Safety In The Summer Sun

By Ruth J. Katz

You would not be wrong if you called Dr. Daniel Foitl, the dermatologist’s dermatologist. Triple-boarded in dermatology, pathology, and dermatopathology, he has held many prestigious positions—both academic and professional—in New York City hospitals, including chief resident in dermatology at New York Hospital/Cornell University, clinical instructor at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and director of Mount Sinai’s Dermatopathology Laboratory/Icahn School of Medicine.

Today he presides over his private practice, Sutton Place Dermatology, where he tackles everything from the mundane to the tricky. Additionally, he wields a studied and careful syringe to achieve the most artful, natural-looking results from injectables and fillers. Finally, he combines that skillful artist’s hand with the discerning eye of the physician to achieve the most “unstudied” and successful outcomes with the dermatologist’s “paint box” of magic—Botox, Sculptra, Juvéderm, and so on.

As we happily head outdoors, we need to protect our precious skin. If you are not guarding yourself with some “armor,” you are inviting trouble: Dr. Foitl notes that a single nasty exposure to the sun, even twenty years ago, can result in a melanoma today! Furthermore, the American Cancer Society cautions that skin cancer is the most common of all types of cancer; melanomas have been rapidly rising over the past few decades, and this year nearly 100,000 new melanomas will be diagnosed.

New York Lifestyles magazine sat down with Dr. Foitl to discuss the summer sun and quick beauty fixes.  

What is the first line of defense for protecting ourselves from the sun’s harmful rays?
Most people think of slathering creams and lotions on their bodies, but I first tell patients to purchase clothing with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) in the garment. I recommend buying items with at least a UPF 30. Even a simple white T-shirt without extra protection already has a built-in protection number 8, but your skin can readily burn right through that simple garment. Therefore, it is imperative to use additional, applied-to-the-skin protection.

As far as that additional coverage, what do you recommend?
Years ago, the best physical coverage was visible and unsightly—that white, opaque zinc and titanium dioxide layer. Today, we have much better, lighter lotions that reflect sunlight off the skin, acting as little mirrors. In addition, most products are translucent and have micronized particles, so you are not walking around with that gloppy, solid-white shield on your skin.

Is there any product you usually recommend to patients?
Most products that are out today are primarily chemical and lightweight, with no sheen.

You can purchase lotions with an SPF 30 or higher but know that anything above 30 is really about marketing, not protection; the change in protection between SPF 15 and 30 is merely 2 percent extra coverage. I recommend many of the products in the Neutrogena line—ultra-sheer, with an SPF 30—and some of them have lightweight zinc.

On quite another note, what kind of beauty fixes can we do now and moving into the fall?
One treatment to investigate is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), which is ideal for anyone who has had a history of bad sunburn/exposure; it results in an 80 percent decrease in basal cell skin cancers for five years, and the benefit is that it is very rejuvenating. Sometimes it’s even better than the Fraxel laser treatments for restoring that blush of youth. The Fraxel laser is perfect for turning over new skin, so you see the result. I also like the photo facial Intense Pulse Light (IPL). One treatment, with five days’ downtime, and the skin looks glowing. And the benefits of Cool Sculpting are always worth mentioning—it instantly does what it would take months to do with diet and exercise.

For more information on Sutton Place Dermatology, visit suttonplacedermatology.com

© 2023 Ruth J. Katz All Rights Reserved