Dr. Amin is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine. He is also the co-founder and surgical director of MDCS Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery.
- Your skin is the largest organ at about 15% of your body weight. It is not just a covering but a complex array of systems that control sensation, temperature, hydration, defense, metabolism, and many more aspects of our daily existence. In the second half of life, the skin needs more care and attention but overdoing it can also be harmful. A good soap, cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and sunscreen are the basic tools for skin health and beauty. Of these, the moisturizer is the most important. Hydrated skin looks better, feels healthier, and is less prone to problems.
- Here are a few tips to keep this complex organ in great shape. Sleep is good for your skin. It looks refreshed because it is. Sweating is good for your skin. Go exercise at least 3 times per week. Touching your skin too much can upset the microflora of the skin. Less we manipulate the skin, the better. Over-cleansing can destroy the protective layers of your skin. So, consider applying moisturizer after washing your hands.
- Sun avoidance, or at least reduction, will keep you looking young. Even a few hours of sun on your sailboat will give you wrinkles. Wear SPF rated clothing and hats to prevent premature aging. Avoid overuse of chemical sunscreens so that we don’t pollute our environment and our bodies. Go outside, but be smart about it.
- When you do visit your dermatologist, don’t forget to ask about ways to reverse the aging of your skin. We actually have many tools from creams to lasers that can make your skin healthier and look a few years younger. No amount of vitamin C can help you as much as a simple retinol cream. Blue light treatments can actually remove pre-cancerous cells from your face. Safe and long lasting fillers made of simple sugar gels can be injected under the skin to plump up thinned and hollowed areas. And, don’t forget about botox. It was first used by doctors on babies with strabismus in 1977 so it’s definitely safe for you. Many people are afraid of cosmetics because all they see are botched up cases on social media. If you go to a board-certified dermatologist, you are in good hands.
- Finally, sun protection later in life will not prevent skin cancer. That’s because the latency period between sunburns and skin cancer is about 30 years. Since you can’t do anything about the sunburns you got as a teenager, remember to get a professional to look at your skin once a year. It’s a painless and cheap way to save a life. Finding skin cancer early is the best way to make sure you ROAR into your golden years.