Joel Schlessinger MD explains misleading SPF labels

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD explains misleading SPF labels
To prepare for days in the summer sun, sunscreen with the proper SPF is a must to protect against harmful UVB rays that increase the risk of skin cancer. Higher SPF numbers correlate with better UVB protection, but a recent study shows that the SPF labels do not always match the SPF protection provided by sunscreens. In this blog entry, Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares an article from CBS News called, “Some sunscreens don’t live up to their SPF claims” and explains the study and ways to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the dangers of harmful UV rays.

SPF, or sun protection factor, measures a sunscreen’s ability to block dangerous UVB rays that cause sunburn. UVA rays, or rays that lead to wrinkled and aging skin, are not measured by SPF but can be just as damaging to skin. Both types of UV ray increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers, making sunscreen an important factor for healthy skin. Skin can be damaged by UV rays after just 10 minutes of intense sun exposure.

In a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, 34 sunscreens were evaluated for their effectiveness in blocking UVB and UVA rays. To test UVB protection, different sunscreens were applied to patches of skin and exposed to six levels of UVB light. The effectiveness was evaluated by how red the skin appeared the next day. To test UVA protection, Consumer Reports applied each sunscreen to a plastic plate and shined a UV light through it to see how much light passed through each sunscreen. According to the study, 11 of the sunscreens tested were 16% to 70% less effective than advertised and did not provide the amount of SPF protection listed on their labels. Of the 34 sunscreens tested, only 15 performed well enough to earn Consumer Report’s recommendation.

“This is something that every dermatologist has known for years and has been extremely hard to convince our patients of until now,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “It seems wrong that numbers lie but in the case of sunscreens they just do. That’s why I only trust EltaMD or CoTZ on my skin when I go out. They have different standards that are clearly better.”

What I’ve been telling my patients for years, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Sunscreen is an important part of a daily skincare regimen, and there are several ways to ensure its effectiveness. Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists have several recommendations for preventing sun damage to your skin:

  • Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 every day, but choose a higher SPF on days when you know you’ll be outdoors.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • Avoid being outside when the sun is at its peak, which is usually between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Protect your skin with proper clothing including wide-brimmed hats and loose-fitting long sleeve shirts.
  • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen such as EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen to protect your skin against both UVB and UVA rays.
  • In addition to these sun protection measures, supplements such as Heliocare Sun Protection Pills provide added UV protection.

Do you have questions about sunscreen? Ask in the comments section below.

Joel Schlessinger MD explains what happens to your skin when you get a sunburn

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Joel Schlessinger MD explains what happens to your skin when you get a sunburn
Prolonged sun exposure is hard on skin. Even one sunburn leaves painful, lasting damage. Additionally, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles after receiving five or more sunburns, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. But what actually happens to your skin when it burns? In this blog, Joel Schlessinger MD shares what gives skin that painful red appearance.

Sunburn is the skin’s response to UV exposure, Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

It doesn’t take long for skin to burn. After just 10 minutes of intense sun exposure, the skin starts to defend itself against UV damage. A sunburn’s characteristic redness is the body’s inflammatory response to signal that there are skin cells that need to be repaired. The body also starts sending blood to the exposed area to assist in the healing process, making skin warm to the touch long after sun exposure.

Severe sunburn can lead to blisters and peeling skin. Blisters are the body’s way of protecting areas with tissue damage. Peeling skin is the body’s attempt at ridding itself of damaged cells that could become cancerous.

Under less intense sun exposure, skin responds by producing melanin to try to protect cells from DNA damage. This melanin gives skin the appearance of a tan. Although skin isn’t turning red, any change in skin color is a sign of damage.

Joel Schlessinger MD shares tips on how to care for sunburned skin.

Although it’s best to avoid a sunburn altogether with regular sunscreen application, there are things you can do to help the healing process.

If you feel your skin start to tingle or see signs of redness, get out of the sun and take Advil immediately. Advil acts as an anti-inflammatory that helps minimize the severity of a sunburn. It won’t completely prevent a burn, but it can stop skin from blistering before it starts. Then, soothe skin with a cool shower and apply LovelySkin Aloe Vera Soothing Skin Relief Gel to help calm and heal sunburned areas. You can relieve discomfort by applying FixMySkin Healing Body Balm with 1% Hydrocortisone to affected areas up to three times a day. This balm contains hydrocortisone to soothe irritation and hydrating shea butter and cocoa butter to prevent peeling and flaking skin. If you think you’ve had too much sun exposure, taking Heliocare Sun Protection Pills can also help minimize a burn.

Do you have a question about sunburns for Joel Schlessinger MD? Share with us in the comments.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares a video on how sun exposure affects skin

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

In a recent viral video, videographer Thomas Leveritt shows people on the street what they look like under ultraviolet light, exposing sun damage beneath the skin. The ultraviolet camera reveals changes to their skin that aren’t yet visible to the naked eye such as freckles, wrinkles and other signs of UV damage. With this video in mind, Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares what you can do to protect yourself from sun damage and keep your skin looking youthful.

Applying sunscreen every day protects your skin from premature aging, sun damage and skin cancer, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a safe tan. Any change in your skin is a sign of sun damage. This damage doesn’t make itself known right away, either. Over time, sun exposure can lead to signs of aging like dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. UV exposure also creates an uneven skin tone and breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin, giving the complexion a saggy appearance.

Most skin cancer is caused by too much UV exposure. In the early stages, it usually resembles a freckle or a mole that can change in size, shape or color. The best way to avoid skin cancer is through regular self checks and visits to your dermatologist. This will also improve your chances of catching it early when it’s easily treatable.

The best way to protect your skin from sun damage is to wear sunscreen every day and stay out of the sun. Apply a daily sunscreen and avoid outside activities during peak hours when the sun is directly overhead. Following these basic rules will help keep your skin looking youthful and healthy, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends applying a broad spectrum sunscreen every day for healthy skin.

When shopping for sunscreen, many people only look at the SPF, which is not the best way to determine if your sunscreen is adequate. SPF only explains how well a produce protects against UVB rays, not UVA. Both UV rays cause skin cancer so it’s important to choose a broad spectrum formula. Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays without irritating sensitive skin.

As a general rule, Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists recommend applying a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 and reapplying every two hours. For optimal sun protection, avoid excessive sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is most intense. It’s also important to protect your skin with proper clothing such as loose-fitting long sleeve shirts and pants, as well as wide-brimmed hats.

Do you have a question for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares the truth about sunscreen myths

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares the truth about sunscreen myths

When it comes to proper skin care, many people know sunscreen is an essential. However, with myths and other false information floating around, there are still consumers who may not understand the full story on the ways of sun protection. As a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Joel Schlessinger always wants people to know the truth.

Myths about tanning, skin cancer and UV damage can lead to harmful sun exposure, Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

When looking for a sunscreen, many consumers only look at the SPF, which is not the best way to determine if your sunscreen is adequate. SPF only explains how well a product protects against UVB rays, not UVA. Both types of UV exposure cause skin cancer so you need a product that is designated as broad spectrum such as EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen.

Two common misconceptions include the belief that having a darker skin tone or getting a “base tan” will protect you from sun damage. This is untrue as a base tan is only good for about an SPF of 4!  People with dark skin tones are still at risk for skin cancer and need to protect themselves with sunscreen. Additionally, tanning isn’t safer than burning as any change in skin tone indicates UV damage.

Many individuals also believe the sun’s rays can’t penetrate through clouds, windows, umbrellas and other objects. Sunscreen is still essential when the sky is overcast, while you’re under a beach umbrella or spending your day at the office. Sun damage can reach through clouds and windows. Additionally, the sun’s rays can reflect off of sand or snow.

It’s important to know the truth behind sunscreen myths, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

There have been several debates about the safety of chemical ingredients in sunscreen, leading people to believe these products can cause allergic reactions or harm the skin. With physical, mineral and chemical formulas to choose from, however, it’s easy for everyone to find a sunscreen that works for their skin type.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists recommend applying a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 and reapplying every two hours. However, sunscreen is only half of the equation. For optimal sun protection, avoid excessive sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is most intense. It’s also important to protect your skin with proper clothing such as loose-fitting long sleeve shirts and pants, as well as wide-brimmed hats. Heliocare Sun Protection Pills are daily supplements that can provide added UV protection. Read more sun safety tips from Dr. Joel Schlessinger here.

Do you have questions about sunscreen for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Share with us in the comments.

Joel Schlessinger MD reveals his sun safety tips

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Joel Schlessinger MD reveals his sun safety tips

With warm weather approaching, it is important to take steps to protect yourself from harmful sun exposure. Check out these tips from Joel Schlessinger MD on how to keep you safe in the sun.

Joel Schlessinger MD explains what to look for in a sun protection product.

You should always read the labels of your sun protection products before you purchase them to make sure you are receiving proper protection. Many people only look at the SPF, which is not the best way to determine if your sunscreen is adequate. SPF only explains how well a produce protects against UVB rays, not UVA. Both cause skin cancer so you need a product that is designated as broad spectrum. Additionally, just because a product has an SPF higher than 50 does not mean that it protects any better than a product with SPF 50. A broad spectrum sunscreen such as EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Knowing the correct way to apply sunscreen is just as important as the product itself. You should apply approximately a nickel-size amount to the face and about two tablespoons, or one shot glass, to the body. You must reapply at least every two hours. You should also choose a sunscreen that is labeled water-resistant that will provide between 40 and 80 minutes of protection when skin is exposed to moisture.

Follow basic sun safety rules to protect yourself, says Joel Schlessinger MD.

Avoid excessive sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is most intense. You can also defend your skin against damage by wearing loose-fitting long sleeve shirts and pants, as well as wide-brimmed hats for added protection.

Along with proper clothing and sun protection products, you can also take supplements such as Heliocare Sun Protection Pills that provide added UV protection. This pill can be taken daily to improve resistance to UV rays but must still be used with your regular sunscreen.

Do you have questions about sun protection? Ask below in the comments section.

Joel Schlessinger MD answers frequently asked questions about sun damage

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Sunburned skin is not the only sign of sun damage. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “safe” tan. Any change in the color of your skin is a sign of sun damage. In his most recent presentation, Joel Schlessinger MD discusses how to recognize sun damage, the best way to protect yourself and what you can do to reverse existing damage.

Sun damage can cause premature signs of aging and skin cancer, Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

Dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles are a common sign of sun damage. UV exposure creates an uneven skin tone and breaks down elastin in the skin, which gives the complexion a saggy and aged appearance.

Most skin cancer is caused by too much UV exposure. In the early stages, it usually resembles a freckle or a mole that can change in size, shape or color. The best way to avoid skin cancer is through regular visits to your dermatologist. This will also improve your chances of catching it early when it’s easily treatable.

Joel Schlessinger shares tips on how to prevent sun damage.

The best way to prevent sun damage is to avoid direct sun exposure and keep your skin well protected. Apply a daily sunscreen like EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen and avoid outside activities during peak hours when the sun is directly overhead.

Heliocare Sun Protection Pills can give your regular sunscreen a boost. These daily supplements build up your body’s natural defense against UV damage. Wearing a hat and clothing with SPF also help shield your skin.

Joel Schlessinger MD suggests treating existing sun damage with an anti-aging formula like SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum. This serum combines growth factors, peptides and antioxidants to diminish the look of dark spots and wrinkles.

Do you have a question for Joel Schlessinger MD? Share with us in the comments.

 

Dr. Joel Schlessinger weighs in on the link between alcohol and skin cancer

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Dr. Joel Schlessinger weighs in on the link between alcohol and skin cancerAccording to a recent study, there may be a connection between drinking alcohol and skin cancer. The British Journal of Dermatology found that drinking too much alcohol could set off a chain reaction that makes the skin more sensitive to UV light that can cause skin cancer.

The study looked at 16 different case studies involving thousands of participants. These studies found that drinking one alcoholic beverage or more per day increases the risk of skin cancer by a fifth.

How does alcohol increase skin cancer risk? Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.

A number of forces may be to blame causing the link between alcohol and skin cancer. Ethanol is converted to acetaldehyde soon after ingestion, and acetaldehyde can render the skin more sensitive to UV light. Sunscreen negligence and not wearing enough protective clothing while drinking may also be to blame.

“The interesting question will be whether it is because protection and the awareness of sun protection is flawed while ‘sunning under the influence’ or whether there is a particular worsening of sun exposure when drinking,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

“We have many drugs and foods that intensify sun exposure when ingested, so it isn’t a stretch to think alcohol could do the same thing.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is not surprised by the findings of this study.

Although this is a new study, Dr. Joel Schlessinger isn’t surprised by the findings.

“It is tough enough to encourage patients to stay out of the sun,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, “so it comes as no shock that when drinking, sun protection habits go out the window.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger always recommends wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen every day, especially when you plan to be in the sun. Wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. For extra protection, try an antioxidant supplement such as Heliocare Sun Protection Capsules.

But at the end of the day, Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends avoiding drinking alcohol and spending time in the sun.

“The take home message is that it is unsafe to be in the sun and drink at the same time.”

Do you ever drink alcohol while you are in the sun? What precautions do you take? Share with us in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter.

On average, people don’t put on enough sunscreen. Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

On average, people don't put on enough sunscreen. Joel Schlessinger MD explains.

Even with new label requirements setting a higher standard for manufacturers, the majority continue to make the same mistakes when applying sunscreen. A recent article in MedPage Today titled “Sunscreen: New Labels, Same Problems” details how the labeling mandates have helped, but the two most common problems remain: not putting on enough sunscreen and not reapplying frequently enough. Joel Schlessinger MD warns his patients of the importance of proper sunscreen application and reapplication.

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses the proper amount of sunscreen required for optimal protection.

You need a generous amount of sunscreen to completely cover and protect your skin. Joel Schlessinger MD recommends his patients apply a full ounce, or the equivalent of a full shot glass, to protect the whole body. Sunscreen needs to be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Joel Schlessinger MD says it is also important to reapply at least every two hours, and even more often if swimming or sweating.

Sunscreen is an important part of your daily routine, says Joel Schlessinger MD.

When you’re spending time in the sun, don’t forget to protect your ears, the part in your hair and any bald spots on your head. These places are easily burned and often forgotten when applying sunscreen. Sun protection is also important even when you’re not in direct sunlight. Car windows block UVB rays, but not UVA rays, which can cause premature aging and significant sun damage.

Joel Schlessinger MD recommends sun protection clothing for another layer of UV defense. Look for clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), a rating that measures UV protection provided by fabric. Wearing a hat can also protect your scalp, face and neck from direct sun exposure.

Do you have a sunscreen question for Joel Schlessinger MD? Share with us in the comments.

A new study shows daily sunscreen use could slow signs of aging. Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

A new study shows daily sunscreen use could slow signs of aging. Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains.

Wearing sunscreen every day may help prevent photoaging of the skin, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine titled “Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging: A Randomized Trial.” The study found that regular sun protection helps prevent signs of aging, helping people look younger longer.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger isn’t surprised that sunscreen could be beneficial in more ways than one.

Daily sun protection is something Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists have stood by for years, but this is the first large-scale study to support this advice.

The study had one group of participants use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day while another group used the product at their discretion. After four and a half years, the people who wore daily sun protection were 24% less likely to show more rapid signs of aging.

The importance of a daily sunscreen is something Dr. Joel Schlessinger stresses to all his patients. A broad spectrum sunscreen is essential because, while all sun protection products fight UVB rays that burn the skin, not all formulas protect against UVA rays that age the skin. Shielding your skin from both aging and burning rays promotes a more youthful appearance.

It’s also important to apply sunscreen correctly, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

UV damage can reach your skin even if you’re inside all day. For optimal results, apply sun protection to your face, neck, arms, hands and any other exposed areas every day. Additionally, most people only apply about 25% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. A full ounce, or the equivalent of a full shot glass, is enough to completely cover your skin. The product should also be reapplied after swimming, heavy sweating or whenever you spend more than a few hours outside.

Do you wear sunscreen every day? Share with us in the comments.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger supports the ban of tanning beds for all minors

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Dr. Joel Schlessinger supports the ban of tanning beds for all minors
A recent report noted that Maine lawmakers are considering banning the use of tanning beds for all people under the age of 18. If this bill passes, Maine will be the third state to ban those under the age of 18 from using a tanning bed.

The current law permits minors to tan indoors if they have a signed note from a parent or guardian. The new bill would ban all tanning for minors. Other states that currently have this ban are Vermont and California.

Other states have made similar restrictions, such as prohibiting tanning among children under the age of 16 or requiring parental supervision.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is very happy to see these bills beginning to become more popular.

“I am so happy to see that these bills are proceeding,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “This is a hugely important concern to all dermatologists and worth passage to guard our children from harm.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger has always been a strong supporter of protecting all people from damaging UVA and UVB rays that can cause skin burns, premature wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and skin cancer.

“In Nebraska, I am proud to be a supporter of the same sort of bill and hope that this will save future generations from melanomas and skin cancers they might have developed.”

Find out other measures Dr. Joel Schlessinger has taken for enhanced sun protection safety.

As a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Joel Schlessinger is very passionate about healthy skin that is well-protected from the damaging effects of the sun. He recommends wearing sunscreen every day, even if you aren’t exposed to direct sunlight. Discover Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s favorite sunscreens here.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is also a strong advocate for the use of sunscreen in schools. Many schools have banned the use of sunscreen for children, yet these children are still exposed to direct sunlight during outdoor recess. Dr. Joel Schlessinger appeared on the Huffington Post this past summer to discuss the implications of this ban.

Would you support a ban of tanning beds for all minors? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.