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How To Keep Your Skin Safe From The Sun

woman on beach in the sun

A recent study found that just 14% of American Men and 30% of American Women regularly use sunscreen before sun exposure, and with the coming Spring and Summer seasons (when the UV Index is at its highest[1]) we typically spend more time outdoors. It is always the time for protective measures from the sun, but it is especially important to consider how to increase your sun protection during the warmer months!


Spending more time in the sun means spending more time on sun protection!


Here are my recommendations on how to keep your skin safest this Spring & Summer and be proactive in reducing your sun exposure:

  1. Use a Physical (Mineral) sunscreen on all exposed areas of the body (remember your ears!). A physical sunscreen sits on the top of your skin and reflects harmful UVA and UVB rays. It uses mineral ingredients such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide which are inert and safe for all age groups including children. Sometimes Physical sunscreens have a bad rep for being thicker and leaving a white cast, so I recommend three products that I love so much we carry them in office:




 – Elta MD UV Clear, which is a thinner formula great for more oily skin types

 – Elta MD Tinted Physical, a lightly tinted formula that is glowy and radiant for drier skin types

 – Elta MD Body Sunscreen for the body





  1. The suns UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.[2] Avoid being in the sun between the hours of 10am-4pm (if you can) when the sun is at its highest intensity.

  2. Wear protective clothing when possible. Tighter woven fabrics offer the best protection, and there is also UPF rated sun protection clothing available. UPF is a rating for how much UV radiation is absorbed by the fabric. For instance, a UPF rating of 50 means that 1/50th of the suns UV radiation with pass through the fabric. This means it can reduce the UV rays that reach your skin by 50 times or close to 98% UV protection. So, clothing with a UPF grading of 50 works even better then regular clothing. 
  3. Wear a hat! About 7% of head and neck melanomas are found on the ears.[3] 
  4. Wear a SPF protective lip balm to protect your lips and re-apply every 2 hours, and after you drink or eat. [4]
  5. Some natural oils such as Carrot or Coconut oil do provide some sun protection (about SPF 4), but they are not enough so be sure to not rely on them solely for your sun protection.
  6. Consider upping your protection from the inside out. I often recommend Heliocare, a daily dietary supplement that helps maintain your skin’s ability to protect itself against the aging effects of free radicals. It helps protect skin, increases your skins sunburn threshold, and reduces the risk of skin cancer. In fact, a diet high in antioxidants in general is a good way to increase your sun protection as well.



Dr. Papantoniou using the Q-Switch laser on a patients face

Dr. Papantoniou using the Q-Switch laser on a patient


If you find yourself with something on your body that you’re not sure of, be sure to get a skin check from your Dermatologist. I recommend yearly skin checks just to make sure your skin is free of concern. If you find yourself with sun damage, there are also some procedures I like to do in office to help the appearance. We can reverse age spots, broken collagen, fine lines and broken blood vessels which can all appear years after prolonged sun exposure. 

Check out our facial rejuvenation and laser services menus. If you would like to schedule a consultation with us, contact us or give us a call at 631-377-7222!

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Are you using the right anti-aging products?

Are you using the right anti-aging products?

There are so many options available when it comes to anti-aging creams, lotions, serums and cleansers. I am asked on a daily basis by my patients what really works and what do I recommend. As a Dermatologist I have found through my experience and extensive research that you should be looking for several key basic elements and ingredients when selecting a product to help reverse and prevent the signs of aging. Ask yourself if your regimen and creams provide:

1.  Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – 50 daily moisturizer.

This will help prevent sun spots, discoloration, melasma, fine lines and wrinkles from collagen and elastin break down, and prevent DNA damage and risk for skin cancers.

2.  Retinol or Retinoic Acid 2-3 times per week, or nightly as tolerated.

This will promote your skin cells to produce more collagen, even out skin tone, and is clinically proven to improve fine lines and wrinkles. This is the gold standard in skin care for rejuvenation and prevention.

3Vitamin C: can be used in the morning or evening.

A strong antioxidant, and skin brightener, this can help reverse daily damage from free readicals and even out skin tone. May also help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

4Hyaluronic acid serums or creams.

This may be used alone or in combination with the other recommended ingredients listed to super hydrate your skin cells, and instantly improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Some studies have also linked Hyaluronic acids with skin regeneration and increased collagen production.

5. Green Tea Polyphenols, Resveratrol, Edelweiss

These are powerful antioxidants and free radical scavengers that are anti-inflammatory, and help to promote cellular health. They have the potential to increase your skins ability to heal and repair from photo-damage as well.


If your regimen does not include the top 2 important elements: sunscreen and retinol/retinoic acid you may want to consider adding these. I will mention that there are some people, especially those who are rosacea prone or have eczema, that may have flare ups of their conditions with a retinol/retinoic acid cream and so should omit this from their regimen if they note worsening. 


What about growth factors?

Well, there is a new wave of cosmetics for anti-aging purposes that contain growth factors, some of which are plant derived, and some derived from living cells. These growth factor aim at specifically stimulating cell growth and production of collagen. I won’t get into the controversy over the use and origin of these growth factor containing ingredients, but I will mention my hesitation with recommending these products. In order for an ingredient to have an effect on the cells in your skin, it must first be able to cross your skin barrier and be able to migrate across cellular membranes, I am not sure that all these growth factor creams/serums are truly able to accomplish this and are truly effective. And as a precaution if you have a history of skin cancer or are at a high risk for skin cancer I would reconsider using these products on your skin, a growth factor has the potential to increase the growth and turn-over of many cell types and may pose a theoretical risk. On the other hand, the use of topical Retinol/Retinoic acid is beneficial for reducing the risk of developing certain types of skin cancers.

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The information presented on is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional treatment or diagnosis. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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