Healthy Skin – For Life!

The sun is out, finally! Here’s Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group Dermatologist Dina Elrashidy, giving us the low-down on summer skin care.


Question:

I feel like there are so many sunscreens out there.  What SPF should I put on my child and myself?

Dr. Elrashidy’s response:

You should look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, and that is SPF 30 or higher.  Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin about 15-20 minutes prior to going outside, and, when you are going to be outdoors, I recommend re-applying sunscreen every 2 hours.   One ounce, which is roughly what would fill a shot glass, is considered by the American Academy of Dermatology to be the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of an adult’s body properly.  Sunscreen should be applied liberally and rubbed in.  Although some sunscreens are considered water-resistant it’s a good idea to re-apply sunscreen when you get out of the water.  Also, it’s important not to forget to protect your lips, with a lip balm that contains SPF 30 or above.

For adults and children with sensitive skin, I recommend a physical blocker sunscreen, which contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Question:

I have a lot of moles.  What are some concerning features?

Dr. Elrashidy’s response:

Characteristics of concerning moles that may indicate that they are abnormal moles or melanomas follow the A-B-C-D-E guide developed by the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • A is for asymmetrical shape. Look for moles with irregular shapes.
  • B is for irregular border. Look for moles with irregular, jagged, scalloped or notched borders.
  • C is for changes in color. Look for moles that have multiple colors or an irregular color distribution.
  • D is for diameter. Look for increasing size in a mole or a mole larger than about 6 mm.
  • E is for evolving. Look for changes in a mole over time.

If you see something unusual, contact a dermatologist for follow-up. Annual skin care checkups are also recommended.

Question:

I feel so much healthier when my skin is tan.  Why is tanning so bad for me?

Dr. Elrashidy’s response:

Lying in the sun may make you feel good, but this exposes you to harmful UV rays.   The end result can cause skin cancer and accelerate aging.  Tanning beds and sunlamps are very dangerous.  They emit UV radiation, which can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, blotchiness, sunspots, and sagging skin.  Some tanning salons are unregulated.  If you want to be tan, then getting a spray tan or applying a sunless tanner are alternatives.  These products do not protect the skin from UV rays, so make sure you also wear a sunscreen if you are going to be outdoors.

To learn more about the fabulous Dr. Elrashidy, or to schedule an appointment for you OR your little ones, click here!


No comments yet.

Add your response