November marked the return of National Healthy Skin Month — an educational opportunity for the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) to share the latest findings on everything from hair loss and adult acne to non-invasive solutions for unwanted love handles. But what we really wanted to know was how to get on that illusive yellow brick road to healthy, glowing, perky skin.
Suzanne Connolly, MD and Associate Professor Dermatology at the Mayo Clinic says that lifestyle choices are at the heart of healthy skin. “An outdoor lifestyle without proper ultraviolet ray protection results in more photodamage and that is the basis for photoaging,” she says. “Healthy diet, avoiding tobacco use, less emotional stress, and rest are important, too.”
Dr. Connolly also stressed the importance of using a daily sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection — and not just on sunny days. “Use of sunscreen routinely, even on a cloudy or cool day is important. It needs to be re-applied; one application in the morning will not have a day-long benefit,” she notes.
The third part of the equation? Understanding the unique needs of your skin type and sticking to a careful and consistent skin care routine. Dr. Connolly helped us identify what to look for in our home skincare solutions while we dug up some products that fit the bill (note: Mayo Clinic does not endorse particular products or product lines contained herein).
Zits, pimples, misguided relief maps — whatever you want to call them, acne is no fun for anyone. The types and treatments of chronic breakouts vary and the AAD recommends a trip to the doc for severe acne. For minor to moderate breakouts, they suggest a skincare regimen that includes a daily moisturizer with sun protection.
Look for: Oil-free products with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and non-comedogenic ingredients (does not block pores)
Avoid: Heavy creams and oily products
Products to try: Peter Thomas Roth Beta Hydroxy Acid 2% Acne Wash ($35), Blemish Buffing Beads ($36), Acne Spot and Area Treatment ($32). Available at peterthomasroth.com and Sephora stores.
Treatment to try: Customized Acne Treatment Facial at Dolce Salon & Spa, $95
Unevenly Pigmented Skin
While the official term is hyperpigmentation, most of us refer to them brown splotches or wayward freckles. Dr. Connolly stresses that proper sun protection is the key to warding off further brown spots but for some of us who spent our summers frying in the sun, it’s a little late.
Look for: Pigment-lightening products with retinol, niacinamide, hydroquinone or alpha-hydroxy acids.
Avoid: Sun exposure!
Products to try: Rodial A-List Cleanser ($59), Glamtox Peel ($90), Glam Balm ($80). More at www.rodial.co.uk or buy it at studiobeautymix.com.
Treatment to try: Skin Rescue Treatment at Golden Door Spa at The Boulders Resort, $250-$260
For easily irritated skin, Dr. Connolly suggests introducing new products to sensitive skin with caution. Use a little of the product at a time on a small area initially.
Look for: Fragrance-free products with a simple list of ingredients (the longer the list of ingredients, the more apt a product might be to irritate sensitive skin).
Products to try: Wonderbar ($40). Available at wonderbarusa.com.
Treatment to try: Skin Resonance Facial at Spa Avania, at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, $165
It’s the pink elephant in the room: the wrinkle. And it’s an area of skincare research that exploding with new information.
Look for: Anti-aging products with retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids and derivatives (lactic acid, glycolic acid and gluconolactone) and anti-oxidants of which there are a many — idebenone, alpha-lipoic acid, kinetin, licorice extract, niacinamide, vitamins C and E, green tea extract and others still being tested.
Avoid: Introducing too many active products at a time so skin does not become irritated.
Products to try: EmerginC Multi-Fruit Cleanser ($35), Mulit-Vitamin + Retinol Serum ($79), Protocell Moisturizer ($90), Hydra-Repair Infusion Topical Capsules ($90). Available at emerginc.com. Also try Obagi Nu-Derm Exfoderm Forte ($62) Nu-Derm Healthy Skin Protection SPF 35 ($44). More at obagi.com or buy it at lovelyskin.com.
Treatment to try: Ceramide Recapture Facial at Red Door Spa at Biltmore Fashion Park, $145.
More Healthy Skin Info
For more info on skincare or to find a dermatologist in your area, visit the AAD’s consumer site: skincarephysicians.com.