The Two Most Important Sunscreen Ingredients

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Neutrogena Sunscreen SPF 55

I found a really interesting article on Everyday Health today that talks about some of the misconceptions about sunscreen, and some ingredients you need to look for when shopping for sunscreen this summer.  Here are some highlights from the article, that you can read here:

1.  The two most important ingredients when shopping for sunscreen is a) zinc oxide; and b) titanium dioxide.  There is a third ingredient that was recently approved by the FDA called Mexoryl.

2. A big myth about sunscreen is that you get double the protection when you double the SPF.  In fact, SPF 30 is only 4% more protection than SPF 15.

3. Make sure you apply enough sunscreen to cover the areas exposed.  They recommend a tablespoon for your face (including ears), and a shotglass to cover your body (arms, legs, etc.).

4.  The last point was fairly obvious, but you should re-apply sunscreen every 3-4 hours, or after swimming or bathing.

Neutrogena has a variety of products that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.  The one in the photo is the Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 55.

Can I Have Laser Hair Removal While Using Retin-A?

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The answer is no, you should stop this medication 2 weeks before any laser hair removal treatment, regardless of the area being treated.  Retin-A, Avita and Renova are brand names for the generic drug Tretinoin.  These medications are used to treat severe acne and used to rebuild sun-damaged skin from years of tanning, reduce or eliminate liver spots, wrinkles, brown or gray growths and even precancerous lesions.

Side effects that may occur if this medication is not stopped prior to your laser treatment may include burning of the skin, hyper-pigmentation (darkening of the skin) and hypo-pigmentation (lightening of the skin).

Note:  Although it is not known if this medication shows up in breast milk, use caution and check with your doctor before using.

Do You Know the Difference Between UVB and UVA Rays?

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Do you know the difference between UVB and UVA rays?  UVB rays are considered the “tanning ray”  and are strongest in the summer when the earth rotates closest to the sun.  This ray will penetrate the epidermis, which is the top layer of our skin, and has about the same thickness of a silk scarf.  UVB rays stimulate the melanocyte cell to produce more melanin, which is the pigment in our skin.

UVA , often regarded as the “safe” ray, is now known to be even more harmful than UVB rays because UVA rays are the same strength regardless of the time of year. It doesn’t matter how close or how far the sun is.  These rays go through clothing, car and office windows and hats. So, a good sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater with UVA, UVB protection should always be used.  You should apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before going into the sun.

Various types of UV rays

Courtesy of

Because sunlight regulates our biological clock and provides essential vitamin D, common sense should be used in determining amount of sun exposure.  As far as laser hair removal is concerned, I have to take into consideration the amount of sun exposure you have had to determine if you can qualify for treatment.  So if you are interested in continuing laser treatments this summer, please be sure to avoid the sun as much as you can and use SPF 30 or greater.  Also, sunscreens with high amounts of zinc oxide are going to be higher quality, and a better protector.

Does Laser Hurt or Cause Scarring?

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laser hair removal with the gentlelaseIf you compare laser to waxing, a laser is not nearly as painful – but is probably a bit more painful than tweezing. When the pulsed light touches your skin, it feels like a rubber band snapping your skin. Laser should not cause any scarring. Your skin may have some redness to it after the treatment, but will disappear hours after your treatment.

What is the Difference Between Laser and Electrolysis?

By | Blog, Electrolysis, Laser Hair Removal | No Comments

no more tweezingMany of my clients ask me what the difference is between electrolysis and laser treatments.  The answer is that each procedure varies greatly, but depending on which one you can use depends a lot on skin type, hair type and personal preference.  Electrolysis has been around for a long time and is the only way to “permanently” remove the hair folicle. Laser is a relatively newer technology and works best on dark hair, light skinned candidates. Since we are located in the Berkshires, many of the people who visit me are fair skinned and sometimes laser is a good alternative. Electrolysis will work on virtually all skin types and color, but can take longer to clear a large area of hair compared to laser.