S.O.S. Is To Save Our Skin

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Sun damage is the number one premature-aging factor for skin, especially for the skin on our faces.

July is UV Safety Month, and Amy Wechsler, MD, RealAge.com Mind & Beauty expert, offers simple solutions to save our skin through the decades to keep it healthy and looking younger longer.

"Sun damage, smoking, stress, lifestyle, and poor sleep habits can catch up with us at any age, but we first see their effects in our 30s," explains Dr. Wechsler. "These factors greatly affect how our skin looks and feels, and women of all ages need to know that it is never too late or too early to start taking care of the skin on their face."

According to Dr. Wechsler, if there is only one thing a person should do to save his or her skin, at all ages, it is to use sunscreen. It should be "broad spectrum" (protecting against UVA and UVB rays), and it should be worn daily and applied liberally.

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Most people do not use enough sunscreen. "To properly protect your skin before hitting the pool, beach, or backyard, you should be applying 3 ounces of sunscreen on your body -- that's almost half a bottle of sunscreen," explains Dr. Wechsler.

The second skin-saving solution from Dr. Wechsler is to have a skin care routine that includes cleansing, moisturizing, protecting (with sunscreen), and, occasionally, exfoliating.

Time is on the side of a woman in her 20s; it's in her 30s that the skin on her face begins to show the signs of 3 decades worth of bad skin habits. During this time, many women experience acne and the onset of wrinkles simultaneously. Sun spots may also begin to surface. Dr. Wechsler's solution: oil-free, noncomedogenic moisturizer for your face, perhaps with an alpha- hydroxy component. And begin using Retin-A.

Women in their 40s can anticipate a loss of volume, deeper wrinkles, an increase in sun spots, and dark circles beneath their eyes. But don't fret. Dr. Wechsler suggests using Retin-A, if you aren't already. And add salicylic acid peels to keep your skin as young as your RealAge.

By following the recommendations from Dr. Wechsler, 50 can look like 40. Women in their 50s can combat thinning skin, loss of elasticity, broken capillaries, and gravity's toll by having glycolic peels, using a gentle washcloth, and applying a heavier moisturizer.

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