Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Yesterday morning I was reading a story in the New York Times Well Blog about one man’s journey with the cancer treatment of his beloved dog. Boy it brought back a flood of memories for me.
Anyone who knows me knows what a dog lover I am. I bring my dog to work, and just about everywhere else that I go. I decided to briefly share my similar story in a comment on the NY Times Blog and while writing it my eyes started to tear up. My dogs sure move me and I thought I’d share some of my story here with you, my blog friends. It’s also a great chance for me to show you some pictures of my beloved pets too.
The New York Times article is titled Chemotherapy For Dogs. My comment on the post :
Oh this brings back memories of my first beloved great dane. He developed a ‘large cell’ tumor at the age of 2 years. It developed 8 weeks after a routine vaccine, at the vaccine site. He had always had some immune issues, suffering from chronic rashes – probably from the genetic fragility you allude to due to breeding. I loved this dog and we did chemo. Well, the side effects included the usual intestinal misadventure and with a large dog that means a big mess. It’s also hard to get a large ill dog into and out of the car. We did it for months until he was in obvious pain, his quality of life gone and I know in nature he would have given up. It still brings tears to my eyes just to write this.
My first dane, Jazz was a blue dane. I raised him from a puppy. He was beautiful, intelligent and all about me; I was his person, no doubt about it. His cancer happened young and took him quickly. We put up a valiant and painful fight.
And what about the morning and late afternoon, do you know if that sun will cause wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer?
You’ve noticed that the sun feels weaker in the non-summer months and in the morning and afternoon, can it still damage your skin if you don’t sun protect?
I see a lot of patients in my dermatology practice with tanned and wrinkled skin who tell me that because they walk or swim in the morning or during the non-summer months that they don’t need sunscreen or sun protective clothing. They think that because the sun feels weaker they’re safe. Yes, the sunburn ray called UVB is less intense then, but the sun still damages your skin and the tan and wrinkles are the evidence.
The reason the sun is harmful is that UVA rays are out in full intensity; they’re out all day, all year, and at the same intensity as mid-day in the summer! This means that from sunup to sundown, January or July you’re getting the same hit of UVA. Plus, UVA penetrates your skin more deeply than UVB causing significant and irreversible damage to the deeper parts, and this causes wrinkles. As if that’s not enough, your sunscreen SPF value tells you nothing about how well your product blocks UVA. In fact many products don’t do a good job blocking the UVA rays, which is one of the big criticisms of sunscreens.
I’m writing this post in September and I hope that it will help you plan great sun protection for your skin as we move into fall and winter. Don’t slack off on your sun protection just because the sunburn ray is less intense and the sun feels less damaging. You need to take UVA seriously, which means you need really good protection from UVA.
UVA is bad news! It penetrates skin more deeply than the sunburn ray UVB and the havoc it wreaks on your skin is caused by free radicals. These free radicals cause a damage that leads to skin thinning (atrophy), which is what causes most of the wrinkles and skin fragility that we erroneously associate with aging (extrinsic aging of the skin as opposed in intrinsic aging). Thin, fragile skin tears and bruises easily as you get older and we can’t reverse it. UVA is also linked to the development of skin cancers, including melanoma. To reiterate, UVA damage is not reversible which means prevention is really important.
What’s my advice for the best year round UVA sun protection for your skin?
1. Keep the sun off your skin with sun protective clothing and a full brim hat
Try to cover as much of your skin as possible and when it’s not really hot outside this is easy to do. Remember, when you depend on sunscreen alone you need a ‘thick and sticky coat’ every 2 hours, and that’s hard to keep up with. Plus, a sunscreen’s protection isn’t perfect and neither is your application of it. My preference is that you wear sun protective clothing for the best sun protection. Ideally you want to wear clothes that protects your full arms and chest too. These are areas where people get a lot of unfortunate skin thinning from sun damage because they wear short sleeved v-neck shirts. During hot weather or outdoor athletic activities wear functional garments like swim shirts and tights, ventilated sun protective shirts etc. Don’t skimp on yourself, create a wardrobe that really protects your skin. My favorite resources include:
Clothing:Coolibar for the high tech, high performance fabric and innovative designs that fit a broad range of activities.Sun Guard laundry treatment that let’s you turn your tee shirts and other light weight fabric clothes into sun protective garments. I use Sun Guard when I want sun protection from an outfit that has a unique styling but that I know isn’t good enough to protect my skin. I sell Sun Guard because I love it so much.Click here to buy Sun Guard. To see me wearing a Sun Guard treated shirt in unbearably hot weather click here. To see me making a sun protective garment on vacation using Sun Guard (yes I’m just a little nutty) click here.
Hats:Be sure to wear a full brim hat year round. For more info on hats see my post on The Perfect Sun Hats.To buy great sun hats from my web store click here.Other great resources include Coolibar’s HatsETSIS Hats, which have built-in, chic side panels to protect the sides of your face!
2. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen everyday on all the skin that’s left uncovered
This includes your face, neck, ears and the back of your hands. Make sure your sunscreen product blocks UVA well. In my opinion, this means using a product with 5% or more micronized zinc oxide. Sunscreen formulation is still tricky though which is why I stick with a small group of products that I’ve seen work over and over for my patients and my family. Sunscreen product failure is all too common with other sunscreens, you need a product that you can trust especially with UVA because the UV ray doesn’t cause a quick sunburn and it may take weeks to figure out that your product is letting UVA through. I also don’t recommend that you rely on a facial moisturizer for UVA protection because most don’t do a good job at that. Remember the SPF tells you only about UVB protection, not about UVA protection. Be deliberate about your daily application of sunscreen, use only a broad spectrum product so that you have the UVA protection you need to keep your skin healthy and strong.To see the sunscreens that I trust click here
3. Add high concentration antioxidant skin care products to your facial skin care routine and apply them everyday
Scientific studies have shown that applying highly concentrated antioxidants to your skin really does reduce UV damage. The best are the green tea polyphenols, vitamin C and E. There is no regulation on these products though meaning any skin cream or serum can make grand claims about containing antioxidants yet include only a minute