Do drinkable sunscreen and sunscreen pills actually work?

Probably not. Drinkable sunscreen, or water that has been treated with electromagnetic waves, supposedly allows the body to better deal with external UV waves, thereby preventing damage to the skin. Sunscreen pills are filled with vitamins and antioxidants, and similarly work from the inside out to help the body fight damaging UV waves.

Both products may sound like an easy alternative to regular SPF and suncare, but there is no research citing the usefulness of drinkable sunscreen, and very little supporting sunscreen pills. Though neither product seems to be directly harmful, nothing can compare to broad-spectrum SPF and a hat when protecting skin from the sun. Try Dr. Bussell’s SPF 30 Sunblock for full coverage.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

What is a skin scan?

Many people refer to a total body skin examination as a skin scan. This examination is done by a qualified dermatologist to evaluate patients’ skin for malignant and pre-malignant lesions (growths). Skin cancer is a significant problem for people who have had significant sun exposure at any time during their life—even as a child or young adult.  During a skin scan, every square inch of skin on the face and body is carefully examined. This can only be done accurately by a trained professional. An accurate diagnosis of a malignant melanoma can be life saving. I recommend that anybody who has had significant sun exposure in the past be examined every six months starting as a young adult. Any of my patients who have had melanomas or other significant skin cancer are asked to return every three months for a total body skin scan. It should be remembered that the skin is the largest organ of the body and not only is it vulnerable in itself, but it can also be a window to other medical conditions within the body.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

Is there a problem with the use of sunblock and vitamin D deficiency?

This is something I was recently asked to discuss for Dermatology Times. People are now becoming more and more aware of vitamin D deficiency as a reason for various medical problems.

The question has arisen in my practice whether or not the use of sunblock is responsible for lower levels of vitamin D in conscientious sun avoiders. Until a scientific study is done, we cannot say for certain however it seems reasonable that one should not totally avoid the sun as vitamin D metabolism is influenced by it.

I recommend that my patients do use sunblock but use it appropriately. By that I mean to use it on sun-exposed areas when there is extended exposure to the sun as when playing sports or going to the beach.  Simply walking back and forth from one’s car to work inside a building may not require the use of sunblock.  A little bit of sun is obviously good for the skin, realizing however that burning is harmful. A easy rule of thumb is if you are going to be in direct sunlight for more than 15 minutes, you should apply sunblock unless you have very sensitive skin that burns sooner than that.

Additionally, one must be careful not to overuse sunblock due to the fact that sunblocks do contain chemicals and the skin does absorb chemicals that are applied to it. Therefore, we should minimize unnecessary exposure to chemicals. This is why I don’t recommend moisturizers that contain sunblock. Individuals have a tendency to put the sunblock-containing moisturizers on at night as well as in the daytime and there is no reason to protect oneself from sun that isn’t there.

My preference for a sunblock is one that is no stronger than an SPF 30. I also prefer sunblocks, like ours at Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants, that contain tried and true ingredients rather than sunblocks that strive to incorporate newer ingredients that have not been tested for very long in the general population.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

 

Dr. Bussell of Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants, featured in Dermatology TImes

What’s new with tanning salons?

Some places are now making it illegal for people under the age of 16 to use tanning salons. This is because tanning salons significantly damage the skin and predispose people to skin cancer. Under no circumstances should individuals visit tanning salons. This is especially true for children and young adults.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

Are tanning beds safe?

Research has shown an increase in a variety of skin cancers in people who have exposed themselves to tanning beds. It has long been known that there has been an increased incidence of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and deadly melanomas in people who have used tanning salons. Research has now established an increase of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) at a young age linked to the increase in use of tanning salons by teenagers and young adults. In my practice, I encourage my patients to avoid the ultraviolet tanning salons. The spray tanning salons are not harmful.

I would much prefer a very short exposure to natural sunlight either in the morning or late afternoon, avoiding intense midday sun, to the use of tanning salons for those individuals who insist on being tan.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

Do you ever look in the mirror and examine the skin on your back?

Don’t neglect your back! Because many people don’t look at their backs, they just assume that nothing is happening there and that their back skin is fine. However, when I do a total body exam, a careful look at my patient’s back is very important. Atypical moles, which may be precursors of malignant melanomas, as well as growths that can become basal and squamous cell carcinomas need special attention. In addition, significant amounts of sun damage is often seen on the back. In many cases, treating this damaged skin can prevent future malignancies.

Furthermore, the back is also frequently a site for breakouts, usually very large, and with a tendency towards scarring. If you have not had a body scan which included a thorough look at your back, I highly recommend it. Skin on the back can be treated very similarly as I treat skin on the face, hands and arms.

 So don’t neglect your back in taking care of your total skin!

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

What can you do for a sunburn?

If you forgot to apply your sunscreen and now you have a red face and/or body after being out in the sun, the first thing to do is cool the area with some ice packs as much as possible.

Next, as soon as possible, put on some non-prescription 1% hydrocortisone cream. Reapply a thin layer of the cream as needed for the burning sensation or continued redness. If the skin blisters, you can clean the blister gently with some rubbing alcohol; then, take a pin or needle, flame it to sterilize and gently poke the base of the blister in one area so that the fluid within can be gently removed.

If the sunburn becomes painful, or the skin is very warm to touch, then two aspirin or two non-prescription ibuprofen tablets every four to six hours for two days may alleviate these symptoms.

For any areas where the skin becomes broken or raw following blister formation, you can apply some non-prescription bacitracin or polysporin ointment on the surface of the involved area. Do not apply neosporin or neomycin ointment as the antibiotic neomycin causes frequent severe allergic reactions on the skin.

If in spite of following these instructions the skin becomes raw or develops honey-colored crusts, it could mean the beginning of an infection known as impetigo or cellulitis. If this should occur, then it is best to be evaluated in a dermatologist’s office.

When your sunburn dissolves, the skin may peel. This can be very itchy. If this occurs, use your favorite moisturizer throughout the day, especially on wet skin after showering.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661