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Archive for November, 2010


Skin cancers on unusual areas

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

After removing a basal cell carcinoma on someone’s eyelid today, I am reminding everyone to watch after those areas you wouldn’t think about, such as the eyelids, anywhere around the ears, even the part of your nose between your nostrils (the columella). Yes, believe it or not, I do take off people’s eyelids-wear your sunglasses! The strangest parts of the ear can be affected such as inner crease (that part that your hairdresser grabs), the earlobe and the posterior crease of the ear. The columella can develop cancer probably from sunbathing.

Also, although embarrassing, I do encourage everyone to have a total body skin exam (I do mean total as in the genitals and perianal area). Once in a blue moon, we do find cancers there, especially from STD’s such as genital warts which are fairly common. Looking down there also reminds me to remind you to get screened for other cancers starting at age 50 (or earlier if you have symptoms or a family history) which are common and curable, such as colon and prostate CA. Also, a lot of older women forget about cancers of the reproductive system which can be aggressive if caught too late.

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A word on Vitamin D

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

A lot of people have heard about sun protection causing Vitamin D deficiency. While it is true, most of us are not Vitamin D deficient simply because we live in LA and get a lot of unintended sun exposure. if you are not eating a lot of dairy and are vigilant about sun protection, a vitamin D level can be checked.

Nonetheless, there are several ways to boost Vitamin D. If you are not an easy burner or have a strong history of skin cancer, use an SPF of 30 or below to let in a little UVB. Eat some salmon which is loaded with Vitamin D. One of my favorite new ways is Rainbow Light’s Sunny Gummies. These are gummy vitamins found at the Vitamin Shoppe or online. Just make sure you get the Lemon flavored ones (1000 IU each). I got the orange flavored ones not realizing they were only 400 IU each and more calories (OK, just barely!). The recommended dose for deficiency is 1000 IU per day.

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Sunscreen suggestions

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Dr. Henry Lim who is one of my former professors and is now Chairman of the Dept of Dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital recently gave a lecture at USC Grand Rounds on photoprotection, an area of his expertise.

I learned a lot from this excellent lecture, but most importantly, that octinoxate and avobenzone should never be used together. Turns out a heck of a lot of sunscreens use this combination, therefore rendering UVA protection in these sunscreens inadequate.

In my biased opinion, physical sunscreens such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are king. Many people are fearful of nanoparticles, but unless the skin is not intact, such as a widespread rash, there is little to be afraid about. The Australian equivalent to the FDA has deemed micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide safe. Verdure Matte Moisturizing Physical Sunscreen with Antioxidants, which I created contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and has been recommended by several women’s magazines.

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