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Posts Tagged ‘sunscreen’

Sunscreen Tips from Cooper Clinic Dermatology

Cooper Clinic Dermatology offers the top sunscreen tips to keep you covered from head to toe this summer (and year-round).

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Sunscreen Guide 2014

April 18, 2014 1 comment

Skin cancer is caused primarily by unprotected exposure to the sun, meaning it’s often preventable with sunscreen and clothing which protect the skin from too much exposure to the sun. Although sunscreen is readily available, skin cancer rates continue to climb. Why?

Until recently, there were no real standards for how sunscreen manufacturers labeled their products. Experts are hopeful that new labeling guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will help reduce the incidents of skin cancer in the U.S.

Cooper Clinic Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist Flora Kim, MD, FAAD, explains the new FDA guidelines and how to properly use sunscreen to reduce risk of skin cancer.

New FDA Guidelines

New FDA guidelines are intended to make it easier for consumers to know how much protection a particular sunscreen does or does not provide. The use of the label “broad spectrum protection” means the sunscreen has been proven to protect against both UVA and UVB rays (although UVA protection might me weaker than UVB protection). In the past, a sunscreen could be labeled as “broad spectrum” even if it only protected against UVB rays.

When it comes to SPF, any sunscreen lower than SPF 15 must be clearly labeled that it will not protect against skin cancer, but will only prevent sunburn. Sunscreen with an SPF over 15 that is labeled as “broad spectrum” can be labeled as preventing sunburn, skin cancer and aging due to the sun.

Any sunscreen over SPF 50 will now be labeled as SPF 50+, as there is speculation that an SPF higher than 50 is not actually more effective. Additionally, people may be more likely to apply sunscreen with an SPF over 50 less frequently because they think it provides more protection, when in fact, it does not.

Manufacturers are no longer allowed to use words like “waterproof,” “sweatproof” or “sunblock” as these terms are misleading. What you might on sunscreen labels instead is “water-resistant” with a time limit of 40 or 80 minutes before the sunscreen becomes ineffective.

It is important to know that these new FDA guidelines are still in the process of becoming completely enforced, as it takes time for manufacturers to submit required documentation to change labeling. It is always important to read the label of any sunscreen product you are considering.

Recommendations for Sunscreen Use

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends wearing an SPF of 30 or higher every day, not only when you are lying out by the pool or on the beach. The sun’s rays can still be damaging, even on a cloudy day.

Most people do not put on enough sunscreen. In fact, according to the AAD, most people only apply about 25 to 50 percent of what they should put on to be fully protected. As a general guideline, you should generously apply one ounce to all areas of the skin that will be exposed to the sun.

Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin 15 minutes before you go outside and reapplied every two hours, or after swimming or heavy sweating.

For more guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology, click here.

What About Makeup and Moisturizers?

Some cosmetic products and moisturizers do contain a small amount of SPF, but if you are trying to protect yourself from sun damage or skin cancer that will not be sufficient protection. Dr. Kim recommends an application of dedicated sunscreen underneath your moisturizer and makeup rather than relying on the SPF of your cosmetic products.

Ultimately, you must remember that no sunscreen is perfect. Wearing long sleeves and a hat and staying in the shade as much as possible are also important precautions to take to prevent sun damage or potentially deadly skin cancer.

For more information about cosmetic and preventive dermatology at Cooper Clinic, click here or call 972.367.6000.

How to Protect Your Skin, Sunscreen and Beyond

December 2, 2013 1 comment

In honor of American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) National Healthy Skin Month in November, Flora S. Kim, MD, FAAD, Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist at Cooper Clinic shares how to maintain healthy skin. Most people know that the AAD recommends a daily use of SPF 30, but what else can we do protect our skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun?

Dr. Kim recommends using an antioxidant serum. This is an extra step that you can easily add to your morning regime to give your skin extra protection. “Sunscreens are a great first line of defense, but they are imperfect—UV rays are going to get to your skin,” Dr. Kim said.

Sunscreens block the UV rays, while the antioxidant serum neutralizes the free radicals that are formed to add another level of protection. Like Dr. Kim said, the serum is a great second line of defense, but not a replacement for sunscreen. Even in the winter it is important to protect your skin.

Which serums do you recommend? Every product is different for every skin type. What works for your best friend, will not necessarily work for you. Cooper Clinic Dermatology recommends SkinCeuticals® products and the NEOCUTIS RéACTIVE Anti-oxidant Serum. Depending on the serum, Dr. Kim recommends you wash your face, apply the serum, apply a daily moisturizer, sunscreen and then makeup (if you wear it).

As an analogy Dr. Kim compared our skin to a banana. “It’s oxygen that makes us age. It’s like opening a banana—at first it’s white and pure and over time it starts to form dark spots. In essence, that’s what’s happening to our skin over decades. UV rays trigger the aging process.”

What if I use a moisturizer or makeup with SPF?

Moisturizer with SPF is better than not using any at all, but if you have the time it’s better to wear a dedicated sunscreen. The SPF is diluted in the moisturizer. Even if it is an SPF 30, you probably won’t actually receive SPF 30 because you aren’t putting enough on.

The most important thing with sunscreens is to reapply—after two hours it’s probably already gone. Sunscreen is wiped off, sweated off and isn’t always applied evenly.

Realistically, women are not going to reapply their sunscreen lotion over their makeup throughout the day. It’s not feasible to take off make up, apply sunscreen and reapply make up.

For extra protection use a sunscreen powder. Colorescience® and Jane Iredale® sell make up with sunscreen or loose powder (color or sheer) with SPF 30, which is approved by Skin Cancer Foundation. The powder is very easy to reapply and will not mess up your makeup.  

What are other alternatives?

If you don’t want to use the traditional lotion sunscreen, there are many other options. It also comes in foams, gels, sprays, and powders. Did you know clothes are a form of SPF? There are now laundry detergents you can add to your washing machine to add extra protection to your clothes.

Invest in your health. It’s so much easier to prevent aging—once you have the wrinkles and the dark brown spots, we have techniques to help. Add a serum of a loose powder to your daily routine to give your skin a second line of defense.

For more information about Cosmetic and Preventive Dermatology at Cooper Clinic call 972.367.6000 or request an appointment.