Frequently asked questions

Skin Cancer FAQ

What does the sun have to do with skin cancer?


While not all Skin Cancer is caused by the sun or other sources of Ultraviolet Radiation, many are. Watch our info videos to learn a little more about the sun, and it's potential effects on the skin.




Where can I find a Board Certified Dermatologist?


American Academy Of Dermatology American Society Of Dermatalogic Surgeons




What is CANCER, exactly?


Cancer starts within the building blocks of life; cells. Generally, a cell's lifecycle should be pretty basic:

A new cell is formed when either one cell divides, or two cells join. (In humans, the only time two cells join to make a new cell is in the instance of sperm and egg.) The rest of the cells in humans are formed when one cell divides, creating two identical copies..This happens over and over and over.

Each new cell does their job, pays their taxes, then dies....making room for the upcoming cells. (The true circle of life, as we know it, right?)

There are specific proteins are in charge of this whole process, from cell birth to death. The proteins signal to the cell when its time for it's next action, whatever that is. If a mutation occurs in the genes of these proteins, however; their ability to carry out their role correctly is hindered.

When such mutations prevent the protein from maintaining control, the cells go unchecked, and their behavior becomes erratic and unruly ....much like a scene straight from the Old Testament:

-Wild cells procreating uncontrollably,

-Damaged cells begetting more damaged cells.

-Entitled cells, feeding off the demise of others,

-Mutant cells living unnaturally too long, and, eventually,

- All the "wicked cells" increase in number, and ultimately suffocate the healthy cells.

This uninhibited cell lifestyle can lead to cancer.

Biologists have laboriously studied the mechanisms of how cells become cancerous, and found that ALL cancers involve uncontrolled cell division and tissue invasiveness (metastasis) caused by the mutations in the genes of their regulating proteins. These mutations typically involve either controlling how much and how often cells divide, or the timing of when the cell should die.

Too much cell growth and new cell formation can produce a mass of cells...or a tumor. Cells living too long can also cause problems, as programmed cell death plays the very important role of population control by balancing cell growth and multiplication, and eliminating unnecessary cells.

For example, during embryonic development, the digits of our fingers and toes are sculpted by the death of cells in the intervening spaces. If these cells remained alive, our hands and feet would become webbed. Here. especially, we see how important and delicate a cell's lifecycle is, and why it must be precisely controlled.

What causes the gene mutations in the controlling proteins? The answer is short, but expansive....

​There are two types of mutations:

​Germline- this was passed down from mom or dad, as there was a mutation either in the sperm or egg, and it becomes copied into every cell of the embryo's body. Acquired-this is due to gene damage that occurs during a person's life- not something passed on from parents.

Different factors that can cause this type of mutation are:

-Tobacco

-Ultra Violet Radiation

-Viruses

- Age

In the long scope of life, the reality is that mutations happen often. They can be helpful, harmful, or neutral, depending on where in the gene a mutation occurs. Typically, our bodies correct most mutations, and a single mutation won't likely cause cancer, as it's usually from built up mutations. (This is why we see a lot of cancer in older people, they've had more opportunities for mutations to accumulate. )

If you're interested in learning more about the genetics of cancer:

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics

Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 1.4, The Life Cycle of Cells. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21685/

cancer.net- The Genetics of Cancer





Sunscreen FAQ

What is CANCER, exactly?


Cancer starts within the building blocks of life; cells. Generally, a cell's lifecycle should be pretty basic:

A new cell is formed when either one cell divides, or two cells join. (In humans, the only time two cells join to make a new cell is in the instance of sperm and egg.) The rest of the cells in humans are formed when one cell divides, creating two identical copies..This happens over and over and over.

Each new cell does their job, pays their taxes, then dies....making room for the upcoming cells. (The true circle of life, as we know it, right?)

There are specific proteins are in charge of this whole process, from cell birth to death. The proteins signal to the cell when its time for it's next action, whatever that is. If a mutation occurs in the genes of these proteins, however; their ability to carry out their role correctly is hindered.

When such mutations prevent the protein from maintaining control, the cells go unchecked, and their behavior becomes erratic and unruly ....much like a scene straight from the Old Testament:

-Wild cells procreating uncontrollably,

-Damaged cells begetting more damaged cells.

-Entitled cells, feeding off the demise of others,

-Mutant cells living unnaturally too long, and, eventually,

- All the "wicked cells" increase in number, and ultimately suffocate the healthy cells.

This uninhibited cell lifestyle can lead to cancer.

Biologists have laboriously studied the mechanisms of how cells become cancerous, and found that ALL cancers involve uncontrolled cell division and tissue invasiveness (metastasis) caused by the mutations in the genes of their regulating proteins. These mutations typically involve either controlling how much and how often cells divide, or the timing of when the cell should die.

Too much cell growth and new cell formation can produce a mass of cells...or a tumor. Cells living too long can also cause problems, as programmed cell death plays the very important role of population control by balancing cell growth and multiplication, and eliminating unnecessary cells.

For example, during embryonic development, the digits of our fingers and toes are sculpted by the death of cells in the intervening spaces. If these cells remained alive, our hands and feet would become webbed. Here. especially, we see how important and delicate a cell's lifecycle is, and why it must be precisely controlled.

What causes the gene mutations in the controlling proteins? The answer is short, but expansive....

​There are two types of mutations:

​Germline- this was passed down from mom or dad, as there was a mutation either in the sperm or egg, and it becomes copied into every cell of the embryo's body. Acquired-this is due to gene damage that occurs during a person's life- not something passed on from parents.

Different factors that can cause this type of mutation are:

-Tobacco

-Ultra Violet Radiation

-Viruses

- Age

In the long scope of life, the reality is that mutations happen often. They can be helpful, harmful, or neutral, depending on where in the gene a mutation occurs. Typically, our bodies correct most mutations, and a single mutation won't likely cause cancer, as it's usually from built up mutations. (This is why we see a lot of cancer in older people, they've had more opportunities for mutations to accumulate. )

If you're interested in learning more about the genetics of cancer:

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics

Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 1.4, The Life Cycle of Cells. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21685/

cancer.net- The Genetics of Cancer




Where can I find a Board Certified Dermatologist?


American Academy Of Dermatology American Society Of Dermatalogic Surgeons




What does the sun have to do with skin cancer?


While not all Skin Cancer is caused by the sun or other sources of Ultraviolet Radiation, many are. Watch our info videos to learn a little more about the sun, and it's potential effects on the skin.




Isn't all sunscreen the same?


You’re told you should be wearing it, but did you know not all sunscreen is equal?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which explains how well a sunscreen protects you against one type of UV radiation, called UVB.(These rays cause sunburn and several types of skin cancer.)

SPF does not indicate protection against UVA radiation, which accelerates skin aging as wells increases skin cancer risk.


The SPF number refers to roughly how long it will take for a person's skin to turn red, while using the product, as opposed to not using it. The caveat most people miss, is for it work as the label says, the product has to be used exactly as directed.

Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will prevent your skin from getting red for approximately 15 times longer than if you weren't wearing sunscreen. (so, if you normally would burn in 10 minutes, sunscreen with SPF 15 will prevent burning for about 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours), according to the American Academy of Dermatology. However; since sunscreen tends to rub or wash off, (or people don’t use enough!) the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends reapplying sunscreen within two hours regardless of its strength.

Often, the higher the number of spf there is a misconception arises of not needing to reapply as often.

To ensure your skin is protected from both the aging UVA & thé burning UVB rays, be sure to find one that is labeled as: BROAD SPECTRUM.




How much sunscreen do you need?


In order for your sunscreen to be as effective as the label says, you’ll need to use it as directed. Generally, a shot glass for the body, and a 1/2 ounce for the face& neck

- then, reapply!




How many types of sunscreen are there?


There are two types of sunscreen, with the same goal, sun protection. That’s where the similarities end, though. Each type has a totally different response mechanism to sunlight.
The two types are: Physical Sunscreen and Chemical Sunscreen.


The difference in how they work? Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin, and combat uv damage by a chemical change that takes place inside the skin. Physical Sunscreen sits atop the skin, and uv Rays reflect off it. Read on to learn more about each!




What is physical sunscreen?


Physical sunscreen, mineral sunscreen, and sunblock are all referring to INORGANIC Ultra Violet filters that sit on top of the skin and reflect, scatter and block the sun’s UV rays before they can penetrate. These active minerals also reflect heat, making them a great choice for those struggling with rosacea, melasma, and other skin conditions that are aggravated by heat. Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are the only inorganic UV filters that have been approved by the FDA for sun protection. (They are also the least likely of all sunscreen ingredients to cause adverse skin reactions, so those with sensitive skin typically use hypoallergenic sunscreens that use these as active ingredients.)

Although mostly notoriously known for a thick white paste, many manufacturers have been working hard to develop more cosmetically pleasing formulas.




What is chemical sunscreen?


Chemical Sunscreen”, is actually confusing because any ingredient in sunscreen will be a chemical!! The correct verbiage would be Organic Chemical Sunscreen. ORGANIC based sunscreens (aka chemical sunscreens) have active ingredients designed to absorb UV radiation from the sun, catalyzing a reaction that changes those UV rays into heat, which is then released into the skin. For those who are heat sensitive, this is a factor that needs pointed out. Individually, these organic chemicals only protect against UVA or UVB rays, so it takes more than one, mixed, to qualify a sunscreen as being Broad Spectrum. (meaning it protects from both burning and aging rays)

These formulas are often cosmetically appealing, as they are virtually clear, but have been known to cause “chemical” burns or irritation to skin. Some people’s mucous membranes are even affected by the off gas that occurs during the chemical reaction. Because these need time to absorb into the skin, it’s necessary to apply 15 min prior to sun exposure.




What is reefsafe?


Certain ingredients found in chemical sunscreens were banned because of the damage they are causing the ocean ecosystems.According to The National Park Service, rather than being evenly distributed, much of that sunscreen is concentrated at popular diving, swimming, and snorkeling sites—such as national parks.

A 2016 study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other institutions found that baby coral exposed to oxybenzone and octinoxate exhibited signs of distress, including coral bleaching—which leaves coral vulnerable to infection and prevents it from getting the nutrients it needs to survive—as well as DNA damage, and abnormalities in their growth and skeleton.Other studies have also found the ingredients to be harmful to other marine organisms, such as fish, sea urchins, and shrimp.

Further studies show there are other sunscreen ingredients—besides the two banned by Hawaii that might also be harmful to marine life, such as octocrylene, homosalate, and octisalate.(A study published in 2014 in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found that octocrylene might affect brain and liver development in zebrafish.)




What active ingredients should I know?


Currently, the FDA only considers 2 active ingredients that are Generally Recognized As Safe and Effective, (GRASE) are Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide.

Citation link:

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-advances-new-proposed-regulation-make-sure-sunscreens-are-safe-and-effective




What is the stance of the FDA on chemical sunscreen use for humans?


In 2019, the FDA called for more testing of a handful of commonly used sunscreen ingredients after studies found concerning amounts of six of them can enter a person’s blood stream after just one day of use, and last in the blood stream for seven to 21 days.

Though it’s not clear how harmful some of these chemicals are if absorbed, studies have found both oxybenzone and octinoxate in breast milk. Other studies suggest a link between oxybenzone, which is absorbed into the blood, and some endocrine abnormalities such as lower testosterone levels in teen boys, hormone changes in men and shorter pregnancies.

These findings do not mean that the FDA has concluded that any of the ingredients tested are unsafe for use in sunscreens, nor does the FDA seeking further information indicate such. The agency’s proposed rule requested additional safety studies to fill in the current data gaps for these ingredients. The rule also proposed that two active ingredients (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are generally recognized as safe and effective for use in sunscreens, and additional data was not requested for them.