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701 20Th St. S. AB 1320
Birmingham, Alabama 35294
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is the state of Alabama's largest employer and an internationally renowned research university and ... more
Assistant Professor of Dermatology
University of Alabama at Birmingham
UAB's School of Medicine
American Academy of Dermatology
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"To protect against skin cancer, wear a moisturizer with SPF 30 every day, even on cloudy days," explained the UAB associate professor of medicine.
"The rule to follow is: If you are not using a flashlight, you need sunscreen."
Northington added that investing in a wide-brimmed hat for full-face sun protection-instead of a baseball cap-is best.
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"Daily incidental sun exposures - running out to the car, going to the mailbox and exercising - add up and result in wrinkles, sun spots and potentially cancerous lesions," Northington said.
"The No. 1 way people can prevent photoaging is wearing a 30-plus SPF sunscreen - one that contains zinc oxide - every day."
If it is too late, and the sun has already done its damage, or if someone is just more mature in age, there are ways to diminish the signs of aging.
"Using an over-the-counter cream with retinol, which is a vitamin A derivative, can decrease the risk of skin cancer and improve skin pigmentation and abnormalities, as well as increase collagen content to help with lines and wrinkles," Northington said.
Northington adds that, if more advanced methods are needed, a visit to the cosmetic dermatologist can offer safe and effective noninvasive options that will reduce photoaging with little downtime.
"Fraxel laser resurfacing is an excellent way to improve wrinkles, pigmentation and abnormalities," Northington said.
"There are also skin-tightening devices that improve skin laxity, as well as injections that will replace lost volume that occurs with aging to lift the face nonsurgically and reduce lines and wrinkles."
Northington says studies have shown some dermatologic skin-improvement methods have benefits beyond an improved appearance.
"People who have had fillers reported that they felt they make a better first impression with other people, but they also feel better with themselves and happier with their lives," Northington said.
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â€œDermatologists no longer view the aging face as specific wrinkles or folds, but instead look at the face as a whole with what can be imagined as soft tissue scaffolding below the skin surface that supports the deep underlying fat,â€ said Dr. Northington. â€œWith this perspective, we now appreciate that cheek volume is a key component in re-establishing the facial balance and proportions most patients seek in a youthful appearance.
Whatâ€™s more, volume loss of this deep cheek fat tends to create a more pronounced nasolabial fold, adding to a downward descent of the facial soft tissues.â€
As a first step, Dr. Northington noted that
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