Protect Your Skin! Dr. Dennis Gross’ Sunscreen Challenge

As a toddler, I swam before I could walk. I was always in the pool (makes sense, considering my dad is a collegiate swim coach). The major downside of being a water baby was my mother’s constant nagging about reapplying sunscreen every time I got out of the pool. And, the one thing I hated more than her nagging (and that’s saying a lot) was the inevitable slathering and lecturing that came after it. I am remembering it now, cringing… She would squeeze a giant, Costco-sized sunscreen bottle with her right hand, into her left hand, grab me by the suit-straps, with me pulling in the opposite direction trying to escape, as she would smear globs of cold lotion all over my back, up under my one-piece bathing suit straps, on my shoulders, around my neck and down the sides of my suit. And the whole time I’d be screaming about how cold the lotion was and squawking in pain when she would scrape and stab me with her wedding ring.  After I was coated in a thick layer of white, she’d break out the sunblock stick (think chapstick on steroids) and proceed to butter my face with petroleum jelly-esque sunscreen, with me, once again, complaining and squinching my eyes shut tight. Miserable.

And then the lecture would ensue: “You know I had skin cancer on my face, right here” My mom would say, pointing to circular scar on her cheek. “What’s worse, cold lotion or a knife carving out holes in your skin?” she’d ask as I rolled my eyes. My answer was always, “the knife” under my breath, but that was until I had my first cancer scare at the age of 21. I noticed a small round mole on my shoulder wasn’t all that small or round anymore, it was bumpy and ameba shaped… I was lucky that after it was removed, it was not melanoma, but it could have so easily been. That’s when I realized, my mother’s childhood sunscreen saturations probably saved my life… I haven’t gone a day without SPF, and neither should you…

Are you ready for CHALLENGE #12?

Spa Week has joined forces with Anti-Aging Celebrity Dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross, to challenge you to (do what you already should be doing!) protect your skin, your health and your life!

Here’s what to do:

For the next 10 days, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15, highly recommended) every day on  your face, neck, arms… anywhere and everywhere the sun shines. Don’t forget to reapply ever 3-4 hours for maximum protection. Have olive, tan or brown skin? … You’re not immune from sunburn or skin cancer either. A daily moisturizer with SPF (like Dr. Gross’s light weight, All-In-One Tinted Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 15) should be on every woman’s (and man’s) face, everyday, 365 days a year, says Dr. Gross, regardless of skin color. And, don’t forget your ears (a seldom remembered, high risk area)!


According to the CDC, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 62 minutes). Dr. Gross, who began his career as a skin cancer researcher knows these facts all too well and has made it his life’s work to spread the word about skin cancer prevention and proper skincare .


Friday, May 25 to Sunday, June 3

Who says:

Dennis Gross, M.D., is a New York-based, practicing dermatologist and board certified dermatological surgeon to both stars average folk, alike. His clients include starlets, top Hollywood actors, TV personalities, and top editors. Dr. Gross received his dermatologic training at the prestigious New York University Medical Center, earning a medical degree with research distinctions. Dr. Gross has trained, taught and performed research at world-renowned institutes such as Memorial Sloan Kettering and Rockefeller University, published numerous scientific reports on skin cancer and was actively involved in pioneering research on Interferon and Cancer Immunology. Dr. Gross believes in a synergy between medical treatments, professional services and retail products for effective at-home care. When key ingredients are applied as Topical Supplements, you can slow down and reverse the active aging process, and prevent sun damage. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare™ utilizes carefully engineered, breakthrough ingredients and delivery systems which help the consumer achieve results comparable to a doctor’s office treatment.

What’s in it for me?

Besides being protected from the sun’s harmful, cancer-causing rays,  just by RSVPing to Dr. Gross’ challenge event on Facebook and sharing your success stories and/or struggles, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $50 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week.

BONUS: 4 Sunscreen Skincare Tips from Dr. Gross

  • Wear sunglasses that completely cover the eye areas. This, plus sunscreen, work best to prevent wrinkles (“crow’s feet”) in the area.
  • A classic error in sunscreen application is not using enough! To be truly protected, we need to use a lot of sunscreen… about 2-4 ounces to cover your face and body depending on your size. Reapply every 3-4 hours and immediately after heavy perspiration or swimming.
  • Sunscreen should be applied 365 days a year. The key is finding a sunscreen you love, so that you will continue to reapply it throughout the day.
  • It is a misconception that all sunscreens clog pores and leave a sticky residue. I would recommend looking for an oil-free formula.


The Lowdown on Sun Protection

We all know we should wear sunscreen, but all the different choices for protection coupled with the media buzz over every new scientific finding on sun damage can inspire a person to do a whole lot of nothing when it comes to their skin protection. But for the average person looking to prevent sunburn, sun damage, and skin cancer, arming yourself with knowledge doesn’t need to be difficult at all. Here’s a 5-minute rundown of what you need to know about sun protection.

UVB rays: Not only do these rays penetrate and damage skin deep down, contributing to skin cancer, they’re the ones that leave you lobster-red. Insult to injury. By the way, “SPF” is a measure of a product’s protection against UVB rays, but doesn’t measure how well a product protects against UVA. A product can protect against UVB but not UVA rays.

UVA rays: These rays won’t cause sunburn, but they cause wrinkles, age spots, and blotchy skin. Even worse, they contribute to skin cancer just like UVB rays. There is no standard US metric of a product’s protection against UVA rays, but there are many products on the market which do offer UVA protection. You just might need to do a little detective work!

Sunblock: Sunblock is made up of ingredients which physically deflect the sun’s rays, like tiny knight’s shields. Examples of sunblock ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Sensitive skin that’s irritated by chemical sunscreen may find that sunblock is the answer. Because sunblock deflects all rays, it protects against both UVA and UVB.

Sunscreen: Sunscreen is comprised of chemicals which absorb the sun’s rays, preventing it from penetrating skin. Older chemicals used in sunscreen only absorbed UVB rays with efficacy, but newer formulations like avobenzone can absorb UVA light. If you like the quick, non-greasy absorption of sunscreen rather than sunblock, make sure your sunscreen of choice protects against both types of rays.

See? That’s not so hard. Whether you prefer sunblock or sunscreen, the bottom line is to look for a product that offers broad spectrum protection (this means it protects against both UVA and UVB – when in doubt, ask your dermatologist for a recommendation) and wear it every day. Yes, even in fall and winter!

Fess up for real: do you wear sun protection every day?

What’s You SPF Style?

The suncare experts over at Neutrogena just released a new Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 100+ with Helioplex®. I remember not too long ago when the general school of suggested wearing SPF 45. Shortly after Team Netruo released its SPF 70 Sunblock and this month they upped the anti by 30 (I see your 70 and raise you 30!) What was wrong with 70? What do you think? Would you use it?