From cleansers to creams and serums to sunscreens, skincare aisles are filled with products that promise to make our skin look brighter, softer and younger. Better.But which products are must-haves and which aren’t? Should you spend extra money on “clean” cosmetics? And do sunscreens really exist? that important?
We asked three UCSF dermatologists some hot skincare questions to find out which products should be on your shopping list.
Myth 1 — Keeping your skin healthy as you age requires a complex and expensive skin care regimen on a regular basis.
In fact, simple moisturizers from the drugstore are the most important product in your anti-aging skin care routine, besides sunscreen. Dr. Katrina AbuabalaAssociate Professor of Dermatology at UCSF and interested in eczema. Moisturizers help protect the skin barrier, a vitally important function of our body’s largest organ.
As we age and our skin’s immune cells become more exposed to toxins, allergens and pollutants, the skin’s ability to act as a barrier diminishes, Abu-Abala said. This may cause mild skin irritation with symptoms such as redness and dryness. Inflamed immune cells in the skin can spread throughout the body, causing systemic inflammation and leading to many serious health problems.
For example, patients with moderate to severe eczema, a skin condition characterized by red, itchy rashes, are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Last year, Abu Abala was lead author of the following books: study Adult patients with eczema have been shown to have a 27% higher risk of dementia.
For older people and those with dry skin, one of the best ways to prevent skin irritation is to apply a moisturizer. Experts such as UCSF are investigating whether using moisturizers can actually reduce inflammation-related problems beyond the skin. Peter Elias, M.D., 67, Professor Emeritus, UCSF Dermatology, found We found that applying petroleum jelly to mice reduced the level of inflammation in their blood.small study Elias and other researchers suggested that the same might apply to humans.
“I don’t think petroleum jelly will cure dementia,” says Abu Abala. “However, applying moisturizer to the elderly may serve as part of a general strategy. can be considered.”
So using a moisturizer is great, but how do you choose from the myriad of products out there? According to Abu Abala, the most moisturizing products are ointments and oils such as petroleum jelly. Creams are the next most moisturizing, followed by lotions and gels. “It depends on how dry you are and what types of products you prefer,” she says. “Everyone is a little different.”
Myth #2 — Wearing sunscreen all the time prevents you from getting the vitamin D you need.
It’s true that we get 90% of our vitamin D from sun exposure, but when it comes to sunscreen, it’s not a prison-break-free card. Lindy Fox, M.D.A professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, he cares for inpatients with complex skin conditions. Even if you use sunscreen regularly, most healthy people are unintentionally exposed to enough sun that they don’t need vitamin D supplements.
Experimental studies (studies with control and experimental groups) have shown that using sunscreen reduces the absorption of vitamin D, says Fox. However, observational studies in which researchers observe participants’ natural behavior have shown that sunscreen does not cause people’s vitamin D levels to drop.
It could be because most people don’t use enough sunscreen. An ounce, about the size of a shot glass, is the amount of sunscreen you need for one full-body coverage, Fox said. Also, if you swim and sweat, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours. That means the average adult vacationing at the beach would have to use up an entire 3-ounce bottle of sunscreen in one day.
Even if you spend most of your day indoors, UVA rays can still penetrate the windows of your home, office, or car unless the glass is loaded with UVA-specific blockers.
Fox says sunscreen is a must for everyone, as unprotected sun exposure is a known risk factor for skin cancer. “Like brushing your teeth, sunscreen should be used daily,” she says. “Sunscreen should be applied to sun-exposed areas such as the face, chest, hands, and arms for ultimate sun protection.” (Remember to reapply before your lunchtime walk. )
It’s also a good idea to add sun protection clothing to your sunscreen routine, such as a rash guard or a wide-brimmed hat.
Myth #3 — My dark skin protects me from skin cancer, so I don’t have to use sunscreen.
Sorry, even darker-skinned people need sunscreen, but probably not for the same reasons as lighter-skinned people, says assistant dermatologist Dr. Jenna Lester., Director of UCSF skin of color program.
It’s true that melanin, the natural pigment that gives skin its color and is more abundant in darker-skinned people, helps prevent skin cancer, says Lester. Perhaps that is why melanoma is less common in dark-skinned people, even though it is more fatal in those diagnosed with it.
According to current dermatologist knowledge, sunscreen use does not prevent melanoma in black patients. But focusing sunscreen education primarily on skin cancer prevention ignores why people of color should wear sunscreen, Lester said. “We’re centered around white patient concerns in dermatology,” she says. “We don’t talk much about sunscreen when we talk about skin discoloration or uneven tone, or visible signs of sun damage in people with darker skin tones.”
Regular use of sunscreen helps prevent many pigmentary disorders, including chloasma, which causes dark spots and patches to appear on the face.
Darker-skinned people are less likely to develop wrinkles from sun exposure, Lester said, but they may have uneven skin tones. “Practicing sunscreen every day can help prevent problems,” she says.
Myth #4 — “Clean,” “Natural,” or Organic skin care products are better.
no. In fact, products advertised as “clean,” “natural,” or organic are often bad for your skin. “People use products they think are better because they’re called ‘clean,'” says Fox. “They end up coming to us with skin ailments full of rashes, allergies and other problems.”