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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Hema Sundaram, MA, MD, FAAD
Five Keys To Holiday Skin and Hair Health
Sundaram Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery Center
. http://doctorhema.com

Five Keys To Holiday Skin and Hair Health

This year, the holiday season will be different to those we have experienced previously. However, there will still be opportunities to spend time with our loved ones, and to fill our days with seasonal hope and light. The holidays are an excellent time for us to review our health goals for the New Year and beyond, and to decide if we want to make a few changes. 

Our skin is an important part of this health plan because it is the largest organ in our bodies and, in association with hair and nails, the mirror of everything that happens inside. Healthy, glowing skin is a sign of good general health, and also of energy and vitality.

Here are five keys to building good skin and hair health for the holidays and beyond.

1. Get a Skin Check

Skin cancer is now the most common cancer in the United States, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. The key to avoiding serious problems is early detection and treatment. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends annual full-body skin examinations by a board-certified dermatologist, and more frequent examinations if you have a personal or family history of skin cancers or pre-cancers. Your dermatologist can show you how to perform regular skin self-exams at home in between your regular office visits.

2. Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

We are still vulnerable to sun damage in fall and winter, even though the days are colder and less bright. This includes while driving, as some components of ultraviolet light can pass through glass. Year-round sun protection helps prevent skin cancers and pre-cancers, and also sunspots, wrinkles and premature skin aging. 

Your first line of sun defense is clothing. For your hands, ears and the back of your neck, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 or above daily, and re-apply every two hours while you’re outdoors. Modern sunscreen options include natural mineral sunscreens, brush-on powders that leave no sticky or greasy residue, and sunscreens with added skin repair ingredients such as antioxidants and peptides.

3. Tackle Mask-ne

Mask-ne – acne or other skin breakouts due to prolonged mask wearing – is due to the trapping of skin perspiration, breath droplets, skin oils, and make-up. Changing masks at least once a day and washing them daily will help, as will avoidance of make-up beneath your mask. Hanging up your mask to dry in the sunlight exposes it to UV light, which helps to kill microbes. 

 A board-certified dermatologist can examine you fully and recommend a plan including prescription creams, plus medications by mouth for severe mask-ne. In-office procedures can also be helpful. Chemical peels with natural fruit acids, or Dermasweep MD with customized infusions will cleanse, exfoliate and unblock clogged pores, as well as improving pigmentation and fine lines and restoring skin radiance.

4. Beauty Above/Below the Mask

For true beauty above the mask, your doctor needs to know how to analyze your whole face in 3D with advanced anatomical understanding. Highly-skilled procedures are individualized for your own skin type and concerns such as under-eye circles, wrinkles, bumpy skin or sagging. Ultherapy is FDA approved for nonsurgical brow, face and jawline lifting; delicate doses of Botox or natural fillers like Restylane and Juvederm can relax crow’ feet and forehead wrinkles, shape your brows and widen droopy eyes. Expert, European-style techniques achieve a completely natural-looking result with no “frozen” look and little or no down time. Stimulation of new collagen and elastic tissue can take years off your face.

Double chins show more on Zoom because webcams add about ten pounds under the chin and make our necks look more wrinkled. Ultherapy or Exilis Ultra ultrasound and radiofrequency can tighten skin and melt fat with no down time, to re-define your jawline, and also sculpt the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, arms and knees. Kybella is an injectable fat dissolver. Re-contouring the chin and jawline with your own natural fat containing stem cells, or with fillers, can also work wonders for a double chin.

5. Hair Removal and Restoration

If you suffer from excess hair, a board-certified dermatologist can examine you medically to identify underlying causes such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The hair itself can be removed safely, quickly and painlessly from all skin types with the state-of-the-art Gentle YAG laser.

A board-certified dermatologist can also help hair loss due to stress or other causes, first with a comprehensive medical evaluation and second with scientifically validated solutions such as platelet rich plasma (PRP), which concentrates natural growth factors from a small sample of your own blood.

6. Feminine (Vaginal) Rejuvenation

The changes that women experience as they go through childbearing, hormonal shifts and aging include vaginal laxity, stress urinary incontinence, and uncomfortable vaginal dryness. The first step is a gyn exam. If there are no underlying health problems, it can be transformative to treat these concerns with rapid, hormone-free non-surgical options such as the CO2RE Intima laser, which is gold standard treatment to remodel the tissue of the vagina and vulva by stimulating new collagen. Fillers can correct volume loss and improve the external shape and appearance of the vaginal lips or vulva.

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