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Stop Aging, Start Living: By Jeanette Graf, MD

Stop Aging, Start Living, Dr. Jeanette GrafThe title of this book by Dr. Jeanette Graf is enough to stop you in your tracks, isn't it?

Well the title Stop Aging, Start Living certainly gave me pause… so I wanted to inform my fearless readers about the book published by Dr. Jeanette Graf this past Fall.  Stop Aging, Start Living examines how the body's pH balance effects the aging process.  Dr. Graf combats aging with a revolutionary plan that includes balancing the alkalinizing foods to acidic foods in your diet. 

The doctor also happens to be a leading skin science expert whose advice has been published by magazines including Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Elle (in fact, I stumbled upon beauty advice from Dr. Graf in Allure just last month).  Dr. Graf is a board certified, clinical and research Dermatologist.  She also generously provided Raging Rouge readers with some beauty and wellness tips!  Read on!

Q:  What are the most common myths that people have about acne?

A:  There are a number of misconceptions about acne. One of the misconceptions is that acne is caused by dirt or not washing the face. Although inadequate washing can certainly aggravate acne, more often than not acne sufferers wash their faces thoroughly. In fact, over-washing or over-enthusiastic washing can in fact irritate skin and worsen acne. Many of my colleagues feel that diet does not affect acne; well science says differently. There are studies showing that natives of New Guinea and Paraguay had less acne with a diet rich in fiber and whole grains compared to Americans eating a diet rich in high glycemic index foods. In addition, studies have shown that teenagers eating a diet rich in milk and dairy products (probably due to hormonal byproducts) have a higher incidence of acne than those who don’t

Q:  What accelerates the appearance of wrinkles and what can someone do about it?

A:  There are two things that I would say have the greatest effect on accelerating skin aging. The first age accelerator unquestionably is sun exposure. The sun’s rays have a major effect on the skin’s elastin and collagen causing them to breakdown – creating leathery wrinkled skin and sun spots. The other great age accelerator is cigarette smoking. There is a direct correlation between cigarette smoke and levels of MMP-1, and enzyme that breaks down collagen. Therefore, in addition to lack of oxygen going to the skin, cigarettes have a direct effect on causing wrinkling. The way to deal with these age accelerators is to wear a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun block all year round. The way to deal with cigarette smoking is to do all that you can to stop. The day that you stop these age accelerators is the day that you will slow the skin aging process.

Q:  What are your best tips for reducing the appearance of age spots?

A:  First and foremost use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB – SPF 30 sunblock daily on your face. I also recommend using a good mineral make-up concealer and foundation to enhance, hide discolorations and add protection to the skin. It is a good idea to use an at-home exfoliation kit. This can be a microdermabrasion, enzyme peel or chemical peel; use only one and no more than twice weekly. It is also advisable to use products which contain ingredients such as retinol, hydroquinone and other lighteners such as vitamin C and kojic acid to lighten and brighten skin. Finally, in addition to using sunblock, topical anti-oxidants can be quite helpful.

Q:  What is the most effective way to prevent sun damage?

A:  The most important tip is to wear a UVA/UVB sunblock with an SPF of 30 every single day. UVB are the sun’s burning rays which are strongest in the summer months. During these months it is advisable to wear the highest possible number SPF since SPF is protection against UVB rays. UVA on the other hand doesn’t change with the seasons and it remains constant year round. That is why daily UVA/UVB protection is essential for preventing sun damage. During the summer months be sure to apply a high SPF UVA/UVB sunblock 20 minutes before going outdoors; it takes that long for the sunblock to truly be protective. It is also essential to reapply sunblock throughout the day every 90 minutes; a spray makes application simple and less cumbersome especially on the beach. I advise my women patients to wear a good mineral make-up. Most mineral make-up is free of preservatives making them potentially less irritating for patients with sensitive skin. In addition, mineral make-up generally has an SPF of 15 or 20 depending on the brand and blocks both UVA and UVB. Mineral make-up is easy to apply and can be touched up throughout the day.

Q:  How can we all avoid falling for marketing gimmicks?

A:  There are many terms used in marketing skin care products. The most commonly used is “oil-free” and “non-comedogenic.” In fact, these terms are not regulatory and no federally regulated test dictates their use. These terms date back to a time when comedogenicity (clogging of pores) was determined by the response to applying product to the ears of rabbits. There was a grading system based on the clogging response to the product. Fortunately, this type of testing is no longer done. “Oil-free” dates back to a time when mineral oil was industrial grade and extremely thick, impure and clogging. This has resulted in the demonization of mineral oil; you hear this repeated again and again even by dermatologists. Today, if mineral oil is used in cosmetic formulations it is of a fine cosmetic grade that is completely different than the mineral oil originally responsible for the term. Organic and natural skin care is a work in progress. Again, there are no federal regulations governing the use of these terms so they are widely variable. Natural ingredients are also not standardized or regulated; they come from different sources with different levels of activity. Also, often products labeled as natural have only several natural ingredients.

Q:  What are the best solutions for treating dry skin?

A:  The first thing that needs to change is the method of cleansing the skin. If we are speaking of facial skin that means that changing to a soap-free cleanser and cutting out drying toners. Using hydrating creams to moisturize dry skin is very important to relieve dry skin. For dry body skin, it is important to take very quick 3 or 4 minute showers using lukewarm or tepid water. Using a moisturizing body wash is essential so that a moisturizing layer is left on the skin. Apply a rich body moisturizer over the entire body twice daily – not just after the shower.

Stop Aging, Start Living: The Revolutionary 2-Week pH Diet that Erases Wrinkles, Beautifies Skin, and Makes You Feel Fantastic can be purchased at Amazon.com.  Do check it out!  Many thanks to Dr. Jeannette Graf for her expert advice!

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