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Safe Sun Habits with Dr. Snehal Amin

We invited dermatologist Dr. Snehal Amin from MDCS (Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery), a Slingshot Health practice, to help us answer our safe sun habit questions.

Q: Which sunscreen brands do you recommend? Which chemicals should we try to avoid?

I generally like brands that have been vetted and endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation. In our Manhattan office, we provide samples of sunscreens made by Neutrogena, Skinceuticals, and Blue Lizard. There is no best sunscreen; rather, there is a product for your particular need. For example, for the body during watery outdoor activities, I like Blue Lizard Sport. For a leisurely walk in the park, I like Colorescience powder block which is a dry, brush-on sunscreen. For daily use on the face, I like Elizabeth Arden’s Citysmart. For winter ski trips, I pack the Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen Stick. This clear, easy to apply stick has zinc and titanium which are the most important ingredients in a sunscreen.

Q: Tom Brady once famously said that drinking water is like wearing sunscreen. Is there any validity to this?

Water is essential to life, and I would even say water is the key ingredient of my own anti-aging regimen. However, drinking water will NOT protect you from a sunburn.

Q: What innovative new alternatives do we have for sunscreen? Have you heard of the sunscreen pill?

The currently marketed pills that claim to protect against sunburn are not effective. These are oral supplements that falsely give the impression of some degree of sun protection. As per the FDA, these manufacturers are “putting people’s health at risk by giving consumers a false sense of security that a dietary supplement could prevent sunburn, reduce early skin aging caused by the sun, or protect from the risks of skin cancer.” There is real research being done on ingestible tanning agents but it is very early in the development process.

Q: Can wearing sunscreen cause vitamin D deficiency?

There is some controversy regarding this issue, but few dermatologists believe (and no studies have shown) that sunscreens cause vitamin D deficiency. Also, vitamin D is available in dietary supplements and foods such as salmon and eggs, as well as enriched milk and orange juice.

Q: If it’s cold or cloudy outside, do you need sunscreen?

Yes, about 40 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day. This misperception often leads to the most serious sunburns because people spend all day outdoors with no protection from the sun.

About Dr. Snehal Amin

picture of dr. snehal

Snehal P. Amin, MD is co-founder and surgical director of MDCS: Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Centers, located in Manhattan, Commack, Hampton Bays and Plainview, NY. Dr. Amin is a board certified dermatologic surgeon and board certified in skin cancer surgery and cosmetic dermatologic surgeries. He graduated from Harvard College (magna cum laude) with dual degrees in Biology and Sanskrit. He graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine Alpha omega alpha medical honor society. He also served as Chief Resident in dermatology at Cornell’s New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Amin currently serves as Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Weill-Cornell Medical College. He is a fellow of both the American College of Mohs Surgery and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.

About Slingshot Health

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