THIS ISSUE OF CITY MAGAZINE has a health theme, so let’s have some “skin in the game” and talk skin health. Beyond city issues, this mayor cares deeply about the health and wellness of those in our community, so I hope this Town Talk motivates you to make an appointment with your doctor for the real advice.

My sister, Dr. Helen Tergin, is a dermatologist, so I have an inside scoop on what matters on the outside: our skin.

I’m the Mayor Sister and she’s the Doctor Sister, and we joke that we are so very different in our professions, politics, and medicine. However, we both are exactly the same in that we both want to help others and find ways in our careers to do so.

So tell me, little sister…

How often should someone see a dermatologist?

Once a year.

Only fair-skinned people?

No. Skin cancer can affect all skin colors.

Does having a tan protect you from skin cancer?

No. Any suntan is evidence of damage to the skin, not protection.

Most common reason people don’t see a dermatologist?

Not being aware that anyone, at any age, is at risk; thinking it’s not important; not having time or access; or perhaps not having a dermatologist in their area.

Does embarrassment play a factor?

People shouldn’t be embarrassed because the doctor’s office is professional and confidential, and the doctors are well trained.

Best advice for skin health?

Avoid excessive UV light and sun exposure — it can cause skin cancer, aging, and wrinkles, but especially cancer.

What is the one thing people can do to help their skin or prevent skin cancer?

Wear sunscreen and see your dermatologist regularly.

Does what you eat affect your skin?

Yes. What we put in our body is reflected in our skin. Drink water. Avoid sugar and processed foods, as they can age skin. Never ever smoke. Eat foods high in antioxidants, eat a lot of healthy fruits and vegetables, and focus on plant-based foods.

What is the question you are asked most often?

“Is your sister the mayor?” and “How can I prevent wrinkles and brown spots?”

So…how do you prevent wrinkles and brown spots?

Avoid UV light. Never use tanning beds. Drink water and maintain a healthy diet and nutrition. Retinoid products are helpful. Did I say never smoke?

Do you need to wear sunscreen in the winter?

Yes, year round. UV light is present even on a cloudy day.

In order to be the mayor, you have to have thick skin, not let things get to you, and keep moving forward to make progress. But none of that matters if we don’t take care of our skin first. Having no time is not an excuse. When it comes to our health, we must take charge.

If you’ve never seen or don’t remember the last time you saw a dermatologist, please make an appointment. I guess little sister does know what she’s talking about, and I will listen to her! #MayorSister #DoctorSister #ToYourHealth

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