From anti-aging to dealing with pricey prescriptions

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Can your dermatologist really tell if you’ve been to a tanning bed? For this question and more, we turned to Dr. Lauren Ploch of Georgia Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center. Here, she sets the record straight with five things you need to know about skincare, sun damage, and how to cut down on your pharmacy bill.

1. Sunscreen is the secret to anti-aging.

You’ve heard it before, but it's so easy to wear sunscreen everyday and it really does help to prevent photo-aging and skin cancer. I wear two sunscreens (EltaMD UV Clear on my face and neck and EltaMD UV Lotion everywhere else) everyday and I feel like it's basically stopped the aging process for me.

2. It’s okay to be honest.

Even if you've been lying to the dentist for years about your flossing habits, now is the time to come clean and tell us if you're not compliant with your acne/eczema/psoriasis/etc. regimen. We want the best for our patients and often wrack our brains wondering why a good treatment doesn't work for a particular patient. I love when my patients are honest with me about why they don't want to use it. Communication helps us formulate skin-care plans that our patients love and want to use.

3. Give us a call if your prescription cost is suddenly through the roof.

Often, generic medication costs skyrocket overnight. I may only be aware of price changes when patients notify me that their $10 medication is now $300. My nursing staff is wonderful at finding online coupons, discount pharmacies, and mail-order pharmacies that have medications at less expensive prices. Chances are your dermatologist office will be able to help, too.

4. We can usually tell if you’ve been in a tanning bed.

Tanning bed lights often leave the skin with a dull, brownish-green color that I can spot instantly. It’s not a good look on anyone.

5. The sun isn’t the most effective source of Vitamin D.

Contrary to popular belief, UV light is actually not the greatest source of Vitamin D. It's true UVB light helps to convert Vitamin D to its active form in our skin, but outdoor light is only around 5 percent UVB. Therefore, outdoor light is a pretty inefficient way to get UVB rays. Instead, stick to a diet that's rich in Vitamin D-rich foods (i.e. wild-caught salmon, leafy greens, eggs).

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