A question I get often is how to balance protecting yourself from the sun to decrease skin cancer risk and photo-aging with the concern for Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is also known as the “sun light vitamin” as it forms in the skin from ultraviolet light (UV) exposure. Vitamin D has been all over the news recently with articles saying it prevents against everything from high blood pressure to cancer.

What we do know is that Vitamin D is important for the immune system and bone health. Recent studies have also shown that Vitamin D may lower the risk of certain cancers, particularly colorectal cancer. Other studies have shown possible benefit in breast and prostate cancer.

We also know that unprotected UV exposure results in higher risk of skin cancer and aging skin.

Most of us have adequate Vitamin D levels in our bodies from the combination of small amounts of sun exposure and our diets, as Vitamin D is supplemented in many of our foods.

Additional Vitamin D through oral supplementation may be a good idea for certain groups with a higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency:

1) Adults over 50 years old
2) People with darker skin
3) Those living in northern latitudes (live New York), those that are home bound, or cover themselves for religious reasons
4) Infants who are breast fed only
5) Those with medical conditions preventing adequate fat absorption

My advice is to listen to The Skin Cancer Foundation….

“The Foundation cautions the public against intentional exposure to natural sunlight or artificial UV radiation (tanning beds) as a means of obtaining vitamin D, since the health risks of UV exposure – including skin cancer and premature skin aging – are significant and well proven.

The Skin Cancer Foundation supports The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies’ Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D, which is 600 IU (International Units) a day for people between the ages of 1 and 70, and 800 IU a day for people ages 70 and older. For children under 1 year, adequate intake (AI) is 400 IU a day.”

For more info check out these links from the Skin Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.




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 an adult, why do I still have acne?!

A: Actually, 26% of women 31-40 have acne and 12% of women over 40 have acne! Adult female acne can be very frustrating but also very treatable. Hormonal treatments with birth control pills or spironolactone can be very effective. Don’t suffer at home, see your dermatologist


FAQ Friday!

Q: What products should definitely be in my #skincare routine?

A: Keep it simple! There are two must haves for everyone – sunscreen and Retin A.

The sunscreen should be broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, and contain zinc or titanium (the physical blockers). In terms of Retin A, you can get an Rx version from your #dermatologist or try an OTC first, like the deep wrinkle treatment from the Olay Pro-X line.

Have a great weekend!


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: I was bad with my skin protection and got a #sunburn. How do I treat it?

A: First things first, hands off! Fight the temptation to scrub or pick at any peeling skin. After a cool shower, put on a non-fragranced moisturizing cream to soothe the skin – good choices are Cetaphil, Cerave or Aveeno. You can use an OTC hydrocortisone cream as well for a few days if the burn is itchy or painful to decrease inflammation. Make sure to drink a lot of water, and take Advil as soon as you notice the sunburn and continue for 48-72 hours. This will also help to decrease inflammation so you have less pain and swelling. If the sunburn is extensive, covering more than 20% of your body, and if you are experiencing any fever or chills, see your doctor. And next time, wear 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.


We want to hear from you for FAQ Friday!

Message us a skincare question, and we might have Dr. Jaber himself answer it tomorrow. Ask away!

Sunscreen recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

Babies under 6 months:
The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.

For All Other Children:
The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.
Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.

Be sure to apply enough sunscreen — about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

See more at: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/pages/Sun-and-Water-Safety-Tips.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token