FAQ Friday!

Q: How often should I have my #skin checked for skin cancer by a dermatologist?

A: How often you need to get screened varies from person to person. We usually recommend that adults have their full body checked annually by a dermatologist. However, if you have any of the following risk factors your dermatologist may recommend more frequent screening:

-You have had skin cancer or atypical moles removed in the past.
-A member of your family has had skin cancer.
-You have had severe sunburns or used tanning beds.
-You have a fair complexion.

You should also perform regular checks on yourself to look for new moles, lumps and discoloration of your skin. The The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone practice monthly self examination of their skin, so that they can find any new or changing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous. Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable.

If you see something worrisome on your skin, don’t wait until your scheduled appointment – see your dermatologist!


FAQ Friday!

Q: I’m going to be going away for Labor Day weekend and I am really scared about getting Lyme disease. How can I prevent getting bit by a tick?

A: Lyme disease is one of several infections that ticks can carry. The good news is that if you are vigilant about checking yourself for a tick bite and doing a few simple preventative measures you can enjoy Labor day weekend tick free!

If you are going to be on trails or in the woods avoid high grass or bushy areas as those are areas that ticks like to live. In high risk areas use bug repellents that contain 20-30% DEET on your skin or clothing, which will give you protection for several hours.

Make sure to check your entire body every 24 hours as even if you are bit by a tick carrying Lyme disease it generally takes 24 hours of contact to transmit it to you. So it’s especially important to make sure you check yourself thoroughly every day.

If you are bit by a tick don’t panic, not all ticks are carriers of Lyme disease. Follow these simple instructions below from the CDC to remove it, and save it for your health care provider to check when your back in town.


Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend and remember to pack your sunscreen!


FAQ Friday!

Q: What does #SPF really mean? Is SPF 100 really that much better than SPF 30?

A: SPF or sun protection factor describes the sunscreen’s ability to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays which cause both sunburns and skin cancer.

SPF is measured by applying sunscreen to a volunteer in a laboratory and measuring how much longer it takes the volunteer to get burned. For example, if it normally takes 5 minutes for someone to get a sunburn with SPF 10 it will now take 50 minutes.

It is important to remember SPF only refers to UVB and NOT UVA rays, so make sure to get a sunscreen that says broad-spectrum which means it also blocks UVA rays. As for how high an SPF you need, SPF 30 is generally good enough as there isn’t that much of a benefit above SPF 30 as it blocks 97% of UVB rays, SPF 50 blocks 98% and SPF 100 blocks 99%.

To get that protection you need to make sure you apply enough sunscreen as most people only apply 25-50% of the sunscreen needed. Remember that most adults will need one ounce or approximately a shot glass amount of sunscreen to cover their body and a teaspoon amount to cover their face.


FAQ Friday!

Q: What’s the difference between the different types of UV rays?

A: There are three types of UV rays; UVA, UVB and UVC. Fortunately UVC rays are blocked by the ozone layer; however UVA and UVB penetrate to the earth surface.

UVA rays account for up to 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. UVA rays are present during all daylight hours and can penetrate glass and clouds. UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB causing cumulative DNA damage that over time results in photo-aged skin and skin cancer.

UVB rays damage the skin’s more superficial layers causing sunburns. The intensity of UVB rays vary depending on the season and time of day (10 am to 4 pm are the peak hours) and UVB rays also play a key role in the development of skin cancer.

Remember that UVA rays are present even on the most cloudy days, and penetrate glass. That is why it is important to wear your “broad spectrum” sunscreen on cloudy days, while skiing or snowboarding, and indoors if you work near a window.