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January 13, 2010 > Learn How to Take Better Care of Your Face

Learn How to Take Better Care of Your Face

Washington Hospital Lunch and Learn Offers Tips for Managing Aging Skin

Beauty may only be skin deep, but taking good care of your skin can help you look and feel better as you age. While there is nothing you can do to stop the natural progression of aging skin, there are steps you can take to slow it down.

"We can't control the genetic factors that determine how our skin ages," said Dr. Anna McNay, a dermatologist at Washington Hospital. "But there is a lot we can do to speed up or slow down the process. You need to be smart about how you take care of your skin."

She will talk about skin care at an upcoming Lunch and Learn seminar at Washington Women's Center. "Facial Health Class #2: Tools to Manage Aging Skin Changes" is scheduled for noon on Thursday, January 21. The Washington Women's Center is located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. To reserve a space, register online at

McNay will discuss the risks and benefits of facial treatments, including over-the-counter lotions, prescription creams, and noninvasive procedures. "I will also talk about some of the basic things you need to do every day to take good care of your skin," she added.

According to McNay, one way to slow the aging process is to protect your face from the elements, especially the sun, and don't smoke.

"The sun damages your skin, causing freckles, brown spots and broken blood vessels," she said. "You need to use sunscreen. Of all the creams and lotions on the market today that claim to reduce wrinkles, sunscreen is the most effective."

It's also important to eat a healthy diet, McNay said. "You need to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein. Your skin needs protein. And drink plenty of water to stay hydrated."

Creams and Crevices

As we age, our skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity. Lines begin to show and wrinkles form. Anyone who watches television or reads magazines has probably seen the countless ads for over-the-counter miracle creams that claim to reduce the signs of aging. But do they work?

"Some over-the-counter creams are helpful, but most are no better than buying an inexpensive moisturizer," McNay said. "You need to be cautious when you see these ads. Often they are associated with a celebrity. When you look at the before and after photos, you don't know what other procedures the person might have had
or if the photos have been retouched."

McNay added that over-the-counter products are not regulated like prescription creams are and don't go through the same rigorous testing. She will talk about some of the over-the-counter products on the market and whether they are effective as well as some of the prescription creams.

"I would recommend seeing a dermatologist before you start putting creams and lotions on your face," she said. "Everybody's skin is different. For example, Retinoid is a prescription vitamin A cream that can be very effective for reducing fine lines and wrinkles. But not everyone can use it. Something that is effective for one person may irritate another person's skin and cause them to get a rash or worse. And if your skin has been damaged by the sun, you need to make sure you don't have skin cancer before you start undergoing treatments."

McNay will talk about some of the common procedures that are available, like Botox and other fillers as well as laser treatments. These fillers are injected into the skin and can reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Laser treatments can eliminate brown spots and other signs of sun damage.

"It's very important to get these treatments from trained professionals like dermatologists," she said. "You can end up with scars and other problems in the wrong hands. It's worthwhile to educate yourself not only on what's available, but also on how you can get into trouble."

For more information about skin care, register for the Lunch and Learn by visiting To find out about other classes and programs offered at the Washington Women's Center, call (866) 608-1301 or visit

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