May is Skin Cancer Awareness MonthPublished on May 1, 2015 by David Hecht
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and as Dr. Hecht offers skin cancer reconstruction in Scottsdale, we wanted to share with you these UV (ultraviolet) protection tips straight from our medical aesthetician Diane.
UVA-The “Aging” Ray = Sun Spots, Leathery Skin & Wrinkles
The longest ray of the sun that is responsible for our ‘tan’…but it will show the signs of aging and increase skin cancer risk because they penetrate much deeper into the surface of the skin damaging the cells beneath. UVA rays are constantly present no matter the season, sun up, sun down, weather conditions such as cloudy, overcast or rainy days. Also so powerful they can penetrate glass and even some clothing.
UVB-The “Burning” Ray = Sunburn & Skin Cancer
The shorter ray of the sun that is responsible for your sunburn. Depending on where you live this ray is not always the same strength year round. Obviously more prevalent and stronger in the summer months, water and snow can reflect the damaging effects as well. UVB rays are mostly responsible for causing most skin cancers along with large doses of UVA helping to contribute.
What is the best sun protection?
There are two types…physical and chemical.
Zinc oxide & titanium dioxide are physical sunblocks that are not absorbed by the skins surface. When applied to skin the ingredients ‘reflect’ the light blocking both UVA & UVB damaging rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are both non-comedogenic meaning it does not contain oil that can clog the skin’s pores and zinc oxide is also known for its antimicrobial properties. Many people do not like to use a zinc oxide product because they tend to be thick and leave your skin looking white. The good news is now ‘transparent’ oil free formulas can provides the same amount of protection without the ‘whitening’ effect.
Chemical sunscreens form a thin layer on top of the skin and absorb the UV ray before they reach the skin. The downside is that some of them form free radicals and can contribute to skin aging, cause irritation and allergic reactions. There are 15 chemical sunscreens to be careful of because some are powerful free radical generators and can be detected in the blood stream, urine and breast milk for up to two days after an application.
Physical sunblocks are really the best choice with low risk and offer wide spectrum UV protection.
Wear sunblock all year round!
Don’t leave your house without your SPF!