Getting summer ready

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by Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff

When it comes to maintaining a youthful look, the sun – in all of its radiant glory – is not your friend.  Excessive sun exposure leads to leathery changes in the skin, wrinkles, age spots, blotchy brown patches and broken blood vessels, not to mention the possibility of skin cancer.

When patients come to see me to reverse their sun damage, I always explain to them that I can skillfully combine various lasers to reverse the damage, but they must change their habits and stop worshipping the sun.

I like to use pigment-specific lasers for brown spots, vascular-specific lasers for red spots and carbon dioxide resurfacing lasers to reverse sun damage and eliminate wrinkles.  I also like to use Botox and facial fillers to help smooth out the wrinkles.

If you have fair skin, red or blond hair, or blue eyes and a family or personal history of skin cancer, you are more genetically prone to skin cancer.  Aside from using sunscreen diligently and wearing a hat and sunglasses, I advise everyone to examine their own skin monthly and have a complete body check with your dermatologist once a year.

If you’re at high risk, you may need to be seen more frequently.  A thorough exam from head to toe can save your life.  My best advice is to have a thorough exam of your “birthday suit” on your birthday!

There are lots of easy and effective quick fixes that can truly help you look younger and more refreshed for summer.  Some options include Botox, facial fillers, cellulite smoothing, zapping of brown spots and injections for leg veins.

As president of The Skin Cancer Foundation, I believe it’s best to “go with your own glow.”  Please don’t patronize tanning salons.  Tanning, whether indoors or outdoors, is dangerous. In fact, rays used in tanning beds penetrate deep into the skin and might increase your risk of developing melanoma.

If you feel that you must have that tan to boost your confidence or look better on the beach, use a self-tanner or bronzer in combination with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.  It’s still OK to have fun in the sun – just don’t forget your sunscreen!

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