-What is the difference between a sunscreen and a sunblock?
• Absorb UV light and neutralize free radicals to protect the skin from sun damage
• Octyl Methoxycinnamate (AKA Octinoxate)
• Benzephenone-3 (AKA Oxybenzone)
• Octyl Salicylate (AKA Octisalate)
• Parsol 1789 (AKA Avobenzone)
• Reflect UV light
• Rests on top of the skin
• Zinc Oxide
• Titanium Dioxide
-What is the difference between UVA and UVB radiation?
• Considered the “Burning Ray”
• It is carcinogenic, because it damages our DNA
• It stimulates melanin formation (tan)
• It significantly decreases antioxidants in the skin
• Impairs the skin’s ability to protect itself from free radicals generated by sun exposure
• It is strongest between 10:00am and 4:00pm
• It is strongest at the equator
• It is strongest at high altitudes
• It reflects off water, sand, concrete, etc.
• UVB is 1000 times stronger than UVA
• UVA is the longest reaching, deepest penetrating
• Considered the “Aging Ray”
• Now considered the “Cancer Ray”
• Impairs the skin’s immune system
• Makes up 95% of UV light
• Like UVB; can cause damage to the DNA
• It is strong at any altitude and globally (from pole to pole)
• It penetrates glass (including car windows)
• It is present 1,000 times more than UVB
-What do I need to know about the sun and medications?
Many drugs increase sun sensitivity, making it especially important to apply sunscreen, or avoid the sun altogether. Among these medications may be birth control pills, antibiotics, acne medicines, cancer drugs, and immunosuppressants. However, there are others. Ask your doctor if your medication increases sun sensitivity.
-How do I know if skin moles are cancerous?
Although melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, in some cases, it can be easily detectable. Early detection is the key to avoiding deadly skin cancers. A cancerous mole tends to be a darker color, and tends to change color, size, and shape. If you have skin moles that have recently formed or an old mole that has recently changed, it is best to get it checked. It has been proven that excessive sun exposure can lead to the development of a cancerous mole. Our recommendation is to stay out of the sun and keep your skin protected by using an effective SPF to decrease your risk of melanoma. If you have a mole that you are worried may be cancerous, do not hesitate to get it checked out by a professional; better safe than sorry!
-Will using a sunscreen or an SPF lotion prevent me from tanning?
Sunscreens will reduce tanning, however depending on which products and what SPF you use, can depend on the amount of time that your skin is protected from the sun. All skin pigmentation, burning, and tanning is harmful and can lead to skin cancer. A safer option than outdoor tanning or tanning in a bed is tanning sunless. There are many great sunless tanners on the market that do not require you to spend any time in the sun to look tanned.
-Does a SPF lotion mean that I am more protected from the sun?
Yes. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor; therefore, when you wear an SPF 15 you are protected from the sun 15 times longer than you would have been without wearing sunscreen. SPF only refers to the protection that you get from UVB rays. Although these are the rays that generally do the burning, UVA rays cause your skin to prematurely age. UVA and UVB rays have both been proven to cause skin cancer. It is important to use an SPF lotion that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Something to look for when getting sunscreens is broad or full spectrum, meaning protection from UVA as well as UVB rays, and this will be most effective for your skin.
-Is it OK to use sun tanning beds?
No. It is incredibly harmful for your skin to be exposed to UVA and UVB rays that cause the release of melanin, and in turn cause you to be tanned. The United States has enforced taxes on tanning beds to try and prevent people from using them. Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, and there has been an increased rate of melanoma in younger individuals (ages 20-29) in recent years. It has been predicted that you are approximately 75% more likely to get melanoma if you have ever used tanning beds frequently. Having tanned, bronzed skin is not what makes a person beautiful, so next time you think about going tanning in a tanning bed, or outside, think twice. Is it really worth it? As well, there are many great sunless tanning products on the market that darken your skin without the risk of melanoma.
-Do I need to use skin moisturizers and sunscreen in the winter as well as the summer?
Yes, it is very important to take care of your skin in the winter as well as the summer. Although you are less exposed to the burning UVB rays, you are still being exposed to UVA rays, which cause skin to age. Therefore, it is important to use skin moisturizers and wear an SPF lotion especially when doing outdoor activities in the winter. As well, the harsh winter weather causes skin to be dry, itchy, cracked, and peeling. Extremely cold climates can have a very negative effect on your skin; however, there are some things that can be done to minimize these effects during the winter months. We recommend that you put a humidifier in your room, take a cooler shower, and moisturize after every shower or bath. Taking care of your skin during the winter months is important to fight the signs of aging.
-I get really bad sunburns, is there any kind of sunburn treatment?
Sunburns are incredibly damaging to your skin, so you should avoid them at all costs. If you are prone to sunburns and burn easily, use a higher quality SPF lotion and ensure that you use the proper amount. In addition, you should opt to sit in the shade frequently during times when the sun is highest (10am - 4pm), rather than sunbathing. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you have been inflicted with a very harsh sunburn, there are some ways to decrease the pain and promote quick healing. Our recommendations for sunburn treatment include applying a cool compress, drinking plenty of fluids, and keeping your skin moisturized using a penetrating, moisturizing body lotion to ensure that the burn heals quickly and as painlessly as possible. We also recommend that you do not peel off your skin as your sunburn begins to flake, and that you be patient with it. Sunburns take time to heal, and you need to give your skin that time. By taking our recommendations, your sunburn will be a little less unpleasant
-How much sunscreen should I use?
A good way to judge if you have used the proper amount of sunscreen, is if all exposed areas (and areas under loose or light clothing) initially have a thick, white coating of sunscreen on them. Once applied, rub the sunscreen into your skin until absorbed but don't try and spread it from area to area or you'll risk not using enough. Once rubbed in, wait approximately 15-20 minutes before beginning your sun exposure. Also, remember to check the time so you know when to reapply.