Category Archives: Skin Care

Skin Cancer and Sunblock

Skin Cancer and SunblockAccording to the 2016 CANCER FACTS & FIGURES REPORT by the American Cancer Society, an estimated 76,380 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S in 2016 and an estimated 10,130 people will die of it this year. Although today it is well known that our skin should be protected from the sun with the daily use of a sunscreen, it can be neglected without optimal protection if the sunscreen is not used correctly optimally. In fact, there have been reports that sunscreen causes cancer, but this is misleading because the reason behind this information is that they are finding that people are not wearing the right kind of sunscreen, reapplying sunscreen often enough, and having a false sense of security from using sunscreen and not using common sense approach to sun protection.

At KayaKalp Aesthetics our doctors have been treating patients with skin cancer for many years and helping our patients to learn about proper skin care and to know the facts about sun protection. Skin cancers can form even with and after use of sunscreens due to previous UV exposure. But, sunscreens will reduce the risk of additional UV damage. Use and reapply sunscreen daily, even under shade and on a cloudy day. It is also important to use sunscreen with zinc or titanium oxide as the active ingredients are better and they should be applied every 2 hours. The sunscreen cannot be left in a car or direct heat since that breaks down the sun protective factors.

Other Sun Safety Tips

  • Wear sunglasses- Reduces sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage.
  • Wear sun protective clothing- reduces the amount of radiation reaching the skin
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat- protects areas prone to sun overexposure i.e. eyes, ears, face and the back of neck
  • Use sunscreen before you go out, and reapply every two hours. (check with KayaKalp to learn about quality sunscreens.)
  • Water resistant sunscreens will come off when you towel off sweat or water.
  • Be aware- children under six months of age should never have sunscreen applied to their skin; protect by sun avoidance
  • Avoid midday sun when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.
  • Pay attention to the UV Index- indicates the degree of caution to be taken when outdoors and provides a forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to the sun and predicts exposure levels on a scale of 0 to10+.

Low risk = 0

In addition to learning sun safety tips, it is also important that people check their skin daily for changes. If skin cancer is detected before it spreads and is treated properly there is a high cure rate. Some basic signs and symptoms of skin cancer to watch for is an unusual mole. Most normal moles are evenly colored with one color of brown, tan or black. It can be flat or raised and shaped in a circle or oval. The most important warning sign of skin cancer is a new spot on the skin or an existing spot that is changing in size, shape, or color. A common rule to remember from the American Cancer Society is the ABCDE rule.

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
  • B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
  • D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
  • E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

Finally, if you are concerned about an unusual mole or want to learn more about skin care and sun protection please contact our office at 978-927-6556 to schedule a consult or email our doctor at .

Home Skin Care Regimen

Although there is no standard skin type, in general Rosacea skin is sensitive and skin care should include:

Home Skin Care Regimen

  • Use a gentle, soap-free cleanser
  • Never pull, tug, scratch or treat the face harshly
  • Avoid loofas, brushes granular products on the face
  • Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water
  • Dry by blotting with a soft cotton towel or air dry for several minutes
  • Apply a topical medication.
  • Let the medication soak in for an additional five or 10 minutes
  • Use an oil-free moisturizer

It is important to be sure that it is it true Rosacea and not simple skin redness or flushing? The professional opinion of our well trained physicians can guide you correctly. Consult with our well trained aesthetician who can advise you on a good skin care regimen and demonstrate ways to use your cosmetics to minimize symptomatic signs of Rosacea. Our in-clinic professional treatments and a good home-care regimen can make a world of difference. Kayakalp carries many products and can also offer laser treatment options that can address Rosacea in an effective way.

Helpful Hints

– Avoid the sun! Never skip the full spectrum sun block and remember to reapply including neck and hands.
– Apply sun block 30 minutes before sun exposure even on cloudy days.
– Reapply Sun block every hour when involved with outdoor activity.
– Get car windows tinted to the legal limits.
– Skip ‘active’ products on irritated skin, use OTC cortisone cream and a sun block.
– Get treatments every 2 weeks thus allowing the superficial exfoliation to ensure a better penetration of therapeutic products.
– Get follow up visits no less than every month and get product potency and lifestyle issues reevaluated.
– Get refills before running out to ensure that you do not have to start over.
– Do not apply scented aftershaves or colognes on exposed areas of the skin.
– Wear 100% UV protection sunglasses or get eyeglasses ‘coated’ by an optometrist.
– Do not scrub dead skin cells when flaking..
– Do not use wash cloths, buffing pads or abrasive scrubs. Never scrub with towels.
– Apply retinoid and skin lighteners as directed and make sure all traces have been absorbed by the skin.
– Never dot lighteners or apply too thickly and avoid the mouth area for a few days if it becomes darkened, too dry or irritated.


Every season, no matter where we live, has skin health obstacles to overcome. Since the skin organ, is our first line of defense, effects of seasonal changes, air conditioned or heated homes, skiing or swimming, bacteria, free radicals, all play havoc on skin health and beauty. As skin care specialists, we are expertly trained to restore your skin to its optimum health. Our personalized, professional approach is one that listens to your needs before designing treatments and recommending a regimen to achieve your desired results.

Even Tone Skin – Everyone’s Concern

Surprisingly no matter what the varied body parts concern of different individuals may be, an even skin tones seems to be everyone’s concern.
A question that is asked more and more in conversation is -“what cream do you use? I’ve got to do something about my skin…..”

It seems that these days I spend a lot of time explaining why their question/approach is all wrong. There are so many factors that regulate what skin is going to look like at a given age for a given person.

From age related skin changes, genetics, and medical history, to seasonal changes and different lifestyles, there are a variety of factors that govern the way the skin will look and what it will require at a particular stage in anyone’s life.

The regimen that is optimal for me may well not be for you and definitely not for a fresh faced carefree young adult or a middle aged smoker or that stressed out mother of three.

Although the retort to those new patients may be a light hearted “Hmmm have you got time – I feel a lecture coming on”, – the fact remains that there is a serious misunderstanding amongst old and young alike. This may well be the result of a very massive and profitable over the counter skin care market that as often as not, presents itself as a cookie cutter solution to every ones skin care needs.

Even though in recent years cosmetic companies have been focusing more and more on communicating/ marketing the science of skin damage in their anti-aging formulations, in reality it matters little which celebrity is the spokesperson for “the latest what” – be it in a glossy magazine, tell all insider ‘inforticle’ or a television ‘infomercial’. The fact is that – an admired celebrity’s even toned skin is not a duplicate of everyone else’s skin and there is no such thing as a wonder cure-all cream on the market that will suffice for everyone’s skin.

Spectroscopic quantitative measurements of changes in skin (e.g. hyperpigmentation, vascularity) due to natural aging processes and UV radiation have already been studied extensively (ref. 1). However, according to a HBES Scientific Study (ref. 2), apart from lines, furrows, and wrinkles, the other most important indicator of health, attractiveness, and youth, seems to be an even toned skin. This study looked at chromophore distributions as perceived by the human eye. Chromophores are light reflecting molecules found in melanin, collagen, and hemoglobin and determine luminosity and even tone of the skin.

Result: Irrespective of age, the study showed that the more luminous and even tone the skin, the greater the perception of attractiveness and youthfulness. Furthermore, with the help of the ‘SIA scope’, originally developed to detect skin cancers, these researchers are endeavoring to figure out what the most optimal distribution of light reflection or ‘attractiveness’ is as far as human eye perceptions is concerned. (ref.2)

There are many technologies/ingredients that have a proven track record and in the market place, numerous options are available for improvement of a particular skin concern. Most consumers, however, even if they know which active they are looking for in a formulation, have little knowledge of the variables involved for different derivatives of the same active.

As time passes, more and more derivatives of that same active are appearing – all marketed as superior to others. Putting aside user compliance and the factors that have been mentioned above, for any formulation, a sufficient concentration of that active is required for a substantive and perceptible difference. These concentrations are not available to the over the counter consumer, but have rightly to be acquired through supervised prescriptive formulations from a physician.

Even then, results vary and sometimes can be so subtle they are hardly discernible to the user, so that absolute promises, even in a credentialed medical facility, should never be made and assurances of improvements should always be conveyed with caution.

Smita M Patel Skin Clinic Director
KayaKalp Aesthetics

Published SPSSCS Newsletter 2014

Ref 1: -Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2001) 117, 1452–1457; doi:10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01577.x
Ref 2:- Human Behavior and Evolution Society Meeting, June 7-11 2006: study by Drs. K. Grammer, B Fink

Botanicals – Hype or Hope

These days, depending on who you speak to, a subject that elicits emphatic positive or negative response, is the question, “Are Botanical Cosmetics Hope or Hype”?

It is true that Botanical extracts have been widely used for ailments for thousands of years by many Eastern and Middle Eastern medical systems as well as by the native populations of Australia and the Americas well before the arrival of European settlers. Although, in general, their actions are as soothing, antioxidative and anti-inflammatory agents, it is only in recent times that definitive scientific studies have been conducted that have validated their usefulness for treatments of various ailments and conditions.

Today, since Botanicals are considered safe by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they do not have the same restrictions for marketing as do drugs, even though they form the largest category of additives that are seen in cosmetic formulations. Whether these additives are from flowers, fruits, berries, leaves, stems, twigs, bark or root, all are extractions obtained by varying methods such as steam distillation, crushing, grinding, drying, boiling or pressing.

Many plant actives are the result of their protective antioxidative mechanisms to UV exposure of the sun. These antioxidants generally fall into 3 categories, carotenoids, flavanoids and polyphenols which we largely get from the foods we consume in daily life. Their benefits are shared by the whole body. Botanicals in topical skin formulations, however, can be specific to the area of application. Further, due to their soothing and anti-inflammatory effects, they are used for corrective anti-aging solutions, as aging is in part the result of chronic inflammation.

As time passes, a growing belief increasingly insists that “natural” is better, and has deemed Botanicals not only effective, but superior to synthetic chemical duplicates which are associated with “unnatural and prone to side effects”. It should however be pointed out that Botanicals have to go through chemical processing before they can be incorporated into a formulation. Furthermore the heating processes required may well diminish or destroy some of the actives in the essential oils, distillates etc.

Thus the method by which a botanical is extracted is as important as its source. Active chemical constituents and concentrations not only vary with different family members belonging to the same species of a plant but also their geographic location. Other variables include the time of the year harvested and the specific parts of the plant that are used. Also of critical importance to the efficacy of a formulation is the correct concentration of plant extract, packaging and ingredient synergy as many botanical actives have a “prima donna” attitude – enhancing the capabilities of some and voiding those of other ingredients when present together in a formulation.

There are many foods, whose pastes etc. can be used topically, but not all are necessarily of great value primarily because the molecular size of the extract may not be small enough to pass through skin barrier. However there are new studies underway that are focusing on drug additives that will open up the skin for infusion of actives. A published break through by a physician/chemist/scientist team* at Northwestern University, demonstrated that certain spherical arrangements of nucleic acid nano particles, (normal – ‘linear’) are able to attach themselves to proteins. These structures combined with commercial moisturizers can break through the stratum corneum and have deep dermis penetration, targeting biomarkers associated not only with cancers but possibly those associated with wrinkling and the aging skin. The development of this technology, pioneered by Chad A. Markin, rather than merely affecting a general topical area, could result in therapeutics that precisely target and turn off mutant gene responsible for certain diseases and conditions.

A genuine botanical active, that is pure, attains results in low concentrations. Unfortunately there are a growing number of commercial companies making dubious claims and outright imposters in the marketplace shelves. Furthermore since a regulatory body has not set efficacy standardization for production or dose for botanicals, the buyer and user alike should “be educated and be wary”. However used correctly, botanicals can be very effective.

Smita M Patel – Skin Clinic Director
KayaKalp Aesthetics

Published – SPSSCS Newslette.2013

Mineral Makeup

Mineral makeup seems finally to have come of age. Everywhere we turn, yet another company is touting” their latest breakthrough“. However this “new” makeup discovery has been around for quite a few years. Unlike traditional products, mineral makeup, strictly speaking should contain no perfumes, talc, alcohol, dyes, mineral oil or preservatives. No wonder it receives such a high approval rating from those in skin therapy. However not all mineral makeups are created equal.
Since there are many half truths and partial fact floating around, it is natural that many questions arise in the mind. How do the various brands differ? Is one brand better for you than another and why? Are mineral make-ups different from those powders and foundations that we have used in the past?

Actually, despite different brand names and marketing strategies, most mineral makeups are almost the same. Most of the formulations include ingredients such as micronized titanium dioxide, micronized zinc oxide, iron oxide, silk mica, hydrated silica, and bismuth oxychloride. Sometimes further additions of secondary ingredients are included, such as vitamins, extra skin softeners or stronger pigments to neutralize skin tone.

You may know micronized titanium dioxide, from the sunscreen that you use for this ingredient protects the skin from sunlight because the white mineral’s crystalline structure naturally reflects and defuses the sun’s harmful rays. Micronized zinc oxide is also a protectant from the sun and combines with the micronized titanium dioxide in reflecting the sunlight’s dangerous UVA and UVB rays.

Iron oxide is found in nature. Its natural red, orange and yellow pigment hues blend well into flesh tones for mineral foundations. Silk mica and hydrated silica are added to the formulation to soften and blend the mineral compounds giving a smooth texture and making the formulation suitable for application on the skin.

Chemically resembling arsenic and antimony, Bismuth occurs very rarely in nature and of all the heavy elements, is the only one that is no- toxic. Apart from its binding quality, its molecular make up gives it a shiny white opalescence making it highly refractive and ideal for camouflaging fine wrinkles and uneven skin tone.

Mineral makeup can camouflage a host of skin concerns. Since mineral makeup contains no irritating dyes or perfumes, people prone to allergies or with sensitive skin will find it an ideal makeup for their skin.. The acne-prone will find mineral makeup is organic, hypoallergenic and oil free that does not clog pores like some conventional cosmetics as long as there are no talc, bismuth oxychloride or other harmful fillers in the formulation.

Bismuth Oxychloride containing formulations should be used with caution by those with acne prone or sensitive skins. For the acne prone oily skins, the buffing application technique required to ensure that the formulation stays on the face forces the powder into the pore thereby perhaps clogging it if it is not cleansed thoroughly. As far as sensitive skins are concerned, it has been reported that some have becomes itchy and irritated after application of bismuth oxychloride containing mineral formulations.

Unlike traditional cosmetics, mineral foundations, is able to provide sheer to full coverage. There are a number of ways to apply this make up. A light, sheer finish can be accomplished by moving the applicator brush in small circles on the face. For more opaque texture it can be applied in layers with a damp sponge, resembling liquid foundation application.

Smita M. Patel – Skin Clinic Director
KayaKalp Aesthetics

Diets Are Not Just For Slimming

It seems today that, wherever we turn, we are inundated by yet another “latest” in that wonder cream/serum with a “break- through” ingredient that will retain or return the youthful luminosity to our skin. The fact is that bottled remedies are only a part of the solution to healthy vibrant skin. Actually our body relies on synergies and balances of many things to make it as finely tuned as it is. Having accepted that the aging process is a part of being alive, if we want to make a difference in the way we look – no matter what age we are – we need to understand the way this process works, as it applies to our skin.

Experts believe that one of the main causes of the aging has to do with unstable negatively charged oxygen molecules known as “Free Radicals”. They are generated externally by such things as UV sun damage and pollutants and internally by metabolism and digestion. As these molecules try to stabilize, by latching onto other molecules, a self-perpetuating path of destruction and inflammation is created, resulting in the aging process. Factors such as UV ray exposure and consumption of foods high in sugar, are the accelerators of free radical development. Our skins, high in rich lipids, proteins and DNA, unfortunately are highly susceptible to destruction by these free radicals.

Certainly we do have neutralizing mechanisms in our bodies that have the natural ability to produce antioxidants to combat free radicals. But an adjustment in our nutrition and lifestyle can take us much further in protecting us against free radical destructive activity and help us be the best we can at our particular age.

There are many studies that show the beneficial properties of the various antioxidants that are present naturally in our skin as well as in certain foods.
Most of us have heard of the ant oxidative activity of Beta Carotene and its link to healthy skin. It is a carotenoid found in the skin, and also found in yellow orange and green leafy fruits and vegetable.

Lycopene, found in watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit and tomatoes, is another powerhouse carotenoid. Interestingly cooked tomatoes such as tomato paste or juice is a better source of this antioxidant than raw tomatoes, for it has been shown that heat processing of tomatoes increases Lycopene’s bioavailability. Linked to the protection of skin’s lipids, proteins and DNA against oxidative damage, it may not be enough to block direct UV radiation, but can help reduce the effects of indirect light such as that coming through glass windows.

Then there is Lutein which has been shown to inhibit our auto immune response as well as being linked to healthy eyes. Found in green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, corn and egg yolks, it improves skin hydration and elasticity while inhibiting cutaneous inflammation due to UV light exposure.
Flavonoids such as Rutin and Quercetin, both found in apples and blueberries, have been shown to have potent antioxidant and gene-regulatory activity. They increase our blood circulation at the sub epidermal level and improve the skin’s general texture and appearance.

The next in our skins protective arsenal are the various vitamins. Found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy bean, salmon, and most vegetable oils, Vitamin E is not only one of the best sources of antioxidants, it is also abundant in the skin. Vitamin A and its derivatives act not only as antioxidants but have the ability to increase levels of Vitamin E and also activate specific genes and proteins. The Vitamin B family for its part enhances our skin complexion by speeding up the skin cell renewal process. Vitamin C plays a role in collagen renewal, body tissue repair and the prevention of nitrates conversion into cancer causing substance.

Thus our diets should always have a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables but an avoidance of Carbohydrate Sugars found in sodas, cookies, cakes and white breads, ensuring that our blood is not deluged with a sticky sugar molecule that attacks the skin collagen causing the skin fibers to be stiff, inflexible, wrinkled and definitely dull looking.

Last but not least, our body requirement for a fine tuned balance, are the minerals such as Copper, Zinc and Selenium that work in conjunction with vitamins to prevent free radical damage.

Although we get some benefit from each and every antioxidant, it is important to keep in mind that the optimal benefit is attained by the synergies of all of them working together. Furthermore to ensure that all of these nutrients reach our skins, drinking about 8 glasses of water per day should be the rule of thumb.
As far as fats are concerned, experts tell us to avoid Saturated Fats, found in animal products such as meat, poultry, butter and whole fat milk as well as the Trans-Fats found in frozen dinners chips, cookies and crackers. The desirable fats are the polyunsaturated fats, found in fish oil and flax seed oil, and Monosaturated fats, found in olive oil and nuts. They function as building blocks for healthy cell membrane and help us maintain skin hydration.

With regards to lifestyle changes, the need to protect against the sun has been enumerated upon (ref: Lokvani E-Magazine June 15’ 06- Smart Sun Protection). Stress it seems is part and parcel of modern day living but managing that stress is important, for it definitely leaves a tell-tale sign on our skin. In tense situations, our body has a helpful hormonal response in the release of elevated levels of cortisol, giving us that extra energy needed to act. However, long term response to elevated cortisol levels results in an oxidation process that again unleashes free radicals.

So how can we help ourselves given that for most of us stress, to a greater or lesser extent is a part of our lives? Most of us are familiar with the benefits of exercise and the practice of Yoga for a healthy flexible body. But did you know that studies have shown that, not only the advanced, but even beginner Yoga practitioners can reduce the cortisol level in their bodies?

Another helpful thing is the drinking of green tea because it contains Theanine which is not only a non-sedative, de-stressing, anxiety-relieving relaxant but also contains ant oxidative Polyphenols. These polyphenols combat those free radicals produced by elevated levels of cortisol. In fact it has been noted that a cup of green tea produces more ant oxidative activity than even a serving of broccoli spinach or carrots. Polyphenols can also be found in Pomegranates, Blueberry Leaf, Olive Leaf and Rosemary.

The destructiveness of smoking and its effects on our lungs is well documented but it is also an opponent of good skin health for it is known that nicotine thus infused, destroys vitamin C and collagen synthesis causing vasoconstriction, resulting in blocking off oxygen to the skin.

Indeed a healthy beautiful skin is not a question of one cream, one food item diet or even an obsession with exercise. What is required is a multi-directional approach that includes smart food choices, lifestyle adjustments and by all means the consistent application of topicals that are well researched formulations of ingredients which are not only in synergy with one another but are in appropriate concentrations.
To live is to age, but – To live with balances means to age slowly and beautifully.

Smita M Patel – Skin Clinic Director
KayaKalp Aesthetics

KK Newsletter 2012

Essential Oil in Skin Care

Essential oils have been use for over 5000 years in India, Egypt Tibet, Nepal and Middle East and traded and valued like gold. In fact, ancient Indian texts, the Vedas, mention hundreds of aromatic oils /perfumes, even outlining many of their uses. In this century, around 1950, Marguerite Maury, who had been a student of the French aroma therapist, Dr.Jean Valnet, inspired by traditional medicine and ancient practices of India, China and Tibet revived and reinvented special massage techniques with essential oil application along the spinal nerve centers.

As with India’s old Ayurvedic practices, her concept, individualized prescriptions, where the blend of various essential oils were chosen to harmonize with the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual bodies of each person. She believed that it was an important source of healing. Indeed, her clients in search of better looks reported not only improvement in their skin condition, but improvement in their mental state, as well as relief of such things as rheumatic pain and deeper sleep.

Essential oils by nature are volatile and are the most concentrated form of the vital fluid/ essence of the aromatic plants trees or grasses. Depending on the plant, the essence is derived from its bark, bulb, wood, resin, root, rhizome, fruit, flower, leaves, rind or seed. Although mostly extracted by steam distillation, citrus essentials oils are derived by an expression process while flowers such as jasmine and rose are obtained by a cold pressed method. Each of these processes has their advantages and disadvantages and thus affects the quality of the resulting oil.

The quality of an essential oil is also gauged by factors such purity and whether it is processed without additives and chemicals and whether it has been grown organically?

Although a single essential oil is a compound of hundreds of constituents such as alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ketones, oxides, phenols, and terpene, it is believed that it is not the single constituent, but the harmonious synergistic interaction between them that creates the beneficial effect.

Furthermore it is believed that the mode of interaction of the oil to the body is through various channels and pathways. So that when applied to the skin or inhaled via aromatherapy, the essential oil, penetrates the epithelial layer and once absorbed, enters the lymphatic and blood capillary systems, sinuses and lungs. The lymphatic pathways in turn carry the oil directly to the liver and into the blood stream where the circulation makes it possible for the metabolic processes of the various organ, or body tissue to be either sedated or stimulated for a beneficial effect. Some essential oils are released by lung exhalation, while others are filtered through the kidneys affecting the urinary tract. Because of their volatile nature most usually exit the body within 48 hours.

Today essential oils are found in many cosmetic formulations and used widely in aromatherapy. It is important to emphasize here that “fake essential oil” have a chemical composition that are unrelated to the real essential oils and are of little use in a therapy and may well be toxic. Most essential oil authorities believe that effectiveness is governed by quality criteria as noted above. And therein lays some controversy. For instance what does organic means? Does organic only mean that the plants are grown in an environment free from sprays of chemical fertilizers, fungicides and pesticide and that only one type of plant is taken for processing into a clean facility with nothing added except for pure water ? How many facilities use pure water without anything added these days and what surety is there that chemicals from a neighboring farm have not wind blown onto the “organic” crop of plants?

In USA, cosmetics and drugs are both under FDA jurisdiction and have different legal requirement. Generally a claim that a perfume’s aroma makes a person feel more attractive does not require a pre-market approval but a claim that it aids sleeping, reduce pain, improve a disease or condition does require approval by the FDA. Thus, so far, there is little in approved results telling us which components in the various essential oil are the active ingredients and what their precise synergistic effect they have are on the body.

We do know that there are a number of chemicals found naturally in essential oils that are in such tiny amounts that they can be identified but not measured. Furthermore these trace elements may well be the major players in the change effecting process. If the homoeopathic principle of less is more is right then they may be more important than the majority chemical and will only be present if the substance is entirely natural. The practice of producing/manufacture fake oils/perfumes posing as essential oils is a serious problem because the chemical composition of fake oil may be completely unrelated to the real essential oil and are of little use in a therapy and may well be quite toxic.

While cosmetics and drugs both are under FDA’s jurisdiction, the legal requirements applying to them differ. A claim that a perfume’s aroma makes a person feel more attractive, in general, is a cosmetic claim not requiring FDA approval before a product is sold. But if someone tries to market a scent suggesting effectiveness as an aid in quitting smoking, as a sleeping aid, or to treat or prevent any other condition or disease, or otherwise affect the body’s structure or function, such a claim may cause the product to be regulated as a drug, requiring premarket approval. The agency makes judgments on a case-by-case basis.

Smita M. Patel – Skin Clinic Director
KayaKalp Aesthetics

Smart Sun Protection

The chills of winter are hopefully behind us and we all look forward to the warmth of summer sun. Although most of us have come a long way in understanding the dangers of the sun and the need for sunscreen, it is amazing that even today; otherwise well read, educated individuals continue to believe, what are nothing more than sun protection myths.

‘It is perfectly safe to be out in the sun for extended period of time as long as you have sunscreen on’.

‘A golden or dark skinned complexion (Asian Indian) does not require sunscreen’.

In reality whether we are Asian Indians or Caucasian, UV rays play havoc with our skin’s health. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and the first line of defense against Bacteria, Free Radicals and the Environment. Although sunlight does help our bodies produce natural Vitamin D, a natural protectant from osteoporosis and 3 lethal cancers- Breast, Bowel and Prostrate, too much sun leads to ‘photo aging’. This can progress into skin cancers and even melanoma. The fact is our body only needs 5-10 min of sunlight daily for an adequate supply of Vitamin D.

It is unfortunate that those “total block” sunscreens with high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) give us a false sense of safety. It should be understood that the SPF numbers only relate to UV-B ray.

UV-B rays indeed are more powerful than UV-A rays, but the atmosphere filters out most- and only 5% UV-B rays reaches our skin. Furthermore these rays do not penetrate further than the epidermal layer of the skin, but exposure can result in redness and a burning sensation.

UV-A rays on the other hand are far more dangerous for they cannot be adequately filtered out They are the key players in skin cancer. They cause premature aging as they penetrate further into the dermis layer of the skin, injuring the fibroblasts and skin matrix, activating genes in way that destroys collagen and elastin as well as disrupting the normal layering of melanin, our body’s natural sun protectant. The result is loose wrinkled hyper pigmented skin that fast loses its youthful luster.

The organic (chemical) ‘Parsol’ or Mexoryl variants protect from UVA rays by penetrating the skin. However the chemical reaction occurring in the skin breaks down the ingredients resulting in free radicals generation. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide on the other hand are the inorganic, reflective, physical blocks for both UVA and UVB rays. They do not penetrate but stay stable on sun exposed skin. Until now it was difficult to formulate aesthetically pleasing sunscreens with these ingredients but technological advances have made it possible to micronize the relatively large zinc oxide and titanium dioxide molecules into nanocrystal that are practically transparent. Furthermore, these formulations are long lasting, do not degenerate in the container, feel light on the skin, are non -irritating, non-greasy and non comedogenic. The ideal formulation affording the best protection would be one that incorporates these qualities with the added benefit of antioxidants such as Vitamin E and C and A, Beta carotene, alpha lipoic to name a few.

No doubt, it is not easy to find a sunscreen that contains each and every protective ingredient in one formulation. However a qualified/ credentialed skin care professional can be a good resource and a great place to start – not only would your skin type and condition be taken into account, but also your lifestyle, which are all important factors in determining an optimal formulation for your skin. Lastly remember that SPF15 blocks 97%, SPF 30 blocks 98% and the best SPF100 % “Total” sunscreen blocks only marginally more UVB rays. The fact remains that 2% of UVB and about 60% of UVA still gets through to damage our skin.
Although we cannot totally change our lifestyle, it would be wise to find a balance between the benefits and the dangers of sun as we work and play.

Smita M. Patel- Skin Clinic Director
KayaKalp Aesthetics

Published Lokvani E-Magazine June 15’ 06- Smart Sun Protection).