Getting the facts on skincare can be hard. The constant stream of new online skincare trends and (often contradicting) “health hacks” makes it challenging to find reliable, easy to access information about how to keep your skin safe. This is why we created Doc Talk: interviews with real medical professionals who are experts on how to care for and protect your skin.
In this Doc Talk, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Kelly Pearson, a dermatologist based out of Scottsdale Arizona, about her medical career and the advice she gives her patients about sun safety.
This is what she had to say.
Why did you choose to pursue medicine as a career?
I love medicine. I get to take care of my community and be an expert to my patients. I truly care about them. Not just their health but their whole lives.
What made you choose your specific discipline?
I love the clinic setting where I can really get to know my patients. I get to care for parents along with their newborn baby, kids, and even grandparents. I love seeing all kinds of conditions, being able to treat the whole family, and be an expert in the field of their care.
At you practice, how often do you see the effects of sun damage?
Is sun protection a topic that regularly comes up with your patients?
Sun protection discussions are a must! Living in sunny Arizona (the skin cancer capital) it’s inevitable that many of my patients will experience some sort of damage from the sun. Even more so with those patients who have fun, active, outdoor lifestyles
Have you noticed a shift in the general public’s perception of sun protection since you began your practice?
As the incidence of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer have increased, I have definitely seen a shift to more awareness of the public for sun protection.
When discussing the prevention of sun damage, what advice do you give?
I say here are some facts on sun protection:
- The higher the SPF the better!
- Sunscreen needs to be thickly applied as most people only get HALF the SPF rating on the bottle.
- To start to protect against skin cancer and aging, you need a lab-tested 30, so I recommend a 45 or higher!
- Reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours is a must.
- Sunscreens that say broad-spectrum or have zinc or titanium in the ingredients are best.
- UPF clothing is also very helpful. But nothing is a metal shield of armor or full proof protection.
If a patient says, “skin cancer isn’t that serious.” What is your response?
Look at the stats. Melanoma is deadly.
What would you tell a patient who doesn’t believe skin cancer could ever happen to them?
I’d tell them it can happen to anyone. I have seen it in a 20-year-old as well as the gentleman who worked all the time and barely ever went outside.
What sun protection misconceptions do you come across the most?
That the amount of SPF doesn’t matter. This simply isn’t true. The higher the SPF The better! Higher than 30 is must.
When it comes to sunscreen, what do you recommend and why?
Whatever you like the most because you’ll use it! But, broad-spectrum or sunscreen with the physical blockers (zinc and titanium) are best.
What is your preferred SPF rating?
Anything higher than SPF 45!
If you’re headed out the door for a day in the sun, what is your go to form of sun protection?
My adorable wide brimmed hat!
Contact the Doc
Kelly Pearson, MD
Clear Dermatology & Aesthetics Center
20201 N. Scottsdale Healthcare Dr., Ste. 260
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Phone: (480) 398-1550
Thank you Dr. Pearson for speaking with us and for helping spread skincare and sun protection awareness.
Are you or someone you know a medical professional who wants to help spread skincare and sun safety awareness? We would love to hear from you! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the conversation.