Sun Protection – Zoomer Magazine - Summer, 2010
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Sun Protection – Zoomer Magazine - Summer, 2010

SUN, SUN, SUN. HERE IT COMES 

YVONNE BEAUCOURT FINDS SUN PROTECTION IS ALWAYS IN STYLE

DO YOU REALLY NEED to read yet another article about using sunscreen? Apparently so. According to a recent stat, 49 per cent of Canadians admit to not using the white stuff, even though skin cancer is the most common cancer in the country. Sigh. That’s not all. One recent study found that one in five people over 70 years of age have been treated for non-melanoma skin cancer as “epidemic” in the boomer generation due to their sunbathing ways in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Here’s what you should already know: use sunscreen with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection; it takes approximately two tablespoons to cover the entire body so slather, don’t dab, it on at least 30 minutes prior to your fun in the sun.

So what is new in the whole sunscreen scheme of things? The textures for one. Cast aside memories of thick gooey paste. Several products offer up powder-like finishes while others feel more like water on the skin they absorb that quickly. In other words, no more excuses.

And sun spots, age spots and precancerous spots have an alternative treatment to old-school nitrogen or excision, called photodynamic therapy, which uses a light. One of Canada’s top dermatologists, Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK on Avenue, has put it into practice on her patients. “The bonus is that the lesions destroyed are not only the ones visible clinically but also those that are present but are so small that they are not seen,” says Kellett. “Thus, it is great as a preventative treatment.”

THE DETAILS

How: Photodynamic therapy uses a photoactive drug called Levulan, which is applied all over the skin in the affected area as a liquid. Its application is entirely painless and during the incubation of around one to two hours, patients can just relax or read or even nap. Then a specific wavelength of light is applied to the skin to activate the drug. Because the atypical cells selectively absorb the drug when the particular light is applied the precancerous spots are destroyed.

Benefits:

  • More preventative medicine.
  • Not as disfiguring as liquid nitrogen of excision.
  • Pain-fee.
  • Easier and faster to book appointments as no referral is necessary from a family doctor so patients book directly with a dermatologist

Cost: $650 and up, depending on the number of treatments.

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