Sunscreen 101

See that shot glass? BURN that image into your memory, because believe it or not, that’s how much you should use every time you apply sunscreen! What else do you need to know? Here’s my Sunscreen 101.

Let’s start with SPF. What does it mean? Sun Protection Factor is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect the wearer against UV radiation from UVB. Note that the sun produces both UVA and UVB, and BOTH cause damage that can lead to skin cancers. Right now, though, the SPF only addresses the UVB protection. So, SPF means that compared to bare … Read more

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Summertime & SUNBURNS: Just Say NO

Happy June 1st! With summer here, it’s time for my annual post on SUNSCREENS. Remember that “base tans” are a medical myth- no pre-tanning helps prevent sunburns. Period. As for sunscreens- which one is the best? Sprays are so fast and convenient- but do they work? Which ingredients matter?

Let’s start with SPF. What does it mean? Sun Protection Factor is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect the wearer against UV radiation from UVB. Note that the sun produces both UVA and UVB, and BOTH cause damage that can lead to skin cancers. Right now, though, … Read more

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Getting a Base Tan for Spring Break?

Here in Texas, we are alternating hot days of wearing shorts with chilly days or grabbing jackets, which means it’s nearly time for SPRING BREAK- hooray! Many students and their families head to the beach for spring break, and before the women don their bikinis, the quest for a “base tan” to avoid a sunburn begins. I have had many patients ask my advice on what is better- going to a tanning booth or braving the capricious weather outside. My answer? NEITHER.

The entire notion of a “base tan” has no scientific basis, nor support from dermatologists. In fact, … Read more

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