With one in five Americans who will be affected by skin cancer in their lifetime, Dr. Darrell Rigel, Dermatologist and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at New York University Medical Center stopped by to share his tips on choosing the right sunscreen to aid against skin cancer and how to find free skin cancer screenings in your area.
Dr. Darrell Rigel – NYU Langone Medical Center
Candace Rose: What are the proper precautions we should be taking to protect ourselves against skin cancer?
Dr. Darrell Rigel: "Well, skin cancer is one of the few cancers we know the majority of the causes and that's really exposure to too much sun, so there's three simple steps we can take to lower our skin cancer risk. The first is regularly use sunscreen and you want to use a sunscreen that's SPF 30 or higher and that's got broad-spectrum to protect from both ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays and you want to also take a sunscreen that's going to last a little longer out there. Some of the technologies out there help the sunscreen to last a little longer; helioplex is one of the best that are out there. The second thing that you want to do is avoid the midday sun when the rays are strongest, so at lunchtime go inside, grab some lunch in the shade rather. And then number three is wear protective clothing, wear that broad-brimmed hat, wear those long sleeves. We know that those three things together can lower your risk of getting skin cancer."
CR: What are the common misconceptions or myths about skin cancer?
DR: "Well, I think one of the most important myths we hear is skin cancer is no big deal and that's really true to a large extent if it's caught and detected early , but the problem is people don't recognize it, they let it go and early detection is so critical. If you have something that's growing, bleeding, crusting or changing on your skin, you have to see your dermatologist to make sure if something's there it can be treated early. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery has teamed up with Neutrogena to develop the 'Choose Skin Health' program and if you go to ChooseSkinHealth.com, you can find a dermatologist in your community who will do a free skin cancer check for you and if something's there it can be easily taken care of, so I encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful program."
Neutrogena Choose Skin Health – ChooseSkinHealth.com
CR: Picking the perfect sunscreen can be a daunting task – how can we pick the right one?
DR: "Well, that's always a challenge because with the current labeling, unless you're an organic chemist it may be sometimes tough to figure out what the perfect one is. The general rules with 'the current labeling' is to basically see broad-spectrum, SPF #) or higher and something like helioplex that's going to make the sunscreen last longer. Those are all important parts of it. The FDA last week came out with new labeling rules that will kick in for next year. It's going to make the problem a lot easier because broad-spectrum is going to have meaning, so when you see broad-spectrum and SPF 30 or higher and water resistant for 40 or 80 minutes, those three things will tell you you're getting the protection you need."
CR: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
DR: "I think again, it's so important, it's preventable if you protect yourself. Use those common sense things – use that sunscreen, avoid the midday sun, wear protective clothing; and if you have a spot that's growing, bleeding, or crusting, or changing, see your dermatologist and take advantage of that program of Choose Skin Health because at ChooseSkinHealth.com you'll be able to get that free screening."