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16 Mar

Protect Your Skin From The Sun

Posted by Bikini Owner

A renowned dermatologist gives the facts on sunscreens.

By Lacee K,

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed annually.

Though melanoma may be less common than other types of skin cancers, it is much more dangerous if it's not detected early. Melanoma causes 75 percent of deaths related to skin cancer. Worldwide, doctors diagnose about 160,000 new cases of melanoma yearly. With these scary stats on the rise, more and more men and women are grabbing their sunblock.  

Growing up a pale-skinned Angeleno, I dreamt of bronze skin. I tried time and time again to achieve it. Mystic tan, tinted body moisturizers, airbrushing — I have truly done it all. I threw in my tanning towel a few months back and decided to embrace my peaches-and-cream complexion. After all, maybe my lack of outdoor tanning contributed to my current lack of wrinkles.

I also finally began to listen to dermatologists everywhere and started to lather up. With an overwhelming selection of sun protectants at my fingertips, I am certainly not without options. But what really sets different products apart? What is the difference between the aisles and aisles of options? 

I sat down with in-demand L.A. dermatologist Tanya Kormeili who helped shed light on the subject and taught me how to read between the (SPF) lines. 

Physical Blockers versus Chemical Absorbers.

Physical blockers have zinc and titanium and reflect the light. They do not absorb energy, in contrast to chemical blockers. Examples of chemical blockers include sunscreens with the following ingredients: glyceryl PABA, dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, ecamsule (terephthalylidene dicamphor sulfonic acid; Mexoryl SX), avobenzone and others with big names. Recently, it has been suggested that these chemicals (especially used in the long term and in large amounts) can mimic certain female hormones once absorbed and potentially lead to certain cancers. Therefore, using physical blockers might be a safer alternative. 

Know the Rules.

It is important to know the changing rules of sunscreens. The term "broad spectrum" is used to describe "good" sunscreens that both protect against UVA and UVB rays. The term "water resistant" is only used if the sunscreen was tested for 40 to 80 minutes in water. Terms like sweat proof, sunblock, suntan crème and waterproof are being eliminated from products." 

Bottom-Line Tips from Dr. K.

1. Steer clear of the sun's strongest rays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.

3. Make sure to use sunscreen when swimming, sweating or laying out.

4. Use sunscreen despite the weather! On a cloudy day rays are still very strong.

5. Cover up with shades that protect from UV rays. Use hats and clothing to cover your skin and face from excess radiation.

See these few additional tips from the Skin Cancer foundation:

1. Avoid tanning and tanning booths

2. Do. Not. Burn. This is worth repeating: Do. Not. Burn.

3. Examine your skin from head to toe each month.

Learn more about Dr. K at and on Facebook.