May is Melanoma Awareness Month, so we are going to feature weekly sets of sun protection secrets from Mona Gohara, M.D., FITNESS advisory board member and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. Get set to up your sun smarts and stay safe all summer!
Day 1: Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. Protect your largest organ by getting yearly checks by a dermatologist and examine your own skin monthly. The silver lining? Most skin cancers are curable if caught early.
Day 2: 90% of the visible signs of aging are caused by daily sun exposure. Ultraviolet A rays cause brown sun spots, wrinkles, saggy skin and the breakdown of collagen. An easy fix? Daily sunscreen application to the face and hands. SPF 30 or higher is ideal.
Day 3: Talk to the hand! Damaging ultraviolet rays come through the windows of most cars, leaving your hands (as they rest on the steering wheel) and the left side of the face, most vulnerable to unwanted sunspots and wrinkled skin. Apply sunscreen to the backs of your hands before and after your commute, and enjoy the appearance of youthful hands for years to come!
Day 4: Protect those gams. The most common place for melanoma in women is the calves! Avid runners, swimmers, tennis players and other outdoor sports enthusiasts should be particularly cautious. For ultimate protection, slip on sun-protective workout gear and apply sunscreen.
Day 5: Melanoma is the most common cancer in women between the ages of 25 and 29. The culprit? Tanning beds. “Parlor” patrons are exposed to 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from outdoor sun. Tanning bed devotees younger than 35 increase their melanoma risk by 75%. Look for moles that are asymmetric (one side is not the mirror image of the other), have an irregular border /color or those that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Pay close attention to subtle symptoms, such as pain, soreness, itchiness or a visceral compulsion to recurrently examine a mole—these are all reasons to pick up the phone and dial your derm.
Day 6: Fifty percent of Americans will have at least one skin cancer by the age of 65. Remember if you can spot it, you can stop it. Look for any spots on the skin that are bleeding, oozing, crusting or not healing. These are all potential signs of skin cancer.
Day 7: When it comes to skin cancer prevention, women are better listeners. A recent study published in the Archives of Dermatology revealed that when men and women melanoma patients were surveyed up to a decade later, women were more likely to have adjusted their behavior towards sun protection. Results of a separate questionnaire showed that women more often seek skin exams because of a concerning mole or fear of previous sun exposure. Men on the other hand, were usually inclined to get skin checks only after a diagnosis of skin cancer. Tip: Make a date for annual his-and-hers derm appointments!
Our hands carry tons of bacteria, which can easily can spread to places we don’t want—like our face! So we enlist hand sanitizer in the war against germs. Our latest find: Veripur Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer, a bacteria-killer in a bottle that has a fresh scent (for fragrance-phobes, it’s also available unscented) and can be found at your local drugstore.
While most hand purifiers are alcohol-based (read: drying to the skin) this product is quite the opposite—it contains hydrating jojoba, grape seed and avocado oils in a creamy base to nourish as it wards of germs. Instead of blasting bacteria with antiseptic alcohol, it contains benzethonium chloride suspended in a wax base that invisibly binds to skin, killing germs continuously for up to four hours without reapplication. How handy!
—By Maite Gonzalez, beauty intern
As a college student, my schedule can get a little hectic. Unfortunately, my tired skin is often a dead giveaway of a stressful week.
When a term paper threatens my complexion, I turn to Skyn Iceland the Antidote Quenching Daily Lotion ($45). The invigorating formula (free of harsh chemicals) refreshes and rejuvenates my skin. I use it morning and night—and sometimes even smooth a little on my T-zone during my 2P.M. slump.
The lotion reduces redness, prevents breakouts and calms irritated skin. After a tough spinning class, it’s the perfect antidote to my red, splotchy face. Just because the going gets tough doesn’t mean your skin has to! How do you treat your over-worked skin?
—Catherine Q. O’Neill, contributing blogger
During the chilly months, our lips have to endure the harsh weather right along with the rest of our body. They get chapped, dry and flaky if we don’t give them the love and care they deserve. Fresh Brown Sugar Lip Polish is a great little treat to gently buff away flakes, a necessary step before sporting that vibrant red or pink lip for Valentine’s Day. Sugar is a natural antiseptic, and this product was concocted without parabens, sulfates, and synthetic dyes—so it gently exfoliates for smooth, kissable lips. Flip to our “Bliss Out” feature on page 50 of the March issue (on newsstands next week) for a DIY lip scrub recipe!
—By Melissa Dressing, contributing blogger
This past weekend, I visited the Mario Badescu Spa for a vitamin C facial, and I totally had an acne aha moment. For the past couple of months, I have been consistently breaking out on my neck. (Who knew this was even possible?!) The zits are often on the left side of my neck, and I originally blamed my little puppy Elvis as my acne culprit. However, as soon as my facialist saw the breakouts on my neck, she asked: “Do you sleep with your hair down?” My answer: Yes, and I often slather oil (my go-to one: Shu Uemura Essence Absolue) on my ends in order to keep them shiny and prevent split-ends. Then she asked: “Do you sleep with your head turned more to the right?” My answer: Totally, because I like to face my window. Ding, ding! Tossing my hair around was exacerbating, if not completely causing, my neck bumps. Since this visit, I’ve been wearing my hair up, and I’ve already noticed that my skin is clearer. Have any of you guys come across other habits that are skin saboteurs? I’m curious!
It’s a new year—the perfect time to get your skincare habits on the right track. We got advice from Kate Somerville, celebrity aesthetician and founder of Kate Somerville Skin Care, on how to get your best skin (and body!) ever in 2011:
- Do a detox. “With a new year, it’s time for a new game plan: Detoxify through exercise, nutrition, steaming and massage. When you detoxify, you’re getting rid of toxins and impurities, giving you more energy than you’ve ever had before, and leaving your skin looking luminous.”
- Cleanse, exfoliate, pamper, repeat. “You can externally detoxify three ways. The first is to cleanse daily – morning and night – with a cleanser that’s right for your skin type. Exfoliating is another form of detoxifying. I suggest using an exfoliant on your face two or three times a week, which leaves the healthy cells on the surface and helps keep pores free of impurities. The third way to detoxify is with facials: I recommend having them monthly, whether at a skin-care salon or doing them at home.”
- Look inward. “Cleansing internally is equally important, and can be easily done with certain drinks and foods. You can get a really effective cleanse by cutting out caffeine, alcohol, sugar, added salt, meat and processed food from your diet for just three days. Drink only water, juice or herbal tea; and load up on a variety of raw, fresh produce. The fiber in the fruits and vegetables acts like a brush throughout your intestinal system, sweeping away all the junk as it goes through. This kind of detox will not only cleanse your body, but it will also recalibrate your taste buds.”
As the shops in New York City start filling their windows with festive decorations, cold air is creeping in, too. These beauty treats keep us hydrated on chilly days (and the delicious scents are a calorie-free bonus!):
Chapstick Lip Balm in Cool and Soothing Peppermint: This twist on the classic lip balm seals in moisture with a cooling sensation and prevents chapping. Plus, the it smells and tastes like peppermint, so it instantly freshens breath.
Lumene Spa Repairing Body Butter: This formula is ultra-creamy and has a refreshing citrus scent. I use it at night before bed, and wake up with smooth, silky skin. The formula is light enough to wear during the day, too.
Serendipity 3 Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Foot Cream: This is my guilty pleasure after a long day at work. The rich cream has the aroma of Serendipity’s famous hot chocolate, plus peppermint oil to relieve feet after a day of pounding the pavement.
What are your favorite beauty indulgences for brisk days?
-Kari LaPrade, beauty intern
Along with the crisp air and colored leaves, autumn brings dry skin. While it’s easy to moisturize your body with creamy and freshly-fragranced lotions, it’s not so simple when it comes to your face. My sister Sabrina noticed her skin getting drier as the weather has become colder, leaving her face dull and her foundation flaky. She asked me what she could do to keep her face smooth throughout the season, and I told her my secret to keeping skin soft all year round: exfoliating.
Using a soft scrub in the shower removes excess dead cells and keeps flakiness at bay. For chronic dryness, it’s best to use scrubs with physical exfoliators like the beads in L’Oréal Paris Go 360˚ Clean Deep Exfoliating Scrub or Kate Somerville ExfoliKate® Intensive Exfoliating Treatment. Also look for scrubs with fruit enzymes, like Wei East Pomegranate Buffing Beads Exfoliator.
For acne-prone skin, choose scrubs with salicylic acid, such as St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Scrub. The salicylic acid clears breakouts, while the refreshing green tea component tackles redness and irritation.
Scrubs are not recommended for sensitive skin types, but don’t worry, we’ve still got you covered! Try an exfoliating pad instead, like Philosophy Microdelivery Mini Peel Pads, which slough skin, tone and brighten without the harshness.
The final key to combating dry skin is to use a moisturizer with SPF. This will keep your face hydrated, makeup smooth and skin protected! What scrubs do you use to keep skin soft during the chilly months?
-Nina Ramadan, beauty intern
Apparently, so is Tyra Banks, host of America’s Next Top Model! According to Debra Jaliman, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City freckling in the summer is a genetic tendency (Tyra, you can thank your mom for them). Melanocytes, melanin-producing cells located in the bottom layer of the skin’s epidermis, cluster right under the skin in patters and get activated in the sun to form spots. Regardless of how cute they are now, it’s important to prevent this activation as much as possible with SPF. “If you keep activating them, they will stay and not go away in the winter,” says Dr. Jaliman.
Self-tanner can make you look slimmer and smoother if you do it right. Follow these expert tint hints.
1) Exfoliate thoroughly. If you don’t, your faux glow will look streaky, says New York City-based tanning expert, Anna Stankiewicz. Avoid oil-based scrubs, which can coat the skin and cause patchiness.
2) Prep parched parts. Before you get glowing, put a light layer of lotion on your hands, feet, elbows and heels to keep the bronzer from over absorbing into dry areas. “You’ll still get a little bit of penetration but not enough to cause splotches,” Stankiewicz says.
3) Get even. Keep crinkly areas, like your knees and elbows, seamless by bending them as you apply tanner. Don’t forget to massage the formula into your neck, the skin around your ears and hairline–all are zones women often miss.
4) Bring sexy back. To get your upper back and shoulders, try this trick from Dera Enochson, creator and founder of Xen-Tan: Take a foot of Saran Wrap and fold it lengthwise into a two-inch strip. Put tanner in the middle, and, holding the ends, smooth it across your back like you’re drying your back with a towel.
5) Use protection. Don’t rub off your tawny color before it develops. After your application dries, blot on a talc-free powder, such as Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder ($4.55, burtsbees.com), to create a barrier. Remember not to shower for about eight hours. Now, you’re golden!