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Posts for category: Sun Protection

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 Dr. Peter Accetta, M.D.
February 21, 2017
Category: Sun Protection

                                                                            

    A patient brought to my attention that a frequently recommended sunscreen now comes with a warning label.

           Warning: This product contains a chemical know to the State of California to cause cancer.

     The state of California bases their decision on a study performed on mice that were fed Zinc Oxide over a period of time. The mice experienced anemia, renal and liver damage.

    Zinc is however, an essential metal needed by all mammals and commonly found in nutritional supplements. There is no evidence that micro or nanoparticle zinc oxide reaches the blood stream when applied to skin. Studies with electron microscope shows zinc particles confined to the stratum corneum which is the outermost layer of skin.

    Unprotected exposure to the sun or indoor tanning booths is the major risk factor for skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology continues to recommend titanium and zinc oxide products as safe and effective sun protection. 

               

By As reported recently by " The Dermatologist" medical journal
September 20, 2016
Category: Sun Protection
Tags: skin cancer   melanoma   tanning   women  

    A  new American Academy of Dermatology survey revealed that 71% of 18 to 34 year old women know that there is no such thing as a healthy tan, and 66% know that getting a bade tan is not a healthy way to protect themselves from the sun's harmful UV rays. The survey also indicates 98% know that skin cancer can be deadly. 

    "Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the second most common cancer in young women, and we believe this may be due in part to their tanning habits. It is alarming that young women are continuing to tan even though they're aware of the danger."

    "Exposure to UV radiation, whether it's from the sun or an indoor tanning device, is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Women need to take their knowledge and turn it into action by protecting themselves from the sun and staying out of tanning beds."

                                                               

By Emily Gottstein, PA-C
March 16, 2016
Category: Sun Protection
Tags: Dogs   skin cancer   zinc oxide   pets   animals  

Just like humans, our furry pets can get skin cancer too! It is important to protect our pets from UV rays, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. If your dog is like mine, he loves to bask in the rays of the sun! You apply sunscreen to yourself so, why wouldn't you want to protect your best friend also! I've done some research and found some tips that may help ful to you and your dog:

  • Always have a shady place outside where your dog can lay and escape from direct sunlight.
  • Sunscreen for pets does exist! Your dog needs sunscreen to areas that are exposed like his ears, nose, groin and belly or in any area where he may be losing hair. You can find pet specific sunscreen on the internet or you can ask your veterinarian.
  • Dog hair is protective but not if it isn't there, so don't shave your dog in the summer.
  • DON'T use zinc oxide sunscreen on your pet. It's great for humans but it can be toxic if ingested by animals!
  • If your dog is sensitive to sunscreen, you can find dog or pet specific sun protective clothing.

Horses and other animals with minimal hair are susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer as well.



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