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Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Natural Ingredients

Inflammation is the way the body responds to injury, irritation, and infection. It may manifest as bumps, blisters, redness, burning, itching, flaking, and/or dryness. Nearly everyone experiences skin irritation on occasion. If you suffer from eczema, chronic acne or psoriasis, you know that choosing the right skin care products is essential for calming rough, itchy skin on a daily basis.

For those with sensitive skin, even products specifically engineered to be gentle may cause issues. There are a variety of natural ingredients that can soothe irritated skin, whether you suffer from acute or chronic problems. Here are natural ingredients with anti-inflammatory benefits.



Containing antioxidants, enzymes, and vitamins A and C, not only can aloe help certain types of acne, but also can alleviate itchiness and inflammation associated with psoriasis and eczema.


Green Tea

The majority of the polyphenols in green tea are catechins, which function as cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory agents. EGCG, an antioxidant, is also abundant in green tea. It helps protect and rejuvenate skin cells, combating aging.



While known for its calming traits when used as a tea, chamomile extract also reduces inflammation. When used in creams and lotions, it soothes irritation while helping cleanse and moisturize damaged skin.


Vitamin C

A potent antioxidant, vitamin C can reduce hyperpigmentation and prevent redness, even after spending time in the sun. Other formulations can also improve the skin’s photoaging protection and boost collagen to improve the appearance of aging skin.


Vitamin E

This fat-soluble antioxidant occurs naturally in the body. When applied topically, it may act as an anti-inflammatory in addition to its anioxidant properties. Vitamin E acts as a stabilizer for other nutrients, such as vitamin C.



Neem has long been known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can soothe irritated and inflamed skin. It’s even safe for sensitive or irritated facial skin and other areas affected by psoriasis and eczema.


What About Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil?

While many are aware of the benefits of aloe, green tea, chamomile, vitamins C and E, and neem, few know the powerful benefits of sea buckthorn. Sea buckthorn is a powerful little berry packed with nutrients that have many incredible results. An accepted remedy in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines, the leaves, seeds, and flowers of the sea buckthorn plant have been used since ancient times.


The berries have a hefty nutrient content, and the oil is extracted from the fruit as well as the seeds. Containing an exceptional concentration of natural anti-aging vitamin C (12 times higher than that of an orange!), its oil also contains more vitamin E than other plant-based oils.


When applied on the skin, sea buckthorn berry oil does not leave an oily residue since it is quickly absorbed. Topically applied sea buckthorn oil provides numerous skin benefits.

  • Promotes elasticity
  • Enhanced skin hydration
  • Enables cell regeneration
  • Reduces and prevents acne
  • Reduces swelling and redness associated with inflammatory skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea


Ingesting Sea Buckthorn

With a plethora of nutrients and phytonutrients, sea buckthorn has become a highly beneficial multi-purpose resource to address a variety of conditions. People ingest sea buckthorn to:

  • Bolster heart health
  • Protect against diabetes
  • Boost the immune system
  • Help fight cancer cells
  • Reduce reaction to chemotherapy
  • Improve digestion
  • Protect the skin
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Treat intestinal and stomach diseases
  • Reduce inflammation

Along with other natural anti-inflammatory ingredients, sea buckthorn berry oil is a key ingredient in Soothing Nutrient Complex (link to its shop page), Purifying Detox Masque, Soothing Barrier Ointment, and other skincare products by Skin Wise Organics.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock / By Soyka

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How do Clay Masks Work

Once the secret of luxury spas, today, face masks are the foundation of a good skincare regimen. Long before sheet and other specialty masks, there were clay masks. If you’re new to these facial products in general or are looking to boost the effectiveness of your current regimen, you may wonder if clay masks really work.


What Does a Clay Mask Do?

Whether you paint it on with a brush, use a sponge to apply it with precision, or smear a dollop across your skin with your fingers, clay masks harden and tighten as they dry on the skin. But, how do clay masks work?

People have used clay since ancient Rome. Clay, made mostly of minerals, is effective in a variety of ways. Clay can offer sun protection in addition to being a bug repellent. However, when used as part of a skincare routine, clay can draw toxins from the skin, making it a favorite for acne-prone skin. As it dries, it not only lifts impurities from the skin, but it also absorbs excess surface oils which can clog pores.


Can Everyone Benefit from a Clay Mask?

If you don’t have acne or other skin issues, you may wonder if a clay mask offers you any benefits.  In most cases, the answer is yes. A clay mask has several benefits, regardless of your skin type. It can …

  • Brightens Skin – Skin that looks a bit dull may need some exfoliation. Using a clay mask can remove the dead skin cells, helping your complexion look bright and fresh.
  • Tightens Pores – Some people have larger pores than others. This can often give the skin an uneven texture. A clay mask can help refine pores so that your complexion appears smoother.
  • Restores Balance – Combination skin is a common problem. You may have an oily t-zone and normal or dry cheeks. A mineral-rich mask can help balance the zones without leaving it irritated and red dry.


What Clay Mask Ingredients Should I Look For?

Not all clay masks are created equal. Ingredients can be used to enhance the benefits of a clay mask. Here are some ingredients to look for that help cleanse and heal the skin without excessive drying.


Kaolin Clay

This clay is rich in silica dioxide and has a neutral pH. It’s gentle, making it suitable for those with dry or sensitive skin. It’s also mild enough for those with thin or mature skin. Often white, pale pink or light green, this clay can help soothe inflammation. Over time, it also stimulates skin cells for a brighter complexion.



The blue-green algae grow in salt and freshwater. It’s rich in nutrients, including selenium, tyrosine and vitamin E, known as powerful anti-aging agents.  It also contains vitamins A and B12, calcium, phosphorus and iron, which help restore radiant skin by purifying your system.


Sea Buckthorn

Typically found in Asia and Europe, this small orange berry contains a whole host of nutrients, including omega 3, 6, 7 and 9, which aid in skin repair and regeneration. Sea buckthorn is ideal for reducing redness, and it’s gentle enough for dry and mature skin.


Green Tea

Well-known for its antioxidant properties, green tea also contains vitamin B2, which helps maintain collagen levels and keeps skin looking more youthful. Its antimicrobial properties make it useful in the treatment of acne and oily skin.



Rich in vitamins A, B, C, D and E, aloe vera is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. It soothes irritation and forms a protective barrier on the skin, enabling it to remain hydrated.

Clay masks are among the top recommendations for skin that is parched, stressed out, prone to acne, or just in need of a little attention. Choosing the right one for your skin type can help you achieve a healthy, glowing complexion.


Image Credit: Getty Images / dimid_86

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Top 5 Benefits of Using Natural Beauty Products

natural beauty products by Skin Wise

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / By New Africa

Natural products have been available for decades, but they were on the fringes of the beauty world until recently. Organic, natural, and eco-friendly are all terms that have breathed new life into skincare regimens around the world.

Even if you have a tried-and-true beauty routine, switching it up and incorporating natural and organic skincare products can deliver results that help you look and feel fabulous. Here are five benefits of using natural products.


1. Low Environmental Impact

Conventional skincare and makeup ingredients can affect wildlife and the environment negatively. The more chemicals used, the more go into the air and water including:

  • Preservatives such as BHT and BHA are known to kill fish and shellfish.
  • Triclosan can change amphibian biochemistry
  • Diethanolamine or DEA reacts with nitrates negatively, forming cancer-causing nitrosamines

Natural beauty products not only have fewer chemicals, but the active ingredients are grown on farms. As more natural products become available, increasing amounts of plant life are supported. As a result, sustainable ingredients are produced with little or no negative impact on the environment.


2. No Internal Side Effects

Studies show that the outer layer of our skin, the stratum corneum, can absorb five to six times its own weight. This means the chemicals found in conventional skincare products and cosmetics can penetrate the skin. By using them, you expose your body’s largest organ to toxic chemicals the exact opposite of what most people want to do. If the harmful compounds reach the bloodstream, they can have more profound side effects.

For example, parabens are used as a preservative. However, they can mimic hormones found naturally in the body. Long-term use could result in detrimental side effects. There are a variety of hazardous chemicals found in mainstream personal care products that can negatively impact the body:

  • Lead is a neurotoxin
  • Mercury can damage the nervous system and kidneys
  • Triclosan may affect the thyroid
  • Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen

Natural preservatives, including rosemary oil extract and grapefruit seed extract, are alternatives that are also beneficial to the skin.


3. Lack of Artificial Smell

Many mass-market skincare products use artificial fragrances to cover up the chemical smell of the products. This scent itself can cause problems with consumers, including migraines, asthma and sinus issues.

Organic skincare products often smell like the natural ingredients used in the formulation, including essential oils and plant extracts.


4. No Skin Irritation

Using products with concentrated chemicals may lead to allergic or irritant skin reactions, acne flare-ups, and skin rash. Contact dermatitis is common when a person becomes sensitized to specific ingredients that have been applied to the skin. Prevalent allergens to avoid:

  • Quaternium 15
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lanolin
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone

Switching from conventional skincare to natural beauty products may reduce or eliminate specific skin issues attributed to common allergens.


5. Real Results

The powerful, natural ingredients in organic skincare can deliver real results. Peptides and antioxidants can lift and firm the skin naturally.

Cleansers, creams, ointments, and serums using naturally-derived, sustainable ingredients are not only earth-friendly but also deliver effective results.


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Winterizing Your Skin

Playing in the snow, drinking hot cocoa and celebrating the holidays with friends and family are just a few of the reasons to love winter. However, as the days get shorter, turning cold and damp, getting the right nutrients is challenging. Although a wide variety of foods contain protein, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as Omega 3s, getting enough vitamin D in winter can be difficult. When vitamin D levels are depleted, not only are your mood and health affected, but it can also take a toll on your skin. At North Metro Dermatology, we customize treatment plans for improved skin health and appearance.

What is Vitamin D?

Often called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D works with vitamin C to boost your immune system. It is also critical to bone health, and a variety of body functions, including:

  • Healthy heart and circulatory system
  • Brain development
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Muscle functions
  • Healthy respiratory system

How to Get Vitamin D in Winter

Unlike other vitamins, your body cannot make vitamin D on its own. Its presence enables you to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which is essential in the development of the strength and structure of your bones. Here are some tips for fighting the winter blues and keeping vitamin D levels up.


Eat the Right Foods

Have a serving of fatty fish such as tuna, wild salmon or mackerel a few times a week. Rich in vitamin D, they also have omega 3s and vitamin B12, which can reduce cholesterol. Mushrooms, eggs and fortified foods including almond, cow and soy milk, are good sources of vitamin D.

Take a Vitamin D Supplement

A multi-vitamin containing vitamin D can be taken daily. Speak with your doctor if additional vitamin D supplementation is advisable.

What Not to Do

Do not use a tanning booth as this is not a safe, sensible, or reliable way to increase vitamin D levels. Since UVB is responsible for vitamin D production in the skin, and since tanning beds emit mostly UVA, you would receive minimal UVB exposure in a tanning bed.

How to Prevent Dry, Cracked Skin

Winter weather diminishes the moisture from your skin, resulting in dry, itchy skin. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy glow.

Moisturizeskin cream North Metro Derm

Choose a moisturizer that is made for your skin type. Apply twice a day, including right after your shower to keep the much-needed moisture from evaporating. Another great option is to apply body oil after showering.


– For very dry, chapped skin, including lips, cheeks, hands, and feet, occlusive products can be even more helpful than basic moisturizers. A great option is SWO Soothing Barrier Ointment. This natural, non-petrolatum based ointment contains ingredients to calm and protect skin. Urea cream can also helpful for dry, rough hands and feet.

Hand Cream

– Central heating and repeatedly washing your hands can cause the skin to crack. Keep a bottle of lotion in your purse or at your desk to use throughout the day.


– Although it may take some preparation, a cool-mist humidifier can hydrate your skin. Even if you only have it on in the bedroom at night, it can help your night cream work better, giving your skin a healthy glow.

Gentle Cleanser

– Many cleansers have sulfates and drying ingredients that can irritate the skin. Cream-based cleansers work well to remove makeup and cleanse dry skin.

Warm Showers

– When it’s below freezing with gusting winds, it may be tempting to take a steaming hot shower. Unfortunately, the scalding water removes natural oils from your skin making it dry and flaky. Try turning down the heat for a more temperate shower.

Contact Us Today

If you suffer through the winter with dry skin or have a chronic skin condition that causes discomfort, contact us today or call 651-789-9800. We provide services that include, laser, cosmetic and dermatology treatments. Our premium skin care products contain high-quality ingredients your skin will love. The providers at North Metro Dermatology recommend a personalized regimen to address your specific needs.

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In addition to harboring bacteria, expired cosmetics may cause skin irritation and eye infections. Recording the purchase date on each cosmetic can be helpful to ensure that items are replaced at recommended intervals.

Powders (including blushes, bronzers, and shadows)
Liquid Foundation
Cream Shadows and Blushes
Lipstick, Lip Gloss and Lip Liner
Pencil Eyeliner
Liquid or Cream Eye Liner
2 Years
1 Year
12-18 Months
12-18 Months
1 Year
2 Years
3 Months
3 Months
Use a specialty brush cleaner or a small spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol for daily brush cleaning – simply spritz brush thoroughly and swipe brush several times on a tissue. Brushes should also be washed at least once weekly to remove buildup of oils, pigments, and breakout-inducing bacteria.
Swirl the bristles in warm water diluted with a gentle cleanser or shampoo. To cut through intense pigments, try dishwashing liquid.
Run the bristles under a steady stream of warm water until it is clear, and all soap and debris are removed. Blot the brush with a clean towel and gently shape the bristles with fingers.
3) DRY
Standing a brush upright is a no-no! Water can wear away the glue around the metal band that secures the bristles to the handle causing the bristles to loosen over time. Instead, lay tools flat on a towel.

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Dermatologist Recommended Makeup for Acne

Dermatologist Recommended Makeup for Acne

Using dermatologist recommendations for acne can help reduce the inflammation and protect your skin, giving it a radiant glow. You don’t have to avoid makeup to prevent breakouts. Our high-quality cosmetics contain natural ingredients that your skin will love:

  • Mineral Powder Foundation – Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and paraben-free
  • Dual Action Concealer – Anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antioxidant benefits
  • Propalette Concealer – Vitamin E protects and soothes sensitive skin
  • Baked Bronzer/Blush – Hypoallergenic and paraben-free
  • Luxe Cream Eyeliner – Paraben-free and fragrance-free
  • Liquid Eyeshadow – Aloe, green tea extract, vitamin E and antioxidant protection
  • Luxury Mascara – Fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, paraben-free
  • Brow Ink – Fragrance-free, paraben-free
  • Skin Wise Organics Nourishing Lip Balm – Vitamin E, Green Tea, Moringa, Meem, Rosehip
  • Skin Wise Organics Illuminating Makeup Spritz – Vitamin C, Green Tea, White Tea, Gotu Kola, Neem


Best and Worst Makeup Ingredients for Acne-Prone Skin

If you suffer from pimples and blackheads, no matter what you try, your favorite cosmetics may be the culprit. When considering new makeup for your acne-prone skin, check labels.

Powder foundations have larger pigment particles, so they are less likely to clog your pores. Look for concealers that contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and have moisturizers as well as anti-aging properties. Baked blushes and eyeshadows are made through a special process that gives them a velvety texture and more pigmented color without fillers that traditional powders use. You get a gorgeous luminous finish while minimizing without the risk of skin irritation.


The Bottom Line

Look for terms like oil-free, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, paraben-free and preservative-free. Natural ingredients are better than chemicals, so stay away from products with fragrance, fillers, and dyes that can irritate your skin.

Use dermatologist-recommended acne products that include Dual Action Makeup Remover to clean mascara and lipstick from your skin without irritating your skin and follow up with our skincare routine for a radiant complexion. Have you tried our hydrating, natural skin care products and cosmetics?


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To help heal and soothe stinging skin, it is important to begin treating sunburn as soon as you notice it. See our 10 quick tips below and visit AAD to learn more.

1. For immediate relief, soak the sunburned areas in cold water (but not ice water) or with cold compresses for 15 minutes.
2. Keep skin moist with neutral moisturizers. If using aloe vera gel, be sure it’s 100% pure aloe vera and alcohol-free. You may also use EltaMD Moisturizer (available at our clinic).
3. A topical over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream may be applied to relieve itching.
4. Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort.
5. Drink extra water.
6. If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal.
7. Avoid loofahs, scrubs and exfoliating products.
8. Do not pull hanging skin as this can remove attached areas that are not yet ready to come off. Cut any hanging pieces of peeling skin with clean scissors.
9. Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals.
10. Severe sunburns should be evaluated by a dermatologist. Symptoms of second-degree sunburn (aka “sun poisoning”) include intense pain and blistering, accompanied by fevers, chills and nausea.

Lastly, we can’t help to not add that prevention is the best remedy. Complimentary consultations are available with our esthetician to learn about optimal sun protection.

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Vitamin D is crucial for your health. Getting vitamin D from a healthy diet is a safer alternative than indoor tanning or the sun, which can increase your risk of skin cancer.
To read more, CLICK HERE.

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In May 1981, the music world lost a legend when reggae artist, Bob Marley, died after a four-year battle with melanoma – a deadly skin cancer that can be completely curable if caught early. In Marley’s case, the melanoma began as a dark spot under his toenail. The musician had attributed it to an old soccer injury. By the time his melanoma was diagnosed, it had already spread to other areas in his body.

While Marley’s melanoma was not in a common location, people should be aware that this type of melanoma is more common in darker skin types. Marley had acral lentiginous melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer that appears on hairless parts of the body, such as the soles of the feet and palms of the hand. It can become extremely aggressive as it is typically detected only after it has reached advanced stages. A melanoma even a millimeter deep is already deep enough to breach the bloodstream and spread to the rest of the body.

Melanoma occurs when cells that produce the skin pigment become cancerous. A malignant melanoma, while most often associated with overexposure to ultraviolet rays and sunburns, can also occur due to genetic risk.

More often than not, as Marley’s case shows, an aggressive melanoma can be difficult to treat. With new treatments for melanoma, many people with advanced cancer have better survival statistics. Yet the five-year survival rate for those that catch melanoma early before it spreads is an astonishing 99%. In other words, Marley probably could have survived had he received timely treatment.

Skin Cancer Risk Factors

Regular screening is recommended for those at risk of skin cancer, including those who have:

  • A lowered immune system
  • Skin that easily burns
  • Fair skin
  • Light-colored eyes (green or blue)
  • Tanning bed use
  • A large number of moles
  • Family history of cancerous or precancerous skin conditions

Early Melanoma Detection

Skin cancer affects one in five Americans and accounts for one-third of cancer diagnoses in the U.S. The most common skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, followed by squamous cell carcinoma. While death attributed to nonmelanoma cancer is low, malignant melanoma of the skin is responsible for 75% of the fatalities due to skin cancer. Melanoma is the third most common type of skin cancer, and when left unchecked, it can spread. It is usually curable if detected and treated early, making identification crucial to improving your outcome.

Skin Cancer Screening

Skin cancer screening is an evaluation that checks for visible signs of concerning skin changes. Conducting routine inspections can help you identify potential issues before they become a problem.

Treating Precancerous Growths

If changes to moles or new growths are determined to be concerning there are several treatment options available depending on the skin issue. These include:

  • Surgical removal
  • Topical creams
  • Cryotherapy
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Targeted medications

Early identification of changes can improve the chances of a successful treatment plan.

In Summary:
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than with cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon combined, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. And while it’s most common in fair complexions and those with a history of even one bad, blistering sunburn, skin cancer can develop in any skin tone or types, and anywhere on the body. The good news is that the disease has a very high cure rate when caught and treated early.

It is important to encourage early detection of skin cancer by reminding friends and family of the importance of scheduling a skin exam with a dermatologist. Fortunately, most medical insurance plans cover this routine visit. It is advised that all nail polish be removed from fingernails and toenails to allow for examination of these areas.

Schedule Mole-Mapping Services

Total body photography (also known as “mole mapping”) is an additional surveillance tool to assist with monitoring moles and skin lesions in order to help detect skin cancers, including melanoma. A baseline set of high-resolution photographs are taken of the skin to document existing moles throughout the body. These photographs can be used at future visits with the dermatologist to help monitor for new or changing moles. Follow up photos taken on the FotoFinder system can be compared to analyze deviations in size, color, border, and shape.

If you are looking for a dermatologist experienced in skin cancer screening or have concerns about changes in your skin, contact North Metro Dermatology today to schedule a consultation.

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When you think of summer, you think of beaches and outdoor fun in the sun. However, keeping your family protected while outdoors is challenging when information about the risks and benefits of sun exposure are confusing:

• Sun provides Vitamin D.
• Sun exposure can cause skin cancer.
• It causes 90% of all skin cancers.
• Overcast days are not much safer than those that are sunny, as 70-80% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can get through the clouds.
• The sun is about 80% stronger when reflected off sand and snow.
• The sun’s rays increase in intensity by about 4% for every 1,000-foot rise in altitude.
• It’s better to play or engage in sports before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. If that’s not possible, try to avoid being out at high noon.
• The sun weakens the immune system, reducing your defense against infection.
• In general, people can get all the vitamin D they need for strong bones from fortified milk, salmon, vitamin supplements and/or brief, casual exposure.
• Zinc oxide provides superior protection from UVB and UVA rays. Your daily sunscreen should have an SPF rating of 30 or higher and should also contain at least 5% zinc oxide.

So, the question is, why do some doctors say that sunlight is good for you if others say it is dangerous?


What are the dangers of the sun?


Overexposure to the sun, at a minimum, prematurely ages your skin. The ultraviolet (UV) rays are invisible and can affect skin even on cloudy days. The damage can be visible with uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation, a mild sunburn that causes redness and itching or severe burning that can cause blisters and peeling skin.
Over time, the damage to your skin adds up. At a minimum, it can cause a loss of elasticity that leads to sagging and wrinkles. In other cases, it can result in skin cancer. There are three main types of skin cancer.
1. Basal cell carcinoma
2. Squamous cell carcinoma
3. Melanoma
If you’ve spent time in the sun, you should make it a practice to examine your body for moles, lesions or other signs of sun damage. Our dermatology office offers mole mapping to monitor for changes in moles. The mapping can be scheduled at any time.


Is some sun exposure good for you?


Light exposure to the sun can be fun and healthy, as long as you follow a few sun safety facts. Exposure to the rays of the sun can help regulate our moods by producing serotonin, the hormone that can make us feel relaxed and happy. Sun exposure can help prevent and treat symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

It also helps to manage our circadian rhythms by producing melatonin that helps us to sleep when the day is done. The same melanin that is produced in response to UV rays also triggers an increase in the production of vitamin D levels that creates strong bones and can prevent some diseases.

How much sun a day is healthy?


The amount of UV exposure needed each day could vary according to the individual’s risk factors. However, a useful sun safety guide is around 15 minutes of sun exposure during non-peak hours per day, several times per week. It is still critical to use UV protection.

A broad-spectrum coverage with an SPF of at least 30 is recommended by dermatologists for all skin types to prevent skin damage. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. It is also a good idea to use an antioxidant serum as a part of your skincare routine to prevent free-radical damage.

If you’ve spent too much time in the sun, some procedures can reverse signs of sun damage. Our office performs chemical and laser peels that resurface the skin, remove hyperpigmentation and improve the skin’s texture. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us at North Metro Dermatology today.


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