Posts for tag: sun protection

By DermacenterMD Team
August 22, 2016
Category: Sun Protection
Tags: skin cancer   cancer   skin   sun protection   sunscreen   health   medical  

Sunscreen is a must. It is essential that you protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Taking the proper precautions when it comes to the sun can decrease signs of aging and reduce your chances of getting skin cancer. Below you will find the answers to common questions that you should know make a point to know and understand. Knowing what sunscreen is and how it works can help you in your efforts to protect your skin and keep yourself and the ones you love healthy.

Below are several common sunscreen questions with answers taken from the Skin Cancer Foundation:

What Are Sunscreens?

Sunscreens are products combining several ingredients that help prevent the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.

What Are UVA and UVB?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the longer wave UV ray that causes lasting skin damage, skin aging, and can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the shorter wave UV ray that causes sunburns, skin damage, and can cause skin cancer.

What Is SPF?

SPF – or Sun Protection Factor – is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Here's how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer – about five hours. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB.

What Does Broad-Spectrum Mean?

Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Beginning in December 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began to implement new rules for "broad-spectrum" products.

So, next time you head outside to enjoy the outdoors, don't forget your sunscreen!!


By DermacenterMD Team
August 08, 2016
Category: Sun Protection

In dermatology, acceptance and responsibility are two key components that we need.  Why?  Well, I will tell you why.  

The lack of protection from the sun is one of the underlying driving forces to precancers (actinic keratosis), wrinkles, pigmentation, and even skin cancer. Unfortunately, most every person does not apply the amount of sun protection that they should. It’s essential that we wear sunscreen and protect ourselves.  Even a scientific study done on farmers in west Texas backs this up. When sunscreen was applied to one half of the face and not the other half during three months of summer, the side of the face with sunscreen applied every day has half as many precancer (actinic keratosis) growths as the other side of the face. 

This simple study demonstrated the power of daily sunscreen for reducing precancer lesions. On top of this, we know that age spots, wrinkles, and skin cancer are caused by sun exposure. 

So, to get our skin looking and feeling the best, we need to use sunscreen every day. This can be in the form of lotions, sunscreens themselves, and make up for women. In addition, choosing a sunscreen that has the proper ingredients is key. Finding sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide is useful since these ingredients are physical blockers. This means that they bounce the sun off the skin. Another quality ingredient in sunscreen is Avobenzone or Parsol 1789. This is also an excellent ingredient which can be a powerful agent in preventing sun damage.  

Use daily sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Avobenzone (Parsol 1789) to reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer. The simple habit could pay big dividends!

By Dr. Roger Moore
August 31, 2015
Category: General Skin Care
Tags: skin care   sun protection   photoaging  

Did you know that many of the common signs of aging can be avoided? Over time, our skin losses it elasticity and wrinkles, fine lines and age spots can appear making us show our age. Some of these are unavoidable, but many of the signs of aging are directly related to sun exposure and, if you properly protect your skin from the sun, can be reduced. The process of aging due to sun exposure is known as photoaging.

The skin is composed of three different layers: the epidermis, or outermost layer, the dermis, or middle layer, and the subcutis, or bottom layer. The middle layer contains collagen, elastin, and other fibers that support the skin’s structure. It is these elements that give skin its smooth and youthful appearance- and that are damaged by UV radiation (UVR).  Chronic and repeated sun exposure can cause damage to the skin such as age spots that are small bit of pigmentation that doesn’t go away. They typically appear on the hands, arms, face and back.  The best way to prevent signs of photoaging is to be diligent in protecting your skin from the sun. This means wearing sunscreen 365 days a year and covering up to avoid the potential for sun burn. 

Skin cancer is the most common cancer of all cancers today.   It is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans will have a skin cancer during their life time.  Over 3 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year.   The harmful rays of the sun contribute to the development of rough scaling precancer spots termed actinic keratosis,  basal cell carcinomas (BCC), squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), and  the deadly melanoma cancer.   Each of these growths can lead to bigger problems and require treatment.  Some cancers can even become life threatening.   Skin cancer prevention is a major reason to wear sunscreen.  

Which sunscreen should I buy?

The important point here is to buy a sunscreen you will wear.  This means the one which you tolerate best.  There are now sunscreens available in lotions, creams, sprays and powders (of which many active people who sweat prefer the powder).   Find the right product for your skin.  Then you need to pick the right ingredients.  All sunscreens block UV-B  the rays, which cause sunburn, but not all block UV-A rays.   In fact, only a few ingredients block UV-A rays and provide true broad spectrum coverage.  The strongest UV-A blockers are thought to be  Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Parsol 1789 (Avobenzone) and Meroxyl.   Of these, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are labeled as physical blockers which bounce the sun off the skin rather than absorb it, so many clinicians prefer these.  

 When do I need sunscreen?

The most important time to wear sunscreen is when the sun is intense.   This is mostly between 10 am and 2 pm. However,  a little known fact is that up to 85% of our sun exposure comes from incidental sun exposure.  This means the trips to the grocery store, work, etc. are the times we get most of our sun damage over a life time.   Though most of us don’t do this, we should wear sunscreen on a daily basis.   This would reduce dramatically our cumulative sun damage.

 So what SPF do I need?

This is better understood if you learn about SPF.  So please take a minute to read so you make the right decision.  SPF stands for sun protective factor.  More simply,  it is a laboratory measure indicating a person under lab conditions would take longer to burn as represented by the rating on the bottle.   An SPF of 15 used by someone who normally burns in 10 minutes at the noon time sun would take 15 times as long to burn (150 minutes) if using the sunscreen properly.     The SPF also dictates how much of the UV is blocked.    The amount of UV blocked for SPF 15 is 93%, for SPF 30 is 96.7%, and SPF 45 is 98.5%.   So wearing an SPF of 60 does not provide double the protection of SPF 30 but rather takes the SPF number from 96.7% closer to the 100% mark.  Thus many researchers indicate an SPF higher than 30 does not yield much more protection.   So use an SPF 30 or higher.  

By Mariah Lefforge PA-C
March 25, 2015
Category: Sun Protection
Tags: skin cancer   skin   sun protection   sunscreen  

With warm sunny weather right around the corner, there will be lots of swimming, gardening, picnics, baseball games, and other outdoor activities.  Of course, more time outdoors means more sun exposure. Although most of the population is aware that there is a correlation between sun exposure and skin cancer, there are still many misunderstandings about who benefits from sun protection.

Q:  I tan easily, so I don't need to worry about skin cancer or wearing sunscreen, right?

A:  Although individuals with fair complexions are at a higher risk for skin cancer, people of all skin types can develop skin cancer.  Tanning is a protective response to ultraviolet radiation.  This means by the time you notice a tan, there has already been damage to your skin.  Cosmetically, tanning also speeds the aging process and can make certain types of age spots, melasma, and darkening of the skin after inflammation (called postinflammatory hyperpigmentation) more prominent.

Q:  I already have a lot of sun damage from when I was younger –isn't it too late for me to worry about using sunscreen now?

A:  It’s never too late to incorporate photoprotection into your routine!  In fact, one study showed that use of sunscreen in individuals already diagnosed with precancerous lesions decreased the number of new lesions that formed. 

Q:  There are so many options—how do I know I have the right kind of sunscreen?

A:  To get protection from both UVA and UVB rays, look for at least 1 of the following ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Parsol 1789 (Avobenzone), or Mexoryl (anthelios). Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are physical blockers that protect the skin by reflecting light and are excellent for people with sun sensitivity, melasma, or sensitive skin.  They are now available in micronized form to go on clear.  Many sunscreens with these ingredients have key words in the title such as “sensitive skin,” “natural,” or “chemical-free.”  Several baby sunscreens use these as active ingredients as well.  Make sure to apply about 30 minutes before your activity and reapply at least every 2 hours while you are outdoors. 

Sunscreens now come in lotions, creams, gels, sprays and powder formulations.  There are even types for dry, sensitive or acne prone skin, so everyone can find the perfect product to keep their skin healthy as they enjoy the beaufiful sunny days to come!