ISSUE: Summer 2011
DEPT: Beauty Kit
STORY: Anna M. Park
We all know by now that we have to protect ourselves from the sun. But there is so much confusion out there about SPF, the different types of blockers and how much to apply. So we asked cosmetic dermatologist and author Tess Mauricio, M.D., who is of Filipino, Chinese and Spanish descent, to cut to the basics.
Protecting your skin from the sun is no laughing matter, especially when such rampant sun worshipping leads to premature aging, unsightly sunspots and even cancer. But what’s not commonly known is that while skin cancer affects more Caucasian Americans, Asian Americans and other people of color are more likely to diefrom melanoma than their Caucasian counterparts. (Did you know that reggae musician Bob Marley died of skin cancer at the age of 36?)
Strangely enough, melanomas in Asians, including Filipinos, Indonesians and Native Hawaiians, most often occur on non-exposedskin with less pigment — in fact, up to 60-75 percent of tumors show up on the palms, soles, mucous membranes (the mouth!) and nail regions. And among non-Caucasians, melanoma is a higher risk for children than adults: 6.5 percent of pediatric melanomas occur in non-Caucasians.
So what do you do? First, get checked. Look for moles or spots that change over time, get crusty or bleed. The Skin Cancer Foundation is once again launching their Road to Healthy Skin Tour (skincancer.org/tour) this summer. Get a free full body skin cancer screening, the latest info on preventing skin cancer, and samples of the latest Aveeno products, including their genius Hydrosport Sunblock Spray (yes, you can spray on wet skin).
Secondly, always, always, always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Confused by all the different ingredients and SPF labels? One easy way is to look for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation (check out skincancer.org/sealfor details).