Story By Pam Lazor
With a lifestyle of discipline, routine and a positive, happy outlook, our skin can look and feel healthy and wonderful! It’s all about the attitude.
As a skincare and beauty junkie, I’ve rounded up a few respected experts as well as some carefully tested (experienced) products that make a lot of sense in the skincare arena. Although I’m not yet of quoted “senior” age, it is not long down the road, and I am definitely paying attention to what is on the horizon.
The ever-elusive Fountain of Youth along with everyday respect for our bodies and skin—the body’s largest organ—can surely be a job on its own. Does your skin glow? How does it feel? And, how do YOU feel?
As we age, our bodies feel and look different. We tend to pay more attention to ourselves and our health as we age. The days of frivolous encounters with the beach and sun, once seeming to be de rigueur before an important date (with the guy or girl you probably didn’t end up marrying, but you looked darned fabulous that month!), is now possibly a scar of poor judgment, affecting you in your older years. Sunlamps, double record album covers swathed in tin foil, in addition to indoor tanning beds/booths, can take quite a toll on the body and skin, along with other skin issues that come with age.
Let’s take a spin to explore what is new, as well as topics that remain genuine concerns in the skincare and wellness arena.
I had a long and interesting conversation with Stephen Schleicher, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist and medical director of DermDox Dermatology Centers, PC, a multi-office practice and author of SKIN SENSE!: A Dermatologist’s Guide to Skin and Facial Care.
Dr. Schleicher says that skin cancers are one of the primary concerns of his senior patients, noting that “skin cancer is an epidemic in the United States with over 2 million new cases diagnosed each year.” Some cases of skin cancer begin as scaly patches called solar or actinic keratoses. These are linked to long term sun exposure, and thus persons who spend time outdoors should apply sunscreen to exposed areas. Higher SPF numbers afford greater protection. Dr. Schleicher recommends an SPF of 30 or greater and prefers sunscreens containing either zinc or titanium. Water resistant sunscreen is recommended for those who swim. Indoor tanning is directly linked to skin cancer and should be avoided at any age.
As for frequency of dermatologist examination, it depends. If an individual has a history of skin cancer or precancerous lesions, at least one yearly examination is prudent. Individuals diagnosed with the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma, require a shorter time between visits. “Given the millions of new skin cancers diagnosed each year in the US, seniors would do best to have their skin evaluated by a dermatologist or dermatologist-trained physician extender on a yearly basis.” The sooner a skin cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better.
Not all skin lesions are cancerous; indeed, the majority are benign. Many older individuals accumulate darkened growths called seborrheic keratoses, also referred to as the “barnacles of life.” Cosmetically unappealing, these can be easily removed in a dermatologist’s office. Advanced age is often accompanied by dry skin, and he recommends over-the-counter moisturizers to many of his patients. Which moisturizer to use depends on personal preference.
I also asked Dr. Schleicher about the hair issues of seniors: “As people get older, their hair starts to thin, and we’re now seeing more females concerned about thinning hair.” He recommends topical preparations containing minoxidil (such as Rogaine) to many patients, both male and female. Certain medications can lead to hair thinning including beta blockers (for females) and chemotherapy.
For crepey skin and dry skin in general, or for just maintaining healthy skin, Dr, Schleicher says “hydrofacials have become very popular as well as microneedling and microdermabrasion. They can be preventative to help with tone and texture. Hydrofacials are like a power wash for your skin. They take about half an hour to perform. Most people enjoy them—they can be very relaxing. They are very deep cleaning, removing clogged pores and dead skin and can plump up the skin. We can add moisture with a serum. The results with this treatment are immediate and can last weeks or a month.” Sign me up!
In the world of skincare products, many have been tried-and-true and there have been several that have incorporated new scientific applications, but one that is fresh to the arena, using findings never before seen, has entered with a new and proven approach to topicals.
Xi Huang, PhD, with master’s degrees in Toxicology as well as Applied Pharmacology, has focused much of his career on studying the negative impacts of too much iron in the body.
i-On, the skincare line he recently created and launched to major applause (it recently won a “Best Product Launch” award from Allure magazine) is a very different product. To put it simply, this is the science behind the product: Younger women shed iron, an essential mineral, on a monthly basis; as they hit pre- and post-menopause, their bodies accumulate too much iron, which in turn, accumulates on the skin’s surface, by as much as 42%. This leads to the production of free radicals that increase oxidative damage and accelerate the visible aging process. “The skin is rusting,” explains Dr. Huang, after noting that “nobody has heard of this concept.” I-On literally absorbs that excess, unneeded iron from the body and a marked improvement and change is seen in the skin. The scientific study performed before the product entered the market proved – with 100% positive skin improvement results – it was a huge success, after the women in the 42-day study had brighter skin, fewer wrinkles and fine lines, an increased appearance of firmness and elasticity, a more even skin tone, plumpness and skin that hydrated more rapidly. When women (and men) lament that “nothing is going to work for me,” Dr. Huang has changed quite a few minds with his product. “The efficacy [of the product] is so pronounced with mature skin. It’s not too late!” And, yes, after using the product on my own face for several weeks, it’s all true.
Acupuncture has been around for approximately 3,000 years, first described as an organized system of diagnosis and treatment in ancient Chinese medicine. It is a widely recognized multi-use therapy that is definitely here to stay.
Traditional Acupuncture “looks at a person in entirety–mind, body, and spirit–you cannot put physical symptoms in a box. Each domain affects the other,” notes Rosalie Baker Lambeth, a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist with a master’s in Classical Acupuncture, which has been her main focus of practice for nearly 20 years.
“Acupuncture is beneficial for any age of skin. The skin is a very large organ–it will reflect the condition of the exterior and interior, the radiance shines from within. A body that is at ease, strengthening resilience. By living this, a person reflects ‘Shen’: the person of who you are, from inner to outer.’ If we have internal issues, they can be manifested externally as a way that the body attempts to manage and correct it.” She notes that “acupuncture can act, too, to stimulate circulation, detoxify and improve the nourishment of the skin, which leads to an appearance of vitality and freshness. Skin is a barometer–the manifestation of well-being, an individual expression of our lives.”
Some products to let you love your skin even more!
• Mad Hippie Microdermabrasion Facial – A twice weekly home treatment full of natural ingredients to help your skin glow!
• i-On Age Disrupting Skin Cream – A fantastic product that does what it says.
• Glo Restorative Cream – A moisturizer developed for dry skin that has a lovely, hydrating feel and a list of skin-boosting natural ingredients.
• Glo Barrier Balm – A multi-use balm that can be used anywhere on the body for extremely dry or chapped skin. I have been using it on my lips and love it!
• Wander Double Booked – Lip cream and conditioner on one end and a hint of tinted moisturizing cream on the other. Use one or use both together!
• Melach 33 Nourishing Eye Cream – A plant-oil rich formula to nourish and protect delicate eye skin.
• Wander Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks – Individual eye masks that sooth and replenish dull, tired-looking skin.
• i-On Age Disrupting Total Performance Eye Cream – A formula that targets dark circles and wrinkles while helping the skin around the eyes appear brighter, smoother, and more evenly toned.
• Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – No greasy-feeling skin after applying this protective layer before going in the sun.
Dr. Stephen Schleicher – www.dermdoxcenters.com
Rosalie Baker Lambeth & Associates – www.acupunctureharrisburg.com