Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Skin Cancer Foundation Busts Myths about Vitamin D and Sun Exposure

Vitamin D is often called the “sunlight” vitamin because the body produces it when the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are absorbed through the skin. The vitamin is essential for strengthening bones and building a healthy immune system, but it is often used as an excuse to justify sun exposure and tanning. However, according to a recent statement from the Skin Cancer Foundation, the healthiest and most effective way to absorb vitamin D is by eating a balanced diet and taking vitamin supplements. The Foundation also stated that sun exposure actually weakens the immune system, countering one of the key benefits of vitamin D.

“The misconception that exposure to UVB radiation is the optimal source of vitamin D puts people at risk for potentially life-threatening skin cancer,” Dr. Perry Robins, President of the Skin Cancer Foundation, said in the statement. “Furthermore, in most cases the body stops producing Vitamin D after just a few minutes of sun exposure.”
The Skin Cancer Foundation article listed some myths and facts related to vitamin D, sun exposure and tanning:
Myth: UVB radiation is a good source of vitamin D.

Fact: We can produce only a limited amount of vitamin D from UVB radiation. For Caucasians, that limit is reached after just five to 10 minutes of midday sun exposure.1 After reaching the limit, further exposure will not increase the amount of vitamin D in the body. Rather, it has the opposite effect: the vitamin D stored in the body begins to break down, leading to lower vitamin D levels. 4

Myth: Sun exposure is the only source of vitamin D.

Fact: Vitamin D can be obtained from oily fish (like salmon, fresh tuna, trout and sardines) and cod liver oil, as well as from fortified orange juice and milk, yogurts, and some cereals. Supplements are readily available and inexpensive.

Myth: Tanning beds are a healthy option for boosting vitamin D levels.

Fact: The indoor tanning industry often makes the false claim that indoor tanning is helpful for vitamin D production. In reality, vitamin D is received through exposure to UVB rays; the bulbs used in tanning beds mainly emit UVA rays. Tanning beds are a known carcinogen. Just one indoor UV tanning session increases users’ chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent, and each additional session during the same year boosts the risk almost another two percent. 5

For more information about skin cancer prevention and vitamin D, visit

1 Wolpowitz D, Gilchrest BA. The vitamin D questions: how much do you need and how should you get it? J Am Acad Dermatol 2006; 54:301-17.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine’s Day has passed, but it’s not too late to treat yourself!

Want to treat yourself and your skin? This month Greenville Dermatology is offering a great deal on peels! If you’ve never had a peel, here are some FAQ’s to help you understand the benefits.

What are the benefits of a chemical peel?
Chemical peels can be done on the face, neck or hands. They can be used to:
·         Reduce fine lines
·         Treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging
·         Improve the appearance of mild scars
·         Reduce age spots, freckles and dark patches (melasma) due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills
·         Improve the look and feel of skin

Who should get a chemical peel?
Anyone who has fine lines, wrinkles, scarring or sun damage and is interested in correcting the blemishes without surgery should consider a chemical peel. (Sagging skin or bulges cannot be improved with peels and typically require cosmetic surgery.)

Is the peel painful?
During a chemical peel, most people feel a burning sensation that lasts about 5-10 minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. Putting cool compresses on the skin may ease the stinging. You may need mild pain medication during or after a deeper peel.

What types of peels does Greenville Dermatology use?         
We provide alpha-hydroxy glycolic acid, beta-hydroxy salicylic acid peels, and TCA (trichloroaecetic acid) peels. These chemicals loosen blackheads and decrease acne by removing the top layer of skin, revealing the resulting new, healthier layer of skin.
How long does it take for my skin to heal and to see results?
The amount of time for skin to heal varies by patient but could take up to 14 days. However, once your skin has healed, you will see immediate improvements. For optimal results, we recommend patients have a second peel within the next six months to a year.
If you want to improve the skin you’re in without surgery, a chemical peel may be just right for you! For more information or additional questions, please call us today at 864-242-5872.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Protect your eyes

When protecting yourself from sunburn, you most likely give the most attention to your skin. However, it is important that you protect your entire body from harmful UV rays, including your eyes. According to a survey from the American Optometric Association (AOA), nearly 35 percent of Americans admitted that they often forget to protect their eyes from the sun.

Sunburned eyes can cause both short-term and long-term effects. Symptoms include redness or irritation, tearing, pain, a gritty feeling (almost like there's sand in your eyes), blurry vision and temporary loss of vision (called photokeratitis or snow blindness). Long-term effects can include cataracts, benign growths on the eye, skin cancer of the eyelids and surrounding tissue, and possibly macular degeneration.

Recently, CNN newsman Anderson Cooper revealed that he went blind for 36 hours after the sun’s reflection off of the ocean sunburned his eyes. During a broadcast of his daytime talk show Anderson Live,  Cooper explained, “I woke up in the middle of the night and it feels like my eyes are on fire…I think, oh maybe I have sand in my eyes or something…It turns out I have sunburned my eyeballs...I went blind for 36 hours.”

According to the AOA, eye damage due to UV rays is cumulative, so it is never too late to start protecting your eyes. Following are some tips for getting started:

1.       Wear protective eyewear any time your eyes are exposed to UV light, even on cloudy days and during winter months.

2.       Look for quality sunglasses that offer good protection. Sunglasses should block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UB-B radiation and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.

3.       Check to make sure your sunglass lenses are perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection.

4.       Purchase gray-colored lenses. They reduce light intensity without altering the color of objects, providing the most natural color vision.

5.       Don’t forget protection for children and teenagers. They typically spend more time in the sun than adults.

6.       Schedule comprehensive eye exams.

These simple safety precautions can determine the fate of your eye health now and later in life. Isn’t your vision worth it?