WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection”


“Dr. Crutchfield featured on WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection

Good Question: What Doesn’t A SPF Number Tell Us?

Jun 12, 2007 10:41 pm US/Central(WCCO)

As much as we enjoy the outdoors, parents know we have to protect our kids and our skin from the sun. That often means slapping on the lotion with the highest SPF. That stands for sun protection factor, but many of us don’t use it, which is why skin cancer cases are on the rise.

“I see lots of sun damage,” said Dr. Charles Crutchfield, a dermatologist in Eagan, Minn. “Anytime you get darkening of the skin you’re promoting skin cancer, aging and all the things you don’t want.”

The sun exposure that matters most is that we get as kids.

“I have a 4- and 6-year-old and they spend basically the entire day outside,” said one woman at a Minneapolis swimming pool.

That’s why nearly 80 percent of our sun exposure occurs before age 21.

“The cruel hoax is by the time you’re smart enough or wise enough to sun protect it’s almost too late,” said Crutchfield.

So what do we need to know about sunscreen?

“I wear 35,” said one Twin Cities man.

That number refers to the sun protection factor and how long the sunscreen will protect us beyond our skin’s built in protection. For example, if it normally takes 10 minutes for our skin to burn without sun block, an SPF 15 would theoretically protect us 15 times longer or 150 minutes. However, the SPF number only refers to one type of the sun’s rays.

“The SPF is how much it blocks the ultraviolet B rays,” said Crutchfield. “B stands for burn.”

However, we also need to block the sun’s UVA rays.

“You can think of ‘A’ as in aging, wrinkles, damage to skin, skin cancer,” he said. “You need protection from both of those. That’s actually probably as important, if not more important, than the SPF number.”

The FDA is pushing to add the UVA rating to sunscreen bottles. New rules about that should be out in the next few weeks. Here are some other sunscreen tips:

• Regardless of what the label says, sunscreens won’t protect us all day. We should reapply every one to two hours.

• There’s really no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. The FDA doesn’t even recognize that term.

• It takes 20 minutes for sunscreen to become active on our skin, so we need to put it on before we go outside.

• Sunscreen does expire. The chemicals break down and lose their protective ability, so replace any sunscreen you have had for more than a year.

Continue reading WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection”

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8 Ways To Help Identify CPS – Cancer Prone Skin

cancer prone skinAmericans today recognize acronyms and abbreviations for a wide range of important medical terms:  ED, OCD, UTI.  However, we are not familiar with one that could help to save millions of lives: CPS.

CPS stands for Cancer Prone Skin.  Skin Cancer is the most common cancer, with over 2 million Americans diagnosed with skin cancer each year. It is imperative that we make a household term the primary aid in identifying skin that is most at risk.  No matter your skin color, you can get skin cancer.  Some people have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than others, placing them in the CPS category.

CPS typically includes several or more of the following risk factors:

  • Light colored skin
  • Skin that burns or freckles rather than tans
  • Blond or red hair
  • Blue or green eyes
  • More than 50 moles
  • Irregularly shaped or darker moles
  • Used or use indoor tanning devices
  • History of sun exposure from outdoor activities

With early detection and treatment, skin cancer is highly curable.  The most common warning signs of skin cancer include changes in size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin lesion or the appearance of a new growth on the skin. “If you have any lesion or mole change at all, or if you have a spot that bleeds and doesn’t heal in three weeks, see a dermatologist,” Dr. Crutchfield recommended. “That’s something everyone can do.”

A person with any of the CPS risk factors should not panic, but they should begin a lifelong routine of visiting their board-certified dermatologist for regular skin check. “Dermatology has made incredible advances in identifying risks and early diagnoses,” Crutchfield explained. “For patients with CPS, routine monitoring is the best means to early detection of skin cancer, leading to a great prognosis for successful treatment.”

“Also remember skin color doesn’t give you a free pass,” said Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III.  “It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, everyone can get skin cancer.”

About Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD:

dr charles crutchfieldCharles E. Crutchfield III, M.D. is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic Medical School and a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  Dr. Crutchfield is an annual selection in the “Top Doctors” issue of Mpls. St. Paul magazine.  He is the only dermatologist to have been selected as a “Best Doctor for Women” by Minnesota Monthly magazine since the inception of the survey.  Dr. Crutchfield has been selected as one of the “Best Doctors in America,” an honor awarded to only 4% of all practicing physicians.  Dr. Crutchfield is the co-author of a children’s book on sun protection and dermatology textbook.  He is a member of the AΩA National Medical Honor Society, an expert consultant for WebMD and CNN, and a recipient of the Karis Humanitarian Award from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

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Sunscreen – What Should I Be Looking For?

Mens Health February 2015

Ask the Men’s Health Expert –

When it comes to health, fitness, grooming, and any other subject we cover in Men’s Health, most guys have similar questions. So instead of racking our brains for what we think you want to know about skin, we dug through the archives and compiled every skin-related question guys have asked over the years. Don’t see the answer you’re looking for?

february 2015 Men's Health cover

Q: The sunscreen aisle confuses me more and more every year. What should I be looking for?

A: No single product can do everything, so you’ll need at least two different sunscreens to fend off the summer sun. For everyday face and neck protection, a recently FDA-approved sunscreen called Anthelios SX can’t be beat. It contains Mexoryl, a UVA-blocking compound that retains its effectiveness longer than other sun-stopping chemicals. As for the SPF, choose 15 or 30. “Anything greater than that has limited to negligible benefits,” says Charles Crutchfield, M.D., a professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota medical school. “In fact, the FDA is considering banning any numbers higher than 45.” The only downside to Anthelios is that it doesn’t come in spray-on or waterproof versions yet, and you’ll need both at the pool or beach. “Sprays guarantee better full-body coverage,” says Dr. Crutchfield. Buy a bottle of Bullfrog Marathon Mist for good UVA/UVB protection and excellent staying power against water and sweat. Plus, unlike some other waterproof sunscreens, Bullfrog is oil-free, so it won’t irritate your skin.
Full Q & A Article: Men’s Health online

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Dr. Crutchfield in Perfect Skin Protection Magazine Discussing Actinic Keratosis & Skin Cancer

Perfect Skin Magazine

“Harmless” AK Precursor to Skin Cancer

Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield, III discusses actinic keratosis

Last year, fifty-eight million Americans were treated actinic keratosis (AK). Although the condition itself is not cancerous, if left untreated, AK usually results in squamous cell carcinoma. Given that “cancer” is a general term used to describe diseases characterized by abnormal changes in cells, actinic keratoses are usually included in descriptions of non-melanoma skin cancers.

We asked Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and medical advisor for Perfect Skin Protection, to explain the condition and its treatment.

Q: What causes actinic keratosis?

perfect skin magazine pg 2A: First, you should remember that many
factors contribute to these skin
cancers: exposure to artificial UVR from
tanning beds; heredity; prolonged Q suppression of the immune system; exposure to X-rays; prolonged contact with coal, tar, pitch, or arsenic compounds; complications from burns, scars, vaccinations; and, even tattoos.

However, the overriding factor that both causes and compounds actinic keratosis is exposure to the harmful rays of the sun.

Q: Who is most likely to develop actinic keratosis

Perfect Skin Magazine page 3A: Actinic keratoses are generally seen on older, fair-skinned people who have been chronically exposed to the sun. They appear most often on skin least often covered by clothing – the hands, face, tip of ears, scalp and forearms. They can form in patients of all skin colors.

Q What are the symptoms?

A: Actinic keratoses are small bumps with rough, scaly surfaces or sores. They can be as small as the tip of a pencil or as large as a quarter. A person can have one or several at the same time. Some older patients find that they must be treated periodically for these lesions over many years. If this happens, your physician will carefully Crutchfield Magazinemonitor the lesions and recommend different treatments accordingly.

Most of the patients I see with actinic keratosis are age 50 and older, but I have seen some patients even in their 20’s with the lesions.

Q: How is actinic keratosis diagnosed?

A: Diagnosis is usually easy because the lesions have unique physical characteristics that physicians can identify by visual examination.

Occasionally, if the lesion is especially large or thick, it will need to be surgically removed
for microscopic examination (biopsy) to determine if it has evolved or changed to cancer. If cancerous, actinic keratosis will likely be diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma.

Crutchfield MAgazine InterviewQ: How is it treated?

A: Once the diagnosis is made, dermatologists will consider a number of factors before choosing the most appropriate methods of treatment. Some of these factors include

  • Location, size and number of lesions;
  • The desired cosmetic outcome;
  • The patient’s age, health and medical history;
  • The patient’s ability to comply with treatment; and,
  • The patient’s history of previous treatments.

If diagnosed in the early stages, actinic keratosis can be removed by cryotherapy or freezing; surgical excision or curettage (scraping); by applying cream (5-FU, Solaraze or Carac); or by chemical peeling, laser surgery, or other dermatologic surgical procedures.Perfect Skin MAgazineIt is not usually a difficult condition to treat, but can and will spread, if left untreated.

Q How can actinic keratosis be prevented?

A: Actinic keratosis can be prevented by practicing sun protection early and throughout life. Outdoor workers, gardeners, people who live in sunny states and anyone else who is chronically exposed to the sun should be very aware of this condition. Since it is often cited as one of the most common reasons to visit a dermatologist, it is probably one of the more notable drains on Medicare and other insurance. Education about prevention and detection should eventually lower the number of people with this disease.

perfect skin magazineAs I mentioned, actinic keratosis is a pre- cancer that progresses into cancer if left untreated. About five percent of actinic keratoses, left untreated, will transform into skin cancer. Having it treated and removed is vitally important to the prevention of cancer. If you develop any of the symptoms described above, see your dermatologist.

Crutchfield Dermatology serves patients in the St. Paul, Minneapolis, Eagan and surrounding areas.

perfect skin magazineHe is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions and is medical advisor for Perfect Skin Protection magazine.

He can be contacted at

www.crutchfielddermatology.com

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Yes, African Americans can get skin cancer!

Dark skin is not immunity, so be aware of the risks

 
crutchfieldsquare

We’ve just completed February, African American History Month. Among much else, it can serve as a fitting reminder about a myth that has persisted for too long: African Americans (and those with darker skin tones) can’t get skin cancer.

In fact, among the African American population, melanoma — the most serious kind of skin cancer — is much more deadly than among Caucasians. In fact, it does not matter what color your skin is: Everyone is prone to developing skin cancer.

You may have heard that naturally dark-skinned people have less chance of getting skin cancer, and that is true. Darker skin naturally has more melanin, the dark pigment that protects against the sun’s UV rays. But the simple fact is no one is immune to skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation shares these facts:

• The overall five-year melanoma survival rate for African Americans is only 77 percent, versus 91 percent for Caucasians.

• 52 percent of non-Hispanic Black patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced stage melanoma, versus 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients.

• Melanomas in African Americans (and other nationalities, including Asians, Filipinos and Indonesians) most often occur on non-exposed skin with less pigment. Up to 75 percent of tumors arise on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.

• Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common skin cancer among African Americans. It tends to be more aggressive and carry a 20-40 percent risk of metastasis (spreading).

Skin cancer comprises one to two percent of all cancers in African Americans. One reason is that the familiar story about how darker skin has a higher SPF than lighter skin (which it does) has for too long translated into “My black skin dark skin prevents me from getting skin cancer” (which it doesn’t). It’s important to keep skin cancer top of mind; early diagnosis is often critical in successfully treating melanoma and other skin cancers.

The relatively higher incidences of skin cancers among Caucasians — and therefore the related training for physicians — makes it more difficult for professionals to diagnose skin cancer among African Americans and other ethnic groups. The lesions, moles and other symptoms that commonly help with a skin cancer diagnosis do not always appear as readily on someone with darker skin. Skin cancer in African Americans is also more apt to develop in harder-to-find areas such as under fingernails or toenails.

Education is one of our most effective tools to combat skin cancer. No matter what color your skin is, sun protection is the key. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen. I recommend VaniCream Broad Spectrum SPF30. Apply it 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply it every 60 minutes. Use sun protective clothing whenever possible. I recommend Coolibar sun protective clothing (www.coolibar.com).

Establish care with a board-certified dermatologist and have regular skin checks. Your dermatologist will let you know how often to have a skin exam. And remember: See spot, see spot change, see your dermatologist!

 

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He also has a private practice in Eagan, MN. He has been selected as one of the top 10 dermatologists in the U.S. by Black Enterprise magazine and one of the top 21 African American physicians in the U.S. by the Atlanta Post. Dr. Crutchfield is an active member of the Minnesota Association of Black Physicians, MABP.org.

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Dr. Crutchfield on Weather Channel Discussing Dangers of Tanning

The Weather Channel

The weather is getting warmer and another Jersey Shore spinoff show is in the works. This can only mean one thing: It’s time to work on your tan.

Of course, if you’re among the one million Americans who frequent tanning salons each day, the winter probably didn’t stop you from reaching that ideal level of tan. Continue reading Dr. Crutchfield on Weather Channel Discussing Dangers of Tanning

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Tanning Bed Dangers and Concerns

Dr. Crutchfield featured on Fox News discussing dangers of indoor tanning

MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) –

Tanning bed dangers fox newsA new campaign was released this week by the tanning industry to show that responsible sunbed tanning is just fine for you. But FairWarning.org reports dermatologists are fighting back, saying the ads are misleading the public.

This all stems from the founding of a new organization called the American Suntanning Association. Formed just a month ago, the coalition of sunbed centers is dedicating itself to increasing public awareness about the facts associated with moderate ultraviolet exposure and spray-on tanning. They also want to correct misinformation about sunlight and sunbeds.

Recently, dermatologists blasted the newly formed American Suntanning Association for disputing the medical consensus that tanning indoors increases the risk of skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest kind.

“The recent statements by the American Suntanning Association (ASA) are ridiculous and there is no data to support them,” the dermatology group said in a statement. “Indoor tanning is dangerous.”

charles crutchfield on fox newsThe ASA’s members have already mounted a huge effort to portray doctors and other health authorities as conspiring to unnecessarily scare the public about tanning. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says ultraviolet light from sunbeds causes cancer.

DeAnn Lazovich, a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, whose own research has linked sunbed use to melanoma, said the industry’s long-running efforts to cast doubt on the science are just “smoke and mirrors” and an attempt to continue selling a service linked to cancer.

The industry has argued that tanning is a good source of Vitamin D. It blames dermatologists for scaring people about exposure to the sun and inducing an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in the process.

The tanning association is serious about fighting back. They hired the prominent public relations firm Global Strategy Group, which lists high-profile companies like Goldman Sachs, General Electric and the New York Yankees among its clients, to represent it.

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Skin Cancer – Star Tribune

Skin cancer: Let’s halt this rising rate

Article by: CHARLES E. CRUTCHFIELD III

skin cancer mn

As a dermatologist, I see firsthand the devastating toll that skin cancer takes on Minnesotan

Earlier this week, the “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer” was released, showing that overall cancer death rates continue to decline in the United States among both men and women, among all major racial and ethnic groups, and for all of the most common cancer sites, including lung, colon and rectum, female breast, and prostate.

This is good news; however, a closer look at the data also reveals cause for concern. While cancer deaths overall are going down, one form of cancer continues to increase in Minnesota and nationwide — melanoma. In fact, melanoma rates in Minnesota have doubled in the last 24 years, making it one of the most common cancers among 20- to 49-year-olds in the state.

This jump is attributable to increased exposure to UV radiation, including an increased use of tanning beds. Tanning beds greatly increase the risk of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, as well as squamous and basal cell carcinomas. Using a tanning bed, even once, increases the risk of skin cancer significantly. Using one before the age of 35 increases an individual’s risk of melanoma by 75 percent. For this reason, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 2009, labeled tanning beds Class 1 carcinogens — the same as cigarettes.

Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless. This is simply not true. Tanning beds give out UVA and often UVB rays, both of which cause long-term skin damage and are linked to skin cancer. Most dermatologists and health groups advise against using tanning beds and sun lamps. This year alone, an estimated 1,130 new melanoma cases are expected and nearly 120 Minnesotans will die from the disease. These cancer diagnoses are avoidable if Minnesota takes steps to protect residents from UV rays, including prohibiting youths from using tanning beds. Currently, 42 percent of Twin Cities’ girls ages 14 to 17 report using tanning beds. If we don’t change this, we will continue to see rising melanoma rates.

As a dermatologist, I see firsthand the devastating toll that skin cancer takes on Minnesotans. It’s time to take a tangible step toward protecting health through preventing melanoma.

* * *

The writer is a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

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Charles Crutchfield Co-Authors Book

little charles hits a home run“LITTLE CHARLES HITS A HOME RUN!”

Charles E. Crutchfield III, M.D., Dermatologist, Co-Authors Children’s Book with Mary Mills Barrow on Importance of Educating Children about Sun Protection

Minneapolis, St. Paul, Eagan- October 10, 2012. Every year, millions of children are overexposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This informative book provides five simple action steps to help children prevent skin cancer. As outlined in the book, little league has started and Charles is determined to keep his friends from getting sunburned. When his dad tells him that sun rays can harm skin of all types, Charles finds ways to use the letters in the acronym SunAWARE to explain why sun protection is so important.
The SunAWARE acronym emphasizes: Avoid unprotected exposure to sunlight, seek shade, and never indoor tan: Wear sun-protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide brimmed hat, and sunglasses, year-round; Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sunburn-protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater to all exposed skin, and reapply every two hours or as needed; Routinely examine your whole body for changes in your skin and report concerns to parents or health-care providers; Educate your family and community about the need to be SunAWARE
Available in various formats, this book makes a great addition to any child’s reading collection.
Amazon (Hardcover Book) and Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Charles-Hits-Home-ebook/dp/B008A1T8AY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349880351&sr=8-1&keywords=little+charles+hits+a+homerun
Nook and iPad: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-charles-hits-a-home-run-mary-mills-barrow/1111370071?ean=9780985430122

Dr. Crutchfield is considered one of the best cosmetic dermatologists in the United States.  He is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.  In addition to his doctorate degree, he also has a master’s degree in molecular biology from the Mayo Clinic.  He did his internship training at the Gundersen Clinic and his dermatology residency at the University of Minnesota.  He is a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School teaching medical students, dermatology residents, nursing students, and other healthcare providers.

In local and national surveys involving physicians, nurses, healthcare providers and healthcare facilities, Dr. Crutchfield has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading and best skin care experts. Honors include “Top Doctor” (Minneapolis St. Paul magazine), “Top Doctor for Women” (Minnesota Monthly magazine), “America’s Top Dermatologists” (Consumers’ Research Council of America), and “The Best Doctors in America 2011-2012” (Best Doctors). In addition to these accolades, Dr. Crutchfield has received the “Gold Triangle Award” from the American Academy of Dermatology, the “Karis Humanitarian Award” from the Mayo Clinic and the “Physician Health Care Hero Award” from Medica, Twin Cities Business and Kare 11 Broadcasting. Dr. Crutchfield is a regularly invited guest on the Lori and Julia Show on myTalk 107.1 radio. Dr. Crutchfield is also the Team Dermatologist for the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins.
Crutchfield Dermatology also has an award winning website, ranked as a ‘Favorite Place’ by Google that contains hundreds of hours of helpful, consumer friendly, skin care information at www.CrutchfieldDermatology.com
# # #

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A Prudent Approach to Sun

inside science(ISNS) — Dermatologist Joshua Fox’s goal is to keep patients safe from sun damage that can — in extremes — lead to skin cancer. But he realizes that often means striking a balance with patients.

That balance may include limiting the amount of time spent in the sun and avoiding the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. window of peak sun intensity.

“It’s a negotiation,” said Fox, a practicing dermatologist and a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. “I don’t think you stop living life.”

Colleagues agree with Fox, and note that sun-safe behaviors are vital to protect people from concerns that range from melanoma to premature aging.

“Our position at this time is being outdoors is part of a healthy lifestyle,” said J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. “[Using] sunscreen is part of that.”

Don’t let sun damage fears stunt summertime fun, experts say.
Originally published:
Jul 3 2012 – 3:15pm
By:
Patricia Quigley, ISNS Contributor

Sun protection

Experts agree that sun-safe behaviors are vital to protect people from concerns ranging from melanoma to premature aging.
Image credit:
Chris J. Nicolini | ISNS
Rights information:
http://bit.ly/LDFc85

 

Lichtenfeld said that each year more than 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancers, the great majority of which are classified as basal or squamous cell skin cancers. His organization estimates that in 2012, 76,250 Americans will be diagnosed with the most deadly form of skin cancer, invasive melanoma, which is more likely to spread than other skin cancers if not detected early. They estimate that in the U.S., 9,180 deaths due to skin cancer will occur this year, most from melanoma.

Litchfield added that sunscreen is not the primary protection people should rely on, and it is often applied improperly or depended on too heavily. He recommends using sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 30 and applying it repeatedly, along with other important barriers such as sun-protective clothing, hats and sunglasses.

Those measures can lessen the impact of excess sun, but sunburns are not the only indicator of sun damage, noted dermatologist Dina Strachan. She developed freckles on her hand soon after moving to the Los Angeles area, and knew the freckles’ significance: sun-induced skin damage.

“It wasn’t like I was out there trying to get a tan. I put sunscreen on my face every day,” said Strachan.

“There can be benefits to being outdoors in the sun, but you don’t want to deliberately tan. Tan skin is a danger signal the skin is being harmed,” Lichtenfeld said in an email.

Sun exposure triggers the production of melanin in the skin, but the resulting tan only partially shields the skin against further damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, Vilma Cokkinides, strategic director of Risk Factor Surveillance at the American Cancer Society, wrote in an email.

Health care providers acknowledge that there are some benefits to sun exposure. One of the most talked-about benefits is vitamin D, which forms when ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin, triggering a chain of events in the body that involves the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D is critical to bones, among other things. But the risks of exposure outweigh the benefits.

Carol Drucker, a dermatologist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said that most people need 600 international units of vitamin D a day, and food and supplements are the safest way to add it. A 3-ounce serving of salmon, for instance, provides 447 IUs, and an 8-ounce serving of vitamin D-fortified milk provides 120 IUs, she said.

“We know that the sun is a carcinogen. There’s no sense to let sun protection go by the wayside in quest of vitamin D,” Drucker said.

While skin often is the focus when it comes to the sun’s impact on the body, eyes also may be a concern.

Richard Bensinger, an ophthalmologist at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, said that sunlight is critical to the development and function of eyesight and not normally a threat to eye health. While it is possible to sunburn an eye, it is rare. Sunlight can affect cataract development and macular degeneration, but in day-to-day life the sun is not generally a high risk factor for eye damage.

“Ordinary sunglasses are perfectly fine,” Bensinger said. “The best thing you can do for any kind of health in bright sun is wear adequate sunscreen and wear sunglasses.”

Charles Crutchfield III, a dermatologist based in St. Paul and professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, favors a pragmatic approach to sun exposure.

“I’m a realist, and I have to have credibility with my patients,” said Crutchfield, who believes telling them to avoid midday sun while on vacation is unrealistic.

“There are many benefits to sun, but you just need to enjoy it responsibly,” added Crutchfield, who noted that the sun may play a role in alleviating Seasonal Affective Disorder and may have other unidentified benefits. He suggested that if individuals are “sun smart,” use protection and avoid tanning and burning it’s acceptable to “go out and have lots of fun in the sun.”

“We were not meant to be mole people,” Crutchfield said.


Patricia Quigley is an award-winning journalist who has written for local, regional, national and international media.


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