All skin types and colors are at risk of developing skin cancer without proper prevention! I’m joined by Dr. Keira Barr to talk about how you can best support your skin to prevent skin cancer and early signs to watch out for.
Listen to the Episode
Check your skin each month with these pointers!
A – Asymmetry
B – Border
C – Color
D – Diameter
E – Evolving
F – Funny Looking
About Dr. Kiera Barr
Dr. Keira Barr believes that going through menopause shouldn’t mean you have to push pause on feeling comfortable and confident in your skin.
As a dual-board certified dermatologist, global speaker, and best-selling author, Dr. Barr founded the Resilient Health Institute and created “The Skinny Dipping Method” to help midlife women strip away the fatigue, stress, and shame surrounding menopause and uncover the secrets to making midlife the best time of their life.
As a former Assistant Clinical Professor at UC Davis in the departments of dermatology and pathology, advisor to numerous start-ups, author and editorial reviewer of multiple leading medical journals, Dr. Barr passionately bridges the gap between the latest evidence-based research and an integrative approach to health.
She turns conventional methodologies on their heads, blending science with soul to bring an innovative and compassionate approach to women’s health and skincare.
Her book, “The Skin Whisperer,” blends her medical expertise with cognitive science and her own health journey, creating a framework to support readers on a journey towards self-discovery, self-love, and create resilient health. Dr. Barr’s expertise featured on national tv, radio, and podcasts, as well as popular outlets including MindBodyGreen, Insider, Reader’s Digest, Glamour, SELF, and Oprah magazine.
Learning to Read Your Skin
This conversation with Dr. Keira Barr is really relevant to both of us as we talk about skin cancer – something we’ve both had in our lives. Early detection is one of the keys to surviving skin cancer – and also preventing it!
One of the methods Keira recommends is to have a naked dance party with yourself once per month, on your birthdate to make it easy to remember and check your skin in the mirror. She breaks down, using the alphabet, exactly what you should be looking for during these dance parties.
Keira shares some insight into what skin types are more sensitive to the sun and who should be most concerned about skin cancer. It might surprise you to learn that all skin types and colors are at risk of developing cancer! That means that, even though fairer skin has a higher risk, people with darker skin also have to be aware and practice safe sun exposure.
Keira talks us through some of the extra skin cancer risk factors and how you can combat these.
Skin Cancer Prevention and Support
A lot of skin cancer prevention comes down to your overall nutrition. Keira gives us great advice on what supplements you can take and overall changes to your health, beauty, and nutrition to improve your skin health.
Keira tells us exactly how we all should be applying sunscreen. Most people aren’t using nearly enough when they apply and few people are reapplying as regularly as they should! She also lets us in on a few more sun care tips to get the most out of your time in the sun.
Does this mean that natural suntans are out of the question? Well, they’re definitely not good for your skin. Best to stick to the bottled tan, that’s for sure.
Finally, Keira gets specific about what hormone markers you should keep an eye on for optimum skin health. Estrogen plays a big part in healthy skin – but there is a balance to watch out for.
What songs will you put on your naked skin dance playlist? Will you join me to check your skin once a month? Let me know in the comments below!
“Pain is a struggle and inevitable, but suffering is optional.” [5:49]
“It’s so important to get familiar with what is on your skin and know what your patterns are and looking for any odd spots out.” [8:54]
“Anything that you put into your body and on your body, you should find the highest quality that you can. Biodynamically farmed, organically sourced, especially things you are putting on your skin as they do get absorbed into your body.” [22:30]
“Your body knows what it’s trying to protect itself and your DNA. So, spray your tan on. If you want that glow, get it! But get it from a spray tan.” [29:02]
“Your skin is constantly sending you messages, as is your body. When things show up on your skin, your skin is a reflection of what’s happening in your body. When things show up, they are clues, they are warning signs, and the goal is to see these clues, heed these warnings signs, when they are just a whisper, rather than a shout.” [35:50]
In This Episode
- What to look for when checking your skin once a month [6:45]
- How to know if you’re at higher risk for skin cancer by using The Fitzpatrick Scale [11:30]
- What factors cause an increased risk of skin cancer [14:45]
- What supplements you can use to help prevent skin cancer [19:00]
- What your relationship with sunscreen should be [24:25]
- What hormone markers you should keep an eye on to stay in optimal health and help prevent skin cancer [32:00]
Links & Resources
Dr. Keirra Barr 0:03
When things show up on your skin, your skin is a window to and reflection of what's happening in your body and when things show up be a clue. They are warning signs. And the goal is to see these clues heed these warning signs when they are just the whisper lab isn't the show.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:22
Welcome to the longevity blueprint podcast, I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Dr. Kara bar who created the skinny dipping method and also wrote the book the skin whisper we're gonna get into what both of those mean in just a moment.
Thank you for joining me for another episode of your longevity blueprint podcast. Today I'm joined by Dr. Kara bar, who believes that going through menopause shouldn't mean you have to push pause on feeling comfortable and confident in your skin. As a duel board certified dermatologist, global speaker and best selling author she founded the resilient Health Institute and created the skinny dipping method to help midlife women strip away fatigue, stress and shame surrounding menopause and uncover the secrets to making midlife the best time of their life. As a former assistant clinical professor at UC Davis and the department's of Dermatology and pathology advisor to numerous startups, author and editorial reviewer of multiple leading medical journals. Dr. Barr passionately bridges the gap between the latest evidence based research and an integrative approach to health. She turns conventional methodologies on their heads blending science with soul to bring an innovative and compassionate approach to women's health and skincare. Her book the skin whisperer blends her medical expertise with cognitive science at her own health journey creating a framework to support readers on a journey towards self discovery, self love and create resilient Health. Dr. Barnes expertise has been featured on national TV, radio podcasts, as well as popular outlets including Mind Body green Insider, Reader's Digest, glamour, self and Oprah Magazine. So that was a lot. It has a wonderful bio. Welcome to the show, Dr. Barr.
Dr. Keirra Barr 2:16
Mountain, my goodness,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 2:17
lots of lots of credibility there. So tell us your story all
Dr. Keirra Barr 2:23
for a while.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 2:24
Well, you don't look old. You look great. So tell us tell us your story how you got into the the philosophy that you use with your patients with their skin. And before the show we were talking about kind of spoiler alert, we both have had skin cancer. And so I'd like you to share your journey and how you approach your patients.
Dr. Keirra Barr 2:42
Yeah, so my journey starts actually when I was a kid, and I was made fun of for what was on my skin and I never put all the pieces together why ultimately went into dermatology but I'm sure that has something to do with it for feeling uncomfortable in the skin that I was in and trying to mask that chain with suntans and sunburns. And even though I am a brunette, my dad is a redhead, and I have his fair skin. So I was never meant to spend a ton of time outside. Fast forward to adulthood, I'm full on dermatology, now I'm wearing my sunscreen, I'm wearing a protective clothing. But the damage had already been done some time myself. Over the years, I had hundreds of moles, many of them have been changing over the decades. And you know, in terms, you're like, Oh, it's changed, you just cut it out. Forget about it.
I just thought that was kind of how it was meant to be in some ways, you just that's just the party line when we talk traditional training and and then there was that one spot on my arm that definitely was different from the others. And unfortunately, being a skin cancer melanoma expert like that was the focus of my practice and being dirt path at the time, I get to look at the skin underneath the microscope, having the extreme are of the of the atypical cells, myself and knowing that it was bad news. So thankfully, because I knew what to look for, and that's why I'm so passionate about teaching other people how to check their skin so they can catch things very early. That was kind of the beginning of a health crisis for me and I think many of us that are in this more holistic approach to well being because our own health take a hit a big hit. So it was skin cancer and then it was my hormones just going completely out of whack. So I was running ultra marathons at that time thinking I'm doing all the right things. Being healthy exercising, eating.
What I thought it was good for me. And none of it was right for me. And unfortunately, a couple surgeries later a couple years Trying to claw my way out of combat situations, I discovered more of a functional integrative approach because what I was traditionally taught wasn't solving my issue. And so I figured if, as a physician, my struggle, how are the other people who don't have the resources to evaluate the literature and things, be able to sort it out so, and yet, that's kind of long winded. But that is how I wind up doing the work that I do so that I could help other women, especially, especially in this life, when our hormones are shifting, and there's so much conflicting information about what's safe, what's not safe, to really be able to help them so that they don't have to suffer. Because pain is you know, we struggle with it. It's inevitable, but suffering is completely optional.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 5:54
I like that suffering is optional. But we do have to make some changes, right with our lifestyle, which we're going to get to today. Before we get to those, can you talk about the prevalence, right? So we both of us get cancer again, how prevalent is this? I assume more than we predict?
Dr. Keirra Barr 6:10
Yes. What most people may not realize is that skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States, as well as other countries around the world. So one in five people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. And so it is a very big deal. And it really is a public health issue. Kind of personal health issue is a public health issue, because most everyone will be impacted in some way or another by the sun, whether it's a bad sunburn. And, you know, in the sun damage that accrues aging, we know that the sun causes accelerated aging, and then there's skin cancer.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 6:52
So can you go over the ABCDE. And I think you add F's to do the assessment of the skin and give the listeners just a brief overview of what that those letters stand for and what we can be looking for on our skin.
Dr. Keirra Barr 7:06
Absolutely, there's like one of my favorite topics, because I'm all about getting naked, right? obviously have to see the skin. And even though I'm not actively seeing patients in clinic, I still love to get people to party in their birthday suit once a month on the date of your birthday. That way you'll never forget it, you will be checking your skin every month. Ideally, before you head into the shower, you're already new, just go for it. And so what you're looking for these ABCDE f A is for a symmetry. If you look at a spot and you cannot cut it down the middle and have it be the same on both sides. But a checkmark next to it is her border, you want your spot to be uniform, nice, sharp, well demarcated borders, nothing blurred, blurred edges, see if the color no come in a lot of different colors. So they can be flesh color. They can be brown, we even have blue nearby. But what you want is uniformity in color.
So if it starts to change color has multiple colors. And there is something called an email and notic melanoma. So that flesh colored thought, I don't want to put fear in people, but it's something to be mindful of if it behaves differently than your other ones. And, and that moves us into D which is diameter. So diameter is kind of a soft call, we always say less than five millimeters or the size of a pencil eraser, but you're looking for spots that may be growing or bigger than your other spots. And then that shifts us into E which is evolving a spot that is changing over time. And that's why it's so so critical that you are checking your skin every single month. And then f is the funny looking bot right we call it the ugly duckling sign. It is the spot that stands out from your crowd. And that's why again, it's so important to get familiar with what is on your hair your skin and know what your patterns are and looking for spot out. So for you You had mentioned that you had basal cell carcinoma abcdef really apply to mold and melanoma, which is a more deadly type of skin cancer.
There's two types of skin cancer, melanoma skin cancer, non melanoma skin cancer. The non melanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma as well as a few others and basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma they will appear. Oftentimes it's pearly pink, little bump or little probably being packable for this not healing, especially with precursors to skin cancer, the actinic keratosis, it's like a scaly spot you scrape it off, it keeps coming back. So all of these, you know the ABCDE f things that are scaling doesn't necessarily mean you have in cancer but there wants to take note of take pictures of and when in doubt, get it teched out, the easiest thing to do especially now we have tele Derm. And things like that is to get an appointment with a board certified dermatologist to be able to evaluate you.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 10:10
Wonderful. Yep, you described my lesion very accurately. I had something on my head here that was not healing was kind of flaky scabiei continued to grow. I should have seen a dermatologist much earlier, but I thought, oh, it'll he'll put some cream on it. It'll get better and it didn't. And so I had to get biopsies while I was pregnant and find out that I had actually to I had one of my back, which was easily removed this on my head, I had to have more surgery than reconstructive surgery. But I've been burned several times on my head. I mean, where does the sun hit me? Right there. So I looking forward to chatting with you more because I now I'm realizing a how prevalent skin cancer is and that I'm more high risk, which I want to talk a little bit about. But I'm thankful to, to know colleagues like you who are going to help me with tips for hopefully preventing, preventing future skin cancer. So back to something that I honestly don't remember from school is the Fitzpatrick scale. So really of our skin types. Can you go over that a little bit what the audience and so some individuals can identify if they're at higher risk
Dr. Keirra Barr 11:17
for skin cancers, right. So I think that the static skin sale is a nice measure, but it's not absolute. And so basically, at one end of the scale is your most fair individuals, blond hair, blue eyes at the other end of the scale, your darkly pigmented individual skin of color, dark eyes. And so if you're at one end of the scale, you're more likely to burn and increase risk of skin cancer and at the other end, less likely to burn. But you're still at this pristine camp. Sure, just need to emphasize, okay. Especially, you know, Fitzpatrick's pay, like fives and four or five, we're seeing in the Hispanic population, you know, the people have had that have more color in their skin, the numbers of skin cancer are rising in the black population, we worry more about melanoma, acral lentiginous, melanoma that occur palms and soles underneath the nail spots where you're not necessarily thinking to look on regular basis or if something pops up on the nail, you're like, Oh, I jammed my toe. Again, if something is not looking quite right, it's not resolving get it checked out. So on that scale, even if you are at the you know, less likely to burn if you are on certain medications, if you have certain underlying medical conditions, that risk could you know, bump you a little further to the higher risk side. So, I think you know, it's a it's a nice reference point, but as memory, care what skin color you need to protect yourself.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 13:00
You mentioned nails, I have to ask, have you actually seen melanomas on nails? Do you think that getting the shellack the nail obviously the nail polish that has to be cured with the UV light, does that really increase risk for melanoma on the nail?
Dr. Keirra Barr 13:16
So I don't think that you know, there's data to support that the concern was the non melanoma skin cancer with some of the previous light sources that they were using, and but they modified those lights. So I don't think the risk is nothing but certainly would take a lot of exposure should be avoided invoicing. To your point about the shellac, shellac stays on the nails for weeks at a time and then you know women they get their nails done they get soaked off they get another layer shellacked just put right back on. Look at your fingers and toenail between a nanny and Petit is take a quick look you're looking for you know pigmented spots. And anything that looks unusual so take a quick look before you layer the new polish on. Wonderful.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 14:07
Let's talk a little bit about aging of the skin here. So what major things impact the aging of our skin.
Dr. Keirra Barr 14:13
Oh, okay, this is fun. The number one is sun and everything says dermatologists are like we are sun you know haters. Not true. The sun is amazing. We just want you to get the benefit without the burn and the accelerated photo aging. Because done definitely a break found a supportive collagen and elastin in your skin which contributes to the fine lines and wrinkles, the sagging, the discoloration, the sun is a big one. Number two is your is your diet. So diet is huge because especially the way we cook our foods and added sugars, both of which contribute to the formation of accelerated glycation end products, which essentially Are you know, present that glom on to your collagen and your season. Supporting supportive tissues make them very brittle and inelastic and they break.
So contributing again to those wrinkles and fine lines in foods that are inflammatory so inflammation again in the body inflammation is the source of all that stuff, but especially for your skin to it lack of sleep. Sleep is a big one. When you don't get sleep, guess what happens, right? Your cortisol levels go up, your melatonin goes down. And Melatonin is amazing for the skin. It's amazing for so many reasons, but it is one of the most potent antioxidants. So it helps repair some of the some damage you've got during the day. If you're not getting good sleep, and your melatonin levels are suffering. so will your your skin repair also increase cortisol levels prevent repair of your skin as well as so it's so it locked formation of the collagen and interferes with repair events. So sleep is another another big one of sleep and stress I think can kind of go hand in hand.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 16:07
I want to make sure I heard you right. So you basically said cortisol impairs collagen production is what you said. So we don't want to get wrinkles. We need to get our sleep. Yes, yes. Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. So what are your recommendations for for stressing less?
Dr. Keirra Barr 16:26
Yeah. So prioritizing yourself, I think is a big one, which is really hard, especially with what we're going through right now. And you feel like you have a million balls in the air, you're trying to maybe be you know, Mom and teacher and a career woman and and partner, all the things. And so I think that little things that you can do throughout the day, even to help you feel you know, with everything going on, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, and unsafe. And so one of the things that I like to do is literally just put feet on the ground, like full on the ground, and you're grounded. And it's a quick reminder, like, I'm here, and I'm safe. Like I'm connected to the ground, I'm safe. Especially self compassion, like soothing touch is a big one too, because you can do that anywhere while you're driving in your car walking. So, no hand on your heart, where I always find myself, rubbing my legs, or wrapping my arms. Those are little things in bleeding. So I think things that you can do anywhere multiple times throughout the day are some of the easiest things I'd like to share with people.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 17:47
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Let's go back to oxidative stress for a moment. So when I think of oxidative stress, and the advanced glycation end products that you that you're kind of mentioning, I think, okay, rust on a car per se right? Like my cells are aging so I want to protect my skin like my cells against that. So are there specific antioxidants that you recommend specifically to reduce aging of the skin like for skin health? You mentioned melatonin as one right?
Dr. Keirra Barr 19:18
So melatonin, vitamin C and vitamin E and they work synergistically together. You know vitamin C is necessary for collagen formation in production. So that would be we use it topically on the skin a lot of definitely you'll see a lot of skincare products have it same with resume or tall, was very tall is a great antioxidant. The bioavailability by mouth is not great. So you will see it in a lot of topical products. Green tea, green tea extract, potent antioxidant. The studies are actually quite compelling in terms of skin cancer prevention, actually. So green tea extract So drinking tea and they're also using green tea extract in topical formulations. Another plug, I'm a coffee drinker. So the studies for protecting the skin with coffee have really been compelling as well, especially for skin cancer and melanoma.
And it's not just the caffeination of the coffee, caffeinated coffee, definitely the studies were done in that show to have the most benefit caffeinated, over decaf, but it's actually also the roasting process. And then the roasting process of coffee, basically nice and wide is generated. And so we know that the B vitamin is is highly anti inflammatory. And it's one of the reasons why it's being used niacin amide is being used in individuals who had a history of skin cancer because it's supposed to help decrease their risk. So nice and my 500 milligrams B ID card twice a day has been shown to be helpful. So those are some of them. And then just, I think, just eating the rainbow, so I'm all for getting your antioxidants from food first. And so that celery was luteolin and lycopene from tomatoes. You know, I focus on skin skin cancer prevention, but you know, they have so many benefits, but the literature is really impressive. Or ginger and stellar, you know, the phytonutrients that are in those vegetables and through to help with skin cancer prevention.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:33
Wonderful. I will say here, if you're going to take niacin, you could experience some flushing, just warning you, depending
Dr. Keirra Barr 21:41
on niacin amide. It's a different formulation so people don't experience the flushing with that.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:48
Cool, wonderful. I have seen like you mentioned a lot of these antioxidants, or vitamin supplements infused in skincare. But obviously you're saying you can also take them orally for added benefit. Now with the coffee drinking, I would imagine you want to buy a mold free organic, like a high quality coffee, especially if you're going to be drinking it long term, right?
Dr. Keirra Barr 22:11
100% and that's what's so fun. I'm in it and live in the Pacific Northwest. And so coffee is like a love language here. Right? So there's so many small roasters organic coffee, so it's been actually quite fun to experiment. And but 100% I think that goes across the board for anything that you put into your body and on your body to find the highest quality that you can biodynamically farmed, organically sourced, especially things that you're putting on your skin because so much of it does get absorbed into your body.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 22:46
Absolutely. I have to ask because you're a dermatologist what you think about the retinols or retinoids? Like how do you are you for them against them? What are your thoughts?
Dr. Keirra Barr 22:56
So they're like the holy grail?
Which I don't love that term. As as I'm getting older. I am not Benjamin Button. I am not aging reverse. I am getting older Simon bracy Yes, hmm. But topical retinoids are wonderful, right? It's a vitamin A derivative. And the my Chairman at University of Michigan, he was doing a lot of the pioneering research so I feel like it's been drilled in my head that topical retinoids are amazing. But for skin cell turnover for anti aging, we use it to help prime for treating skin cancers and precocious skin cancers. So the key is understanding how to use it. And when to use it. It's different than the retinal palpate that you'll you'll see in sunscreens and things that have gotten a bad rap of increasing the risk of skin cancer but but topical retinoids like retinae use at night before you go to bed and you know you have to start low go slow. You've got to then protect your skin the following day. Because it does make your skin more sun sensitive. Or
Dr. Stephanie Gray 24:05
let's talk about sunscreen for a minute here. So I believe you do say that SPF isn't our BFF for some protection and skin cancer prevention. So let's see alternative.
Dr. Keirra Barr 24:17
Yeah, so i think i think that sunscreen definitely needs to be part of your inner circle of friends but it cannot be your only BFF and the reason for that is the majority of people studies have shown that the vast majority of people dermatologist included, only apply about 25 to 50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. So that SPS are getting on the bottle is not accurate of what you're actually having on your skin. So you're going to need additional coverage to make sure that you're you're fully protected. So what I like to do from the outside in a wide brim hat, three inch brands, you know sunglasses His protective clothing and, and your sun and your sun glasses, as well as seeking shade. And then you want to be setting yourself up with a good foundation supporting fortifying yourself from the inside out. And that's where your diet, your sleep, your stress management comes into play.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 25:21
So what if someone wants to get a tan? Are you saying getting a tan is going to be bad and aging our skin? Or? If we are? Well, actually, let's go back to first, how should you appropriately apply the sunscreen? Let's clarify that first. Let's go back to that.
Dr. Keirra Barr 25:37
So for the average, you know, adult, a one ounce amount of sunscreen, and the equivalent of a shock lash should be applied from the neck down. And then you're going to need additional sunscreen, like half teaspoon for your for your face. And you need to apply that before you go out and then reapply it every two hours. Most people aren't doing that. That's no, it's a lot. So if you think about the average bottle of sunscreen that you get at Target or something, it's four ounces. If you've got like, I've got two teenage kids, my husband myself down with that bottle. That's Yeah. And I'll tell you that even the you know, the dermatologist like it's not always happening. So I need to add this I am wearing the clothes and the head and right you know, I'm doing other things to make sure that I'm protecting myself.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 26:25
So I tell my patients and you can tell me if you disagree, but I have been saying go get your vitamin D first, then put on your sunscreen. I've been saying get outside get 10 minutes of sun because sunscreen will block vitamin D correct.
Dr. Keirra Barr 26:41
It will block the UV rays. But what they found is not significant enough to really cause depressive levels. The issue the bigger issue is where we live. Sure and what our lifestyle is like. So even right now I'm so grateful it's sunny outside. But where I live, there's not enough the difference between UVA and UVB rays, you need the UVB rays to generate your vitamin B. But easy being raised zeri over the course of the day, season, latitude longitude. So depending on where you live, the intensity may not be enough to generate the amount of vitamin D that you as an individual need. So the vast majority of us are going to be decisions.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 27:25
Yeah, I agree. Yep. Yeah.
Dr. Keirra Barr 27:27
So we're going to need to test and supplement. Yeah, maybe
Dr. Stephanie Gray 27:30
we're not putting on enough sunscreen to actually block it anyways, because we're not putting out appropriately apparently.
Dr. Keirra Barr 27:36
Yeah, and the studies looking at vitamin D filters for sunscreens as well because you know, it is a reasonable concern. Again, we want to get all the benefits without causing any harm. So it is something that's being looked into.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 27:50
So what are the safe ingredients that we should look for in sunscreens.
Dr. Keirra Barr 27:56
So I have always even before the FDA came out with their concerns of the general recognized as safe and effective with input like the oxy benzos and the optimasi on the watch list. For me, it's always been zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and primarily Think outside, it blocks the UVA spectrum UVB spectrum is tolerated from your littles up until your adult for any individual with sensitive skin. So that's always been my vote.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 28:25
So I'll go back to my vanity question what if we want to get a suntan? Or should I not be desiring that
Dr. Keirra Barr 28:35
you can desire it all you want. And with a history of skin cancer, right today, getting a getting a tan is not ideal, because there is no such thing as a safe tan. And it's all sun damage. Basically, your DNA has a little cap of melanin sitting over it and when it gets hit by the sun, it's dispersing that's what you noticed, you might get a little colon right away and then a few days later, there's a delayed Tam response. Your body knows what it's trying to do to protect yourself and it's in your DNA. So right on if you want that glow, get it but get it from a spray tan.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 29:15
That was gonna be my next question. Well, what brand do you recommend it safe? I feel like so many the spray tans are just loaded with fragrances and parabens and toxic chemicals.
Dr. Keirra Barr 29:25
So yeah, there are some and to be honest, because I don't use them and I usually am like not just getting your hands go natural. I haven't looked at some brands, but I know. Like I usually just go to some of the green beauty bloggers are like Mind Body green. Good. And I think not too long ago they did a rundown and there are some organic products on the market.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 29:47
So good to know. Good to know. Yeah. Let's transition to hormones here. So how do hormones impact our skin health?
Dr. Keirra Barr 29:55
Oh my goodness in so many ways. I think when we think about hormones, a lot of times we just think about like estrogen and progesterone. And estrogen is probably the best anti aging if you're gonna use that expression, but it really keeps the skin bland and hydrated and useful. But the other hormones that come into play are your thyroid hormone. So many women are struggling with thyroid issues, particularly hypo thyroid, and your thyroid can have a big impact on your skin, particularly making it very dry. Somewhat deadly. There are certain medical conditions where there's actually deposition of materials into I'm like rubbing my leg because that's usually my lower leg. So, so thyroid issues can also cause hair loss, hair thinning, one of the telltale signs and it doesn't happen in everyone is lost with a lateral third of the eyebrows. Yeah, so you know, our our skin is. So it's kind of cool because you actually make a lot of the hormones that are made you know, from the brain top down and sending signals all throughout your body. Your skin actually makes many of those hormones as well especially your stress hormones, and melatonin we can make melatonin in our skin. So as I mentioned, Melatonin is one of the most potent antioxidant for repair you know, and just not just for our skin, but for the rest of their body as well. So,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 31:33
so estrogen even helps with collagen production. So estrogen is not the devil. I think estrogen gets poo pooed too commonly and yes, you don't want to be super estrogen dominant the majority of your life with poor estrogen metabolism setting you up for increased risk for fibroids and cysts and breast cancers. But you need some estrogen for your bones for your memory, your brain, your heart and even your skin. So I I see women as they go through menopause, and their skin dries up and they're getting wrinkles. They have dryness, from their head to their toes of dryness everywhere and estrogen can really help that. I also find that many women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome have higher androgens, and with higher androgens, I have that oilier skin sometimes they'll have that acne on the chin or on other areas of their body and a lot of hair thinning on the top of their head. And most of these women have low progesterone. And I found that progesterone can be one great for sleep and stress. But it can also have some androgenic some anti angiogenic properties to protect the patient's against having the higher androgens, and benefit it's beneficial to help balance out estrogens. When we're stressed, our progesterone is low. So usually Reducing Stress can help balance the hormones and many women I've found, including myself have benefited from taking progesterone to balance out the estrogens and androgens which can translate into better, healthier, balanced skin.
Dr. Keirra Barr 32:52
I 100% agree. And I too have benefited from it and headed and again, like when my health was just going down the two. And anyone really checked my hormones, they would have seen that my progesterone what would have been long, low for a long time. Yeah, just you know, I'm, I'm a little type A anyway, like studying medical school and stuff. But like that anxiety and that ain't Jazz's up big time when you're low on progesterone. And so so many women are just told like it's just, you know, just in your head, or you're just having a stressful situation. And here's your antidepressants, you may need I'm not saying that there isn't a role for medicine, but we need to look at women's hormones first, and really evaluate and understand the balance and how they are metabolizing them. And especially as women are heading into menopause, when there is low progesterone and estrogen dominance, or there's there's lower levels of the hormones and it's unmasking. It's not that women are so high in testosterone or androgens, it's just there so low in the others. And it's kind of like who's going to take over. And it can be life changing, if we could just get a better idea of where they are and how to help them rebalance this one.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 34:07
Agreed. And it starts with a simple test, just getting your hormones tested appropriately can give you so much insight and benefit, beneficial information that you need to improve your health. I want to go back and clarify a couple of terms that I read in your bio, just so the listeners can hear for sure what this means. So I want to make sure that I I know what your skinny dipping method is. So is that is that what you opened with saying that once a month on your birthday, you're assessing yourself from head to toe is that what you're skinny dipping method is that you know, skinny dipping method is really this idea of helping women strip away all the faults, the habit,
Dr. Keirra Barr 34:46
issues that are holding them back from experiencing the vitality and the joy that they want and that they deserve. So it's really how I work with clients. And it's very system of how we approach that the checking your skin once a month, well that's a part of it because self care I consider checking your skin part of your self care. But no skinny dipping method is more of you know, how I just a playful way of helping women kind of get rid of all the stuff that is holding them back and really experiencing the true joy that they deserve?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 35:23
Wonderful. So where did the skin whisper the title of your book come from?
Dr. Keirra Barr 35:28
That was great questions. So as dermatologists you know, we can look at skin and you know, in a matter of seconds know what stuff is. And I think people have said like, Oh, you know, you're like a skin whisperer. But for me, why I chose the title is because I wanted to share this idea that your skin is constantly sending you messages as as your body right? When things show up on your skin, your skin is a window to and reflection of what's happening in your body. And when things show up be a clue, they are warning signs. And the goal is to see that see these clues. Heed these warning signs when they are just to whisper ladders on the shelf. Because in my case, my skin was shouting at me. I was deaf to it. I was completely deaf to it. And unfortunately, I paid a price for it. And I don't want that for anybody. Oh,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 36:24
yeah, agreed cost a lot of money to have the surgeries that I had. I'm happy to have them by me and never want to have that again.
Dr. Keirra Barr 36:31
So right. It's not just the money, right? I mean, the money is one thing that's like a hit like, right, it's the loss of I mean, you were pregnant this time. And I have a huge diety to show for the anxiety and the fear. And is this going to have like, what's going to happen and, and all of that, too. So it's those intangible costs that actually are no much more costly. And then
Dr. Stephanie Gray 36:54
the night before my my reconstructive surgery, I had to go home with a big pressure dressing on my head to my baby, Feed my baby and I'm he's looking at me like, I'm an alien. What's on mom's head, I'd off. That was terrible. But I'm thankful that we do have surgeons that could remove what needed to be removed. So I'm very thankful that we have had medicine.
Dr. Keirra Barr 37:14
So with average woman spending nearly $300,000 on her appearance during her lifetime. What are your top tips for maximizing her return on her investment without breaking the breaking the bank speaking of finances? Yeah, yeah, I mean, it's crazy. The beauty industry is a $500 billion industry and I have nothing against aesthetic procedures or good skincare product. The issue is I think most women and this societal pressure that need to do these things in order to feel beautiful in order to, you know, be considered worthy. And I am really a big fan of, you know, you do those things to enhance the way you already sell you already feel amazing. So, there's a distinction there. So I really focus. That's why I focus so much on who they who women are, beneath the surface, and really focusing on, you know, looking at nutrition and lifestyle and relationships, and who they want to be in this skin of theirs. I do a lot of work on mindfulness. And I think that's another, you know, love for hormone balancing as well. You look good, when you feel good. Even if you're having a bad hair day, you radiate that glow from the inside out. And if your systems are not functioning the way they should be, you're going to feel like crap. So we really need to focus starting at the Foundation, minute when you do spend that money. Like you're an organizing, I have nothing against focus, but so many women spend thousands and thousands of dollars. And they look good. And then you ask them well, how are you feeling? They don't feel good.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:00
Right? Right. What would your top longevity tip be if you had to pick one? And it's okay, if you repeat what you've already said.
Dr. Keirra Barr 39:09
Yeah. And I just think like the first thing that comes to mind, there's a couple but is it good loving right hand in hand with good sleep, because you get some good love and then you get a good night's sleep. And they think that you know, especially now where we've been so isolated, it's that connection and connectivity. And especially with touch with making that coffee person that feel good. So I think connection is fundamental.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:38
I love that Do you know the song good loving? Do you know that song? We didn't know for sure why? It's great song. We should look it up. Well, I do know that you have a free gift for our audience. So do you want to talk about that briefly?
Dr. Keirra Barr 39:53
Yeah, so it's, it's a glowing skin guide right. So we've been talking about skin and how to get one And especially for midlife women, I think when we talk, think about menopause, we're always think about hot flashes, and hey, eggs and weight gain and bloating and anxiety. But a lot of the things that are showing up on the skin that we touched on that you mentioned so beautifully, is the skin changes. And we are always looking for like an antibiotic or other things. So this guide really helps you dive into some of the foundational things that you can do from within to, you know, get you on a good start. But of course, getting those hormones checked is going to be really important. I
Dr. Stephanie Gray 40:37
couldn't agree more. But we will post the link to that in the show notes for sure. And thank you Dr. bar for coming on the show today, you definitely radiate a beautiful glow. So thank you for that. Thank you for making a difference and as a dermatologist, because you do have a different approach than many that I have seen for sure. And thank you for raising awareness. Especially, I love the the skin whisper title of your book, because I'm always going to remember after listening that Well, hopefully the viewers will as well after listening to this podcast to really listen to what our body's whispering to us, not just with our skin, but with any symptoms, anything that's going awry, that we should get that looked into we should we should listen to our body and really be in tune. So I love that. So thank you for coming on the show today.
Dr. Keirra Barr 41:25
Dr. Stephanie Gray 41:29
This episode was such a good reminder to look in the mirror and assess your skin and to see a dermatologist if you find something that looks abnormal. I hope this inspired you to remember that what you're eating impacts your skin your stress impacts your skin and of course the sun can impact your skin. Choose a safe sunscreen, but also remember the other forms of skin protection that we should be using when we're outside. And lastly, don't forget to share this information with family members and friends as they need to be assessing their skin monthly as well. Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck, you can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book. Plus for a limited time, not only is the course 50% off, but you also get your first consult with me for free. Check this offer out at your longevity blueprint.com and click the course tab. One of the biggest things you can do to support the show and help us reach more listeners is to subscribe to the show. And leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. I read all the reviews and would truly love to hear your suggestions for show topics, guests or how you're applying what you've learned on the show to create your own longevity blueprint. A podcast is produced by the team at counterweight creative. As always, thanks so much for listening and remember, wellness is waiting.
The information provided in this podcast is educational. No information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.