Santa Monicans love being outside and enjoying the sun, but are you taking the right steps to protect yourself while enjoying the great Southern California weather?
Lisa Chipps, MD, a dermatologist and partner with Moy-Fincher-Chipps Dermatology, explains there are many simple tips to protect your skin from the sun as summer begins.
“We know that the sun contains ultraviolet radiation, called UVA and UVB, that damages the skin,” Dr. Chipps said. “Not only does it cause sunburns and skin cancers, but it also causes a lot of things people don’t like including brown spots, wrinkles, red blood vessels, and those sort of things.”
She said it’s extremely important to protect skin from the sun.
“First of all, it’s important to choose wisely when you are going to be out in the sun,” she said. “It’s much better to be out in the sun early in the morning or late in the day. Everyone should avoid those midday hours from 10 am to 4 pm.
“Secondly, it’s good to seek shade when you are outside. If you can be outside doing an activity in the shade, it is much better for your skin than doing it in the sun. Protective clothing is important like hats and protective clothing with long sleeves. UPF clothing is especially good.
“Finally, sunscreen is important for protecting your skin from the sun. Sunscreen needs to be broad spectrum to protect against UVA and UVB. Generally anything SPF of 30 or higher has broad spectrum, which is a good choice. If you are in the water, you need to reapply. Sunscreens are now rated for 40 minutes of water resistance or 20 minutes of water resistance. You need to read the label and find out what one you have if you are going to be in the water.”
Dr. Chipps said there were misconceptions about gaining Vitamin D from extended sun exposure.
“Our skin does make Vitamin D from sun exposure, but it only takes a few minutes of sun a day to max out the amount of Vitamin D the skin can make,” she said. “The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that we get our Vitamin D through our diet. That can be through green leafy vegetables — that can be through Vitamin D supplemented milk products and through supplements as well.”
She said most people should participate in a mole check once a year with a board certified dermatologist.
“Some people need to do that more often than others,” she said. “Their dermatologist will tell them if they are in the group.”
In general, if there’s a mole that is changing, it should be checked out, Dr. Chipps said.
“If it’s bleeding, or scabbing, or crusting, it needs to be looked at,” she said. “People should do their own monthly skin exams. Everybody needs to know their moles and know what’s on their skin. If something new comes up or something changes, they’ll notice it. It is recommended that everyone does a monthly skin check on their own or with their partner or spouse, then come in once a year for a mole check.”
Dr. Chipps said melanomas can affect people of any age and any skin color.
“Melanoma is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in their late 20s,” she said. “It can affect people very young. Anybody with a history of sun burn or tanning bed use has a higher risk. If you have a first degree relative who has had a melanoma you are in a higher risk group as well.”
Dr. Chipps said she treats patients with a wide variety of skin problems ranging from skin cancers to acne and common skin problems like eczema and warts.
“We do a lot of cosmetic procedures,” she said. “We offer cosmetic surgery like liposuction, face lifts, neck lifts, eye lift, lots of laser procedures. We have dozens of lasers in our practice and can treat anything that lasers can treat. There are also injectables like fillers and botox.”
She said June was a popular time of year when people were most interested in how they can look best in a swim suit.
“Skin health is the most important thing,” she said. “Make sure your skin has been checked and all of your moles have been looked at. Liposuction is a very popular procedure this time of year and it can be done under local anesthesia. There are also noninvasive options too like radio frequency tightening procedures and noninvasive fat reduction procedures, so this is a good time for people to come in and talk about those options and see how they can look best in their bikini this summer.”
Moy-Fincher-Chipps Dermatology is located at 421 N. Rodeo Drive, Suite 7, Beverly Hills.
For more information about the practice, call 310.274.5372 or visit www.rodeoderm.com.