Dr. Dan Jacobs
Creator of Alon Labs formulas.

So we want to look young, protect our skin from sun damage, and try to prevent the way-more-common-than-you-think experience with skin cancer.  Right?  Who wouldn’t?

As you try to figure out what to do and how to spend your hard-earned money, though, good luck.  Advertisements and hyped articles are everywhere, and oh, yes, this treatment or that one probably only cost somewhere between $300 and several thousand.  Even for medical experts, the research literature is dizzying for its lack of clarity, conflicts of interest, and complete lack of comparison between treatments.

Even for medical experts, the research literature is dizzying for its lack of clarity, conflicts of interest, and complete lack of comparison between treatments.

Nevertheless, there’s hope.  If you take the time to absorb the research and science that is out there, several highly effective and low-cost options are available, and don’t even require a doctor or impoverishment to get there.  Yes, the science is in bits and pieces, but as of 2019, this is what makes the most sense to me. 

1. Oral Supplements for the skin

Niacinamide, astaxanthin, lycopene, Vitamins C, D, and E (without going overboard), and a soothing cup of coffee are probably the best bang for the buck in the new era of “eating your sunscreen.”  These molecules have anti-aging properties, anti-inflammatory properties (a key factor in fighting skin aging and even cancerous degeneration), and anti-oxidant properties – not a bad combo for a few dollars a week.

There is a new era of “eating your sunscreen.” [taking the right supplements can provide additional sun protection]

2. Topical supplements

Similar to taking by mouth, putting key supplements on our skin and letting them soak into the cellular layer adds to the effect.  One way to think of it, beyond that written above, is that these molecules help deal with the UV rays that get past our sunscreen.  What’s even more interesting, is that these molecules may actually help make modest amounts of UV rays good for us (as long as we also do #3), rather than being the big, bad wolf that UV rays are made out to be.

3. Sunscreen

Yes, the science is disappointing.  Despite decades of sunscreen education and use, public health benefits have been elusive, but common sense and clinical experience still make it crazy not to use sun blocks.  Patients who come in with sun damaged skin ALWAYS are worse where the skin is exposed the most. 

Patients who come in with sun damaged skin ALWAYS are worse where the skin is exposed the most. 

 But that doesn’t mean the sun is all bad.  Many good things, including moods, are associated with healthy outdoor activity and living.  What’s likely is that the combination of 1 through 3 in this essay constitute the next generation of skin protection and even rejuvenation, rather than relying on sunscreen alone.  So, I use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that feels good to me personally and put it on generously over my topical supplement serum (Alón Rewind or B3 Serum) before going into the sun.

4. Microneedles

Surprised this made the list?  The skin care market includes ultra-sophisticated technologies that are designed to create pinpoint or targeted injuries in our skin.  

By causing purposeful areas of injury, healing mechanisms are put to work, and are thought to also repair old sun damage and improve skin tone.  If you look hard enough at the before and after pictures, you might even see a few less wrinkles, but don’t hold your breath.  The famous word “subtle” often describes the benefit.  These technologies also cost upwards of $150,000 or more for your doctor to purchase, so treatment costs are commensurate.  

Virtually all of these devices, whether laser, high intensity focused ultrasounds, radio frequency, or whatever, work by ultimately heating some part of the skin.  What’s never made sense to me, though, is that if you want to encourage skin cells to create new proteins and skin rejuvenation, why would you fry them?

Remarkably, devices exist that create pinpoint injury in skin with no heat damage, and – wait for it – cost about $10!!  Microneedle rollers may very well be one of the most interesting and underrated technologies in skin rejuvenation, and are available on Amazon or just about every other e-commerce marketplace for about the cost of a latte.  The needles penetrate the skin, create a small zone of injury without damaging surrounding cells, and then put the same healing mechanisms to work that we see with expensive targeted injury at your doctor’s office.  If we insist on making it expensive, we can go to the doctor and add platelet rich plasma to the treatment, but personally, I’d save the money for my next vacation – carefully and blissfully out in the sun!

What’s never made sense to me, though, is that if you want to encourage skin cells to create new proteins and skin rejuvenation, why would you fry them?

Remarkably, devices exist that create pinpoint injury in skin with no heat damage, and – wait for it – cost about $10!!  Microneedle rollers may very well be one of the most interesting and underrated technologies in skin rejuvenation, and are available on Amazon or just about every other e-commerce marketplace for about the cost of a latte.  The needles penetrate the skin, create a small zone of injury without damaging surrounding cells, and then put the same healing mechanisms to work that we see with expensive targeted injury at your doctor’s office.  If we insist on making it expensive, we can go to the doctor and add platelet rich plasma to the treatment, but personally, I’d save the money for my next vacation – carefully and blissfully out in the sun!


Related Posts

More Reasons to Love Coffee!
It’s fair to say that our skin exists in a tug-of-war between forces that cause oxidative and genetic damage and thos...
Read More
The 4 Ingredients that will Supercharge your Skincare
The 4 Ingredients that will Supercharge your Skincare
    There has been a lot written about the well known benefits of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and hyaluronic acid, perh...
Read More
Effective Skin Protection Means Both On Your Skin and In Your Skin
Effective Skin Protection Means Both On Your Skin and In Your Skin
  Life is full of little surprises and secrets, and herein lays yet one more.  Nearly half a century into the massive...
Read More