You're all set for a day at the beach or on the boat. Snacks and beverages are packed, towels are tucked into your tote bag and you've got sunglasses and a book or two to browse.
Is your protective sunscreen in there, too? Hopefully it is. Your skin is something you really want to protect from sunburn even moderate tanning.
dermatologist Leslie Coker. "Tanning of the skin is a result of ultraviolet ray damage to the DNA of your skin cell. Sun damage is cumulative. A golden tan while you are young could mean skin cancer and a leathery hide when you are middle aged."
Q. What makes a good sunscreen and how should you use it?
A. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen -- one that blocks UVA and UVB rays -- with a SPF of 15 or more. Remember that waterproof sunscreens protect up to 80 minutes in the water, while water-resistant ones are good for only 40 minutes.
As for makeup with sunscreen, the more the better.
Q. What protection do kids need?
A. They need sun-protective clothing and swimsuits, hats and sunscreens. Zinc- and titanium-based sunscreens are best for kids and adults with sensitive skin. Spray sunscreens make life easier but need to be used liberally.
Q. What's your opinion on tanning lotions?
A. I like them. They are safe but still a little messy.
Q. How does being on the beach or in a boat change what the sun does to your skin?
A. You are getting direct sunlight plus you're exposed to reflective rays off the water. Sweating and swimming rinses sunscreen off so reapplying it is important. Unfortunately, reapplication on sandy or wet skin is tough. Go for sun-protective clothing for large body areas. Wind breaks down the outer protective layer of skin and this magnifies sun damage; lube up with a heavy sunscreen and wear a hat.
Q. What are the visible signs of sun damage to skin?
A. Age spots, freckles, wrinkles and fine superficial blood vessels are the typical signs. Ultra violet rays also accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin, causing the skin to become thin and not as elastic.
Q. Do people use too much sunscreen, at the risk of not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun?
A. Most people get adequate amounts of sun exposure with daily activities like getting your mail or walking to and from your car. For anyone who never sees the light of day, Vitamin D deficiency is possible. Women and men with a personal or family history of osteoporosis should have their Vitamin D levels checked.
Q. What is good and bad for skin in general?
A. Many people over wash. The skin is a barrier that prevents moisture loss and protects us from infection, etc. Detergents and scrubbing, as in exfoliating, is so popular and, in most cases, I find it detrimental. Smooth pink skin exfoliated or raw skin is not healthy. I recommend using soap in body folds but discourage my patients from lathering up their entire body. A thin layer of petroleum jelly on wet skin traps moisture and when used correctly leaves skin soft and smooth.
Q. What summer skin-care regimen do you follow for yourself and child?
A. I hate to name products because there are many good sunscreens available at drugstores. I like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide products (sun blockers) and I have found a very sheer product that I use first thing in the morning. Ellie and I both wear sun protective clothing and hats because even I dislike rubbing creams on my arms and trunk. Ellie and I reapply our 30+ SPF every two hours when we are outside and we always search for shade! My skin-care maintenance routine includes tretinoin cream (like Renova) alternating with topical Vitamin C serum nightly.
Fun in the sun is good but remember to protect your skin.
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