin cancers may benefit from taking the B3 supplement niacinamide to prevent skin cancer recurrences
- It’s not sufficient to apply the right product every day. There is a right way to use sunscreen. To protect all exposed skin on your body, slather on at least one ounce of product, which is about the size of a shot glass. Reapply at least every 80 minutes if you’re outside for a long period of time, more often if you are sweating or swimming. Don’t forget commonly-overlooked areas, such as the ears, feet, and lips. We also encourage patients to seek shade or avoid the sun during “peak hours,” generally between 10 to 11 am until 4 or 5 pm. Invest in SPF protective clothing and eyewear to prevent cataracts, or treat fabrics yourself with a UV protective laundry aid like Rit’s Sun Guard.
And, if you’re due for a skin check, book your appointment with Dr. Comite now. Generally, professional exams should be conducted annually, more often if you have risk factors such as a history of skin cancer. Call (212) 933-9490.
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