Q&A with Dr. Alexandra Zeitany
Welcome to Sun Schooling! We are hosting our Sun School Series to educate our Cabana Crew more on safe safety.
Cabana Life is passionate about sun protection, and to give you the best information, we reached out to experts in the field, our favorite dermatologists!
We are so excited to feature Dr. Alexandra Zeitany, M.D. She is a dermatology resident. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
You can find her on her Instagram account @botox.and.bubbly
What's the number one thing you wish people understood about sun protection? If you could give someone one sun protective tip, what would it be?
“Many of my patients (and friends!) feel like laying out or tanning is okay as long as they’re wearing sunscreen, WRONG! The number one sun protective strategy is to avoid the sun. So try to plan outdoor activities either before 10AM or after 4PM when the sun’s rays are less intense. When you are outside, seek shade. And if all of that fails, THEN your sun protective clothing and sunscreen are there to protect you!
My one sun protective tip would be to wear sun protective clothing and apply sunscreen every day no matter your location or the weather. I love my sun protective driving gloves (and sleeves) and truly wear them every day. We discount the sun we get on a daily basis just from running errands, driving in the car, etc. And all that incidental sun damage adds up!"
What's the difference between UPF & SPF? How much UV protection does normal clothing provide? What are the benefits of wearing sun protective clothing?
“UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor and measures the amount of UV protection fabrics provide. SPF is sun protection factor and is used to measure the UV protection of sunscreens. Interestingly, SPF only pertains to a sunscreen’s effectiveness against UVB rays. But UPF measures a fabric’s effectiveness against both UVA and UVB rays.
All clothing shields you from the sun to some degree, but not all fabrics and colors provide equal protection. UPF clothing is tested to confirm the protection it provides, allowing you to control your overall level of UV exposure. I love UPF clothing for myself and my patients for several reasons. First, unlike sunscreen you don’t have to reapply! Just throw on your UPF clothing and you have consistent UV protection all day. Compared to non-UPF clothing, UPF clothing typically offers extended coverage with long sleeves, high necklines, and flaps to cover the back of your neck and hands. But the fabrics are also light weight and vented so you won’t get overheated. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing into the skin and then absorbing UV radiation. While the data is still not definitive, some recent studies have raised concerns that these chemicals are absorbed systemically in the body and it’s somewhat unclear what effect they could have long term. UPF clothing works by reflecting UV rays so wearing them does not transfer any chemicals to the skin.”
You're going to the pool or beach. What's your personal sun protection routine?
“Since I spend most of my outdoor time chasing my son, it can be easy to forget to reapply sunscreen, which is why I always wear UPF clothing that covers my chest and arms. This provides easy, all day protection I don’t have to think about. I always wear a wide brimmed, UPF hat and sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB radiation. I always opt for mineral, physical blocking sunscreens (like zinc and titanium oxide) with an SPF of at least 50 anytime I’m going to be outside all day. I always make sure to coat my lips and scalp (especially my part) too. I apply my sunscreen before I get dressed because working around clothes makes it more likely to miss a spot."
What should someone look for when picking a sunscreen? Do you have any sunscreens you love and recommend?
“When you’re buying sunscreen there a few important things to look for. First, the sun protective factor or SPF. For daily use, look for an SPF of at least 30. But for those summer days at the beach and pool, opt for a higher SPF of 50. Look for products labeled “broad spectrum,” these will protect against UVA and UVB radiation, both of which increase your risk of skin cancer and photoaging. For sunscreen you will use on the face, look for products labeled “non-comedogenic” or “oil free” as these won’t clog your pores or create acne. For children, look for products labeled “fragrance free” as these will be gentler on their sensitive skin. But my biggest piece of advice? The best sunscreen is one that you will actually wear! So find products that you like!”
Words of advice from Dr. Zubritsky Pollock:
You never know when you may unexpectedly be exposed to the sun. It takes sunscreen twenty minutes to start working, time you may not always have. Sunscreen is also difficult to store because it becomes less effective when heated. That’s why I always recommend having UPF clothing on hand! A scarf in your workbag or purse, a rolled up wide brimmed hat and gloves in your car, or a light cardigan at your work desk. You can have instant, consistent sun protection wherever you go!
For more dermatologist features, click here.