More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. A head-to-toe skin examination by a medical provider is the best way to catch skin cancer early, which is when it’s most treatable. Our providers recommend that you be seen for a skin cancer screening once per year, and that you keep an eye on your own spots and make note of any changes. Click here to learn more about what to expect during your exam. Watch this video where Pariser Dermatology’s Melissa Alcox, PA-C, demonstrates how she performs a full body exam.
Call 757-622-6315 to make your skin cancer screening appointment today!
Watch Part II of Dr. Tara Buehler’s video and discover how much sunscreen you should apply and how often you should reapply it. Should you be concerned about getting your recommended amount of vitamin D from the sun? Why is sunscreen so important? Watch and find out.
To learn more about our medical providers or request an appointment online click here.
Call 757-622-6315 to make an appointment at any of our 6 office locations.
Now that beach season has officially started it’s more important than ever to remember to wear sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend that you wear broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30+ every day, even on cloudy days. Watch this 2-part video series by Pariser Dermatology’s Dr. Tara Buehler and discover at least 10 “Sunscreen Facts” you need to know.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Buehler or to request an appointment online.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), every time you go outside or use an indoor tanning bed, your skin is exposed to damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Not only can this cause premature skin aging (hello, wrinkles!), it also increases your risk of getting skin cancer, including melanoma — the second most common cancer in women ages 15 to 29.
TO PROTECT YOUR SKIN, FOLLOW THESE TIPS:
Don’t skimp on sunscreen. Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including your ears, neck, hands, feet and lips. Make sure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum, water-resistant and has an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Treat yourself to protective clothing and sunglasses (…seriously!) Since no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s rays, wear clothing for added protection. Look for lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants and sunglasses with UV protection.
Make shade your new best friend. When possible, seek shade, especially from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. If there’s no shade around, create your own using an umbrella or a wide-brimmed hat.
Be extra careful around water, sand and snow. These surfaces reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your chance of sunburn.
Say goodbye to tanning. Tanning – both indoors and out – can lead to wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. If you want that golden glow, use a self-tanning product instead. Women younger than 30 are6 TIMES more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, if they tan indoors. Even one indoor tanning session can increase your risk of developing melanoma by 20%.
If you see something, say something. When detected early, skin cancer – including melanoma – is highly treatable. Check your skin regularly. If you notice any new or suspicious spots on your skin, or anything that is changing, itching or bleeding, see a board-certified dermatologist.
Take these tips from Mark Davis, world-renowned fisherman and star of Outdoor Channel’s Big Water Adventures. Mark shares his experience with skin cancer in hopes of bringing awareness to as many people as possible. Skin cancer is preventable and if it’s found early enough, it is treatable.
From the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)
Do you find the alphabet soup of terms on sunscreen confusing? If you answered yes, you’re in good company. A study published in JAMA Dermatology says that fewer than half of the patients at a dermatology clinic knew the meaning of terms like “broad spectrum” and “SPF.”
Some of these terms, such as “broad spectrum” and “SPF,” have very specific meanings because they come from standards created by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing sunscreen. Others lack this official meaning, but you’ll frequently see them on sunscreen.
Being able to decipher these terms can help you choose a sunscreen that gives you the protection you expect.
You’ll find everything you need to decode a sunscreen label below.
What is broad spectrum sunscreen?
FDA meaning:The sunscreen can protect you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
Why you want broad spectrum sunscreen:
It can protect your skin from the sun’s UVA (aging) rays and UVB (burning) rays, which helps prevent:
- Skin cancer
- Early skin aging (premature age spots, wrinkles, and sagging skin)
What is SPF?
FDA meaning: How well a sunscreen protects you from sunburn.
To simplify things, you may want to think of the sun protection factor (SPF) as the “sunburn protection factor.”
About SPF numbers:
Another confusing thing about SPF is the number that follows it. This number tells you how much UVB light (the burning rays) a sunscreen can filter out.
Here’s what the science tells us about how much UVB light different SPF’s can filter out:
- SPF 15: 93% of the sun’s UVB rays
- SPF 30: 97% of the sun’s UVB rays
It’s important to know that no sunscreen can filter out 100% of the sun’s UVB rays. That’s why it’s important to also wear protective clothing and seek shade.The AAD recommends using an SPF 30 or higher.
What is waterproof sunscreen?
There’s actually no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. Sweat and water wash sunscreen from our skin, so the FDA no longer allows manufacturers to claim that a sunscreen is waterproof. Some sunscreens are water resistant.
What is water resistant sunscreen?
FDA meaning: How long (either 40 or 80 minutes) the sunscreen will stay on wet skin. The sunscreen must undergo testing before it earns the water resistant designation.
The sunscreen stays effective for 40 minutes in the water. At that time, you’ll need to reapply.
Very water resistant:
The sunscreen stays effective for 80 minutes in the water. Yes, after 80 minutes, you’ll need to reapply.Even if your skin remains dry while using a water resistant sunscreen, you’ll need to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours.
Why reapply sunscreen?
Once applied, sunscreen only lasts so long on our skin. The sun’s rays break down some sunscreens. Others clump and lose their effectiveness.
To continue protecting our skin from the sun when outdoors, we must reapply sunscreen:
- Every 2 hours
- After toweling off
- When sweating*
- After being in water*
*When using water resistant sunscreen, you’ll need to reapply every 40 to 80 minutes.
What’s the difference between a chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen?
Each of these protects your skin differently and contains different active ingredients. Here’s a summary of the basic differences:
A chemical sunscreen:
- Protects you by absorbing the sun’s rays
- May contain one or more of many possible active ingredients, including oxybenzone or avobenzene
A physical sunscreen:
- Protects you by deflecting the sun’s rays
- Contains the active ingredients titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide
Some sunscreens use both types of active ingredients, so they contain one or more active ingredient found in physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen.
What does the word “sports” mean on sunscreen?
The FDA has NOT defined this term for sunscreen.
When you see the word “sports” on sunscreen, it usually means that the sunscreen will stay on wet skin for either 40 or 80 minutes. To be sure, check the label. You may also see the words “water resistant” or “very water resistant.”
To protect your skin, you’ll need to reapply sports sunscreen:
- When sweating (every 40 or 80 minutes)
- After toweling off
- After getting out of the water (or every 40 or 80 minutes)
- Every 2 hours (when not sweating or in the water)
What does the word “baby” mean on sunscreen?
Like the word “sports,” the FDA has not defined this term for sunscreen.
In general, when you see the term “baby” on sunscreen, it means the sunscreen contains only these active ingredients:
- Titanium dioxide
- Zinc oxide
These ingredients are less likely to irritate a baby’s sensitive skin.
The AAD recommends the following when using sunscreen on babies and toddlers.
Children younger than 6 months of age:
- Protect their skin from the sun by keeping them in the shade and dressing them in long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. Take care, of course, to prevent overheating.
- If possible, avoid using sunscreen on these children.
Children 6 months of age and older:
- Use a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which is most appropriate for the sensitive skin of infants and toddlers.
- Even when using sunscreen, keep children in the shade and dress them in clothing that will protect their skin from the sun, i.e., long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats.
What does the term “sensitive skin” mean on sunscreen?
Again, the FDA does not define this term for sunscreen.
In general, if a sunscreen label says “sensitive skin,” it often means that the sunscreen:
- Contains one or both of these active ingredients — titanium dioxide and zinc oxide
- Does NOT contain fragrance, oils, PABA, or active ingredients found in chemical sunscreens, which can irritate sensitive skin
- Is hypoallergenic
Is it best to use sunscreen that contains insect repellant?
If a sunscreen label says it contains insect repellant, the Academy recommends looking for another sunscreen.
While both products provide important protection, the Academy recommends buying separate products because:
- Sunscreen should be applied liberally and often
- Insect repellant should be applied sparingly and less often than sunscreen
The month of May brings warmer weather and inspires many of us to spend more time outdoors and prepare for wearing shorts, swimsuits and prom dresses. It’s also the beginning of Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Pariser Dermatology is committed to promoting healthy skin all year ’round and will be making extra-special efforts during this season. Stay tuned for a series of articles, videos and social media posts full of information on how you can live a healthier, happier life while taking steps to avoid skin cancer.
To kick off Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Pariser Dermatology’s Melissa Alcox, PA-C talks about the top 5 reasons why you should avoid tanning beds.
Many patients ask how they can be sure that they are getting enough Vitamin D and if spending time outdoors on a sunny day is the best way to get it. You might be surprised to learn that natural sunlight is not the safest source of Vitamin D. Watch this video by Pariser Dermatology’s Dr. Molly Smith to learn more about best way to get the right amount of Vitamin D.
Remember that the two of the most important things you can do to avoid getting skin cancer is to wear a daily broad-spectrum sun screen and have an annual skin cancer screening by your doctor or dermatologist. Click here to learn more about skin cancer.
Call us at 757-622-6315 to schedule your appointment or click here to request an appointment online.
You might not know this BUT you should be wearing sunscreen. Right now. Unless the moon is out, you should be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or higher. Even if it’s raining outside, the sun is still out and your skin is still vulnerable to sun damage. In fact, every week we get about 8 hours of unintentional sun exposure.
You might be confused by all those labels or overwhelmed by so many choices and just don’t know which sunscreen to choose. It’s hard to navigate the sunscreen aisle at the store but knowing a few basic terms can help.
For your daily routine, look for a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 to protect your skin and be sure to apply it thoroughly. Most sunscreens “fail” because we don’t apply enough of it. Most people use only half of what is recommended. During physical activities such as swimming or running, a higher SPF might be necessary. When using sunscreens labeled “water resistant” it’s still important to follow label directions and reapply as indicated.
Broad-spectrum, a term you will see frequently on sunscreen bottles, means that the sunscreen works to protect your skin from both types of UV light: UVA and UVB. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays are the terrible ones that age us. They reach the dermis and wreak havoc on our collagen and elastin. They cause our skin to prematurely age, causing wrinkling and age spots. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are the rays that are responsible for burning us. These rays are out year-round, winter and summer. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer so it’s always important to wear a sunscreen labeled broad-spectrum to get protection from both types of UV rays.
Some sunscreens are labeled as either “physical” or “chemical” and this can cause even more confusion. Physical sunscreens protect your skin by acting as a barrier. They sit on top of the skin and work by deflecting and scattering damaging UV rays away from the skin. Imagine there being a cloth of protection on your skin and when the rays hit it, they bounce off. Many people are familiar with the white “ghosting effect” experienced with physical sunscreens and shy away from using them for this reason. But many of the new formulations of physical sunscreens are quite pleasant to use and provide excellent protection. Chemical sunscreens work differently in that they absorb the UV ray and chemically change it before bouncing it off.
There are many types of sunscreens on the market and now that you understand a little bit more about them, you should be able to find one that’s perfect for you. Pariser Dermatology sells great quality sunscreens in many different formulations and for many different skin types. Our expert staff is available to answer questions and help guide you to a product that best meets your needs. Ultimately, regardless of where you purchase your sunscreen, the best and most effective sunscreen will be the one that you will wear regularly and according to label directions.