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Study confirms regular sunscreen use prevents photo-aging

Fifteen minutes of sun exposure does more than sunburn fair skin, it ages skin too. The good news is with daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen, people can prevent photo-aging.

Even though dermatologists currently recommend daily sunscreen use to patients for wrinkle, age spot and skin cancer prevention, a new Australia based study in “Annals of Internal Medicine” provides the most extensive evidence of sunscreen’s anti-aging effectiveness to-date.

900 Caucasian participants in Australia under age 55 were randomly split into two groups. Group one was instructed to apply sunscreen to their head, neck, arms and hands every morning, after a few hours of outdoor sun exposure or after being in water or sweating. Group two was told to use sunscreen at their leisure.

Two-thirds of all participants had small skin samples taken from the back of their hands at the beginning of the study. Four-and-a-half years later, researchers once again excised a skin sample from the same participants, but the results of the study turned out to be more visible than expected. Those who applied sunscreen daily displayed younger looking skin than those who used sunscreen at their discretion.

Aussies are already known for their diligent sun protection habits but not necessarily motivated by anti-aging efforts. Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer of any country in the world. Almost two out of three Australians will be treated for some form of skin cancer during their lifetime and melanoma is more commonly diagnosed than lung cancer. Factors contributing to Australia’s skin cancer rates include the generally light skinned population, the active outdoor lifestyle, depleted ozone layer and the country’s proximity to the equator. According to the “NY Times”, most participants, regardless of which group they were assigned, were using sunscreen at least some of the time, and two-thirds wore sun hats.

It’s never too late to start using sunscreen. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor reported on the “Today Show”, “Even if you’re 55 you can still roll back the clock two or three years”.

Choosing the right sunscreen is essential for the protection to be effective. In the study, participants used broad-spectrum sunscreen, which blocks both ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B rays, and sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. Reapplication throughout the day was also essential.

For complete sun protection, dermatologists recommend wearing sun protective clothing, a wide-brim hat, UV 400 sunglasses, and applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater.

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Expert Rx What's Hot

“Vampire face-lift”: an eerie Hollywood anti-aging trend

After the Academy Awards Sunday evening, local Minneapolis ABC news aired a segment on the “vampire facelift” as certificates for this new Hollywood anti-aging treatment were provided to all Oscar attendees. From the eerie yet romanticized nickname, one might picture their skin looking as flawless as Kristen Stewart (pictured left), who plays vampire Bella in Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

The procedure isn’t surgical, but rather, a patient’s blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge so platelet rich plasma separates and rises to the top.  Then, it’s mixed with filler and injected into the patient’s face.

Doctors performing the procedure hope to stimulate new collagen production. With age, collagen production slows and cell structures weaken, thus skin gets thinner, is easier to damage and skin sags and wrinkles.

The procedure takes half an hour, but downtime lasts up to four days. Some patients opting for the “vampire face-lift” prefer the idea of using their own blood rather than a neurotoxin or synthetic filler.

Introduced in 2009, this system, called Selphyl, is used by approximately 350 physicians and clinics nationwide according to the manufacturer Aesthetic Factors. However, some doctors are hesitant to offer the procedure. Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Jess Prischmann said, “I just don’t think that it’s been time tested,” during her interview with local Minneapolis ABC station. She does not offer the “vampire face-lift” to her patients.

Dr. Phil Haeck, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said in The New York Times, “There are no scientific studies [on the effectiveness], only personal attestations.”  The “vampire face-lift” ranges from about $800 to $2,400 hundred dollars, depending on the patient’s needs and the physician providing the procedure.

If this procedure sounds scary to you, consider the safe anti-aging option – sun protection!   

How do you feel about this anti-aging trend? Let us know on Facebook.

Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kristen_Stewart_7,_2012.jpg

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Wellness Warriors

The Not-So-Sweet Truth: Sugar & pre-mature skin aging

Sugar—the main ingredient in some of nature’s most tempting indulgences. When we consume it, our brain sends out pleasure sensors and signals the body, “I want more of that good stuff.” Most of us know too much sugar contributes to weight gain, tooth decay and other health conditions. So we resign ourselves to just one Snickers out of the Halloween bucket.  However, despite our best intentions, many of us have a persistent “sweet tooth.” Now research suggests that sweet treats not only contribute to elevated blood sugar levels, those higher levels actually can cause pre-mature skin aging.

Foods with little-to-no nutritional benefits, like sugar-packed doughnuts, can actually damage the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and youthful. The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

glazed donut – a high-glycemic carb

Furthermore, board-certified Dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a world renowned healthy aging expert, advocates an anti-inflammatory diet. He asserts that clinical inflammation is the cause of aging and disease. One of the reasons inflammation occurs is from a rapid rise in blood sugar, which is why he recommends avoiding sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates. Sugar not only increases body weight, it also triggers cellular inflammation in all organs, including the skin.  This inflammation may lead to wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging.

What are high-glycemic foods you may ask? Any carbohydrate has a certain level and is ranked on a scale from low to high. The lower the glycemic “index” the better, because high-glycemic carbs break down quickly during your body’s digestion process. This is a problem since this fast breakdown results in an immediate effect on blood sugar levels. High-glycemic culprits include pasta, white bread, white rice and potatoes, just to name a few.

Substitute bad sugars with sweet fruits like kiwi, peaches, pears, plums and cantaloupe. Turn to low glycemic index foods such as wholegrain breads and non starchy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, broccoli and cabbage. By incorporating fruits and vegetables, you’ll also be getting plenty of antioxidants to protect your skin and body.

fresh veggies are good for both your skin & body

Resources:

  1. Discovery Fit & Health: Shun the Sugar for Sweeter Looking Skin
  2. Elle: Sugar Aging How to Fight Glycation
  3. Fox News: Diet and Exercise Mistakes that Age
  4. Guide Well: Women Keeping Skin Looking Youthful
  5. Perricone MD: 3 Foods to Leave Out of your Perricone Diet

 

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

 

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