dermatologist, SPF, sun, sunscreen, UPF, melanoma

3 Questions for a Dermatologist

How to care for your summer skin. (And your fall, spring and winter skin, too.)

The strong sun this time of year makes us all the more aware of skin health. For the first in our "3 Questions For a Doctor" series, we speak with Marnie Nussbaum, MD, whose New York City practice specializes in both general and cosmetic dermatology, to find out the latest in skincare trends, the mistakes we all make with our skin and how to live an active, outdoor life without your dermis showing it. 

If you could change one thing about people's skincare habits, what would it be?

I would ban indoor tanning. And if I had a second, I'd tell everyone to wear sunscreen—SPF 30 or higher—every day, even in winter. Both for skin cancer and aesthetics. 

What are the most common summertime skin mistakes?

People often forget that you have to reapply sunscreen every two hours and that "water resistant" only lasts 40 to 80 minutes, depending on what it says on the bottle. (Regardless, it's best to avoid doing outdoor activities between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.) Also, people think UPF clothing lasts forever and it doesn't. Check the label to see how many rinses it has before it loses its efficacy. And sunglasses aren't just for fashion; large glasses are great because they protect the whole eye area (you can actually get melanoma in your eye) and they also help reduce sun damage and wrinkling around the eyes. Men in particular aren't as on top of their skin care, year-round. A lot of men have thick skin so they seem to age at a slower pace and don't know they're at risk for skin cancer. 

What advancements in dermatology are you most excited about?

There are two aspects. In terms of medicine, target immunotherapy for melanoma has highly improved patient outcome. Until the past few years, there was no effective way to treat patients with advanced melanoma. In terms of skin rejuvenation, the laser technology is amazing. We're using it for cellulite, which has always been difficult to treat, as well as fine lines and wrinkles at a faster rate with less down-time. And there's a topical Botox in the works, too.