New research shows some sunscreens better than others



TAMPA (FOX 13) – When it comes to sunscreens, we all know the drill. Use a broad spectrum SPF 30 or greater, and slather on a shot glass full.  New research is helping prove its benefits and show sun bathers what dangers they might face.

“It’s the first solid data that we have that is not only prevents sunburns, but prevents that bad cancer melanoma,” said USF Health Dermatology chairman, Dr. Neil Fenske, who was not involved in the study, but reviewed it with FOX 13 News.  A different study in Consumer Reports, may change how we get that protection.

Sunscreens can be divided into two groups: physical and chemical.

Physical sunscreens coat the skin, blocking harmful rays before they reach your skin. On the label, you’ll see minerals zinc and titanium.

Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients like avo- or oxy-benzone, mexoryl, and salates – a chemical cousin of aspirin. They penetrate your skin, filtering and absorbing harmful rays.

In the Consumer Reports testing, sunscreens were evaluated on small patches of skin after immersing it in water.

“It surprised me to hear that the physical screens did more poorly than the chemical screens, that probably absorb into the epidermis and stay there, whereas the physical ones tend to kind of wash off and dilute,” Dr. Fenske explained.

That dilution dropped a Banana Boat SPF 50 down to an SPF of 8. While that example was extreme, Dr. Fenske said there is no reason to toss your favorite brand.

“It doesn’t mean that they’re bad. It means that, when in water, it’s not as effective as they thought,” he explained.

He suggested bumping up the SPF when swimming – to compensate for the loss and boost effect by letting the sunscreen dry.

“I recommend, if you’re going to the beach, you put your sunscreen on at home. That helps prevent the running down in the eyes and the irritation, because you can pat the excess off,” he demonstrated.

While sprays are convenient, Dr. Fenske said the FDA isn’t sold. It begins with concerns you could miss spots and inhaling the product might cause problems for some.

Dr. Fenske said there’s another problem, “they’re flammable. If you’re putting a spray sunscreen on and you’re having a barbeque, and you’re near a barbeque fire, there have been serious burns.”

While he emphasized UV-protective clothing for kids, in and out of the water, parents can use physical sunscreens on children over six months. Babies under that age are best kept indoors.

“Their skin isn’t fully developed yet, their melanocytes aren’t fully producing pigment. They can’t even let you know if they’re getting too much sun,” he said.

A sunburn on a small child can increase their lifetime risk of melanoma and cause heat stroke.

As for chemical sunscreens, The Environmental Working Group has concerns about certain ingredients, like oxybenzone, that may affect hormones. Generally speaking, sunscreens made for children are physical ones.

Melanoma on the Rise


Melanoma on the Rise

Years ago, sun protection was nothing but an afterthought for Bob Schultz. After all, he lived in the tropical paradise of Barbados for seven months. But nearly 50 years later, the harsh sunlight in the Caribbean combined with a lifetime of sun exposure caught up with him. Schultz,of the Village De LaVista, has had eight cancerous areas removed from different regions of his skin. Unfortunately,stories like his are all too common. Invasive melanoma rates have doubled from when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded the first case in 1982,according to a recently released report.Melanoma rates increased

For the entire article, sunscreen facts and  melanoma statistics, click the link below:

By: Eddy Duryea

Daily Sun Senior Writer


Research for Children with Psoriasis


Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that affects 3% of the world’s population

– men, women, children and even newborn babies. Psoriasis causes unsightly, uncomfortable red plaques and patches on the skin which scale, and sometimes even crack and bleed. Although psoriasis appears most commonly in teens and young adults, psoriasis does occur in younger children, and they are a real challenge to treat.iStock_000019112636Medium

We can’t use some of the stronger drugs we use in adult psoriasis in children. Right now, we are doing two research studies for children with psoriasis. The first is for adolescents (11-17 years) with psoriasis, and this is with a very good topical medication already on the market. We already know it works well, and the study is to show the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it is safe in adolescents.

The second is for even younger children with psoriasis (down to 2 years) with a new topical medication that does not contain cortisone. This medication is not even on the market yet.

Neither of our psoriasis studies have a placebo group, so everyone is on active medication for their psoriasis. Both are 6 month studies.

If you, or a friend or relative has psoriasis and are between the ages of 2 and 17, please call our research hotline at 813-974-2923.

Adolescent psoriasis research

Adolescent psoriasis research

Can men benefit from cosmetic procedures?


Can men benefit from cosmetic procedures? The secret is out.  Long gone are the days of a female-only clientele in the cosmetic and laser office. Men have discovered the fountain of youth and are
now making their presence known in the aesthetic world.

The use of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures in men has increased substantially over the past decade. This means that males, like their female counterparts, are choosing to undergo treatment to enhance their appearance with fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse), neurotoxins (Botox and Dysport), chemical peels, and lasers.

Nowadays, it isn’t unusual to come across lotions and potions in the department store marketed “for men” because of the increase in demand. Medical spas labeled “for men only” are popping up all around the country. Looking at these trends, one may ask, “Do men really need cosmetic treatments, and why are they becoming so popular in this demographic?”

In order to answer whether or not aesthetic treatments may be beneficial for
males, we must first visit the skin on a cellular level. Although men experience
typical wrinkling and volume loss that women do, there are some differences.
Researchers have found that males possess thicker superficial layers of the skin.
Moreover, there is evidence of dermal thickness deterioration starting 30 years
earlier in males than females. In women, the dermal thickness remains steady
until menopause, after which a rapid decline occurs.

Higher amounts of androgen hormones in males are responsible for oilier
skin and larger pore size. In comparison to females, men have a lower skin pH
and are prone to more robust skin discoloration after UV exposure. For these
reasons, there are skin care products tailored to the specific needs of men.
It is important for men to understand that their skin is not as tough as once
thought, and that it does deserve a little TLC every now and then.

For years, men didn’t take advantage of cosmetic procedures, simply because
they were never asked, were too embarrassed or simply were too “macho” to
inquire. Over the last few years, we have seen more men asking about aesthetic
treatments. Globally, aesthetic procedures are on the rise, exposing men to
cosmetics through their significant others and in turn prompting them to seek
treatment themselves.

Currently men make up 6 percent of the neurotoxin and 5 percent of the dermal
filler procedures performed. Clearly, a change is happening. There are many
reasons why men may seek aesthetic treatments, including increasing concerns
about age discrimination in the workplace. The U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission has reported a steady increase in charges filed for age
discrimination. Many men may feel the pressure to maintain a more youthful appearance in order to keep or land a job.

Today’s society is in tune with the way we are perceived by others. A vast
majority of our male clientele are seeking treatment because they are told by
others that they look “angry” because of their accentuated scowl lines. They are
concerned about this perception in the workplace and at home. In our practice,
some men seek cosmetic treatment to simply enhance their appearance and

The presence of males in our Cosmetic and Laser Center practice is testament
to the new norm. We also frequently treat men for skin discoloration, facial
redness, facial blood vessel destruction, skin tightening and softening of dynamic
expression lines.Men and Cosmetics Botox

Cosmetic treatments no longer come with the stigma of being called a “metrosexual,” as evidenced by the many masculine gentlemen who partake in
aesthetic procedures today. Regardless of age or socioeconomic status, men are
taking the initiative to make a change in their appearance.

While the saying goes, “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus,” both
genders should agree on one thing: Aesthetics are essential for everyone.

Dr. Fenske is professor and chairman of USF Health Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, and medical director of the USF Health Cosmetic and Laser Center.

Neil Alan Fenske, MD

Neil Alan Fenske, MD

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Warts…Not just caused by kissing frogs


Warts…Not just caused by kissing frogs

Warts are benign (non-cancerous) skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) infecting the top layers of the skin.  Warts can grow on any part of the body and are contagious.  They are spread by contact with the wart, or something that touched the wart.  It is easier to catch the virus that causes warts when there is a cut or scrap on the skin; which explains why so many kids get warts.  Scratching, nail-biting, and shaving are common ways warts are spread on the body.  It can often take a few months for the wart to grow large enough for one to see.  Anyone can get warts, but children, teens, and people with a weakened immune system are more prone than others.  In order to prevent the wart from spreading you should avoid scratching, picking, or biting at the site and avoid touching someone else’s wart.

There are a few different types of warts, depending on the location on the body and the appearance. Common warts grow most often on the fingers and hands.  They can be raised, rough, and have the appearance of black dots on the surface.   Plantar warts grow on the bottom of the feet, are usually flat, and grow inward sometimes causing pain with walking.  Flat warts can occur anywhere on the body and grow in large numbers.  They are usually skin-colored, slightly elevated, and flat topped.  Children tend to get them on the face; women commonly get them on the legs, and men most often in the beard area. Periungual warts occur around the nails and have a cauliflower-like appearance.  Genital warts occur on the genitalia of men and women, are sexually transmitted and highly contagious.

Warts are often self-limiting and treatment may not be necessary, especially in children.  There are some treatment options available if the wart is persistent, painful, or numerous in number.  Cryotherapy (freezing) is one of the more common treatments for warts performed in a dermatology office.  This treatment causes a blister to form between the wart and normal skin, ultimately causing the wart to fall off.  This treatment is well tolerated and often requires multiple in-office treatments 3-4 weeks apart.  There are several topical treatments available for warts as well. Cantharidin is a liquid that is “painted” over the wart and causes the skin to blister underneath, ultimately causing the wart to fall off.  This is performed in office and is useful for periungual warts.  Imiquimod, a topical cream, can be used for hard to treat common warts and stimulates the body’s immune system to attack the virus locally.  A prescription is required and this can be applied nightly to the affected area and washed off in the morning.  Topical retinoids have been shown to be useful for flat warts.  Salicylic acid applied topically to the wart under occlusion with silver duct tape is another treatment option and can be used nightly until the desired results are seen.  Other procedures include electrodessication and curettage (“burning and scrapping”), laser treatments, and surgical removal of persistent and difficult to treat warts.

There is no cure for the wart virus and they can reappear in the same site previously treated or develop in a new spot.  No matter the treatment option you and your dermatologist elect to pursue, persistence is key when it comes to the treatment  of warts on the body.

By: Robin Moran, PA-C, Dermatology Physician Assistant at USF Health

Robin Moran,PA-C

Robin Moran,PA-C

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Skin Problems? USF Health Dermatology Research


Skin Problems? Psoriasis? Actinic Keratosis? USF Health Dermatologists, Dr. Christopher Nelson and Dr. Nishit Patel are conducting Dermatology Research.  Call 813-974-2923 for more dermatology research information.  We are currently enrolling research candidates for the following studies.

Do you have adolescent psoriasis?

Do you have adolescent psoriasis?

Do you have AK's?

Do you have AK’s?

USF Health Dermatologist

USF Health Dermatologist, Christopher Nelson, MD

USF Health Dermatologist, Nishit Patel, MD

USF Health Dermatologist,
Nishit Patel, MD

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month


TAMPA – The broad expanse of 63-year-old Richard Partyka’s back is a rough neighborhood, covered with scar tissue from his many run-ins with with Dr. Christopher Nelson.

“These are where he had spots cut out.  This was the melanoma,” said Dr. Nelson, USF’s director of dermatology research clinic, pointing out the healed incisions on Partyka’s freckled skin.

Aside from logging hundreds of hours at the beach as a youth, Partyka was at risk for skin cancer for another reason.  His mother died of metastatic, or spreading, melanoma.

“She had a mole in the back of her calf about the size of a fingernail.  It began to bleed.  Two and a half months later, she was gone at age 50,” said Partyka.

Skin cancer research has found ways to slow the spread of highly malignant cancers like melanoma.  But Dr. Nelson far prefers catching cancer early through regular exams.  And while melanomas are rare, squamous cell and basal cell cancers are common and more closely correlated  to how much time you’ve spent under the burning rays of the sun.

Doctors believe sun exposure accumulates in the body over a lifetime.  That means sunburns you suffered when you were in high school increase your risk of skin cancer today.

One of the hurdles people of all ages need to overcome is modesty.  One third of melanomas occur on non-sun exposed skin.

“So when you go in to get looked at, take off all your clothes.  Don’t be shy.  We’ve seen it all” said Dr. Nelson.

Until further notice Richard Partyka will be in for an exam every three months.


Go to to find out where you can get free skin cancer screenings.

We’ve also posted some very personal stories from our team about why this is so important.

And we’re taking your questions about skin cancer to the experts on “Melanoma Monday.”  Representatives from Baycare, Moffitt, Florida Hospital Tampa and USF Health will be taking your calls and online questions. That’s Monday May 6 on ABC Action News at noon.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

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Adult Acne can be a stubborn problem to treat

TAMPA (FOX 13) -It’s rough for any teenager, and downright devastating for grown women in their 40s or 50s. Adult acne is a complex medical problem, and dermatologists are seeing more of it.

“We have more women with adult acne than we do have teenagers in our practice,” says Dermatologist Dr. Victoria Cirillo. “It’s because the hormone levels are changing very quickly and in large numbers, they start to switch.”

The fix is just as complex as the cause. The reality is, no two cases are the same.

“Acne is a devastating disease on one’s self image, whether you’re a kid, or an adult,” explains Dr. Neil Fenske, a dermatologist with TGH/USF Health. “It destroys them emotionally, they feel bad, they don’t want to go out.”

Adult acne can be triggered by chronic stress, hormone changes, and pores that grow sensitive as we age.

“A small percentage get acne for the first time after age 25,” Fenske explains. “Adult acne is actually more difficult to treat than adolescent acne for reasons we quit don’t understand.”

He says acne tends to be a more stubborn problem in adults.

“It’s usually more inflammatory, more cystic, more located on the chin area and lower cheeks, and much more likely to result in scarring because scarring occurs in chronic inflammation, and this is a much more chronic disease in adults,” he said.

Prescriptions like Retinae, Differin and other topicals and antibiotics are improved so even the most sensitive skin can tolerate them.

Some patients benefit from 20- minute treatments under red and blue LED lights.

Others receive treatments that can clear up the face: sessions that include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and a suctioning session. It can reduce acne in just six months.

“This loosens up the skin so that way, when I go over with the microderm, I physically see dead skin coming off, it’s unbelievable,” explains skin therapist Lauren Menig.

As always, talk with your dermatologist about which treatments are right for your skin.

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Treatment Options for Psoriasis


Living with psoriasis can be difficult and uncomfortable.  There are many treatment options available including topical steroid creams, oral medications, and light therapy treatments.  All of these treatments work well but have various side effects.  There is another option for treating psoriasis: the eximer laser.

This treatment delivers 308-nm ultraviolet light to localized affected skin to help control mild to moderate psoriasis without harming the surrounding healthy skin.  This targeted laser treatment is similar to traditional light therapy treatments but works in fewer sessions and is good for hard-to-treat areas such as the scalp, elbows, hands, knees, and feet. This high-dose therapy can effectively treat stubborn plaques, even those that have not responded to other treatments modalities.  Patients typically undergo 2-3 treatments a week with 48 hours in between treatments.  Noticeable improvement may be seen in as few as 6-10 treatments depending on the severity of the affected skin.

Advantages to this laser treatment include short and painless treatments, extended remission, favorable insurance coverage, and no creams or lotions are required.  Although side effects are minimal, they can include itching, hyperpigmentation, burning and blistering at the treated locations. Due to the targeted nature of this treatment, only affected skin is treated. This may reduce the risk of premature aging that is seen with traditional phototherapy. The lack of systemic side effects caused from oral medications and lack of skin thinning, bruising, and stretch marks from topical steroids makes this a more favorable treatment option for patients with psoriasis.

There are many options available when it comes to treating psoriasis.  Laser treatments can be very effective but may not be appropriate for everyone with psoriasis. You should discuss this option with your dermatologist to see if it’s right for you.

by:Robin Moran, Dermatology PA-C, USF Health Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery.

Eximer Laser for Treating Psoriasis

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Neil Alan Fenske receives surgeon of the year award


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