The Doctor Is In – Cosmetics May/June 2007
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The Doctor Is In – Cosmetics May/June 2007

8 Sun Care Myths

By Alix Fuller
Cosmetics: Do you need to wear sunscreen if you gradually get your skin used to tanning? 
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Yes. If you have a tan, you’ve damaged your skin as that’s how it responds to injury. A tan does give you more protection than no tan, but it doesn’t provide nearly enough without sunscreen. 
 
C: Do tanning beds provide a good base for a tan? Dr. LK: Bad, bad, bad! A tanning bed filters out certain wavelengths of UV light and in some cases, is more danger­ous than the sun. Why? Because the type that’s filtered out is the one that causes redness, which tells you you’ve had enough sun. Because you don’t have those as a warning sign, you stay longer and it’s even more damaging. I know of one U.S. state that’s banning tanning beds for people under 18. 
  
C: Do you need to wear sunscreen if it’s cloudy? 
Dr. LK: Yes, because even on a cloudy day, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can pass through. Even when it’s raining! 

C: 
What about when you’re in the water? 
Dr. LK: Yes, because water doesn’t filter out the UV light and you’re risking sunburn, skin damage and maybe even skin cancer. 
C: Do you need sunscreen if it’s cold out? 
Dr. LK: You need sunscreen all year round. You can get a lot of exposure on a sunny winter day, especially if there’s snow as the sun reflects off it. Temperature means nothing when it comes to sun exposure.
 
C: Do you have to be careful, even if your skin is olive or dark? 
Dr. LK: The more melanin you have in your skin, the more UV light is filtered out. So, someone with dark or black skin won’t burn as quickly as someone who is fairer, but all individuals should use sunscreen. 

C: 
If you don’t tan, do you get enough vitamin D? 
Dr. LK: If you’re really concerned, just take a multi-vitamin or a supplement. Don’t risk sun damage when you don’t have to. 

C: 
How protective is clothing? 
Dr. LK: Any clothing is better than nothing, but there are certain fabrics that are of a certain weave of material that help protect skin, but they have to be tested for a UV protection factor. Not all clothing has that. I made sun hats for some of my patients. They’re very fashionable but have a UV light protection factor of 50. They’re called Clear Clinical Hats, and they have a five inch brim so they protect not only the face but also the neck and the V of the chest. They’re available at DLK on Avenue and at www.KellettSkincare.com.
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