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Though present in the brain, inner ear, eyes, and heart, these melanin producing cells are best known for the protective pigment they bring to the skin and hair—as well as to the moles and cancerous melanomas they can comprise. UV light exposure, hormonal changes, certain medications, illness, and lasers are all factors that can affect…

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The deadliest of all skin cancers, it develops in pigment-producing cells, most commonly on the upper back, trunk, head, neck, and lower legs. While the cure rate is high when caught early, unchecked cases can spread to internal organs. Malignant moles tend to have asymmetrical or irregular borders, uneven color, a diameter greater than six…

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Originally derived from mint plants, this cooling agent is found in some lip balms, toners, and shave gels, mainly in synthetic form. It’s also used topically to relieve minor aches, stings, and itch.

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Mexoryl Sx

This stabilizing sunscreen ingredient is a very effective chemical filter for protecting the skin from aging UVA light when used in combination with other ingredients. Originally sold only in Europe, Mexoryl SX was approved by the FDA in 2006.

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Performed by dermatologists and facialists, this treatment exfoliates the top layer of dead skin cells with a wand that sprays on and then vacuums off extremely fine aluminum-oxide crystals. A newer form of the technology uses a vibrating diamond tip in place of the crystals.

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An ingredient used in only a few high-end skin-care lines, this claims to inhibit the production of something called matrix metalloproteinase (or “MMPs”), enzymes that increase the breakdown of collagen and lead to skin damage.

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