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Dr. Nava Greenfield

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Importance of using a Mineral Sunscreen

By Nava Greenfield

 Why is it important to use a mineral instead of a chemical screen, especially when you’re pregnant?

It is important to protect your skin from the sun. Pregnancy may be a time when you forget some of your skin care routine, but sun protection should not be something to forget. There are two main categories of sunscreen that are FDA approved in the US. The first are chemical sunscreens. Some examples of the main ingredients in this category are octinoxate and avobenzone. These chemicals get absorbed into your skin and absorb the UV rays from the sun. Chemical SPFs scatter the rays, which prevents harm on your skin. Many chemical sunscreens can cause irritant and allergic reactions in skin, so sensitive or allergic skin types would not be ideal types to use this formulation. They also do not protect against all wavelengths of light. Chemical sunscreens are better at protecting against UVB, which describes wavelengths of 280-320 nm, but less protective against UVA, which is approximately wavelegths 320-400. Very simplified, UVA causes more aging, whereas UVB causes more burns. The second category are physical or mineral blockers. Zinc and titanium dioxide are the two main physical blockers. Instead of absorbing into the skin, these ingredients stay on top of the skin and provide a physical shield against the UV rays, preventing their penetration and harm on the skin. These ingredients are not absorbed into the skin and do not cause many reactions. They also protect against more sun wavelengths and are excellent protection from both UVA and UVB. Because of this, I recommend that only physical blockers be used during pregnancy. 

Chemical sunscreens also can harm the environment around us by washing into our lakes, ponds and oceans and affecting the natural environments there.

How often should one apply SPF?

Sunscreens are not meant to be effective all day long. They need to be reapplied every two hours and after a sweating, swimming or contact with water, which can wash them off. Find a sunscreen that feels good on your skin and that you enjoy putting on. Keep it in your bathroom next to your morning skin care products so that you don’t forget to apply it daily. Make it a habit so that you never apply makeup without first protecting your face from the sun. Keep one in your bag so that you can reapply throughout the day.

 

 

PREGNANCY ACNE - It's a Thing...

 
Pregnant women have many more options than they think to deal with acne breakouts, which can be very bothersome during pregnancy. A basic skincare regimen that includes a gentle cleanser and a good moisturizer is essential. Prescription medications that are safe to use include clindamycin and finacea. Avoid the alpha and beta hydroxy acids that appear in many acne products such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid. However, lactic acid is safe for use in skincare during pregnancy and has the same pore cleansing abilities as glycolic and salicylic acids. Finding products that are gentle and made for pregnant women are your best bet and using safe and effective ingredients that won’t harm the baby. Ask your doctor before using chemical exfoliators because many are not safe for pregnancy despite the fact that they are over the counter. As an alternative to a chemical exfoliator, pregnant women can use a muslin cloth with their cleanser to gently remove dead skin cells from the surface of their skin.
 
I use sulfur as an active ingredient all the time for most types of dermatitis on the face. It also works great for acne and rosecea. During pregnancy there are very few safe options to use to treat acne but sulfur products are one of them.  It helps by unclogging pores and absorbs the oil buildup that occurs from overactive sweat glands which contributes to acne.
 
Hygiene tips: You may need to start washing your face either more or less frequently during pregnancy, as the oil glands change concentration and production in your skin. If your skin is very oily during the day use a tissue to blot off the excess oil. Use a sunscreen daily that is mineral or physical based, not a chemical SPF, which may be absorbed into the skin and can also lead to skin irritation. Get into the habit of washing your face before and after exercising to avoid sweat mixing with makeup and potentially causing breakouts. Avoid toners which are alcohol based that will dry out your skin and could worsen acne.

Dr. Nava Greenfield is a dermatologist practicing at Schweiger Dermatology Group. Dr. Greenfield earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Queens College, City University of New York, where she graduated Cum Laude with honors in mathematics, natural sciences, chemistry and biochemistry.

Dr. Greenfield attended medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University. She completed her internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital and her residency in dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Greenfield has been published in many medical journals, including The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, the Journal of Women’s Dermatology and Pediatrics. Dr. Greenfield is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Women’s Dermatologic Society and the American Medical Association.

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