Don’t pack away the sunblock with your swimsuit and other summer accessories. Winter’s sun is just as dangerous as summer’s, says Adam J. Scheiner, M.D., www.adamscheinermd.com, an eyelid and facial cosmetic surgeon.
“The snow reflects the glare of the sun – and the damaging UV rays,” he says. “People who like skiing and snowboarding in the mountains are getting 4 to 5 percent more UV damage for every 1,000 feet they ascend above sea level.”
And then there are all those holiday cruises and escapes to warm-weather climates where beaches are packed year-round.
“It’s not OK to lie baking in the sun for hours, even if it’s just one week out of the winter,” Dr. Scheiner says.
No matter how comfortable or cool the temperature feels, don’t be fooled!
“Earlier this year, the surgeon general predicted 9,000 people will die from melanoma this year. That’s preventable,” Dr. Scheiner says.
“If skin cancer doesn’t scare you, think with your vanity. Sun exposure is the No. 1 cause of wrinkles, discoloration, age spots and festoons, among other disfiguring problems.”
Dr. Scheiner shares tips for preventing, minimizing and repairing sun damage:
• Prevention: You’re not just exposed when you’re skiing, hiking, or taking a beach vacation.
“Anytime you go outside, you’re exposing yourself to damaging UVB and UVA rays, and the result is cumulative. A little bit here and a little there adds up,” Scheiner says.
Simply driving a car can result in serious sun damage. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found more skin cancers on the left side of patients’ faces – the side exposed while driving – then the right. Scheiner says he’s seen truckers and others who spend years on the road with severe wrinkling on the left side of the face.
“Always wear sunscreen, which protects against UVA and UVB rays. I recommend a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30, preferably higher,” he says. “You can also protect yourself from UVA rays, which cause deeper damage, by applying UV-protective film to your car windows. Also, wear clothes with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating of at least 30.”
• Minimizing: Good nutrition and topical products can help minimize signs of damage, such as wrinkles and age spots, Dr. Scheiner says.
Eat foods rich in antioxidants — carrots and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables; spinach and other green leafy vegetables; tomatoes; blueberries; peas and beans; fatty fish, and nuts. An American Society for Clinical Nutrition study found that women ages 40 to 75 who consumed more vitamin C, an antioxidant, had fewer wrinkles.
Use exfoliate creams to remove dead skin cells. Prescription creams including Avita, Avage, Renova and Retin-A have been shown to reduce wrinkles and age spots caused by sun exposure.
• Repairing: Lasers can resurface facial skin by stripping away the outermost layers. Some “non-ablative” lasers also stimulate collagen formation, which helps smooth wrinkles.
“I use RESET® Laser Skin Resurfacing, which reverses the damage and removes many pre-cancers and even active skin cancers,” Scheiner says. “RESET uses an advanced Dual Pulsed Erbium Laser, and my proprietary healing protocol. “
The RESET® treatment Dr. Scheiner has vaporizes the old skin and causes the collagen in the underlying layers to tighten.
The No. 1 best thing you can do for your skin starting today is to start making application of a broad spectrum, UVB/UVA sunscreen part of your daily routine.
“Apply it to all areas of the skin that can be directly exposed to the sun,” he says. “The best scenario is preventing sun damage in the first place.”
Adam J. Scheiner, M.D. is world-renowned in laser eyelid and facial plastic surgery for his groundbreaking treatment for Festoons. The Tampa-based oculoplastic surgeon wrote the medical text on the condition and shared his treatment for Festoons on Dr. Oz and The Doctors TV shows. Dr. Scheiner is author of the new book, The True Definition of Beauty.