A few days ago I walked into my dermatologist’s office for a skin cancer check and walked out with a prescription for Retin-A, a topical medication derived from vitamin A that serves a multitude of skin-improving purposes—among them, increasing collagen to plump up wrinkles and fading age spots. I’ve got tons of the latter. I grew up in the South at a time when primping for the prom started weeks before the big night: My friends and I would slather on baby oil and hit the deck to get a head-start on a “healthy” tan to complement our dresses and our dates’ color-coordinated tuxes. (Yeah, I’m that old). Not a good idea for anyone, but for someone like me, of Scotch-Irish descent, those sunning sessions yielded serious skin damage. Besides the splotches, I have an official history of squamous cell carcinoma: If you look real close at the bridge of my nose you can see the tiny dip where it was removed.
I’m happy about my Retin-A prescription because I know it will erase a few years from my face. In fact, retinoids are the favorite strategy of New York City dermatologist Doris Day, MD, for turning back the clock. But I also deeply appreciate that it will help me be even more vigilant about caring for my skin. Retinoids make skin more burn-prone, so it’s vital to use sunscreen (which I always do, even in winter) and wear a hat (which I hardly ever do).
Making one small change that leads to another is what Sharecare’s Make a Change Challenge is all about. We’re hoping to inspire you to make one tiny healthy tweak to your lifestyle each week for six weeks—and if the promise of looking and feeling better isn’t enough incentive, we’re also awarding great prizes each week. The more weeks you enter, the better your chances of taking home the grand prize: $6,000!
This week, join me in turning back the clock. You don’t have to see your dermatologist for prescription Retin-A (although if you haven’t had a skin check recently, now’s a good time to make an appointment). You can start with something as simple as using a moisturizer and sunscreen every single day. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 with broad-spectrum protection; look for these ingredients. And keep your hat by the door so you don’t forget to wear it. You’ll have this week’s challenge made in the shade—and if you enter before the week is up, you could score a $200 gift card to Sephora.
Congrats! You found piece 3. Pin to your Sharecare Beauty Board & you could win a $200 Sephora gift card!
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