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Are You Sunscreen Savvy?

sun protectionIt’s hard to escape the barrage of skin cancer education that is presented, particular at this time of year. And why would you want to! Skin cancer continues to be a prevalent problem for Americans, and statistics are demonstrating that abnormal lesions are appearing on younger and younger skin. The fact is, we are all susceptible to sun damage, including skin cancer, which means we need to be as sunscreen-savvy as we can get.

Good sun habits are the primary way to decrease the risk of premature aging and medical conditions related to UV exposure. Clearly, we cannot change our lifestyle to such a degree that we only go outdoors at night. Again, why would you want to do that! We crave the sunshine! We need it for health! But we need it in small doses at non-peak hours (before 10 am and after 4 pm. And we also need it from beneath the shield of sunscreen. The issue here is, are you using it correctly?

Common Sunscreen Fails

  1. Using too little. Applying large amounts of any lotion can feel, well, “icky.” When it’s already hot out, the last thing you want is for beads of sweat to sit on skin that has been moistened with sunscreen lotion. Get used to it. Most areas of the body need at least 1 full teaspoon of product for adequate protection. This includes the back, stomach, chest, each arm, each leg, and the face. ONE TEASPOON each!
  2. Using the wrong product. The more research that is conducted, the more we realize that not all products are created equal. The Environmental Working Group has developed an expansive resource for consumers looking for the best sunscreen. The most efficient sunscreen is “broad-spectrum,” meaning that both UVA and UVB rays are filtered. More information from the EWG can be found here. Using the wrong product also means wearing makeup with SPF, rather than applying a quality sunscreen in addition to cosmetics.
  3. Going into the sun too quickly. Sun exposure should occur no sooner than 30 minutes after applying sunscreen. Translation: apply at home, not at the pool or beach!
  4. Using an expired product. Check your packaging! There is an expiration date! Expiration means more than losing effectiveness. An expired sunscreen could behave differently, causing harm to the skin.
  5. Neglecting certain body-parts. Remember the tops of your feet and toes, the backs of your hands, your ears, your neck, and even your scalp.
  6. Once-and-done. A single application of sunscreen will only provide a few hours of protection. And that’s if you don’t get wet! Reapply every 1 to 2 hours to gain the greatest benefit.

Acclaim Dermatology provides all levels of skin cancer treatment, from screening to removal. Call (832) 770-6388 to schedule a visit in our Sugar Land office.


What You Need To Know About Nail Fungus

fungal nail infectionWe are getting into the time of year in which sandals replace boots. The last thing you want is to feel compelled to hide your feet due to nail fungus. A fungal nail infection may develop beneath the fingernail, as well, though toenails seem to be more commonly affected. Nail fungus can be a frustrating problem that causes brittleness, fragility, discoloration or thickness. We’ll just get straight to the point and say that its far better to avoid this problem than having to treat it. Here is what you need to know.

  • You may be more susceptible than others.
  • Fungal nail infection is more prevalent among older adults.
  • Poor circulation or low immunity increases risk.
  • Nail conditions are more common in individuals with conditions such as hyperhidrosis, psoriasis, and diabetes.
  • If nails become deformed or otherwise diseased, fungal infection is more likely.

General health isn’t the only factor in susceptibility. The fungus that infects nails loves certain environments, including:

  • Close-toed shoes.
  • Public showers and pools
  • Damp areas
  • The basin of your nail salon (sorry, folks!)

Nail fungus can “jump” from one foot to another. This type of infection is contagious. That’s why you may contract a fungal nail infection after a nice, soothing shower at your gym. Takeaway tip: wear shower shoes in public pools or showers.

Early treatment is easier treatment.
You may spot a fungal nail infection if you routinely take care of your nails. Some of the warning signs include spotting, either white or yellow, at the tip of the nail. Later, the nail may thicken or become brittle, may look dull, or may develop streaks of discoloration. Because treatment can be somewhat lengthy the more severe the infection becomes, it is important to schedule a dermatologic consultation at the first indication of symptoms.

You can reduce your risk of fungal nail infection.
Because fungi live in certain conditions, there are ways to protect yourself from unexpected infection:

  • Change your socks frequently if your feet tend to sweat excessively.
  • Take good care of your nails with regular grooming.
  • Wash your hands and nails every day.
  • Save your clippers and other grooming products for your personal use. Consider taking your personal clippers and files to your nail salon, too!
  • You don’t have to give up your mani-pedi routine. Just make sure your salon has efficient sterilization practices.

Do you think you may have a fungal nail infection? Call our Sugar Land dermatology office at (832) 770-6388.

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