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Skin Cancer Risk, Indoor Tanning, And Maternal Influence

teen tanning bedNot all maternal influence on daughter behavior is good. Take for example the influence of the unhealthy use of indoor tanning beds as presented in a recent Archives of Dermatology article (full reference below) which “investigated whether indoor tanning with one’s mother the first time would influence frequency of tanning later in life and whether it was associated with age of initiation.”

Joel Hillhouse, Ph.D., of East Tennessee State University-Johnson City and colleagues published a study the May 2010 issue of the Archives of Dermatology which looked at which health-based intervention worked best in reducing skin cancer risks. They found that “emphasizing the appearance-damaging effects of UV light, both indoor and outdoor, to young patients who are tanning is important no matter what their pathological tanning behavior status.”

For this study, Hillhouse and colleagues randomly selected a total of 800 female students who were then sent a screening questionnaire on their indoor tanning history. Those who reported ever indoor tanning (n = 252) were invited to participate in the study and offered an incentive ($5). A total of 227 (mean age, 21.33 years; age range, 18-30 years) agreed, signed informed consent documents, and completed assessments.

One of the questions asked who accompanied the participant the first time they indoor tanned (i.e. tanned alone, with friend, with mother, or other). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

How To Use Self-Tanners

Your doctor has told you not to use tanning beds anymore. Your skin is beginning to show more aging than your age should have. You have a family history of skin cancer and want to avoid it. Whatever your reason, you have decided to look at self-tanners as an alternative.

I applaud that decision, but remember to use safe sun practices and/or sunscreens as self-tanners offer no protection to your skin from UVA or UVB rays.

According to About.com:Chemistry, self-tanners have been around in some form since 1960:

In 1960, Coppertone introduced its first sunless tanning product — QT® or Quick Tanning Lotion. This lotion produced an overall orange effect. Today’s sunless tanning products produce much more realistic results. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Summertime Acne Facts

With blonde hair and big blue eyes, she looked like a young Betty Draper from Mad Men. My patient, Julie, had been faithfully treating her acne for months. Just when it was starting to clear up (in time for her senior photos) — wham! – red dots cropped up over her forehead and cheeks. What went wrong? Summertime.

July can be the cruelest month for acne. Acne on the chest and back (bacne) and big, red pimples on your face can make going to the beach an embarrassing experience. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

Is Sunburn More Likely On The Beach Or In The Mountains?

While vacationing in Idaho and Montana last week (blissfully off the grid), I experienced something beautiful: altitude. At 6,260 feet Stanley, Idaho is a mile higher than my home in San Diego. The skies there were a brilliant blue. There was daylight well after 10PM. The mornings were a chilly 35 degrees. And I got sunburned.

How can this be? Montana is over 1,000 miles north of San Diego. Shouldn’t the sun be stronger down here? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

How Safe Are Sunscreens?

I “preach” sunscreen use to my family, friends, and patients. I do this because sunscreen helps prevent skin cancers, but in light of the recent  President’s Cancer Panel report on Cancers from Environment ‘Grossly Underestimated’  and concerns by the group Friends of the Environment, I thought perhaps I should look at the safety of the active chemicals/nanoparticles in sunscreens.

You need both UVA and UVB protection. It is the UVA rays that are most responsible for wrinkling and aging the skin. It is the UVB rays that are the most responsible for the sunburn and skin cancer formation.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), sunscreens should ideally be water-resistant, so they cannot be easily removed by sweating or swimming, and should have an SPF of 30 or higher that provides broad-spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB light. I think it is not worthwhile to purchase any sunscreen with an SPF higher than 55. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

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