Why You Need Sunscreen Even When It’s Cold Outside

When it comes to skin care, most people are looking for simple solutions that can help them make sure their skin stays supple, firm and smooth without a lot of hassle and expense. That may sound like a lot to expect from just a single product, but in fact, today’s sunscreens deliver all that – and more!

Sunscreens help block the harmful UV rays of the sun, the rays that can cause skin cancer as well as premature aging of the skin. Those harmful rays interact with the skin’s cells causing them to break down, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles, as well as sun spots, uneven coloration and textural changes that can make your skin look older much too soon.

When it comes to wearing sunscreen, most people make three critical mistakes: They don’t apply enough; they don’t reapply it often enough; and they don’t wear it every day. Public education has gone a long way toward educating people about how much to apply – about the same amount as would fit in a shot glass – and it’s also done a lot to remind people to reapply after sports or swimming or whenever they’ve been perspiring a lot. However, many people still neglect to wear sunscreen every day, especially in the winter when dry skin really needs all the help it can get to stay healthy and protected.

The fact is, even on cold, wintry days, the sun’s rays are still shining. Many people mistakenly believe that if they don’t feel the hot, baking heat of midsummer, the sun’s UV rays aren’t still streaming down on them. But they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the UV rays that cause the most damage don’t cause you to feel warm; instead, they penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin where they cause damaging structural changes. And if there’s snow on the ground, their effect can be magnified by as much as 80 percent, thanks to snow’s reflective surface. Even on cloudy days, as much as 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays reach the earth’s surface – and your skin.

We can hear you now – I already apply moisturizer to my skin in the winter; now I have to add another product to the mix? Not necessarily. Sunscreens have come a long way since the first commercial products were introduced in the first half of the 20th century, and today there are plenty of products that combine both moisturizers and sunscreen so you can keep your skin healthy and protected in one simple step. Most people apply moisturizer in winter anyway – adding a product that includes sunscreen is a good way to make sure your skin is getting all the protection it needs, even when the cold, wintry winds are blowing.


Study Indicates Need for Improved Skin Cancer Care

Skin cancers like squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are routinely treated in physician’s offices here in Manhattan. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons use a variety of methods to excise a skin cancer lesion and close the wound, taking care to minimize negative aesthetic outcomes that can occur.

A recent study, reported this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests that quality of care should be improved for skin cancer. Researchers tracked 866 patients who were treated for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. When analyzing medical records and patient-reported complications, they found that more than one quarter of the patients had some type of complication. Meanwhile, only 3 percent of the doctors had noted any complication in patient records.

Why the discrepancy? Dr. Eleni Linos, who led the research team, suggested that patients may have “a broader view of what counts as a complication” and that doctors may also be missing chances to inquire about these issues after treatment.

About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer affects over 1 million Americans every year. It’s the most common form of cancer. When it’s diagnosed early, skin cancer is treatable, but has the potential to cause scars. Patients should seek out care from a skilled dermatologist or surgeon who will take care to maintain skin integrity and minimize unwanted cosmetic defects.

For basic lesions, treatment involves surgical removal with a scalpel or laser. A small incision is made around the lesion, using a local anesthetic to control discomfort. The lesion is removed and the incision is then closed using fine sutures. For many cases, a specialized technique called Mohs surgery is recommended. This involves precise removal of tissue followed by analysis under a microscope.

Learn more about Mohs Surgery at Sadick Dermatology.