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10 minutes of skincare with Dr Pier Marzinotto
Skin Institute
October 10, 2015

What is the effect on UVA on skin?

Most people in New Zealand know that exposure to Ultra Violet Light [UV] from the sun is damaging to the skin. Although most don’t know there are different types. UV is a form of radiation emitted from the sun, and it is invisible to the naked eye. It is usually divided into three groups, A, B and C. We are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our lifetime, UVA is present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass. UVA, which penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, has long been known to play a major part in skin ageing and wrinkling.


What is the effect on UVB on skin?

UVB, is the number one cause of sunburn and direct damage to cell DNA. It is thought to cause most types of skin cancer. Its intensity varies by season, location and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits New Zealand between 10am and 4pm from November through to March. However, UVB can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes or on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice.


What should you look for in a good sunscreen?

It’s important to choose a sunscreen that meets the Australian and New Zealand Standard and that has a broad spectrum and a sun protection factor of 30+. This should be re-applied every 2-4 hours when in the sun and/or swimming. I use Cherry Black SPF30 Facial Sunscreen which has been developed in conjunction with the Skin Institute. This 20 per cent zinc oxide formula with vitamin B gets its name from its cherry plant extract. Fragrance-free and unbleached.


How often is it recommended to get your skin checked by a health professional?

The Skin Institute recommends those over 50, especially Caucasians, to be checked over annually. Skin cancer consultations involve a Doctor checking the entire surface of the skin for suspicious moles or lesions using a magnifying glass and sometimes a bright light.  If anything suspicious is discovered then a treatment plan and options will be discussed.


What are the characteristics of an ‘unusual mole’? Compared to a usual mole? Compared to a birthmark?

A helpful way you can identify the characteristics of unusual moles that may indicate melanomas or other skin cancers, think of the letters ABCDE:

  • A is for asymmetrical shape. Look for moles with irregular shapes, such as two very different-looking halves.
  • B is for irregular border. Look for moles with irregular, notched or scalloped borders which are characteristics of melanomas.
  • C is for changes in colour. Look for growths that have many colours or an uneven distribution of colour.
  • D is for diameter. Look for new growth in a mole larger than 1/4 inch (about 6 millimeters).
  • E is for evolving. Look for changes over time, such as a mole that grows in size or that changes colour or shape. Moles may also evolve to develop new signs and symptoms, such as new itchiness or bleeding.


Do Freckles (Lentigines) have a risk of developing into melanoma? 

Lentigines, most commonly referred to as freckles are small flat brown marks that most often appear on the face and other exposed parts of the body following sun exposure during the summer months. Freckles have a lower risk compared to moles of developing into melanoma.


What is the recommended method of developing a tan for people who want one?

I encourage patients to “love the skin they are in,” but if you’re dead set on being darker, reach for the sunless tanning bottle. Be sun-safe and prevent or reduce as much as possible the development of freckles from sun exposure. Although they have a lower risk of developing into a melanoma, there is some risk. Look after yourself and your body.

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