L'Oreal Paris Consulting Dermatologist, Dr. Gervaise Gerstner joined me yesterday for Melanoma Monday to discuss Skin Cancer Awareness month, the new FDA regulations on sunscreen and offer tips on how we can protect ourselves from one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, melanoma.
Candace Rose: With May being skin cancer awareness month and summer right around the corner, do you have any tips for staying safe in the sun?
Dr. Gervaise Gerstner: "I do. I have some good tips for you today, but the number one tip is to get a good sunscreen. Get a sunscreen that you like, because if you like it then you'll use it. Get one that feels good on your skin, luxurious, silky. I love the L'Oreal Sublime Sun Collection myself and my kids love it too which is very important. Get a sunscreen that you like, also a sunscreen that has the new FDA guidelines. Were you aware that there are new guidelines out there for sunscreens?"
Candace Rose: I am.
Dr. Gervaise Gerstner: "There are new guidelines out that start this summer so sunscreens now need to be broad spectrum. That means that they can't just be UVB; they have to be UVA and UVB coverage in them. So look for the words broad spectrum in the sunscreen. Also when it comes to the number of sunscreen- people always ask 'what number do I get'? Now starting this summer the maximum number you can get is SPF 50, so look for SPF 50 in your sunscreen.
Also, look for the words water resistant because no longer can a sunscreen call itself waterproof or sweat-proof, but it can call itself water-resistant. It actually has to tell to you- it has to tell you water-resistant 80 minutes, water-resistant 40 minutes."
Candace Rose: What's the proper way to apply sunscreen?
Dr. Gervaise Gersten: "Well, sunscreens can be applied in the morning but they need to be reapplied every couple hours. So every couple hours you need to either set your watch or set your iPhone to remind you that if you are out in the sun you need to reapply it. You also need to apply enough of it. A lot of people just don't apply enough, so I have the joke – you need to pull out a shot glass and fill up the sunscreen with at least a shot glass full of sunscreen every day, and then that same amount when you reapply. You need to be going through lots of bottles of sunscreen every summer. Another little personal trick is – my own children who are two girls age seven and nine would whine about me putting my hands all up in their face and smearing on sunscreen, so I developed a little technique of putting a dollop of sunscreen on a makeup brush and handing them that makeup brush and they can apply it themselves which makes it less messy, as well as it goes on very evenly."
Candace Rose: According to the Mayo Clinic, melanoma is the most common cancer among people in their late twenties and the risk is rising among those 18-32; what can we do to protect ourselves?
Dr. Gervaise Gerstner: "Well what you can do to protect yourself is just get checked. It's so easy, it's painless. Your dermatologist should check you once a year, definitely. But also your dermatologist, and myself now can teach you what to look for at home too on lesions that you may be worried about. I want you to glance at your skin once a month looking for a) asymmetry of a lesion, b) a border change of a lesion, c) a color change of a lesion, d) a diameter change, and e) evolving. So you need to look for that and any changes you need to bring to your dermatologist's attention."
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Dr. Gervaise Gerstner: "Well, definitely there's some great websites out there about skin cancer on the Skin Cancer Foundation website, as well as the L'Oreal Paris USA. com website has great informations on the new sunscreens, in particular like the new clear mists because I use it on my kids scalp and I think it's great. It also can be applied on wet skin which is great when kids come out of the pool you don't necessarily have to get them bone dry before you can reapply."
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Gervaise Gerstner: "L'OrealParisUSA.com."