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OK, so it’s summer! — janeliskomd

The kids are all out of school for the summer, the new routine and been established, and life has slowed a little to the summer pace without homework and school obligations.  In our house, we have decided to try our hand at gardening – on a mini micro scale.  

Our first attempt at gardening was to start an herb garden with seeds inside.  We used a handy countertop green house product we bought at our local giant home store.  My 9 year old and 6 year old sons helped me to carefully plant the seeds.  Initially they showed promise, but eventually it became evident that only the basil was growing.  Onto plan B!  At a local garden center last week, I bought several small herb plants and planted them into my newly acquired stacked herb pot (thank you Amazon!).  Now we are onto something, I thought.  In addition, I decided to try my hand at hay bale gardening.  

I first heard about this weed free gardening technique from a pharmaceutical sales rep that had visited my office a year ago.  I saved my decorative bale from Halloween over the winter by wrapping it in a lovely brown tarp with duct tape.  According to my online resources, we had to first condition the bale.  This included watering and fertilizing the bale for 2 weeks.  Since I learned from the herb garden experience that I am not yet a natural gardener, I decided to buy some small vegetable plants.  I planted a single corn plant as well as cherry tomatoes, green beans, musk melon and butternut squash. While we are now only one week into this experiment, the plants all seem to be alive.  Fingers crossed, they may even thrive.  I will be sure to keep you posted on this.

So why the new found interest in gardening?  Well, as a foodie, I love high quality fresh ingredients.  It seemed like it might be fun to try growing my own.  In addition, I was inspired by the “Cooked” series that I devoured on Netflix (yes, pun intended).  In this series, the author/narrator celebrates all types of food, focusing on food closer to the source rather than the super convenient pre-made foods that we see in markets across the country.  As a working mom of 4, I am not naive enough to think that I will somehow switch our family’s diet entirely, but it wouldn’t hurt to step a little closer to this goal.  

Speaking of goals, patients often come to me asking, “What should I do to make my skin look younger or healthier?”  As with anything, there is the short answer or the long answer.  The short answer is, “Wear your sunscreen.”  The long answer is a little more involved.  Here is my outline for success.  

First, use gentle non-soap facial cleansers.  My favorite these days is Elta’s foaming facial cleanser, but there are numerous gentle cleansers on the market.  Use what feels best on your skin. Next, I always recommend using an anti-oxidant.  These come as serums, gels or lotions.  I use SkinCeuticals C+E Ferulic Acid or Skin Medica’s TNS essential serum.  Look for products with the L-ascorbic acid form of vitamin C.  (Avoid ascorbyl palmitate, as it is not well absorbed through the skin).  Anti-oxidants, by binding free radicals generated on the skin from UV exposure, decrease damage to the skin.  In fact, using an anti-oxidant with sunscreen gives 8-10 more protection from the sun than just sunscreen alone.  

This leads to sunscreens.  Choose a sunscreen with at least an SPF 30.  (Remember to reapply sunscreen every 90 minutes when out it the sun.)  If you wear make-up, choose make-up with SPF as well.  In the evening, use the same cleanser as in the am.  Using a topical retinol (available over the counter) or retinoid (prescriptions such as Retin-A or Renova)can help to improve fine lines as well as pigmentation on the skin.  Since these agents can be drying, it is best to wait 10 minutes after cleansing so the skin is dry before applying the retinoid.  A thicker evening moisturizer should then be applied.  

The above is my plain Jane approach to skin care.  This should be customized to each individual’s personal skin goals.  In my practice, I am fortunate to have an excellent medical aesthetician.  She directs patients through the process of selecting the best products.  In addition, she helps with customized treatment plans including facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion or the Clear + Brilliant laser.  

Enjoy this beautiful early summer season.  Eat well and wear your sunscreen!  I will keep you posted on my gardening attempts!  –Farmer Jane Lisko MD

Author
Jane Lisko, MD Dr. Lisko is a board-certified dermatologist. She has practiced at Associated Skin Care Specialists, PA in Eden Prairie, MN, and Fridley, MN, since 2001. Dr. Lisko specializes in skin cancer diagnosis and surgery, cosmetic dermatology, and laser surgery. She is married to Dr. Jeff Lisko, a gastroenterologist. Together they have four sons. When not working or spending time with her family, Dr. Lisko enjoys traveling, reading, exercising on her Peloton bike, and playing golf (poorly but with a smile!)

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