What is your professional background? In 2004 I graduated from The Jefferson College of Health Sciences PA Program in Roanoke. After graduation, I moved to Temple, Texas and completed my dermatology training at Scott & White Hospital. Since then I have practiced dermatology in Texas, California and Virginia.

What is a common problem in dermatology and does it have any modifiable risk factors? Some dermatological problems can be prevented, such as multiple sunburns that can then increase one’s risk for skin cancer. The three most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Sun exposure increases the risk of development for these. This is why it is important that we are considerate of how we spend our time in the sun.

What are ways that we can prevent such problems? Avoiding sun exposure during 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is helpful because the sun is most intense during these hours. Ultra-violet radiation can penetrate cloud cover, and UV light can still reach you even if you are standing in the shade.

Sunscreen is a very effective tool for protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. SPF (sun protection factor) is how long you can stay in the sun before your skin burns. If you can stay outside 10 minutes before burning, then an SPF 15 would enable you to stay out (10x15= 150) 150 minutes. It is also important to remember that you need an adequate layer of sunscreen on your skin for it to work properly. The average person needs at least a 1.5 ounces (essentially a shot glass full) of sunscreen to cover exposed skin before going outside. If a container of sunscreen has 12 ounces, it should only last you approximately eight uses or a little over a week if you apply an adequate amount.

Sunscreen does become less effective once it has been opened. Most bottles should be thrown away after they have been open for a year.

What is the one thing you would like for your patients to know? There is no such thing as a healthy tan! Also, our dermatology clinic is currently open for active duty. It is a referral only service.