The body changes and evolves over time, and the skin changes with it. Dr. Naomi Brooks strives to ensure that her Boise patients have skin care regimens that are tailored to their skin type and continue to evolve with each stage of life.
Parents should ensure that children do not experience unprotected sun exposure, and use sunscreen products and sun-protective clothing. These skin care precautions are especially important, as the tendency to develop skin cancer later in life has been linked to sun exposure in childhood. Frequent sunburns in childhood are considered a risk factor for developing melanoma. Children with red or blond hair, blue or green eyes, or fair skin that freckles or burns easily are at increased risk.
Sunscreens are approved skin care for infants aged six months or older. Younger infants should be kept in the shade out of direct sun. Hats and stroller coverings, sports tents, and umbrellas can help block the sun. Sunscreen is safe to apply to exposed areas of the skin of babies (face and hands) when exposure is unavoidable.
Skin problems, such as congenital birthmarks, rashes, and hemangiomas can occur from birth. While some are minor and carry no medical implications, others may require a more thorough evaluation and possible treatment or observation.
Basic skin care steps such as gentle regular cleansing, occasional exfoliating, moisturizing, and sunscreen are effective foundational steps.
Acne is perhaps the number one skin concern experienced during adolescence. While hormonal changes can spur pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads in almost any teenager, more severe cases of acne can leave physical and emotional scarring.
There are a number of advanced skin care and acne treatment options that adolescents can consider with the help of a dermatologist. As is the case with most medical concerns, early intervention and appropriate skin care will minimize the likelihood of acne scarring, and may reduce the intensity and amount of treatment required.
It is often difficult to remember (or becomes a chore) to protect your skin from sun exposure, which is why it is important to understand the risks of unprotected exposure. Adolescents may spend a large amount of time outdoors with sports and recreational activities. Acne medications can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Start to develop good skin care habits of wearing hats, using sunscreen, and seeking shade. Avoid tanning salons and cigarette smoking.
Check out "Don't Fry: Preventing Skin Cancer" from the American Cancer Society to learn more.
Watch your moles. New moles are still developing during the first two decades of life. Sun exposure may stimulate the growth of new moles in this age group. Any mole that is growing rapidly, has an irregular shape, has an uneven color, or has symptoms of itching, crusting, or pain should get immediate evaluation.
Many young adults find they are still grappling with the aftermath or persistence in conditions from their adolescence, especially from acne and acne scarring. Appropriate skin care and the treatments described above can dramatically improve these issues.
Establishing healthy lifestyle choices and developing core foundations of a skin care regimen are paramount at this age. This includes a healthy low-fat diet with a variety of vegetables and avoiding cigarette smoking and tanning beds. Women younger than 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they use indoor tanning, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
Your 20s are an appropriate age to start monthly self-skin examinations, and report any lesions or abnormalities to your dermatologist.
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Sun protection and avoiding tanning beds are essential measures. A facial moisturizer or makeup that has sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is important skin care for daily use.
Prescription retinoids can slow down the skin's aging by stimulating collagen production, and reduce fine lines and dark spots.
Pregnancy and hormonal methods of contraception can cause changes to the skin, due to hormonal shifts in the body.
Pregnancy and using hormonal contraception can spur the growth of acne, unwanted hair, or skin pigmentation changes. Acne can be safely treated during pregnancy with topical skin care medications. Chronic skin conditions and rashes can sometimes get worse during pregnancy and can be treated appropriately.
Cosmetic concerns such as stretch marks, spider veins, and melasma are safely treated after pregnancy. However, sun protection and hats can reduce much of the pregnancy-induced facial pigmentation (melasma). Compression stockings can help prevent spider veins.
Signs of aging slowly become more apparent, and the consequences of unprotected sun exposure start to show, especially brown spots and fine lines. But an effective skin care routine and minimally invasive dermatological treatments can combat these effects. A skin care regimen that includes daily sunscreen, tretinoin, and antioxidants are important.
Sun exposure should be avoided between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and sunscreen should be used as much as possible, remembering to re-apply every two hours and after swimming or sweating. Perform monthly self exams on yourself and your partner. Your 30s are an appropriate age to start monthly self-skin examinations, and report any lesions or abnormalities to your dermatologist. More information about self-skin exams can be found on our skin cancer page, and the AAD has free resources such as "Check your partner. Check yourself."
More intensive skin care treatments combat cumulative sun damage, blemishes, and signs of aging, and can keep skin looking fresh and healthy. Rather than just one type of treatment or product, a combination of skin care techniques tends to be most effective.
Daily facial sunscreen is important to protect the skin and preserve the benefits of other anti-aging skin care treatments. Tretinoin creams applied at bedtime will continue to promote repair and improve skin tone. Antioxidant creams can help neutralize toxins that contribute to damaged skin.
Fillers, BOTOX®, and microneedling in combination can all be effective. Photodynamic therapy (blue light) for precancers on the face will give a smoother, more even appearance to the skin.
The skin also becomes more likely to develop small outgrowths such as skin tags, moles, and warts. Many simple and effective dermatological procedures can remove these growths safely, with minimal downtime.
Individuals in their 50s and above, especially those with a personal or family history of skin cancer, should receive professional skin examinations regularly by a dermatologist, as well as continue frequent self-skin exams. The likelihood of developing skin cancer is much greater once you cross your 50s, and is the one of most common forms of cancer in the United States.