Sun Protection 101 with Dr. Ellen Frankel

Our series, SKIN CARE PEARLS, continues, with Dr. Ellen Frankel

Sun Protection 101

By Dr. Ellen Frankel

While sun exposure is a normal consequence of healthy outdoor activity, here are some basic pointers to enjoy the outdoors and to protect your skin from Ultraviolet light, sun damage, sunburn, wrinkles and skin cancer.

1.    Avoid the midday sun—it is best to avoid sun between 10 AM and 2 PM. The sun is strongest at noon. It is best to schedule outdoor activities in the early morning or early afternoon.

2.    Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Find one you like and reapply often.

3.    Don’t rely on the weather reports—you can still burn in cloudy weather.

4.    Apply sunblock thickly. One ounce (A SHOTGLASS full) is what is recommended and required to cover your entire body.

5.    Don’t forget to cover the “tricky” spots: your arm pits, the tops of your ears and the back of your neck.

6.    Reapply your sunscreen/sunblock often. After 2-3 hours, your sunblock loses its efficacy. Newer sunblocks can last 4-5 hours, but it is best to reapply after swimming or sweating.

7.    Make sunscreen a habit. Purchase several bottles and make them visible and easily accessible in your home, car, gardening area and/or recreational gear. It is known that if you see the sunscreen bottle or tube you will be more likely to remember to reapply it.

8.    Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.  This will help prevent ocular melanoma and UV-induced cataracts, and wrinkles around the delicate skin of your eyes.

9.    Wear protective clothing (UPF 50+) and wide brimmed hats. Alternatively, you can purchase laundry rinses that will add UV blocking ability to your clothes.

10.Wear lip balm (SPF 30+) to protect your lips.

11.If you are worried about vitamin D deficiency, ask your doctor about Vitamin D supplementation. Do NOT rely on the sun as your source of Vitamin D and good bone health.

12.Practice safe sun habits and teach your children and grandchildren at a young age and model good behavior. Help them apply sunscreen and have them help apply your sunblock. Remember the hats and sunglasses too.

13.Lastly, check all your medications and beware that certain medications can cause sun sensitivity. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications will increase your sun sensitivity and act accordingly.

About Ellen H. Frankel, MD

After finishing medical school at New York Medical College, I completed my internship in Internal Medicine at New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center. Next was a dermatology residency at University of Miami School of Medicine (Miami, Florida) where I was chief resident.

After completion of training, I moved to Providence, Rhode Island and did a pediatric residency at Rhode Island Hospital. I have been in private practice in Cranston, Rhode Island since 1987, and was chief of dermatology at St. Joseph’s Hospital from 1995-2008. I am now chief of dermatology at Kent Hospital.

I also work on clinical research studies for various pharmaceutical companies in the area of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis 2 days a week, at Clinical Partners, in Johnston, RI.

I have given numerous lectures over the years to various medical groups (both in state and out), public skin awareness screenings at local hospitals and senior centers, and classrooms to teach youngsters about the damages of the sun. My practice is composed of a wide range of patients, and I have a special interest in pediatric and cosmetic dermatology. My office staff and I make a special effort to put children at ease in the office, as evidenced by the separate pediatric examining room and waiting room furniture with toys and books designed to make them feel comfortable. My medical practice offers general skin care and treatments of various illnesses. Cosmetic and medical procedures are offered in our Rejuvaderm MediaSpa office. Call us at (401) 944-SKIN (7546) to set up an appointment in our Medispa office or call us at (401) 943-0761 for our RISkinDoc office. All of my attention is focused on good patient care, be it the child or the young at heart. I give each patient plenty of time for a thorough analysis of their problems.

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