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The Record: Five Questions for Marika Chornyak

Originally published by Lauren Halligan of The Record.

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Marika Chornyak: A licensed esthetician at Spa One at The Plastic Surgery Group in Albany. May is National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month and Chornyak has an intimate knowledge of skin care and tips on how to protect your skin during the hot summer months ahead.

1 What is your experience in the skin care field?

I have been an esthetician for over 10 years and attended the Aesthetic Science Institute. I have also taken a variety of post-graduate classes at the International Dermal Institute in New York City to continue developing my knowledge and expertise in the field. I regularly develop customized and effective skin care regimens for patients of all ages and genders. I specialize in facial therapies, like microdermabrasion and medical-grade chemical peels, as well as laser hair removal and pre- and post-operative skin care treatments while treating patients with a variety of skin conditions including acne, rosacea and menopausal-related conditions.

2 How should people protect their skin during the summer months?

To best protect your skin a broad spectrum sunscreen containing zinc oxide is absolutely essential. Apply it liberally, evenly and often throughout each day. Reapplication is just as important as putting it on in the first place, especially if you’re going to be in and out of the water at the beach or active enough where you could sweat it off. Aside from using sunscreen, wearing protective, tightly woven clothing, hats and sunglasses can help shade your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. I would also encourage you to avoid the sun between peak hours of the day, which are generally between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the hot summer months.

3 Which SPF do you recommend?

I typically recommend using SPF 50 with a high percentage of zinc oxide (Ten percent) like Obagi® Sun Shield Matte 50. At the very least I recommend using SPF 30. Beyond just using sunscreen there are also a variety of options for using lotions and makeup that contain SPF for extra support. Mineral makeup with SPF is a good start, but keep in mind using just SPF in your makeup isn’t enough. A better option would be to use sunscreen as a primer or mix it with your foundation to create a nice even application with some added protection.

4 What is the most common sign of skin cancer?

Generally you’ll notice a suspicious spot appear most often on your skin that gets the most sun exposure, such as the face, scalp, neck, hands and arms. While not all growths mean its skin cancer, if you find a new spot and it grows larger than an eraser head you should get it checked out. Some other common signs to look for would be if the spot is asymmetrical, scaly, itchy or bleeding.

5 When should people be most concerned about protecting their skin?

All year! You can be on a mountain skiing and still get sunburned. This is why broad-spectrum coverage is so important. It offers protection against both UVB and UVA rays. UVA rays lead to wrinkles and age spots, while UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburns, but overexposure to either can lead to skin cancer. So even if its not sunny out, you are still being exposed to those UVA rays that age you.

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