by: LeAura Luciano
It’s a fact that melanoma is on the rise among Latinos. With summer in full swing the hot weather certainly is upon us. It’s the perfect time for a refresher on protecting your skin from summer’s worst stressors. I asked Dr. Neil Sadick, professor of dermatology at Cornell University Medical Center and the author of the new book Cosmeceutical Science in Clinical Practice, to give the five most important sun safety tips:
Abide by a new sunscreen law
“Sunscreen is the most important anti-aging product,” says Dr. Sadick. “And now, the way we buy it is about to change.” The FDA is set to roll out a new star grading system stamped on the front of the bottle. Each product will be awarded 1 to 4 stars (4 being best), which rates how effective the product blocks or absorbs UVA rays—those stealth aging rays that cause damage below the skin’s surface.
No date has been determined for when the star rating system will start. “For now, your best bet is abide by the SPF rating and choose one labeled “broad spectrum,” which will battle both UVA and UVB rays,” says Dr. Sadick.
Date your sunscreen.
“If not used within a year, the active ingredients (such as certain sunblockers and antioxidants) in many sunscreens can oxidize, rendering the product less effective,” informs Dr. Sadick. Make sure you label products with the date as soon as you buy. If, after a year, it’s still hanging out on your shelf, replace it.
Purchase a sunscreen containing antioxidants.
Applying an antioxidant-packed sunscreen takes sun protection to the next level. Dr. Sadick tells us that “when combined with sunscreen, antioxidants quench skin-damaging free radicals generated by UV rays and ease post-sun redness. Look for products containing powerhouse ingredients like vitamins C, E, coffee berry or pomegranate extract.”
Use half the products in the AM.
It’s easy to maximize potential protection before you step out the door—and, bonus, you can slash the number of products in your am routine in half. “UV rays, stress, pollution and other environmental aggressors team up to damage skin and cause wrinkles, which is why it’s important to apply protective products in the am,” says Dr. Sadick. In the morning, slather on a broad-spectrum sunscreen/antioxidant combo, and a moisturizer containing a detoxifying agent (look for ingredients like alpha longoza complex in the Dior Capture Totale product line).
5. Self-check your skin.
Anyone can get skin cancer anywhere. “That’s why we all need to routinely complete a full-body self-check,” says Dr. Sadick.
The ABCDE of Melanoma is a good guide to learn how to spot suspicious and potentially dangerous moles. When inspecting each mole, take into consideration these five points:
If any of these seem “off” (such as a mole is abnormally shaped), then it’s important to make an appointment with your dermatologist right away.
Luciano is currently the fashion and beauty director of Urban Latino Magazine, and the founder of FreelanceMakeup.com. She is also a member of the ABA, the NY Bar Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Association.