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Q&A with Dr. Mitalee Christman

Q&A with Dr. Mitalee Christman

Welcome to Sun Schooling! We are hosting our Sun School Series to educate our Cabana Crew more on sun 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. Mitalee Christman, M.D. She is a Board Certified Dermatologist. She graduated from Harvard University.

You can find her on her Instagram account @drmitaleecristman

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? 

“Recently there's been this movement within influencers and wellness mongers equating sun protection advice with, I kid you not, the patriarchy and "the establishment", promoting the sentiment that sunshine is good for your health and immune system. My one tip to those seduced by these claims is to get your Vitamin D from your diet. The risks of sun exposure are real and quantifiable in the number of skin cancers and distressing pigmentary issues we see, and the benefits are not as well understood, so include that in your personal risk-benefit analysis."

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 is to fabric as SPF is to sunscreen, but SPF only accounts for the "B"urning UVB rays not accounting for the "A"ging UVA rays. UPF accounts for both. If you hold your shirt up to the light and light passes through, it's not going to protect you. Wearing a tighter weave (like in UPF 50+ clothing) blocks 98% of UV and allows only 2% of UV radiation to reach your skin. The biggest benefit is that you don't need to reapply sunscreen to areas covered by UPF clothing! So much peace of mind especially for moms!

You're going to the pool or beach. What's your personal sun protection routine? 

“Bathing suit, sun protective cover up, water resistant broad spectrum SPF 50 on exposed areas, wide brimmed hat and sunnies, phone timer for 2 hours so I remember to reapply!”

What should someone look for when picking a sunscreen? Do you have any sunscreens you love and recommend? 

“Check three things on the label: Water resistant, broad spectrum (meaning it protects against UVA rays as well as UVB rays, SPF 30 or above (but I prefer 50)). I like Elta MD UV clear tinted for face, La Roche Posay Anthelios tinted for face, Alastin Hydratint for face for non beach days, and Elta MD UV Sport for body.)”

Words of advice from Dr. Mitalee Christman:

An opinion ranted loudly isn't truer than a fact spoken calmly. To quote my OB/GYN friend: you don't get to be offended by science. Trust the real experts! Thank you for including me. I love your brand and purchase from you often.

For more dermatologist features, click here.

Dermatologists recommend clothing with sun protection, and Cabana Life offers a variety of dresses, swim, rashguards with UPF 50+