Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer Skin Tips and Other Topics
By Stuart Kaplan, MD

Most people know that using sunscreen protection is essential for healthy summer skin, but there are other important steps that you should take to make sure that you look your best this summer. Below are my top 11 tips:

Citrus fruits can cause your skin to burn. Be careful what you drink. Certain citrus fruits such as lemons and limes, or even the peel of the fruit, can cause a photosensitivity reaction that will cause your skin to burn quickly. This is often seen at the corners of the mouth, as we drink tropical fruit drinks with slices of fruit stuck onto the glass.

Protect Your Lips! Always apply sunscreen or a lip balm with a minimum SPF 15 to your lips BEFORE applying your lip-gloss/lipstick. Many lip products contain castor oils and petroleum jelly. These oils coat the lip, and actually increase the amount of sunlight that penetrates the skin on your lips. This will increase lip wrinkles, sun damage, and the risk of skin cancer on your lips.

Squinting causes lines. Even with sunglasses, bright light will cause us to squint. Persistent squinting will cause creases to develop in your frown lines and crow’s feet. Botox can prevent these creases from forming or worsening. Many men and women find that Botox at the beginning of summer will prevent squint lines from becoming a problem.

The Latest in Laser Hair Removal. A popular pre-spring/pre-summer procedure I perform in my office is laser removal of excess hair on the face, in the underarm and in the bikini areas of women. This treatment can also be done on the neck, adam’s apple, and backs for men. Laser hair removal improves your appearance, and prevents ingrown hairs. Laser can also be done to permanently shape eyebrows or hair in any other location. Remember, there is a difference in the quality of the laser. Better lasers mean fewer treatments.

Reduce Ingrown Hairs. Many women suffer from unsightly shaving bumps or ingrown hairs in the bikini area. Men get these on the front and back of their neck following shaving or a haircut. First rule – don’t pick. You will just make it worse, and leave a bigger scab. Instead, your dermatologist can inject the area with a dilute anti-inflammatory solution. The inflammation of the pimple will recede within a 1 to 2 days.

Botox Can Reduce Sweating. For women who love wearing tank tops but are concerned about underarm sweating, know that Botox® has been FDA approved to treat excess underarm sweating, also called hyperhydrosis. It is very effective, and lasts approximately 6 months. That means you will no longer have to worry about the powdery residue, or itchy irritation of anti-perspirants.

Remove tiny veins on your nose and face. Again, with spring/summer beauty trends leaning toward au natural make-up and more time in the sun, consider getting laser vein removal for those pesky red spider veins around the corners of your nostrils, nose, and cheeks. There is virtually no down time and the results are immediate.

Remove Spider & Varicose Leg Veins. Spring and summer styles mean shorts, and new bathing suits. Or, in other words, more exposed leg. Who wants those unsightly spider and varicose veins ruining your sexy wardrobe? New lasers, as well as injection sclerotherapy, effectively treat unwanted spider and varicose veins on your legs.

Scrub Away. How to get the beautiful after winter, summer skin glow? Exfoliate with a mild scrub 2 to 3 times a week. I recommend scrubs that contain date seed power or pineapple and papaya enzymes. These are all natural, botanical ingredients that are mild yet effective.
Use A Clay Mask. Increased humidity and high temperatures in the summer lead us to sweat more, and cause more oil and buildup on our face. To refine skin, remove dead skin cells, and tighten pores, I recommend using a clay mask 1 or 2 times a week. I do not recommend exfoliating and using a scrub on the same day, as this may dry out your skin.

Know your SPF. Some things most people don’t know about Sunscreen:

It should be applied 30 minutes before you go out in the sun to give the product time to penetrate your skin. If you apply sunscreen while you are outside in the sun, you are basically exposing your skin to UV radiation for the first 30 minutes.

For the absolute highest sun protection, use a sunscreen that contains physical sunscreens such as titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. These particles lay on top of your skin and actually deflect light away from your skin. The higher concentrations work better at blocking the sun, but also can leave a slight residue discoloration on the skin. This is particularly an issue for people who want to wear sunscreen on their face underneath their make-up for normal everyday activites, but don’t like the white residue or skin discoloration. Try the kaplanMD Day Cream SPF 15, which contains a highly micronized titanium dioxide, along with 9 other active ingredients. An anti-wrinkle cream, moisturizer, and SPF 15 all in one, the kaplanMD Day Cream SPF 15 leaves no messy white residue while providing long-lasting sun protection.

Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen. To get the full benefit of a sunscreen, it must be applied liberally.

Use at least an SPF 15. Although higher concentrations give a few percent improvement in sun protection, they can also irritate your skin, and leave an unsightly film on your face.
If you are going to be outdoors for a long period of time, remember to re-apply your sunscreen every 3 hours. And remember if you are going swimming, there is no such thing as a water-proof sunscreen. Some are water-resistant, but you should still re-apply your sunscreen often

Don’t forget to wear a hat to protect your scalp (even for women) and sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Dr. Stuart Kaplan has been in private practice in Beverly Hills for more than 22 years, as well as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA Medical Center and Attending Physician for Skin Cancer Surgery at the Wadsworth VA for more than 20 years.