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The Unofficial Start of Summer - Memorial Day Blog

Where is this year going? It seems like time is flying by, and I cannot believe that Memorial Day is approaching.

This weekend is also graduation time for many area high school seniors, including my daughter. Exciting times and congratulations to all of the graduates!

Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer, I thought I'd focus on some summertime tips.

Of course, sunscreen is recommended when outdoors. Most of you have heard me preach this before, and even pitch the sunscreens we have in the office. However, one thing I have not focused on previously is the allergic potential of sunscreens and topical agents in general.

I have been seeing an increase in the number of inquiries I receive about weird rashes, allergies and their causes. Some patients have undergone allergy testing which have uncovered allergies to ingredients such as parabens which are used frequently in skin care products.

Even such household items as detergent can be the culprit for new allergies because it is not uncommon for manufacturers to change their formulas. This can be maddening for patients who are prone to dermatitis or skin reactions. So I thought I'd spread the word about an app that is now available to track the allergic potential of skin care and household products.

The app is called SkinSafe and it was developed by the Mayo Clinic. It is an app that can guide you on various products. You can use it to actually enter a product name and it will provide information on its safety and allergen content.

Additionally, if you have had extensive allergy testing, you can enter your personal allergies into the app. Then if you want information on a product, the item's bar code can be scanned and the app can let you know whether the product is safe for you to use.

I decided to play around with the sunscreens we sell in our office, namely the Elta MD sunscreens, and voila, the items are deemed safe! Our private label Tinted Moisturizing Sunscreen is not in their database, but I discovered that the app also allows you to submit a product, which I did, and they will test the formulation. I'll keep you posted.

So now that you have gotten your sunscreen lecture, I am going to shift gears. I was walking along the beach last weekend with a friend and we found some beautiful shells. Some of the most beautiful, however, had some cracks and imperfections. We started chatting about how shells are like human beings...all different and special in their own way, with flaws, cracks, and imperfections, but all beautiful.

I think that living in a social media driven world, with our screen filters and photo shop apps, we tend to think that people and life are supposed to be perfect and wonderful all the time...not true!

It may seem ironic that a plastic surgeon would be talking about imperfections and the value of internal beauty, but the goal of plastic surgery is not to change a person, but enhance one's appearance.

Unfortunately, it is easy to lose site of this with society's obsession with selfies, Instagram and Snap Chat. I hope this Memorial Day Weekend that you can put those phones down and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, maybe collect some seashells, and spend quality time with family and friends.

Maybe head out and see the new Top Gun movie. I remember watching Top Gun the summer before my own senior year in high school! In honor of summer fun and the 80's (my favorite decade) here are two fun music videos:

Hope you have a great rest of the week and have fun this Memorial Day Weekend. But don't forget the sunscreen!

Dr. Heidi Williams

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