While Miami’s culture promotes fun in the sun, the city’s leading experts and spas offer numerous ways to keep your skin healthy while enjoying the outdoors.
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An alfresco lifestyle is a huge reason thousands of visitors flock to Miami and why residents spend much of their time posting envy-inducing photographs to the Instagram feeds of their northern friends and family. However, the city’s outdoor culture can—without the proper attention—be detrimental to people’s skin. “Because of our amazing year-round weather, people [here] do tend to get a higher dose of ultraviolet radiation than other areas,” says Miami-based plastic surgeon Dr. Rian A. Maercks. “Miamians love the beach, boating, and the water, which adds to this exposure.”
On top of that, the city’s affinity for skin-baring fashions makes it even more important to protect against the sun’s powerful rays. “It’s smart to avoid prolonged sun midday, but if that’s not an option, you should cover up with long sleeves and pants,” says Dr. Leslie Baumann, whose cutting-edge Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology paved the way for such mainstream cosmetic procedures as Botox, Juvéderm, and other treatments. “It’s important to know that a white T-shirt only provides an SPF of about 5, so look for apparel designed to shield the skin from UV rays. I also recommend an oral antioxidant supplement called Heliocare, which may provide some extra protection against damaging free radicals generated by the sun.”
In fact, most Miami specialists agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. “The single most effective thing is a daily prevention routine, [such as] high-quality sunscreen applied appropriately, and daily high-quality antioxidant use,” says Dr. Maercks. “It is important to keep in mind that SPF ratings are created based on a generously thick and even application—a type of application I have personally never seen a person in Miami perform. Instead, most people take a small amount of sunscreen and spread it thin to cover a huge area. This can lower the actual SPF by 50 percent or much more.”
“The reality is that we live in South Florida and we will—and need to be—outside to live a healthy life,” says Dr. Martin N. Zaiac, director of the Greater Miami Skin & Laser Center. “Just do it being sun safe.”
Repair & Reshape
“Damages from sun exposure can be corrected with a combination of simple but effective skincare and laser and light-based interventions, combined with some soft-tissue repair with hyaluronic acid-based injectable interventions, such as a procedure called ‘aesthetic facial balancing’ in my practice,” says Dr. Maercks, whose plastic surgery office provides a number of skincare services, including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and skin resurfacing. “Patients with extensive sun damage and aging are sometimes better treated with fat and stem cell transfer to repair and reshape their faces.” Dr. Rian A. Maercks, 4500 Biscayne Blvd., Ste. 104, Miami, 305-328-8256
A leader in cosmetic dermatology, Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology offers a wealth of skincare services, including injectables, body and laser treatments, and facials and peels. “Technology has come a long way, and we’re lucky to have many ways to improve the various symptoms of sun damage,” says Dr. Baumann, who suggests patients aim for preventative steps before seeking procedural help. “We have peels, lasers, and energy-based treatments that improve the wrinkles, rough texture, discoloration, and loss of elasticity with little to no downtime.” Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology, 4500 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-532- 5552
Line of Defense
“I tell my patients to be sun wise,” says Dr. Zaiac, director of the Greater Miami Skin & Laser Center, and the chairman of the department of dermatology at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. “Wake up, brush your teeth, put on sunscreen. Then obviously there are three other basic creams that I recommend—a moisturizing emollient, an antioxidant, and a retinoid.” Following these simple steps can be the first line of defense in staving off skin cancer, premature aging, “age” spots, and thinning of the skin, which can cause easy bruising. Says Dr. Zaiac, “It is known that if one gets more than six severe blistering sunburns, they have a higher chance of developing melanoma, which is the worst type of skin cancer.” Dr. Martin N. Zaiac, Greater Miami Skin & Laser Center, 4308 Alton Road, Ste. 750, Miami Beach, 305-532-4478