The 2012 edition of The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal features medically reviewed, reader-friendly articles such as tanning, the increasing incidence of skin cancer diagnoses among young women, & the prevalence of melanoma among white males over 50.
Issue link: http://skincancer.epubxp.com/i/526209
titanium dioxide, both mineral-based "physical" sunscreens that de- flect ather than absorb the sun's rays. These have been found to offer the best UVA protection of any sunscreen ingredients currently in the US. Many manufacturers shied away from these oxides, because their conspicuous stark white look was not attractive to many con- sumers. However, modern technology now allows for "micron- izing," or miniaturizing, the oxide particles, making the sunscreen transparent. Studies show that even these micronized sunscreens do NOT get absorbed into the skin or cause other health problems. 6 TANNING BED UV: NOT SAFER THAN SUN EXPOSURE The major part of the radiation produced by tanning beds is UVA, and tanning salons like to maintain that indoor UVA tanning is safer than outdoor tanning. But in addition to the research showing the dan- gers of UVA, multiple studies have linked recent significant increases in melanoma among young women to indoor tanning. In short, we now know that tanning beds and the UVA rays they predominantly emit can be serious promoters of melanoma. 7 Tanning salons also go so far as to proclaim the "health" benefits of indoor tanning, citing their ability to manufacture vitamin D in the body. True, having a high enough level of Vitamin D in our blood- stream is important for bone strength and the functioning of many organ systems. Vitamin D may even help protect against melanoma! However, the body manufactures Vitamin D in the skin primarily after UVB exposure, not UVA exposure. What's more, it produces all the vitamin D it can muster after just a few minutes of UVB exposure; after that, the body's supply of vitamin D actually starts to decrease! And NO ONE goes in tanning booths for just a few minutes! The truth is, tanning bed UV produces health damage, not health ben- efits. It is far safer to acquire vitamin D through D-rich food and sup- plements. We live in a time when Vitamin D supplements are plentiful, inexpensive and highly effective. Why tempt fate tanning when we know we can take a supplement and avoid increasing our risk of skin cancer? [See "Vitamin D: A Bad Excuse For A Tan"on pg. 68.] CONCLUSIONS Being a smart consumer means knowing how to differentiate what is safe from what is dangerous, and what is beneficial from what harms our health. Whether from the sun or from a tanning booth, UVA and UVB are ultimately harmful and dangerous. There is no such thing as a healthy UV tan. AMY FORMAN TAUB, MD, founded Advanced Dermatology (AD), one of the top 50 medical and cosmetic dermatology practices in the US, specializing in skin cancer detection, aesthetic dermatology, laser sur- gery, photodynamic therapy, procedural treatments for acne and scarring, non-surgical body shaping and cosmeceutical-grade skincare. Dr. Taub also founded the website skinfo.com and opened skinfo ® Specialty Skincare Bou- tique in the same locations as AD. Dr. Taub is a pioneer in photodynamic therapy and full facial volumetric filler rejuvenation, as well as an expert in laser treatment. She is a frequent lecturer and author in the US and abroad, with 10 book chapters and over 20 original peer-reviewed publications in major journals. She is a member of The Skin Cancer Foundation's Amonette Circle. UV and the EYES The skin is not the only victim of UV. Ultraviolet radi- ation has also been linked to both melanoma and non-mela- noma skin cancers of the eyelid, conjunctival melanomas, and even cataracts. 8 Most sunglasses and even contact lenses can filter out UV to different degrees. However, you should always verify that the lenses offer broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection – ideally 99% or higher. Also be aware that sunlight can still reach your eyes from the top, bottom or sides of the glasses. Wearing wide, wraparound lenses is ideal, and wearing a wide-brim hat will add to this eye protection. Today, you can even find sunscreens specially formu- lated to use on your eyelids or the areas around the eye, without the risk that they will harm the sensitive eyelid skin or migrate into the eye and cause pain. These sun- screens are especially good for professional athletes and other sports-minded individuals. It is often said that the eyes are the "windows to the soul." They also present some of the clearest visual signs we have of aging. The earliest signs of aging are often wrinkles around the eye, which are partly the result of lifetime UV expo- sure. Treatments to improve these conditions include fillers, botulinum toxin and laser resurfacing, but as always, prevention is your best bet, as well as the most cost-effective alternative. References on pages 105-107.