Entries Tagged as 'Skin Care'

The Ultimate Guide To Sunscreens: Physical vs Chemical

posted on: July 1, 2015




Sunscreen and Sunblock are descriptions used interchangeably but it is important to know that technically they are different products-it is a matter of chemical protection versus physical protection.

Here are some abbreviations you may not know the meaning of:

UV=Ultraviolet referring to radiation.

UVA Rays=Long wavelengths which penetrates skin deeper, the culprits in premature aging, wrinkles and sunspots. Present whether it is sunny or not. Weaker than UVB rays, they can still contribute to skin cancer.

UVB Rays=Slightly more energy than UVA rays, exposure can cause skin to burn and  lead to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

Here is a quick comparison of Chemical Sunscreens VS. Physical Sunscreens


-Noticeable on skin, most sunblock leaves a thin white-ish layer on skin

-Contains ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide which physically block the sun, reflects the rays off skin, almost like a mirror.

-Effective immediately after application because it remains on the skin surface-doesn’t need to be soaked into the skin

Deflects UVA and UVB rays, reduces the radiation that hits the skin

A few Physical Sunscreen I recommend:

1. Blue Lizard Sunscreen– This is the best sunblock that is difficult to find. It is an Australian based company and can be purchased online. You can even buy this stuff by the gallon! The bottle also turns blue when exposed to UV rays. No need to question if you’re getting  UV exposure on that cloudy day, just look to the bottle for the answer.

2. The Honest Company Sunblock Stick– Putting sun protection on your kids faces is the worst (even for this Derm momma). Most kids hate putting lotion on their face and with one quick move they always end up getting it in their eye. This stick makes physical application of the sunscreen a breeze with no mess.

3. Colorscience Sunblock Powder– I’ve talked about this product many times before. While it wouldn’t be my whole body go-to if at the beach it’s great to apply over make-up or even put on the part on your scalp, an area that is often overlooked when it comes to sunscreen application and easily burned.

This YouTube clip below shows with a UV camera how Sunblock acts as a physical barrier on the skin, you can see clearly once the subjects smear Sunblock on their face!


Chemical Sunscreens:

-Usually appears clear on skin

-Contains special ingredients that act as chemical filters and reduce ultraviolet radiation penetration to the skin

-Must be applied at least 30 min. before sun exposure to soak into skin

Absorbs UVB rays

-Any sunscreen with less than 15 SPF is a waste of time and money

1. Aveeno Protect and Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen– One of the biggest complaints I hear about physical sunblock is that “it’s too thick”. This product absorbs quickly and moisturizes the skin, plus it is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation

2. Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Lotion– This product also absorbs easily into the skin and has that classic beachy scent. Is it weird that I keep a bottle of this stashed in my desk, and take a whiff when I need a mental break? “Sun Bum, take me awayyyyyyyyy!”

3. Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen– Non-comedogenic formulation designed for everyday use over the whole body. This is a great choice is you are particularly sensitive to paraben, synthetic fragrance or oxybenzones.

Please note:

  • “Waterproof” is better than “water-resistant”, but it doesn’t mean that lotion can be applied once and you’re covered for the rest of the day. “Waterproof” can maintain an SPF level 80 min. after swimming or sweating, whereas “water-resistant” maintains SPF only 40 min. after being in water.
  • Oils, even if they have SPF, aren’t really a protective form of sun protection. The oil intensifies the rays, as if you are basting your body. Unless you want roasted turkey skin, don’t use tanning oils.
  • According to the Melanoma Foundation, Even on a cloudy day 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds. Especially important to wear sunblock even on an overcast day.

I personally hate spray-on sunscreens. Yes, they are convenient as can be, but almost no one applies them correctly. To get the level of SPF protection suggested on the can you must apply the sunscreen to dry skin with no wind present and you must apply a LIBERAL amount of the spray to the skin (the skin should look wet) and then you need to rub in the spray into the skin. You then must wait for everything to dry and absorb into the skin before it starts working. Do you know anyone who does all of these steps? I have some patients refuse to wear anything but sprays (cough…cough…my husband) so I tell them it’s better than nothing, but in general I highly advise against them. Also, you want to avoid inhaling spray sunscreens as there is still investigation occurring on any potential risk in the lungs.

Bottom Line: These days, sunscreen and sunblock are so interchangeable, they are not scientific terms to describe sun protection. In my field we compare the two as “chemical vs. physical”. Many lotions are a combination of both so it is best to look at the labels; mineral ingredients like Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide-those inorganic ingredients physically block the sun.

Regardless of whether you use sunblock or sunscreen, they both have the ability to protect you from damaging ultraviolet rays and should be a part of your daily routine.


6 Ways To Prevent Eye Wrinkles

posted on: June 1, 2015

Have you ever had someone say to you, “are you tired? You look tired” As you’re thinking… “I feel great, I actually got 8 hours of sleep, I’m running on a grande latte and I have my good mascara on! how rude.” Well one thing that can make you look more tired than you actually are is excess eye wrinkles. These few tips will help prevent eye wrinkles and make you look as refreshed as you’re feeling.

1. Wear Sunglasses- Squinting from the glare of the sun can not only cause crows feet it can also make frown lines and forehead lines worse too. Invest in a few pairs of sunglasses. Keep a pair in your purse, home, car, etc… so you always have one handy when needed.


Not my usual pair-but perfect for a Bachelorette party!

2. Sunscreen- If I haven’t been clear in my previous posts, applying sunscreen is a MUST. It is inexcusable to not apply moisturizer with SPF every morning. Travel size bottles of sunscreen or powdered sunscreens make it easy to keep at your desk, in your purse, the the glove box, etc…

3. Rubbing Your Eyes- it may be a hard habit to break because most of the time we don’t realize we are doing it! The skin around our eyes is particularly delicate, so rubbing causes that thin skin to fold .

4. Sleeping on your side/stomach- when your face is scrunched in a pillow, the skin stays folded in that position for possibly hours. Try sleeping on your back.

5. Retin-A– aka Tretinoin is a prescription vitamin A derivative that speeds up cell turnover rates, rapidly exfoliating the skin. This exfoliation can soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The skin around the eye is very sensitive. I recommend starting with a low strength of Retin-A and only using it 2x/week. If your skin can tolerate it you can increase how often you are using it. Talk to your Derm to see if this prescription medication is right for you.

6. Botox- This is not only a treatment for crows feet but can also be preventive. If you temporarily paralyze the muscle around the eye you are unable to make the squinting expression that causes crows feet. Botox typically lasts 3-4 months.

Combining good habits and a regimen from your Dermatologist/Derm PA, can help decrease the look of wrinkles around the eyes…start now if you haven’t already!

Dr. Pimple Popper: Your Guilty Pleasure

posted on: May 21, 2015

Untitled design (1)A few weeks ago, Dr. Lee and I were discussing one of the segments she had taped on The Doctors Show. Her most popular clips seemed to be the ones in which she was removing cysts or blackheads.

“Why don’t we create an Instagram account that only shows us removing things that pop? Blackheads, etc..?!” I asked her.

Thats when @drpimplepopper was born.

There is something deeply satisfying about watching the removal of these skin imperfections. What I didn’t realize was how many other people felt the same way! Almost overnight, @drpimplepopper gained thousands of followers (at time of publishing 154,000 are following these 15 sec. videos of guilty pleasure)

Our Instagram has touched all corners of the world thanks to coverage by Buzzfeed USA, The Guardian, Allure Magazine Blog, Cosmopolitan.com, Daily Mail UK, Irish Mirror, Huffington Post UK, Terra Brasil. Thanks to such exposure, we have been able to give back to one of Dr. Lee’s special patients, Mr. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson lost his wife recently, and for each visit while Dr. Lee squeezed him, he would share more of his story, which touched many viewers. Thanks to a Gofundme.com collection started by Dr. Lee, Mr. Wilson was gifted $6,800 to help his current financial situation, and brighten his day since his wife passed away.


If you haven’t already, make sure to follow @drpimplepopper, my personal account @whitecoattreatment as well as @drsandralee


Why Powdered Sunscreen is the Shiznet

posted on: May 19, 2015

Approx 5,328 times a day I educate patients on sun protection. This includes everyone from patients on sun sensitive acne medications to those concerned with brown spots and wrinkles. When I tell my patients that the most important aspects on using sunscreen is reapplication every few hours I commonly get the side-eye mixed with “haha you’re crazy if you think I’m reapplying this thick white crap over my make-up” look.

That is when I pull out my semi-secret weapon. Powdered Sunscreen. Now this is not a new technology, but I find most people are not aware it exists. I am not talking about powdered foundation make-up with and SPF in it. I am talking about straight up (typically zinc based) sunscreen powder. Simply tap, brush on and reapply. I still recommend a base of liquid sunscreen (I like ones with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide) in the morning before putting on all of your moisturizers and make-up but, reapplying with sunscreen powder doesn’t get much easier. It’s seriously the best for fussy kids (and husbands) on their faces too.

This is not just for your face, I wear this on my hands as well, especially when driving. There is only so much a Dermatology PA can do once skin has been damaged by the sun. Establish your regimen now!  Hands show the tell-tale signs of aging and most people are more concerned with the wrinkles and brown spots on their face and chest, neglecting their hands.

I am not sponsored by any of these products, I just feel a personal responsibility to spread the word about them!

Colorscience Sunforgettable– this is the one I use.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.21.05 AM

Check out this other brand too:

Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Instant Mineral SPF 45

Dermaplaning: Painless & No downtime

posted on: April 23, 2015

Dermaplaning or Skin Blading is one of the most painless and effective ways to achieve smoother more vibrant looking skin. The procedure is simple involving a small and sterile surgical blade held against the skin at an angle and stroked along the surface of the face. The treatment is extremely safe and there is not much more risk than actually shaving your face. Skin blading removes the villous hairs as well as terminal hairs (for men). A question that may be of concern for this procedure is, “Will my hair grow back thicker if I have dermaplaining”? The answer is no, your villous hairs (thinner, soft hairs) will in time grow back, but it will not cause them to be thicker or darker. Skin blading is only performed on the face, not including the nose, eye lids, neck or chest. Blading can be performed as much as every 3-4 weeks but that is not always needed. After dermaplaning the skin can sometimes peel, but this is normal.

A very simple procedure which you can add to your skin care repertoire!

Moley, Moley, Moley: What to consider when evaluating your moles

posted on: January 29, 2015

Moles can appear anywhere on our bodies from the bottom our feet to the top of our head and everywhere in-between. While most of them are harmless, some may be cancerous and cause harm if not treated in a timely manner.  To decide if you should seek evaluation about a particular mole that may be dangerous, follow the ABCDE rules for potential skin cancer at home.

  • A is to see if your mole has asymmetry, meaning one half is larger than the other.
  • B is to look at border irregularity. Borders with jagged edges that are uneven can be some of the first warning signs.
  • C is to look at the color, if the color changes or is a shade of black or bluish-grey you can be at risk.
  • D is to look at the diameter of the mole, if it is greater than six millimeters, about the size of an average pencil eraser then you may want to have it evaluated.
  • E is evolution. This is probably the most important factor. If your mole is evolving (aka: growing and changing) it is very important to have it examined.

Although skin cancer seems scary, most moles are benign and we are able to test it in a timely manner. Having a cancerous mole is not the only reason to have a mole removed. Many people choose to have multiple moles removed for their own convenience due to factors such as; they simply do not like it, to it being in a highly seen place such as the face. The mole removal process is quick, safe, easy, and low on the pain scale. If you are questioning a mole, or feel at all uncomfortable about one, make an appointment to see what your treatment options are.

Skin Cancer and it’s Warning Signs for Beauty Professionals

posted on: November 4, 2014

Hair Dressers Spot Skin Cancers



I cannot tell you how many times my patients have told me: “I’m here beacuse my hair dresser noticed something in my scalp”. Hair Dressers are on the front line of spotting skin cancer in one of the hardest places to monitor: The Scalp. Next Monday, November 10th at 6pm,  I will be presenting a Heads Up! lecture from The Skin Cancer Foundation. If you’re in the beauty industry and would like to learn more about how to spot skin cancers come join us! It’s FREE to attend and I will be raffling off some goodies for attendants.

Details and How to Register: HERE



Melasma Treatment With The TriBeam Laser

posted on: August 21, 2014

Melasma is a condition that causes brown to grey-brown patches to form on the face, it is thought to be related to hormones so women are far more likely than men to get this condition. Since hormones are also a trigger factor, melasma is common during pregnancy and often called “the mask of pregnancy”.  Melasma can sometimes fade on its own after giving birth or when a women stops birth control pills, but when Melasma does not fade on it’s own it can be very difficult to treat. Treatment options for Melasma include bleaching creams, chemical peels and laser treatments. In the above video you can see how I treat Melasma with the TriBeam Laser, an effective and painless treatment for this frustrating condition.

How Do Lasers To Work To Treat Acne?

posted on: August 11, 2014

Tribeam Before and After TreatmentMy Patient after 4 treatments with the TriBeam TriPeel Laser Treatment

Acne treatments are not one size fits all. If topical treatments are not working for you or if you are looking to accelerate your results laser treatments may be an option to consider.

There are many different lasers that may be used to treat acne, but typically they work in one of three ways:

  • The laser will heat overactive sebaceous (oil) glands causing them to shrink so they produce less oil.
  • Some acne is caused by bacteria that are normally found on your skin. The laser can destroy bacteria by creating oxygen within the trapped pore which destroys the bacteria causing the inflammation.
  • Lastly, some lasers shrink and clear out pores by exfoliating the superficial outer layer of dead skin cells.

In addition to helping prevent new acne from forming, some laser treatments can also help diminish the appearance of acne scars and hyperpigmentation.  These laser treatments accelerate the healing process and stimulate collagen remodeling, an important step in the long-term treatment of acne.

These type of laser treatments typically have very little downtime. The Tribeam Laser that I use in my office will make the skin slightly pink for a few hours but things are back to normal the next day.

So what’s the downside to this treatment? The cost. Insurance companies usually will not cover this procedure. Expect to fork over anywhere between $200-$400 per treatment.

It typically takes a series of treatments to see the best results. Laser treatments are by no means the end all be all as far as acne treatments go. Acne can be a very difficult condition to treat and you have to find out what treatment is best for you. If you are considering laser treatments for acne make sure your provider goes over all of your acne treatment options to ensure you are making an informed decision.

Join me for my “All About Acne” Lecture

posted on: May 13, 2014

all about acne  flyer

Join me next week for my “All About Acne” Lecture. I will be discussing different causes of acne, various treatments, separating acne fact from fiction and everything else you’d want to know about this annoying condition that can pop up during any point in our lives. Gift bags and raffle prizes for all attendants!

Register for the lecture HERE