A Leopard isn’t the Only Animal with Spots…

We humans have them, too! How do we avoid skin spots—and which ones are cause for concern? Can nutrition help? What about collagen? Read our 4 newsy bursts below!.

1. Going outside?

We all know the sun is bad for our skin—but hey, we live in cloudy Seattle, right? Wrong! Even on drizzly summer days, 80 percent of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays still reach your skin. If you are going to be out for more than a few minutes:

  • Always wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 on all exposed skin.
  • Cover all the skin you can.
  • Avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when it is most intense.
  • Seek the shade when possible.

2. What’s that spot? When in doubt, check it out.

Many common growths occur on the skin, and it can be difficult to know which lesions may be suspicious. The best bet always is to see your physician when you have questions or concerns.

You also should examine your skin regularly, at least every three months—every square inch! Be proactive about your skin health and watch for new or enlarging pigmented (brown) spots, especially if they are irregular in shape or color. Any new pink or red bumps that persist and enlarge over several months are of concern, especially if they are crusty, bleed or scab easily.

3. Eat your vitamins!

These four antioxidant nutrients can help promote healthy, radiant skin. Try our tips to incorporate foods rich in these nutrients into your daily diet.

  • Vitamin A: decreases cell damage and helps the healing process of wounds. Increase your intake of sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, apricots, cantaloupe and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.
  • Vitamin E: helps protect against skin damage and plays anti-inflammatory roles in the skin. Try grabbing some sunflower seeds and almonds for your afternoon snack.
  • Vitamin C: plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen, a major protein in the skin. Include broccoli, red peppers and green peppers in your favorite dishes, and enjoy oranges, strawberries or kiwi for dessert.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: may include a protective effect against sunburn and premature aging. Your body can’t make them; you have to get them through food. So, make sardines, tuna or salmon for dinner tonight.

4. Instant youth with collagen?

You may be hearing lots of push in advertising for collagen peptide supplements and other skin products. Collagen is a protein in our bodies, particularly the skin, hair, joints and nails. As we age, we gradually lose collagen, and our skin begins to look less moist and full.

So, will using collagen change the effects of time and age? It’s hard to say. Research is tricky when it comes to skin products. It’s hard to isolate whether the product is making an improvement, or whether some other aspect has played a role—like a change in diet, humidity, sleep or hydration.

The jury is still out. Collagen is generally safe and tolerated by most people. In the long run, however, you might do better to save your hard-earned cash and follow the sun-smart tips above for long-term preventive care.

Meet the Dermatology team at PacMed. We also invite you to learn more about our dietitian services. Call 206.505.1300 for an appointment.