Simple, good, evidence-based skin care can help you age better~ start now! In your 30s, you will start noticing skin conditions that come with age, which include brown spots, wrinkles, under eye circles, dryness, and acne. Arming yourself with a few simple steps can you help fight off some of these changes and preserve and restore your “skin health.” The following are some tips to help you get on the right path to getting your healthy skin glow back: #1 Sun protection… Exposure to sun can cause lack of elasticity of the skin, as well as pigment changes (brown spots), wrinkles, whiteheads/blackheads, and leathery skin changes over time. In addition, excess sun exposure can also lead to skin cancer. Limiting sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm is ideal as the ultraviolet rays are strongest during this time. Wearing sunscreen that is zinc based and at least SPF 30 on a daily basis and in all weather conditions is ideal. You really do not need to go much higher than SPF 30 because it will not significantly increase the sun protection. My favorite brand of sunscreen is Elta MD as it minimizes the chemicals in the sunscreen. There are several options and many are cosmetically elegant (does not look white once applied to the skin or block pores). For vitamin D purposes, one only needs 20-30 min of sunlight three times a week to receive a sufficient amount. Finally, there are companies that also retail clothing that shields your skin from the sun, such as Coolibar and Mott50. #2: Retinoids… “Retin-a”- a brand name for retinoids (also known as tretinoin)-was approved in 1971 as a prescription strength treatment for acne. However, dermatologists quickly noticed other benefits of retinoid use other than clearing breakouts. Retin-a, which is also a vitamin A derivative, has been proven to boost collagen production (reducing wrinkles and preventing fine lines), speed cell turnover (evening out discoloration and brightening skin tone), and unclog pores (making them look smaller and reducing acne). Tretinoin, the most common prescription retinoid, is stronger, more potent and faster acting than retinol, than the over-the-counter version. The lowest prescription concentration can be 20 times stronger than the highest amount allowed by the FDA in drugstore products. Due to the fact that retinoids can cause redness and dryness, people with sensitive skin should start with over-the-counter, lower dose options. Tretinoin is not considered safe for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding and should only be used nightly since it is a “sun-sensitive” medication. Personally, I can always tell when a patient has been using tretinoin for some time; she or he will have a fresh, clear and dewy complexion as one often sees after completion of a facial or chemical peel. #3 Antioxidants… Antioxidants combat the free-radical damage that is responsible for the visible and hidden signs of aging. In addition, they further enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens in preventing sun damage. The combination of antioxidants plus sun protection is a strong defense against many signs of aging, including wrinkles, dullness, and discoloration. There are quite a few antioxidants available on the market, including L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin E, green tea, caffeine, ferulic acid, amongst others. Antioxidants are an essential part of your routine skin care regimen. #4 Other procedures… Theres include chemical peels, microneedling, photofacial/Fraxel laser resurfacing. I have patients who come in yearly to maintain their skin with chemical peels, microneedling, or laser resurfacing. Chemical peels will remove excess layers of dead skin on your skin’s surface, allowing fresh skin to show through for a youthful fresh look. Microneedling creates microchannels in the skin and allows collagen production. Photofacials and Fraxel laser use light and laser modalities respectively to treat the skin for removal of brown spots, red spots & lines and rejuvenation of the skin. #5 Other recommendations… Long-standing lifestyle habits can cause an aged look on the skin. For instance, hot water and harsh soaps can strip the skin of natural oils and encourage dryness. It is preferable to use gentle or mild soaps and bathe in warm water. After washing your skin, gently pat it dry instead of rubbing it dry. Gentle moisturizers at night can also help with skin dryness. Smoking can also age skin, as it narrows blood vessels needed to send vitamins and nutrients that encourage healthy, youthful skin. This habit can damage collagen and elastin and causes wrinkles due to repeated facial movements associated with smoking. To find the best ingredients and brands that encompass your skin care, it is best to visit a board certified dermatologist who knows the skin inside and out. Further, when you ask for your appointment, go ahead and schedule a complete skin exam where your moles and freckles are looked at by a skin expert, especially if there is a family history of melanoma or other skin cancers.