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Read THIS Before Heading Outside
Written by Dr Jessica Wu   

Patients sometimes tell me that they get sunburned despite putting on SPF. The fact is, even the most expensive sunscreen won’t protect you if ...


Monday, September 7 2015

Read THIS Before Heading Outside

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Patients sometimes tell me that they get sunburned despite putting on SPF. The fact is, even the most expensive sunscreen won’t protect you if you don’t apply it correctly. So if you’re having outdoor fun this Labor Day, here’s how to avoid a similar fate:

Do choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect you from the sun’s UVB (burning) rays. The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends looking for one with broad spectrum protection against UVA (aging) rays.

Don’t use sunscreen sprays. They’re convenient, but hard to apply evenly, and areas of skin in between the droplets may not be protected. If it's windy, guess where the sunscreen ends up? On whoever was sitting downwind. The FDA is currently examining whether sprays should be allowed to remain on the market. I tell my patients to choose a lotion or gel instead.

Don’t squeeze sunscreen into your palms, rub your palms together, then pat it on your arms and legs. This is the biggest mistake I see at the beach. Your palms are getting a good coating, but the rest of your skin isn't.

Do apply in a thin, even layer, since an unbroken layer of sunscreen will protect you best. Don’t rub too much (you’ll rub it off) and apply makeup lightly. For example, lightly brush on blush instead of rubbing.

Don’t skimp. Better to generously apply a drugstore sunscreen than skimp on an expensive one you’re afraid to use up. Most consumers only apply 20-50% of the recommended amount. A good rule of thumb is to use a shot glass full of sunscreen to cover exposed areas of the body (more or less, depending on your size and how skimpy your swimsuit is), and a half teaspoon on your face. One study published last month suggested reapplying sunscreen an hour after the first application to get the best protection. Afterwards, reapply every three hours, especially if you sweat, and every time you get out of the water.

Do remember your ears, eyelids, back of your neck, and tops of your feet. These are often forgotten and therefore sunburned.

Hope you have a relaxing, sun-protected Labor Day holiday!


Why don’t people listen to their voicemail anymore? It’s annoying when I leave a message only to have someone call me back without even listening to it (“Did you just call me?”). Some messages are too long or important to communicate in a text. If someone leaves a message, please listen to it! Or, if you don’t ever want to listen to your messages, just don’t even set up your voicemail so I won’t waste my time and breath.

Style Obsession:
Dog Years: Faithful Friends, Then & Now


If you’re an animal lover, you must check out this book of dog portaits, which I just ordered for my office lobby. Photographer Amanda Jones took pictures of 30 dogs when they were puppies, then later as older dogs. Their fur may be grayer and they may be more jowly with age (just like us!) but each one still has his/her own distinct personality that comes through in the photos.


By Terry
Tea to Tan
Face & Body Bronzer

My friend Alyse gave me this “bronzing water” last week, and I’ve been using it ever since to perk up my pasty legs. It’s weightless and dries quickly into a matte finish, so you can build deeper color with more layers. If you shake it before spraying, you get a slight shimmer. It doesn’t transfer as easily as most bronzers (though I still wouldn’t wear white silk), and it doesn’t streak or look orange-y (contains no self tanner).
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Dr Wu has been taking care of patients in her Los Angeles office since 1997. Learn more about her medical practice and line of skincare products at

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About Newsletter

People often ask who’s been writing my daily columns since 2009. And the answer is: ME! I’m often at my computer late at night, after a long day of seeing patients, or early (very early!) in the morning before a new day begins. What you read here is from me alone – and when I recommend something, it’s because I like it and have purchased it myself, not because anyone paid me to promote it.

- Jessica

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