Run a google search on sunscreen. If you are like most people, you will be completely confused by the information, misinformation and rumors floating in cyberspace. Today, I am going to use my experience and sound medical research to separate fact from fiction on the subject. The FDA just came out with new guidelines for sunscreen. Although the guidelines are getting mixed reviews in the press, my position is the enhanced labeling is a step forward to help consumers make better informed decisions. I concur with the Skin Cancer Foundation position.
The FDA release grabbed headlines, but it’s certainly not the only issue these days surrounding sunscreen use. “Natural “ sunscreens are becoming a common buzzword on the consumer level. But what does this really mean? When chemical-free sunscreens made with blockers like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are applied on the skin, they deflect light and heat. This is very helpful for conditions triggered by heat as well as light. Examples would be rosacea and melasma (dark skin discoloration). The natural blockers do not cause irritation or an allergic reaction and they have anti-oxidant properties which is helpful for acne sensitive skin. Chemical sunscreens have the potential for allergic reactions. They are designed to absorb UV light, but it can actually cause skin irritations in certain people in the eyes and skin. Another difference is unlike the natural sunscreen, chemicals do not deflect heat. So if you have a problem with rosacea, which can be triggered by heat and sun, it’s best to go with a chemical-free sunscreen that deflects both.
There is a lot of additional information floating out on the web regarding sunscreens. However, in my professional opinion these are the primary issues. Don’t forget to always keep an eye out for suspicious moles or growths. You should do a self-examination on a regular basis and come see me if anything looks odd. This link to the American Academy of Dermatology will guide you through a self-examination and show you the various types of skin cancer.
As you may know, we offer premium quality, chemical-free sunscreens through my practice. I recommend Melashade, Heliocare and EltaMD. All these products can be ordered on-line through my website.
As always, enjoy fun in the sun, but make sure you are protected!