Check Your Sunscreen Before You Head Out
Summer is a few months away but, often, people start traveling and spending more time outdoors well before the hot weather hits. Truly, anything that isn't grey and misty can feel amazing, so why not get out and enjoy it? We're all for some outdoor time but want to warn our patients that they should check their sunscreen before they begin planning that vacation or day at the park. What should be checked? The expiration date!
Sunscreen Can Expire
It's easy to forget that any skincare product can expire. Well, sunscreen is one of them. The good news is that, based on FDA guidelines, sunscreens maintain a standard level of efficacy for at least three years. The first thing to do before using your sunscreen, then, is to check the packaging for an expiration or manufactured date. If this is missing, you'd benefit from tossing it and getting a brand new tube. If your new sunscreen does not have an expiration date clearly printed on it, write your purchase date on the package using a permanent marker. This way, you won't have to question whether you're inadvertently putting yourself at risk of sun damage.
Is Physical or Chemical Sunscreen Better?
In terms of longevity, it looks like physical sunscreen might last longer, but minimally so. Chemical sunscreens work by creating a chemical reaction in the skin. This is achieved with ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone, and others. These ingredients are unstable and can break down over time, losing efficacy. Additionally, the emulsifiers that carry the particles of the chemical sunscreen can also degrade relatively quickly. Physical sunscreens are made with mineral ingredients that tend to last longer than those used in chemical sunscreens. That said, keep in mind that the emulsifiers in the physical sunscreen could degrade, making it more difficult to get a good, consistent application.
Is My Sunscreen Expired?
The best way to tell if your sunscreen is expired is to find an expiration date. In lieu of that, look at the product itself. If your sunscreen has changed color or texture, it's probably no longer effective. An example may be that your sunscreen is more watery or oily than it used to be, or you can see a clear separation of ingredients. Clumpy, chalky, grainy sunscreen should probably be thrown out.
Why Does it Matter?
Sunscreen is made to reflect or deflect UV light. Why does it matter if the product is expired? Efficacy. If you have an expired SPF 50 sunscreen, the degree of protection and length of protection may be cut in half. You will be more likely to develop a sunburn, which increases your risk of premature aging and skin cancer. Expired sunscreen can also cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, breakouts, and skin infections.
Use It or Lose It
This old saying applies to the use of sunscreen. If you're using your sunscreen as recommended by a dermatologist, chances are you will use up the product before it can expire. Sunscreen should be worn daily if it is to prevent UV damage. Even on cloudy, grey days, UVB rays are reaching the skin. The UV light in sunshine reaches our skin through our windshields and car windows. It reaches the skin when we're just running a quick errand. Every time UV light touches unprotected skin, there is a risk of damage.
In addition to treating the signs of UV damage, your dermatologist performs thorough skin cancer screenings, which can help you get to know your skin far better than you'd ever imagined. To schedule your skin cancer screening or cosmetic treatment, contact us at 206-859-5777 or schedule your appointment here.
How to Get Your Complexion Back On Track
The signs of aging get a lot of attention. Primarily, we worry about lines and wrinkles developing on the various parts of the face. Sure, frown lines and worry lines can be frustrating and may need treatment at some point. However, one’s complexion may begin to affect appearance even before other signs of aging become apparent. Here, we discuss why our complexion may change over time and what we can do to address concerns like dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
What Causes an Uneven Complexion?
Uneven skin tone most often occurs when an area of the skin has an excess of melanin. Melanin is what gives the skin its color. It can build up as one smaller spot or as diffuse discoloration as a result of several factors, including:
- Sun exposure. The primary cause of uneven skin complexion (and poor texture) is exposure to UV light. Sunlight is the leading source of UV light that we see over and over again. This type of harmful light is also what is used in tanning beds.
- Hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone are female hormones that are involved in the production of melanin. Women are susceptible to discoloration and melasma at certain points in life, such as pregnancy or menopause.
- Air pollution. We don’t often think of how the air affects our skin, other than when it is dry or humid. The air carries various pollutants, including carbon dioxide and chemicals, that all touch the skin. Microparticles of debris can seep into the pores, triggering a defensive response that includes heightened production of melanin.
- Inflammation. The production of melanin is part of the body’s repair process so, if the skin becomes inflamed due to rash or sunburn, for example, complexion may be affected.
Treatments to Improve Complexion
In our Seattle and Renton offices, patients can find several treatments that can improve the tone and texture of their skin. Examples include:
- Chemical peels
- Infini RF Microneedling
- Clear + Brilliant laser treatment
- Laser skin resurfacing
- BBL Forever Young broadband light treatment
- HALO hybrid fractional laser treatment
If you have begun to notice small spots, freckles, enlarged pores, melasma, or other discoloration on your face, arms, shoulders, or other areas, you could benefit from a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist. We’d love to see you! Contact us at 206-859-5777 to schedule a visit.
Easy Ways to Boost Your Skin’s Resilience and Beauty
Beautiful skin is resilient skin. It is skin that can repair itself well and make the best use of nourishing substances like collagen, elastin, and growth factors. As you may have guessed, very few people can claim to have resilient, beautiful skin for their entire lifetime. This is because, to achieve this, there must be various forms of assistance. If you want to sustain your skin for your many years ahead, consider a few of the current ways you can assist tissue regeneration.
Microneedling is an outstanding method of collagen-induction. It is suitable for adults of all ages and for all skin types and tones. This treatment affects the layers of the epidermis and uppermost layers of the dermis by creating micro-injuries with tiny needles. The needles penetrate the skin in a uniform manner that does not tear or scrape. Therefore, the recovery from treatment is very short and side effects are minimal. Each microneedling treatment stimulates collagen production to heal scars, acne, and to smooth lines and wrinkles.
- The Power of Antioxidants
We are what we eat. We’ve all heard that we need to eat for health, but how does this apply to the skin? Antioxidants are molecules that are found in foods like blueberries, spinach, and kale. They can also be taken in supplement form. When consumed, antioxidants balance an overabundance of free radicals, erratic molecules that steal energy from various biological processes, including tissue regeneration. The regular consumption of antioxidants reduces the oxidative stress that leads to premature aging.
The initial injectable product to gain FDA approval, Botox has been widely used to correct signs of aging that result from facial movements. Many people know that Botox can erase frown lines and smooth crow’s feet at the edges of the eyes. What hasn’t completely caught on yet is the use of Botox for prevention. As younger patients are discovering the power of small doses of Botox, more are receiving treatment to decrease muscle contractions that could lead to permanent lines.
- Laser Skin Rejuvenation
Laser devices have become a mainstay in aesthetic medicine. Our offices are equipped with several different laser devices to meet the varying needs of our patients. Not all lasers are resurfacing therapies. Some use gentle wavelengths to stimulate changes in cellular behavior in the dermis. In the area of resurfacing, lasers are now gentler, affecting only a fraction of the skin’s surface to promote meaningful healing without much downtime.
All skin needs help as it ages. To get assistance managing your skin, call 206-859-5777 and schedule a visit to our Renton or Seattle office.
Overnight Skin Care Treatments - Ask Jennifer Reichel, M.D.
What are overnight treatments and how do they work?
Overnight treatments are creams, serums, masks etc. that help to nourish the skin and replace moisture that is lost during the day. They can also be aimed at specific concerns, such as pigmentation, or texture or even pore size. Really, many of the cosmeceuticals that we recommend could be considered "overnight treatments". the best example, is RETIN-A (tretinoin) - which is used only at night, and is significantly targeting lines, pigment, acne, and pore size.
What would be the benefit of picking an overnight treatment over your regular night cream or serum?
An overnight treatment will have ingredients that may last longer. The best example would be in a mask. They will often times be heavier on the moisture balance than a regular night cream. So if you need an extra moisture boost - give them a try.
What are some common skin care concerns that an overnight treatment can address (i.e. acne)?
- Pore Size
How do you pick the right overnight treatment for you?
- Your age
- Skin type
Going Above And Beyond For Your Skin May Be Easier Than You Think
When people talk about their skin, there are a few usual topics. We hear concerns related to aging. Some patients need to discuss ways to control acne or a chronic skin condition. At times, the topic of discussion turns toward skin cancer prevention. These are all important matters, but what we want to discuss today is how to maximize your skin now with a few easy steps.
- Get to the source. Did you know that there is a layer of cells that sit on the surface of your skin? When this cellular blanket is left undisturbed, it blocks your radiant glow from shining through. It also blocks your skincare products from the cells that need those nourishing ingredients the most. Bottom line: you want to periodically remove the uppermost layer of cells. This can be accomplished with a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or even a fractionated laser treatment.
- Get the good stuff. What you put on your skin matters as much as what you put in your body to feed the skin. Skincare is a form of nutrition, so ingredients matter. There are two important points that need to be made here. One is that store-bought skincare products are approved for superficial effect. Active ingredients are included in low concentrations. Medical grade skincare is approved for stronger concentrations, so can accomplish more. Second, product ingredients matter. Look for ingredients that will protect the skin, like antioxidants, and aid in cellular regeneration, like vitamin C.
- Get smart about protection. We hear it all the time: we need to wear sunscreen. And yet, surveys reveal that a large percentage of the population reaches for sunscreen only when obvious UV exposure is expected, such as a day at the pool. Sunscreen is a necessity not some days, but all days. Every day of the year. Could we be any clearer? Physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide are ideal, according to the Environmental Working Group, which creates a detailed list of sunscreens each year based on efficacy.
We care about your skin. Let us show you how to care for it. Call 206-859-5777 for an appointment at our Seattle or Renton location.
Don't Fall for the Idea that your Skin is Safe this Season!
Oh, how we love Fall! It's the time of hoodies and vibrant colors and Pumpkin Spice Lattes galore! While we get carried away jumping in piles of leaves and choosing the biggest pumpkin for our front yard, we can easily forget that the change in weather means that we should revisit how we are caring for our skin. Before it gets colder - and before you start thinking about looking your best for the holidays - think about what your skin may be telling you.
Message #1 - I need moisture!
Skin gets incredibly dry in the months when the thermometer drops. Because we love being warm and toasty, the activities engage in could only serve to exacerbate the dryness of our skin. You need not give up heating your home or warming your soul under some steamy water. What you can do to nourish your skin is gather a few tools. Two of your new best friends could be a gentle cleanser (buh-bye, bar soap!) and an alcohol-free body cream. Those lighter lotions? Leave them for summer!
Message #2 - I need protection!
We are continually warned about spending a lot of time in the sun, which we tend to do when the weather is warm and sunny. Once we make our way into fall, we may get showers here and there, and we definitely aren't sweltering hot. As you sip on your cup of hot tea, the last thing on your mind may be that your skin is in need of UV protection. Researchers believe that we could actually be doing more harm than good during the Fall months simply because we forget to use sunscreen as we should. Remember, UV radiation is always out to play, and it will damage your skin.
Message #3 - I need pampering!
Summer-time skin damage can lead to signs of aging such as spots, wrinkles and loss of elasticity. UVA exposure breaks down collagen, and you may not see the evidence of this for several years. If you know that collagen is being degraded bit by bit, you can counteract this process with professional care. Your dermatologist can discuss collagen-building treatments and skin care such as retinol products.
The team at Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center can support you in caring for your skin. Call 206-859-5777 to schedule a visit to our Seattle or Renton office.
September 2016 Specials and Events
September 2016 Specials and Events are here. Back to School Back to Skin in September: Ultherapy events & savings, acne treatments for all ages, 15% off clarisonics all month, schedule your September skin check, free liposuction and cellfina consults, and more! Learn more by reading through our specials, contact us, or RSVP for our September Events at 206-859-5777.
Summer is Coming, is your Skin Care Routine Ready?
As summer approaches, many people are thinking about body and skin enhancing treatments that will help them look at feel their best. At Pacific Dermatology, we say Spring is the best time to start thinking about your dermatologic needs and how they may change as the weather heats up.
Your skin's needs actually change with the seasons. Some of the ways that you can protect and nourish the largest of all of your organs include:
- Use sunscreen as recommended. UV protection is important throughout the entire year. However, because you may spend more time outdoors, and may sweat more in the summer months, your use of sunscreen may change somewhat. Read the label and you may find that you need to apply more sunscreen more frequently than you may have thought. When outdoors, you need about 1 ounce applied to exposed areas not just once but two or three times a day.
- Use clothing to protect your skin. Especially when you are spending several hours in the garden or at the beach, your skin will be vulnerable to UV damage. In addition to your sunscreen, you can amp up protective measures by wearing sunglasses, a brimmed hat that shades the face, and unbleached cotton clothing, preferably a long-sleeved shirt.
- Load up on moisture and hydration, your skin needs both. Hydration is always important as it pertains to your skin, but even more so during warmer months. We are advised to drink at least 64 oz, or 8 glasses of water each day. In addition to hydrating on the inside, treat the surface of your skin with an appropriate moisturizer to keep it from drying out. Your SPF moisturizer doesn't count! Your skin will need something with nourishing ingredients such as antioxidants to fight the effects of UV rays and other summertime elements. If your normal moisturizer feels heavy, switch to a lighter formulation during the summer.
Need help preparing your skin for summer? Schedule a visit with your friendly dermatologist at Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center. We have offices in Renton and Seattle to conveniently serve your aesthetic and dermatologic needs.
Skin cancer screenings are one of the most important reasons to visit your dermatologist
By Dr. Laurie Jacobson
Skin cancer screenings are one of the most important reasons to visit your dermatologist. Why is doing this on an annual basis so important?
The vast majority of skin cancers are treatable, especially when caught early. There are over 3 million new cases of skin cancer treated in the US each year, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime! It is the most common cancer in the US.
When skin cancers are found late, they are more challenging to treat, especially melanoma. In the case of melanoma, early detection can be the difference between life and death.
What does a full skin exam entail?
A full skin exam is exactly that; we need to examine every aspect of your skin so please take off your socks and wear your hair down so we can be thorough with your examination. We provide a gown and a medical assistant is in the room with the doctor during the exam.
The visit typically takes 15-20 minutes and we examine everywhere where there is skin—between toes, behind the ears, and the groin and buttocks. Please try to avoid wearing nail polish as skin cancer can sometimes present under or near the nail bed. And, wear as little makeup as possible so we can thoroughly examine your face.
What happens if the doctor finds something concerning?
When you come in for the examination, be prepared to potentially have a biopsy that very day. It’s a quick and straightforward procedure in which a small amount of local anesthetic is injected and a tiny skin sample is taken and sent to the lab. The lesion is examined under the microscope and results are typically ready within a few days.
The biopsy is only for purposes of diagnosis and not treatment so if it is indeed a skin cancer, it will require further treatment to remove the entire lesion. We provide the vast majority of surgeries needed for treating skin cancer in our office.
How can I prevent skin cancer?
- Wear sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30 or more on exposed areas, including your lips
- Wear protective clothing including broad brimmed hats and when in the water, wear rash guard shirts
- Be alert to any changing growths on your skin (bleeding, itchy, painful, growing for example)
- Visit your dermatologist annually for skin checks or whenever you have a concerning lesion
- Perform a self-skin exam monthly and become familiar with the spots on your skin. Be alert for new or changing growths.
- Avoid tanning booths!
by Ashley Miguel, PA-C
The signs of Spring are appearing all around us! Days are growing longer, winter frost has disappeared, flowers are blooming everywhere, and we are seeing the sun more and more. These signs signal it’s time to shed the old and embrace the new! Why not start with your skin care routine?
PD&CC has an amazing array of quality cosmeceuticals and prescription grade skin care products that can aid in shedding the dull skin of winter so you can radiate the glow of spring. A cornerstone of any daily routine is to incorporate one of our retinoid or retinol products, which aid in exfoliating the epidermis, thereby brightening your complexion, smoothing rough skin and fine lines, and unclogging your pores. Stop in either our Northgate or Renton clinic and have one of our skin care professionals recommend one that suits your skin type.
Another crucial component to daily care, especially as the sun becomes more intense, is sunblock. Even rays that penetrate car windows can contribute to skin cancer and pre-mature aging such as wrinkles, skin laxity, and sun spot formation on the face, neck, and hands! Try one of our physical sunblocks from the Elta MD line that work via Zinc and Titanium. They form a shield on your skin to block UV radiation from damaging your dermis. Elta MD provides exceptional coverage in formulas that are a pleasure to wear. Remember that Spring arrives March 19th Pacific Time so let us help you get ready.