Am I Doing Sunscreen Wrong? (with Vidya Shivakumar, MD)
Your Doctor FriendsJune 25, 2024

Am I Doing Sunscreen Wrong? (with Vidya Shivakumar, MD)

We know we are supposed to wear sunscreen. We know sun exposure can increase our risk for skin cancer. So how do we reconcile our desire for that "desirable summer glow" with the risk of medical harm?

Your Doctor Friends get these texts all the time, especially post-summer solstice:

"If I wear sunscreen, what SPF should I use? Is chemical or mineral better? Is it actually waterproof? And I’ve heard it can get into my bloodstream, what's that all about??" 

Friends, are you ready to soak up the sun…safely?

As is standard with Your Doctor Friends, we were able to find one of OUR doctor friends to come on and clear this all up.

Welcome Vidya Shivakumar, MD!

Dr. Shivakumar is a Dermatologist at Rush University Medical Center, board-certified by the American Academy of Dermatology since 2015. She provides comprehensive skin (and all things Dermatology) care at her bustling academic practice in Chicago at RUSH. She is active in research, teaching, and has presented many times in both the community setting, scientific arena, and in news media. AND NOW she graciously agreed to come chat with us to give us the scoop on the goop we put on our skin to protect ourselves from the sun!

Topics covered in today's episode include:

  • What is a sunburn?
  • What are short and long term consequences of a sunburn?
  • Why do some people burn and some people tan?
  • Does this change people’s risk of harm?
  • Do burns affect kids skin differently than adult skin?
  • Are there long term consequences to burns earlier in life?
  • Is there a right or wrong way to put on sunscreen?
  • What is the best SPF to choose?
  • What's the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen?
  • Is it actually waterproof? When should we reapply?
  • If I wear sunscreen, does that mean I won't tan?
  • What's better, aerosol or regular tube form?
  • Can I become vitamin D deficient from wearing sunscreen?
  • What about "oral sunscreen", or "sunburn reduction pills"? Do they work? Does that take the place of regular sunscreen application?

Here are some great FAQs from the American Academy of Dermatology about sunscreen.

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