Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Decoding Sunscreen Labels

Decoding Sunscreen Labels
FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens - (JPG v2)

In an attempt to help patients better understand sunscreens and how they protect you from the sun, the FDA began an initiative to streamline sunscreen labels.  Currently, sunscreen labels contain wording that can be misleading and confusing: sunblock, sun protection, UVA, UVB, broad spectrum, sweat proof, water proof, water resistant, and the list goes on!  Fortunately, new regulations will make it much easier for you to quickly identify and select the best sunscreen for your needs.  Below are the key terms you need to understand when deciphering the new sunscreen labels:


Broad Spectrum:  There are two types of radiation from the sun that can harm skin, resulting in premature aging and skin cancers, UVA and UVB.  Broad spectrum suncreens have been proven to protect against both of these harmful types of radiation.    In order for a product to claim it protects against skin cancer, it must be broad spectrum AND contain a minimum SPF 15.  If a product does not meet both of these criteria, the package is required to have the following warning:  “This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”  At Florida Skin Center, we suggest going a step beyond these recommendations, by using broad spectrum suncreens with a minimum SPF  30.


Water Resistant:  With the new regulations, companies will no longer be allowed to claim a product is waterproof , sweat proof, or sunblock.  Instead, a product may be classified as “water resistant”.  Again, if the product is not water resistant, the label must contain a warning alerting the consumer. 


With so many sunscreens available today, choosing the best one can be difficult.  The new regulations should streamline the process and increase your awareness of which products are best and why.  Ask FSC which sunscreen is most appropriate for you and will best meet your needs!  Remember, it is important to wear sunscreen EVERY day, reapplying regularly, in order to prevent the damage that can easily result from the Florida sun. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Dreaded Head Lice

Summer has quickly come to an end and the kiddos are back to school.  Hurray!  With the new school year upon us, there is one phone call every parent dreads “Sorry but your child has head lice.”  Don’t worry you are not alone.  Unfortunately, head lice are a very common problem that affects millions of people each year.  We know that doesn’t necessarily make you feel better, but at least you are not alone. The CDC recommends the following steps to prevent and control the spread of head lice. 
  • Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, and camp).
  • Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes.
  • Do not share combs, brushes, or towels. Disinfest combs and brushes used by an infected person by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5-10 minutes.
  • Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infected person.
  • Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infected person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
  • Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid re-infestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
  • Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs; they are not necessary to control head lice and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Ok you did everything you could to prevent them, but now your child has head lice.  What should you do? Most over the counter lice shampoos (Nix or Rid) work well to combat lice. Using the medication as directed is often all that is needed.  If that does not do the trick, your dermatologist can prescribe a prescription shampoo or cream to treat the lice, although these prescriptions are not always suitable for children. There are many home remedies that can be used as well, although there have been limited studies on their effectiveness. Home remedies include combing the lice out or smothering the lice out by treating the hair with essential oils, coconut shampoos and or Cetaphil.  We hope you do not get that call this year, but if you do there are very effective OTC treatments available.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Alarming Melanoma Increase in Young Adults

A new study has demonstrated a meteoric rise in melanoma rates in young adults.  Over the past forty years, young men between the ages of 18-39 have seen a 400% increase in melanoma, while young women have an 800% increase!  Melanoma is a potentially fatal skin cancer, but it can be prevented by following sun safety precautions and having routine skin checks.  Experts believe this alarming increase is due to indoor tanning usage among young women.  People who use tanning beds are 74% more likely to develop melanoma when compared with those who never tanned indoors.  Any amount of indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, as well as the risk of squamous and basal cell carcinomas.  Many states have even passed legislation banning indoor tanning in minors.  It is imperative people of all ages avoid any indoor tanning and use sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 daily.  Also, routine checks with the providers at FSC can identify and treat potential problems.  Following these precautions can help you maintain young, and, most importantly, healthy skin.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

There is an App for that.

That’s right. There is an app for that. Check out these cool dermatology apps.


UMSkinCheck is a free mobile app that allows users to track moles for changes over time. It also allows users to set notifications and reminders to preform self-skin exams.  It also has informational videos and literature on skin cancer prevention, healthy skin as well as a skin cancer risk calculator. 

Sun Effects Booth-Predict Your Skin Future is free mobile app that simulates the potential effects of sun exposure on your skin. It will also help you predict how you might age as well as give you the UV index for your location.  Take the quiz to find out more about your skin health.


Psoriasis Symptom Monitor is a free app that allows users to monitor their psoriasis symptoms and flares. It will allow users to work with their health care providers to help assess treatment progress.

All of these apps can be downloaded via iTunes for free.  Always remember if you have any concerns about a lesion on your skin or your current treatment regimens, it is best to speak with your health care provider.