“Oh no, I’m melting……”

Joe McDonald, MD

Joe McDonald, MD: Founder and Chief Medical Officer for Kaizen Medispa.

Is sunscreen public enemy number 1?

No, it is not. Once again, in an honest effort to keep you informed and protect the public, watchdog groups have started a storm of over-reaction and bad information taken out of context. They mean well, but as is normal, the situation is a little more nuanced than a scary headline will allow for.

What is the best way to protect yourself? Best is a tricky word. If you want the most effective way to protect yourself from the sun/UV light, then go to a deep basement and never come out. Keep the lights off, don’t watch TV, and don’t use your cell phone or computer. Also, eat only green things that you grew. Wait, you can’t go out. Have someone deliver it. Also, get your water from an extremely deep well and filter it through diamonds and fairy dust. If you do that, you won’t have to worry about car accidents, football concussions, zombies, or any of life’s other risks, right? Well maybe, but how fun is that? The concept of quality of life as it relates to quantity is important to consider here.

So, what does this all have to do with sunscreen?

Recently, there were some reports that sunscreen is absorbed systemically and could be dangerous. This is true, but it’s not that simple. There are 9ish FDA approved sunscreen chemicals and it is true that there is not a lot of data showing how much these are absorbed and if they cause problems.

Should you panic?

No. One of the compounds getting the most press is oxybenzone. The scary reports would have you believe that it seeps into your skin and causes all kinds of problems. So, two important points; 1. It kind of does, if you feed enormous amounts to rats. 2. The CDC has tested it and shown that it can be routinely detected in 96% of Americans, which means it is in more stuff than sunscreen. There really isn’t any research that supports stopping sunscreen use now. In fact, the American Cancer Society is screaming at the top of their lungs not to do that. An alert has been put out that sunscreen ingredients should be investigated more, because there is a remote possibility that there could be harm. Remote. Possibility. We KNOW that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and that skin cancer can lead to DEATH.

So, what to do?

Right now, follow what the recommendations have always been. Cover yourself with clothes that block UV light (not all do). If skin isn’t covered, use sunscreen and apply it frequently. Have fun. Enjoy life.

Oh ya, most of aging seen in the skin is due to sun damage. Here at Kaizen medispa, we sell some really nice skin products including sunscreen. Sunscreen that doesn’t feel oily and is actually good for your skin. Also, if you get skin treatments like IPL, botox, or fillers, sun screen is part of the maintenance that protects that investment. Come check us out.

Kaizen Medispa
7505 Democracy Blvd, Suite A113
Bethesda, MD 20817
(240) 428-6800

 

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