Folks blessed with flawless, collagen-dense skin come to me almost daily to show me their (invisible to me, but my eyesight may be failing) eye wrinkles, accompanied by the plaint, “I'm getting old!" While part of me thinks, “join the club," I really do sympathize. Sighting your first wrinkle isn’t cause for celebration, like losing your first tooth and receiving a dollar for it.
Nothing’s more exasperating than conspicuous breakouts. We all get them, and we all spend a lot of effort trying to avoid them. A daily diet of topical antibiotics and antimicrobials prescribed to combat acne may work for a time, but ultimately, they can disrupt the skin’s microbiome balance. It’s now common knowledge that prolonged use of antibiotics kills off beneficial bacteria found in the gut microbiome, tipping the balance in favor of over-colonization by disease-causing pathogens. Similar to the gut’s microbial disruption-disease cycle, skin microbial dysbiosis can lead to skin problems ranging from redness, irritation, rosacea, rashes, eczema, resurgence of acne and adult acne to photosensitization.
Acne is usually a result of elevated testosterone levels increasing sebum production. The excess sebum and the bacteria that feed on it, as well as dead skin cells and assorted debris, collect in the pores. The resulting congestion can lead to inflammation, which culminates in a case of acne. Conventional treatments battle breakouts with topical cleansers, exfoliants, antimicrobials, antibiotics and, in serious cases of cystic acne, drugs like Accutane. Now new research suggests that certain vitamins, taken internally as well as applied topically, offer an effective alternative approach to treating acne—without the side effects. This story will explore your options.
The right sunscreen not only lowers skin your cancer risk, but it delays skin aging, as well. For a sunscreen to effectively aid in photoaging prevention, it must include active ingredients that protect against damage occasioned by long-wave length UVA rays. But some ingredients in some sunscreens actually accelerate skin aging, because they generate free radicals that attack cell structures and DNA, eventually resulting in chronic inflammation.
To select a safe and healthy sunscreen, scrutinize sunscreen ingredients, not SPF numbers. Physical sunblocks offer UVB protection equivalent to chemical sunscreens and superior protection against UVA rays and beyond. Some chemicals in sunscreens can be toxic to reproductive systems, cause allergic reactions and accelerate skin aging.
The most effective way to delay signs of aging is to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with good UVA protection daily—not only when you go to the beach. But beware: Products boasting high SPF numbers can be very misleading. High SPF ratings, in the 40s, 50s and even higher, indicate complete, broad-spectrum, UVB/UVA protection. The implication is that the higher the number, the greater your level of protection.