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By Skin Cancer Foundation
August 13, 2018
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

 

Reading a sunscreen label shouldn’t be like deciphering a foreign language. But a recent study in JAMA Dermatology found that many people don’t understand how to read a sunscreen label or how the product protects the skin. Only 43 percent of survey respondents understood the meaning of an SPF value.

How to read a Sunscreen Label

 

Given these findings, we considered it a good time to brush up on sunscreen basics. Here are  explanations of key terms appearing on sunscreen labels that you should understand when selecting a product:

1. Broad Spectrum: It’s essential for your sunscreen to offer broad spectrum protection, which means that it offers effective protection against bothUVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB(ultraviolet B) rays, the solar wavelengths proven to damage the skin. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB, and are the chief cause of wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging. UVB rays damage the skin’s upper surface and are the main cause of sunburn. Both cause skin cancer.

2. Sun Protection Factor (SPF): SPF is a measure of how long a person can stay in the sun before its UVB rays start to burn the skin.  Let’s say with no sunscreen, your skin starts to redden in 20 minutes. An SPF 30 will theoretically allow you to stay in the sun 30 times longer without getting burned.  But keep in mind that SPF numbers are determined in a lab. In the real world, no matter what the SPF, sunscreens start to lose effectiveness over time, so it’s important to reapply every two hours and after swimming or heavy sweating.  Also note that above SPF 50 the amount of additional sun protection is negligible. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends always using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher – SPF 30 or higher for extended stays outdoors.

3. Water-resistant: The terms “water-resistant” and “sweat-resistant” indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes when you are swimming or sweating. Since no sunscreen is fully “waterproof” or “sweatproof,” the FDA prohibits these terms.

4. The Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation: Look for our Seal to assure yourself that a product is safe and effective.  To earn the Seal, products must have their test results reviewed by an independent committee of photobiologists, experts in sun damage and sun protection.  The Daily Use Seal is for sunscreens intended to protect against brief everyday sun exposures, the kind you experience walking to the car or running errands. The Active Seal is for extended exposures such as when playing sports or at the beach.

5. Active ingredients:  This area of the label, often on the back of the bottle, lists the main ingredients in sunscreens that protect your skin against UV rays. There are two main types of active sunscreen ingredients: chemical and physical. Chemical ingredients such as avobenzone and benzophenone,work by absorbing UV, reducing its penetration into the skin, whereas physical ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide stay on top of the skin and deflect UV rays. Many sunscreens available today combine chemical and physical ingredients.

Published on September 9, 2015, Updated on May 2, 2016
By Julia Brucculieri
May 14, 2018
Category: Sun Protection
Tags: sunscreen   self-tanning  

How Safe Is Sunless Tanning With Self-Tanners?

We assume it’s safer than sun exposure, but are we sure?
DPHOTOGRAPHER / GETTY IMAGES

Even though basking in the sun’s rays may feel glorious, the risk of developing skin cancer has many of us reaching for sunless tanners to get our summer glow. But do we really know they’re safe? 

The main active ingredient in the most sunless tanning sprays and lotions — what makes your skin look darker — is something called dihydroxyacetone, DHA, a chemical derived from beet or cane sugar.  

DHA works by reacting to the amino acids present in the top layer of the skin, the dead cells of the stratum corneum, to create a browning effect. (That process is the Maillard reaction.) The use of DHA in cosmetic products is approved by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, though it is restricted to external applications, not including the body’s mucous membranes (mouth, eyes, ears, inside the nose, urethral opening and anus). Because tanners and bronzers are cosmetics, they do not require FDA approval

So what are the potential risks? 

Medical experts have raised concerns about potential health risks associated with DHA, particularly what happens if it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Studies have looked at whether DHA, when inhaled, as it might be at a spray tan salon, could increase one’s risk for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cancer

Dr. Anita Cela, a dermatologist based in New York City, said that if you apply DHA in a lotion and you have no open wounds, you don’t need to be concerned about the chemical reaching your bloodstream. Additionally, according to Time, there isn’t enough evidence that shows DHA can penetrate the skin. 

“If the chemical stays on the skin and doesn’t get inhaled with the sprayer and you put it on in a lotion form and the skin is intact, in general, we feel like it’s safe,” Cela said. “I think the chemical itself we wouldn’t vouch for if it was going internally, but externally, I think we’re good with that.” 

Dr. Angela Lamb, the director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Faculty Practice in New York City, agreed, saying, “DHA has been studied for quite some time and has been shown to be safe.”

She added, however, that there is always a possibility of being allergic to DHA or any of the other ingredients in sunless tanners, which could irritate or cause a reaction on the skin.  

 
 

Aside from the effects of inhaling DHA, other studies have looked at the possible connection between DHA and increased susceptibility to free radical damage when the skin is exposed to UV rays. One study published earlier this year noted, however, that using an antioxidant with a DHA-containing product could help minimize free radical damage.

Applying sunless tanner at night may also help prevent free radical damage, as the risk for oxidation is much lower without sunlight. 

Then, of course, there’s the smell.

DHA is responsible for the terrible smell most self tanners have. Artesian Tan, a distributor of instant and gradual tan products, says on its website, “It may be inoffensive, like the yeasty smell of biscuits or dinner rolls. Although in worse cases, it can remind you of the odor of old gym socks or smelly cats and dogs.” 

Thankfully, more and more brands are producing formulas that mask the smell of DHA with other scents or use technology such as AromaGuard to reduce our perception of a bad odor and replace it with something better. 

So are sunless tanners doing terrible things to us? 

In short, it’s tough to definitively say that sunless tanning products are dangerous, as further research on potentially harmful effects of DHA still needs to be done. 

Still, when applying self tanner or getting a spray tan, it’s good practice to avoid areas like the mouth, eyes and other mucous membranes, in order to minimize any inhalation or deep absorption. 

In Cela’s opinion, using a sunless tanner lotion is safer than getting a spray tan. “When you get a spray tan, you’re obviously going to inhale some of that, and there is theoretical evidence that it could worsen asthma or lung diseases,” she said.

If you’re still worried, you can always avoid sunless tanning altogether and embrace the skin you’re in. And whatever you do, always, always, wear sunscreen. 

By Peter Accetta, M.D.
December 13, 2017
Category: Sun Protection
Tags: sunscreen  

As you might have suspected it has now been reported ultraviolet radiation is also present indoors, so for maximum protection and maximum anti-aging apply sunscreen every morning.

Did you know that fluorescent lights increase lifetime UV exposure by 3%. Close sources like desk lamps are the worst offenders and although as halogen bulbs contain UV blocking agents, not all of the UV radiation is filtered out. Light Emittering Diodes (LEDs) do not emit UV rays and are considered safe.

Other indoor sources include TV monitors, computers and tablets. Flat screen LCD monitors are best older cathode ray tube screens are the worst.

Last year the Food and Drug Administration released a consumer alert regarding the use of UV- curing lamps at nail salons. UV protectant gloves or sunscreen is now recommended.

UV radiation also passes through window glass. The shorter UVB rays which are responsible for sunburns are blocked by glass however UVA radiation is only partially filtered. Clear window glass allows 75% of UVA to pass tinted glass allows 25-50% of UVA to pass through. Use blinds, shades and tinted glass to reduce your exposure.

How about UV exposure while driving?

Laminated windshield auto glass blocks all UVB, but only 50% of UVA. Side windows block even less.

So my recommendation is to wear board spectrum every day. I prefer zinc oxide products available at the office and at cosmetic counters. Avoid close exposure to fluorescent lamps, upgrade to flat screen TV and computer monitors. Be mindful that UV exposure through window glass is chronic and culminative as this photo of a secretary whose left cheek faced the window for 15 years.

By Emily Gottstein, PA
August 24, 2017
Category: Uncategorized

    Like you, I don’t like to look pasty white in the summer but I also know the dangers that can occur with repeated sun exposure and tanning. I’m so fair that I almost always burn in the sun.  Over the last two summers I’ve done some personal “research” to find the better self-tanners on the market.  I’ve tried all of these products on myself. I should also disclose that I don’t work for any of these companies or products; these are just my personal opinions. I tried many products over the past few years and will only talk about the ones I liked the most.

    First on the list is a product called “tan towel.” Each come individually sealed in a packer so each “towel” is fresh. Once opened it was easily applied all over my arms, legs and face. It dried quickly so I was able to dress in a matter of minutes and it has a fresh smell too! I applied it before bed so when I woke up the color developed and it was a nice tan color- no orange! There were some areas I missed because there is no color to your skin when you apply it, but you get better at applying it with time.

    Second on the list is a product called Mine Tan Foam. It came with an applicator mit so my palms don’t get tanned.  It has a fantastic coffee and coconut scent so I felt like I was on vacation. It was easy to apply because there was a light brown pigment in the product so I could tell where I applied it. It took a little longer to dry so a thin layer is better. I slept with it on and the next morning I woke up with a really glowing tan. Most people though I has laid in the sun!

    Lastly, if you are looking for a less expensive tan, Jergens Natural Glow actually worked pretty well. In my opinion, it doesn’t have a bad smell. Even though my skin tone is light, I though the “medium to dark” lotion gave me a better tan color. The “light to medium” lotion gave me a more orange color.

    So, these are my favorite self-tanner picks. A few tips: follow the directions on the bottle, always exfoliate ahead of time and wash your hands after applying so you don’t have tan palms. 

Happy Self-Tanning!

    

By Emily Gottstein, PA-C
July 10, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Microneedling  

It sounds scary, but I can tell you from personal experience, it’s not!

Microneedling is a skin rejuvenation treatment we offer in our office. It has little to no downtime after it too! It’s a minimally invasive treatment that uses small surgical needles that oscillate very quickly to create small micro cuts in the skin. By creating these small cuts a healing cascade is stimulated which includes the production of collagen. Collagen is what gives our skin its strength, elasticity and ability to bounce back. Microneedling can be used as a treatment for brown spots, wrinkles, redness and stretch marks to name a few.

The treat itself is mildly uncomfortable but is very quick and tolerable. After the treatment you may be pink or red for 48 hours but the redness from my treatment lasted only about 8 hours. 

As always, it’s very important to apply sunscreen after your treatment and every morning!

Call our office for your free microneedling consultation today!





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