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“Skin just wasn’t on the list” By Dave Humphrey

Humphrey Cosmetic Dermatology, Vancouver, British Columbia

When I think back on all the summers I spent at the lake as a kid, I remember a lot of board games, bonfires, laughter…and the occasional sunburn. It was basically a pre-sunscreen era and I’m pretty sure I got burned at least once each year.

A few sunburns and some typical pubescent zits aside, my skin was hassle-free throughout my youth. So of course, I didn’t do a whole lot in the way of skincare either. I’m sure that’s in large part because skin care and heath still weren’t broadly discussed during this time — skin just wasn’t on the list.

Once I got to university, I started to pay more attention to what was going on. I noticed, for instance, that despite having an oily forehead, my cheeks would dry out after shaving. But you wouldn’t exactly talk about your skin with your buddies back then. Instead, I started scanning Cosmo magazine for skincare advance every now and then, trying to piece together whatever information I had access to.

It probably comes as no surprise that my major introduction to dermatology and skincare came once I met Shannon. Over the years she’s taught me that skin matters. Shannon and I moved to Vancouver in 2004 for her to complete her residency at UBC, and the West Coast exposed me to a whole other layer of personal health. Culturally, Vancouver is so much more progressive than other parts of the country, and a big part of that is the city’s focus on health and wellness. I started to care about my physical fitness, and in time noticed the multiplying outcomes when I combined a proper diet, and movement, with regular skincare.

This trifecta has become increasingly important over time. Not too long ago I hit the big 4-0 milestone, and almost immediately felt my metabolism become harder to manage. These days, if I’m not eating healthy, not exercising, not following my daily skincare routine, I can objectively see it right away: I bloat, my skin loses its vibrancy, I look in the mirror and notice a clear difference. The encouraging thing is that when my diet and exercise are on point, it’s the complete opposite. I actually look and feel better now than I ever did in my twenties or thirties.

I’m lucky to be able to say that — combination skin and early sun damage aside — I’m still largely in a prevention and maintenance phase. I keep my regimen simple: I use SkinMedica’s HA5 after I shave, and I use La Roche’s Hydraphase sunscreen every day. Beyond skincare, I also exercise daily, spend time in a sauna, and practice intermittent fasting — and if I stick to these habits, I continue to see the results.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions I hear is that prioritizing skin health requires a drastic lifestyle overhaul. But I’m the perfect example of how adding a few small things into your larger wellness routine can help you discover a type of confidence you may not have had before.

Skincare isn’t an all or nothing. We have four kids, and love nothing more than spending time outside with them, so the last thing I want to do is start fearing the sun altogether. I want to be outside, building memories — luckily that’s just as fun to do with sunscreen and a hat.

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