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Advances in Suncare

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
SUSAN CINGARI: Hi, I'm Susan Cingari, and welcome to our webcast from sunny Miami.

In the past, a tan was thought to be a sign of health, not to mention sex appeal. But over the years we've discovered what sun can really do to your sun, from premature wrinkles to skin cancer. And with this new understanding have come developments in the way we protect our skin.

Joining me now to discuss advances in sun care are two experts from the University of Miami. Dr. Betty Bellman, good morning, Dr. Bellman, thank you for joining us, and Dr. Barry Resnik.

When I was a kid, the big thing was baby oil and iodine, and that's what we used. Talk to me about some of the original products that people were using. I was probably using wrong by using that, right?

BARRY RESNIK, MD: You were. Baby oil and iodine were used to enhance tans, and therefore skin cancer. I think that in the historical perspective, zinc oxide was the prototypical sunblock. It was white, it was totally reflective, it was what we call a physical sunblock because it blocks the rays that hit your skin and it doesn't let it get to your skin. And then over the years, things began to progress in the chemical industry and we got chemical sunscreen, molecules that actually absorbed the wavelengths of light that caused problems like ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A, and didn't allow it to get onto your skin.

And now we've come almost full circle because a lot of the newest sunscreens that we have are again physical sunscreens using highly pulverized forms of the same things we started off with. Something called micronized titanium dioxide, and also micronized zinc oxide.

SUSAN CINGARI: What are some of the advantages to the older products, if there are any at all? There may not be at this point.

BETTY BELLMAN, MD: The zinc oxide in small particles and the titanium dioxide are really great because they actually prevent the rays from getting into your skin and doing the damage, so they reflect them off of your skin; those are really wonderful. They're hard to run, they're very difficult, they're very white so you have to really spend some time rubbing them in. But they are the best physical blocks.

BARRY RESNIK, MD: In terms of older sunscreens, a lot of the sunscreens used to have PABA in them, a long series of words made up that abbreviation. All of our sunscreens no longer carry that. So if you've got a sunscreen with PABA and you're using it, that's great. But it was removed because it caused contact allergy in a lot of people. So if you've got a sunscreen and maybe it's irritating you it might have PABA and you might want to get a new one.

SUSAN CINGARI: What about new forms of sunscreen? There are so many out there. Talk to me a little bit about some of the brand news and maybe some of the advantages that the new sunscreens have over our previous, older forms.

BETTY BELLMAN, MD: The new sunscreens have UVA protection, so you'll see on the label, it will say "UVA and UVB protection, broad spectrum." That means the UVA, which cause wrinkling and brown splotches and leathery, wrinkly skin, you're protecting yourself from that and UVB, which is more associated with causing skin cancer. UVA and UVB protection should be on that label when you're buying a sunscreen.

BARRY RESNIK, MD: I think it's important for everybody to realize that when they go to a tanning booth or a tanning salon and they spend an hour in one of those beds, you're getting a huge dose of ultraviolet A radiation. And as Betty said, it gives us more sun damage and the possibility of skin cancer than most everything else we do.

And even using a sunscreen under those circumstances is not acceptable. The American Academy of Dermatology has placed a ban on it. We urge our patients not to do it, but you'd be surprised how many people do it so that they can look good.

SUSAN CINGARI: That's true. Tanning is not in anymore, it's not good for your skin.

BETTY BELLMAN, MD: Although there are products that have self-tanning lotions or tanning bronzing lotions that make you look tanned and make you look healthy, with sunscreen or without, that are very safe to use, that make you look very attractive, that you can buy.

SUSAN CINGARI: That's one of the new advances in suncare. But what are some of the other ones? It's so confusing, there's foams and sprays, talk to me about that.

BARRY RESNIK, MD: What's new is the vehicle in which to deliver the sunscreen. The sunscreen is actually a little powder and you pour it into whatever it is you're going to use to hold onto the skin. We've got scented lotions, we've got scented sprays, we've got aerosol forms, and we've got pads. I think a pad is a very good opportunity for especially men who have very oily skin and they don't want to put a lotion on to begin with, much less something that's going to make them even more oily. So you've got a pad, it's an alcohol base, you wipe it on, you throw the pad away, and they've got protection that's good enough for daily exposure, certainly not for exercise or athletic events.

SUSAN CINGARI: What do you think the big advantages are to some of these new sunscreens?

BETTY BELLMAN, MD: They're going to increase patient's compliance. They're going to make you like it so much that you're going to want to use it every day, because it smells great, the bottle is great, it feels great on your skin. It makes you just want to use it, and that's what this is all about, protecting yourself on a daily basis.

BARRY RESNIK, MD: And it's so much more important to have your kids want to use. If you've got a gel with glitter in it, the kids are going to like the smell of it, they're going to use it. And you've got to practice what you preach. If the parents aren't going to use the sunscreens, how can you possibly expect the kids to do it?ou age.

SUSAN CINGARI: Dr. Barry Resnik, thank you for your time, some great advice, and Dr. Betty Bellman, thank you as well for your time, some great advice.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Susan Cingari from Miami.

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