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1 in 30 Adults are at Risk for Developing Skin Cancer in their Lifetime

Tag Archives: sun protection

Did you know that the incidence of  invasive skin cancer in the US is rising by 4%- 6% each year? Will you be among the over 68,000 Americans that will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2011, and that 1 in 58 Americans will develop melanoma over their lifetime? The Journal of Clinical Oncology (January 20, 2011 issue) recently published a study which revealed a significant reduction in the risk of invasive melanoma with regular sunscreen use.

The study randomly selected and followed a total of 1621 people between the ages of 25 and 75 years over a 14 year period. The study assigned participants to “apply daily or discretionary sunscreen to both heads and arms in combination with 30 mg beta carotene or a placebo supplement. Ten years after trial cessation, 11 new primary melanomas had been identified in the daily sunscreen group, and 22 had been identified in the discretionary group, which represented a reduction of the observed rate in those randomly assigned to daily sunscreen use.”

There are about 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers, and 150,000 melanomas diagnosed each year around the world. There is overwhelming evidence that UV radiation is a major cause of precancers, skin cancers, and skin aging.

UV radiation consists of UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC does not penetrate the atmosphere, and thus doesn’t impact us.

What Is the Difference between UVA and UVB?


UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and is the dominant tanning radiation. Tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage. Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our life, as UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth’s surface. UVA is less intense than UVB, but it is present with about equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year. UVA does penetrate clouds and glass.

UVB is the primary cause of skin reddening and sunburn. Because it tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers, UVB plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photo-aging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.

Studies consistently have shown significantly more pre-cancers, non-melanoma skin cancers and even melanomas on the left side of the face. Why is this? We are exposed to significant amounts of UVA rays when driving. While the amount of exposure might seem insignificant it really adds up over the years. Another theory is that the way people sunbathe may be involved. One researcher in Britain (where people drive on the right side of the car) suggested “If people sunbathing in the northern hemisphere tend to lie facing south in the morning, the left side of their body might be exposed and sunburned as the sun moves from east to west, making them more likely to cover up by afternoon,” they say.

We recommend daily application of a good quality sunscreen, protecting from both UVB and UVA. For information choosing a sunscreen see and

by Hadley, Skin Care Specialist at Zimmet Vein and Dermatology

Finally a non-comedogenic water-resistant physical sunscreen designed for acne and rosacea prone skin! This is my new favorite product. I admit I felt skeptical when my sample of MDSolarSciences Mineral Gel Sunscreen SPF +30 arrived. My chin is a major problem area and sunscreens always seem to irritate my skin and cause breakouts. Also, physical sunscreens are often thick and difficult to apply. Continue reading

About Your Skin: Fact or Fiction?


‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’
John Keats


We know to knock on wood, not walk under ladders, and to be careful what we wish for. And if we pluck a gray hair, will two more really grow back in its place? All of us have heard the claims, the persistent beauty secrets from our mothers and grandmothers that go back probably to their own mothers and grandmothers. Is there a kernel of truth to them, perhaps some wisdom that comes from generations of passed-down observation? Or are they just myths?

Wrinkles form at an early age but don’t appear until later in life
Yes, the changes to the skin that cause wrinkles can start when you are young, and show up later in life. There are primarily two types of wrinkles.

One type, dynamic wrinkles or lines of expression, occur from movement of the underlying muscle. Examples of this sort are frown lines, crow’s feet and forehead lines. At first these may be visible only during active expression. Over time, however, they become visible even at rest. For example, squinting eventually can cause wrinkles around the eyes. Treatment with Botox® can be quite effective in smoothing this type of wrinkle, because it prevents the communication between the nerve endings and the muscles treated, creating a smoothing effect that generally lasts 3-6 months. Botox® also offers a preventive benefit, because the muscles aren’t scrunching up the skin and damaging the collagen.

The second type is caused by aging and sun damage. Ultimately, wrinkles occur with the weakening of the collagen and elastin fibers that keep the skin firm. It’s also useful to remember that sun exposure is the number one cause of collagen degeneration. Gravity is also a culprit in the formation of wrinkles.

Exfoliating slows hair growth
There is no evidence that exfoliation changes any phase of the hair, follicular, life cycle. The follicular life cycle of hair takes place in 3 phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. The anagen phase is the phase of active growth. The catagen marks follicular regression, and the telogen represents a resting period. Exfoliation has no effect on these stages of the hair growth cycle.

Greasy food causes acne
Acne has commonly been attributed to diet. The association between acne and diet was evaluated in a recent literature review of 27 studies. Observational studies, including 2 large controlled prospective trials, reported that cow’s milk intake increased acne prevalence and severity. Prospective studies, including randomized controlled trials, also demonstrated a positive association between a high-glycemic-load diet, hormonal mediators, and acne risk. Studies have been inconclusive regarding the association between acne and other foods.

Lemon juice gets rid of freckles
Probably Fiction
There is no evidence-based science proving that this works. If you want to try this treatment, consider doing it on only half the area, so that you can judge the results for yourself. Caution is required though as the citric acid may be irritating and can cause the skin to be photosensitive.

The sun clears up blemishes
Probably Fiction
While some people feel their acne improves with light exposure, there is no proven effect of sun on acne. The increased humidity of summer may even exacerbate acne for some people. Ultraviolet light in sun (UVA, UVB) increases skin aging and the risk of skin cancer, so it is not advisable to use this as a treatment. For more info on sunlight and its impact on skin see

Toothpaste dries up pimples
Fact with Caution
Toothpaste can be drying, and this might occasionally be helpful, but it could also cause irritation. Also, it’s better for your treatment program to prevent acne lesions from developing rather than treating them after they have already surfaced.

You can get rid of cellulite
Not as of yet
First, cellulite is normal. In varying degrees, every adult woman is likely to have it. Unfortunately for the prevailing cosmetic preferences of today, treating cellulite presents a challenge. Existing treatments can yield temporary improvement, but long-term clearing is probably not realistic. Newer technologies are being developed which seem promising. Non-invasive skin tightening procedures such as Thermage can provide reasonable skin tightening and contouring, but the long-term effect on cellulite is less reliable.

Shaving makes hair come back thicker and darker
Shaving does remove the fine tip of the hair, leaving behind the thicker hair below the tip. Doing this creates an illusion that the hair is thicker, when it really is just blunted. That hair will fall out in a few weeks, just as all hair does, when the follicle enters the rest phase. Then it will reactivate. When it re-grows, its size will be the same as before.

Sleeping on satin pillows will keep wrinkles at bay
Satin is soft and luxurious, but there are no good studies to support this. On the other hand, your sleeping position does have an impact on facial lines, especially nasolabial folds. So, sleep on your back if you can.

And don’t forget gray hair…

If You Pluck a Gray Hair, Two More Will Grow Back in Its Place
Thankfully, fiction
Gray hair proliferates quickly, so it seems that once you see one gray hair, you start noticing them all over your head, as if they multiplied overnight. But each follicle produces one strand of hair, no more, no less. Plucking a gray hair won’t cause more hairs to sprout from the same follicle. Actually, plucking can cause you to lose hair, since yanking can damage the follicle or destroy it completely. It’s okay to tweeze the occasional stray gray, but if your hair is already thin or thinning, getting it colored might be your best bet.

by Hadley, Zimmet Vein & Dermatology Aesthetician


A good quality sunscreen is an absolute necessity for preventing sun damage, lowering risks of skin cancer, and maintaining optimal skin health. With so many choices on the market how can one even begin to make a good decision?  Here are some tips to better understand the mystery of skin and sunscreens.

1. Know the difference between ‘chemical’ and ‘physical’ sunscreens.

– Chemical sunscreens protect the skin by absorbing UV light

– A chemical reaction takes place when UV light is absorbed and heat is created

-This heat and the chemicals involved can cause redness and irritation in those with sensitive skin

-Chemical sunscreen products tend to be thin and easy to apply

-Physical sunscreens use titanium, zinc oxide, and iron oxides to block UV light from the skin

-The anti-inflammatory benefits make physical sunscreens the preferred choice for sensitive skin individuals.

-Physical sunscreens can be thick and must be warmed on the fingertips and applied to hydrated skin.

2.  Invest in a high quality broad-spectrum sunscreen for face, neck and chest.  Skincare companies such as Skinceuticals offer a range of suncreen choices for every skin type.  Their newest product, Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50, with transparent Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, is lightweight, sheer, and dries to a matte finish.  It is ideal for oily skin individuals and those who hate the greasy feel of sunscreens.

3. Understand your skin type.  This is best done by consulting with an aesthetician, who should analyze your skin with a magnifying lamp. Choosing the right sunscreen can help balance the skin, reduce inflammation, fight aging and reduce the risk of skin cancers.

4. Recognize that breakouts and red irritated skin may be a skin disease or disorder such as acne or rosacea.  Certain sunscreens can aggravate these conditions so, if suffering from these symptoms, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

5. Understand that certain prescription and over-the-counter medications such as Retin-A, retinol and benzyl peroxide can increase sun sensitivity and overall sensitivity of the skin.  If you use these or other products that increase skin sensitivity be aware that ‘physical’ sunscreens, containing ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, may help reduce inflammation and soothe the skin while protecting from the sun.

6. Remember to use a sport sunscreen when swimming or being active outdoors.  Use waterproof rather than water-resistant formulas and reapply often.

7.  Make sure to purchase a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB light.

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind

you.  ~Maori Proverb

But before you do, protect your skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen. Make sure you have protection against both types of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Unprotected exposure to both forms of UV radiation can lead to the development of skin cancer, accelerate photo-aging and the formation of cataracts. Also, both UVA and UVB suppress the immune system, which may explain the increased risk of skin cancer. Continue reading

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