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Posts for tag: sunscreen

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 Susan Peterson, P.A
March 06, 2017
Category: Skin Care
Tags: sunscreen   SkinMedica  

         We all dress for the weather. But to really protect yourself from the weather, most forget about one thing: your skin.

         All area’s climate can affect the skin all over your body. It can cause acne breakouts to itchy dry patches. Extremes in weather, both hot and cold, can exacerbate some existing skin conditions or even cause new ones.

         No matter the weather, skin should always be a main concern. Exposure to sunlight is one of the major causes of wrinkles and premature aging, as well as, skin cancer.

         Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen each and every day!

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 Dr. Peter Accetta, M.D.
January 26, 2017
Category: Skin Cancer

    Did you know that regular use of sunscreen at any age reduces the incidence of all skin cancers and decreases the incidence of squamous cell cancer by a whopping 40%. Surprisingly in the United States only 30% of women and 15% of men use sunscreen regularly and 39% of American households have never purchase sunscreen.

    Each year we treat more than 1000 skin cancers in our office mostly on patients who readily admit to not wearing sunscreen. Sunscreens are also proven to prevent brown spots and wrinkles so why not get into the habit, reduce your risk of getting skin cancer and keeps looking good while doing it.



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