Governor Cuomo Signs New York Tanning Ban


Governor Cuomo Signs New York Tanning Ban

On July 17, 2012 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for all New Yorkers under the age of 17. Noted dermatologist Joshua Fox, MD, applauds the new law banning indoor tanning to protect teens.

Roslyn, NY (PRWEB) July 21, 2012

On July 17, 2012 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will prohibit the use of indoor tanningdevices for all New Yorkers under the age of 17. The bills A 1074 and S 2917 will still require parental consent for 17-year olds for the use of indoor tanning devices. According to Joshua Fox, MD and founder and director of New York and New Jersey-based Advanced Dermatology PC, “it has been proven that indoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer and premature aging. We applaud Governor Cuomo’s efforts and hope that other states take note of New York’s proactive position on reducing skin cancer and follow suit,” adds Dr. Fox. According to the American Academy of Dermatology on a daily basis more than 1 million people tan in a tanning salon. Nearly 70% of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian females, primarily aged 16-29 years. And nearly 28 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. “The short-term, bronzing effects of tanning bed use are simply not worth the long-term consequences of increased skin cancer risk and premature aging,” adds Dr. Fox. The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency of Research on Cancer has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, including tanning beds and sun lamps, as known carcinogens (a cancer-causing agent). Studies have found a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma in those exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning. Evidence from studies has shown that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning is associated with an increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers including squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Additional studies show that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells and can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression and eye damage. Dr. Fox concurs that the increased use of tanning beds by teenagers has contributed to the sharp rise in melanoma rates. Melanoma is linked to excessive sun exposure particularly in the first 10 to 19 years of life. “The reason teens are so at risk is that they are still experiencing such tremendous growth at the cellular level,” Dr. Fox explains. Many surveys have found that teens put tanning sessions at the tops of their “to-do” lists for one reason: vanity. From high school proms to college homecomings, from “date night” to “girls’ night out,” teens are aware of the cultural and societal pressures to look their best, and many of them have turned to tanning salons to help them in their quest. According to Dr. Fox, tanning has been shown to release endorphins which give the teen a natural high. This encourages them in an almost addictive manner to continue tanning.

How To: Heal a Sunburn


How To: Heal a Sunburn

We’ve all been there: you’re heading to the beach, (hopefully with your sunscreen on), and sure enough, an hour later, you’re as red as a beet.

We asked two skin-care experts to offer their “cool” tips for healing that stubborn sunburn.

Hydrate: “Since your body loses fluids when your body is overheated, it’s important to drink cold ice water to keep the temperature of the body down and internally hydrate,” says celebrity esthetician, Renée Rouleau. Rouleau also recommends soaking in a bathtub with lukewarm to cool water with six cups of milk to help lower the temperature of the body while soothing the skin.

Apply a Lightweight Lotion Containing Antioxidants: “Soothing ingredients like oatmeal or antioxidants like Vitamin C and Ferulic acid can help fight inflammation and aid with healing. Avoid alcohol-containing products, or products with anesthetics like benzocaine. These tend to do more harm than good,” says Whitney Bowe, a broad-certified New York dermatologist.

Apply a Cooling Gel Mask: “Using a cooling gel-based mask to lower the temperature of the skin can bring soothing relief. If you don’t have a gel mask, apply cold plain yogurt; it works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce heat and irritation. Apply, let dry for 15 minutes, and rinse. Repeat every hour,” recommends Rouleau.

What NOT to Do: According to Bowe, never scrub, pick or peel the skin. Also don’t over moisturize: “If you apply too much lotion, the heavy oils in the lotion can create a barrier and trap heat in the skin keeping it red longer,” says Rouleau.

Product Picks:

Aveeno Skin Relief Moisture Repair Cream, $13

Renée Rouleau Vitamin C & E Treatment, $62.50

Tanning Safely, Sans the Sun


Tanning Safely, Sans the Sun

Bronze—Don’t Burn—With Self-Tanning Lotions by Margery Stein

As Woody Allen once said, “I don’t tan. I stroke.” Despite that fact, and my fair, freckled skin, I became a solar worshipper early on. My Memorial Day ritual was the same throughout my teens: drive to nearby Jones Beach, on Long Island, at 10 a.m. with my pals in tow; lie on a blanket in my bathing suit, my trusty sun visor under my chin; fall asleep; awake at 2 or 3 p.m.; arrive home with a sunburn so fierce that my father, a doctor, put me in a bath laced with Epsom salts and then sent me to bed coated in cortisone cream. “Don’t you ever learn?” he would thunder at me in exasperation. Indeed, I have learned what I didn’t know then about sun damage, and it’s an important lesson. “There are two types of rays that we’re most concerned about: UVA and UVB rays,” says Meryl Blecker Joerg, M.D., an attending physician at Mount Sinai Hospital and member of the Advanced Dermatology Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery. “UVA rays go deeper and cause early aging of the skin. Basically, the rays break down collagen, which makes the skin plump, and elastin, which gives the skin elasticity. When you lose elastin, your skin sags more. Losing both elastin and collagen can lead to premature aging. UVB rays cause DNA damage, which can lead to skin cancer.” So getting brown au naturel is a very bad idea. “We really have to educate people that no sun tan is a safe tan, even if you’re wearing sunscreen,” notes Dr. Joerg. “If you’re in the sun, you’re getting some of its damaging rays.” If you want to look like a bronze goddess, the healthiest way is to fake it. “Self-tanning products are the safest way to go,” says Dr. Joerg. The magic bullet in self-tanners is “a chemical called dihydroxyacetone, which binds to the proteins in the top layer of our skin, temporarily tinting it so it looks tan. It doesn’t cause UVA or UVB damage, and it lasts six or seven days. As your skin regenerates, the skin cells shed and the color comes off.” Is it safe to keep reusing a self-tanner? “Yes, but if you use it very frequently, your skin will get slightly darker for the duration of the product,” Dr. Joerg notes. “When you stop using it, the color slowly fades away. It will not permanently darken your skin.” A grab-bag of tanning hybrids has invaded the market, from spray-on tans and airbrush kits to creams and rub-on products like Tan Towels, which applies color with a body wipe that sets in seconds. “These all work the same way,” observes Dr. Joerg. “They’re simply different methods of applying the product.” The creams are more moisturizing, she notes—which is beneficial for aging skin—“while the towelettes are disposable and rub on quickly. Spray bottles are also a fast and easy way to go. After spraying, you rub the product around with your hand to make sure it’s evenly distributed.” But, Dr. Joerg cautions, “Don’t forget to wash your palms afterwards, because otherwise they’ll look darker than the rest of your skin.” As for particular brands, one of Dr. Joerg’s personal favorites is Clarins Self Tanning Gel, $34. “It gives a very natural tan and is not smelly like some tanners, plus it’s very moisturizing.” Another product on Dr. Joerg’s hit list for mature skin is Lancôme’s Flash Bronzer Anti-Age, $40. “It’s a little tinted so you can see it when you put it on; it has an SPF [Sun Protective Factor] of 15, and it contains Vitamin E, which is a good antioxidant.” (According to, antioxidants help fight fine lines and wrinkles, so they are useful anti-aging agents.) Dr. Joerg also recommends L’Oréal Sublime Bronze™ Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion Medium Natural Tan, which contains Vitamin E and promises to be two shades darker than your natural skin tone. “This is a great tinted moisturizer with antioxidants,” she notes. “I would recommend putting a sunscreen on top of it.” A less expensive self-tanner that is sold at most large pharmacies for $8 to $10 and gets her thumbs-up is Jergens Natural Glow & Protect Daily Moisturizer, with a 20 SPF. Some tanners are touted as paraben-free, or as containing botanicals or natural instant bronzers such as coffee bean extracts, which are also antioxidants. Explains Dr. Joerg, “Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as antimicrobial preservatives in food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics products. Paraben-free products are preferable, because parabens are estrogen mimickers and may increase the risk of breast cancer.” Botanicals, she notes, include creams and moisturizers that are plant derived, containing aloe vera, chamomile or green tea. “Green tea is a very good antioxidant.” To create a state-of-the-art fake tan, Dr. Joerg recommends this ritual: “After you come out of the shower, apply a layer of moisturizing lotion like Cetaphil, Purpose Dual Treatment Moisture Lotion, or CeraVe. I especially recommend Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50 with Helioplex for everyday use ($3 to $11). What the lotion does is not only moisturize the skin, but also hydrate areas of dead skin and thicker and dryer skin, like around the elbows and hands. Then you put the self-tanner on top of that. If you put it on without moisturizing first, you get darker patches over dryer skin.” Above all, stay away from tanning salons. The color you get there, warns Dr. Joerg, “comes from UVA and UVB rays,” just like those in the great outdoors. That’s as dangerous as lying on the sand, as this post-teen—now a major sun shunner—can firmly testify.

Margery Stein, a former editor at The New York Times and at several national magazines, writes about travel, health, business, and lifestyle issues for major consumer publications. She also consults, edits, and provides content for a range of online sites.

Be Smart About Getting Ink Today, Dermatologists Joshua Fox and John Troccoli on Tattoo Health Risks and Precautions


Be Smart About Getting Ink Today, Dermatologists Joshua Fox and John Troccoli on Tattoo Health Risks and Precautions

One in eight Americans now has a tattoo, including nearly 40% of people ages 20 to 25. While some tattoos are an impulsive choice, for those considering the decision, dermatologist Joshua Fox, M.D., medical director of Advanced Dermatology PC, and John Troccoli, MD, offer precautions for getting a tattoo and minimizing the health risks.

Roslyn, NY (PRWEB) July 04, 2012

Getting inked has gone mainstream: One in eight Americans now has a tattoo, including nearly 40% of people ages 20 to 25. While some tattoos are an impulsive choice, for those considering the decision, dermatologist Joshua Fox, M.D., medical director of Advanced Dermatology PC, and John Troccoli, MD, offer precautions for getting a tattoo and minimizing the health risks. What are the risks? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention regards tattooing as risky in principle, but doesn’t see any evidence of widespread transmission of disease. According to a recent report published in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the rising popularity of cosmetic tattoos has led to a greater number of adverse reactions. Increasing consumer complaints has prompted a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation into the safety of tattoo inks, which contain phthalates, metals and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Can tattoos pose a skin cancer risk? “You should never have a tattoo placed too close to or over a mole,” Dr. Fox warns. “Changes occurring in a mole may be warning signs that the lesion is becoming a melanoma or another skin cancer; it’s critical that the mole be completely visible, or it could delay or prevent detection.” Dermatologists have not found an increased prevalence of skin cancer in individuals with tattoos. However, scientists are debating the possible tattoo-cancer link based on rare, perhaps coincidental cases, of malignant skin tumors found in tattoos. Will my skin react to the dye? Tattoos breach the skin, which means that skin infections and other complications are possible. Dr. Fox outlines some of the risks: Allergic reactions. The dyes — especially red, green, yellow and blue dyes — can cause allergic responses, such as an itchy rash, even years later. Yellow and red tattoos that are exposed to the sun can cause an allergic reaction because they contain cadmium which can cause a phototoxic reaction when exposed to the sun. Skin infections and other reactions. A skin infection — which might cause redness, swelling, pain, and drainage — is possible. Sometimes bumps called granulomas form around the ink, which can also lead to keloids — raised areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue. People that are prone to keloids, which are more common in darker skinned individuals, should avoid getting tattoos because keloids can occur from tattoo needles piercing the skin. Bloodborne diseases. If the equipment is contaminated with infected blood, perhaps from a previous client who had a disease which they did not know about, you can contract various bloodborne diseases — including tetanus, hepatitis B and C, HIV and others. MRI complications. In rare cases, tattoos can cause swelling or burning in the affected areas during magnetic resonance imaging. What if I change my mind? The biggest side effect to getting a tattoo is remorse. According to an article in US News and World Report, upwards of 50 percent of those who get tattoos later wish they hadn’t. There are several options for removing tattoos, but most are now removed with lasers. “Lasers break up the inks so that the immune system can rid the body of these foreign substances,” says Dr. Fox. “But some tattoos are most difficult if not impossible to remove usually because of the colors involved.” There are several types of lasers; however, the Q-switched ruby, Q-switched ND Yag and Q-switched Alexandrite are the most effective. The removal is typically done over a period of months; it can require six to 12 treatments to remove a tattoo. “It requires less treatment, according to Dr. Troccoli, to treat a non professional tattoo.” Are there any dangers to removing a tattoo? There can be loss of skin color or skin darkening and change in skin texture at the site. Scarring is also a remote possibility if appropriate lasers are not used. Dermatologists will perform a test spot, treating a small part of the tattoo and monitoring what skin reactions occur on that small area before proceeding. The laser treatment itself may create a wound that can become infected. Many tattoo removal kits are available online, but the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that it does not regulate these products. Some kits contain acid and have caused permanent injuries and scarring. I still want to get one. What precautions should I take? If you ultimately decide to get inked, visit a reputable tattooing studio that employs only properly trained employees. Regulation requirements and licensing standards vary from state to state, so check with your health department. Make sure the tattoo artist washes his or her hands and wears a fresh pair of protective gloves for each procedure. Ensure that the tattoo artist removes the needle and tubes from sealed packages before your procedure begins. Any pigments, trays or containers should be unused as well. How should I care for my new artwork? Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen every day before going outdoors. The ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun fades some tattoo inks. Pay attention to rashes and sunburn-like reactions. Newly tattooed skin can be very sensitive. Some people develop an intense sunburn-like reaction on their tattooed skin. Stay out of tanning beds and away from sunlamps. In some people, the UV light reacts with the tattoo ink, causing a painful skin reaction. The UV light also can cause inks in tattoos to fade. If you have a skin reaction or see your tattooed skin changing, see a dermatologist as soon as possible. “Skin can react to the ink immediately after getting a tattoo or years later,” says Dr. Troccoli. “A change also could be a sign of skin disease.”

A Prudent Approach to Sun

inside science

A Prudent Approach to Sun

Tue, 2012-07-03

Experts agree that sun-safe behaviors are vital to protect people from concerns ranging from melanoma to premature aging.

Don’t let sun damage fears stunt summertime fun, experts say.

By: Patricia Quigley, ISNS Contributor

(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.”

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.