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Dr. Rodriguez is a popular dermatologist based in Miami who specializes in therapies and treatments of skin diseases in patients with ethnic skin. Dr. Rodriguez has also extensively studied nonmelanoma skin cancers and acne. In this interview Dr. Rodriguez tells us why he decided on a career in dermatology, gives simple tips on how to protect our skin from the sun, dispel the myths some people have about SPF, reveals his must-have skincare products, and his collaboration with Aveeno at the 2008 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim.
How did you decide on a career in dermatology? I did research as a medical student in aging and was fascinated by the dearth of data which we had in the 80's on aging. I eventually received the Adolf J. Rostenberg award for Dermatology research by a medical student. What skin care concerns do you specialize in? I specialize in therapies and treatments of skin diseases in patients with ethnic skin.   I have also extensively studied nonmelanoma skin cancers,  acne, seborrheic keratosis, and actinic keratosis. What simple routine can you give us for protecting our skin from the sun? 1) Wear protective clothing, like hats and cover-ups when you know you’ll be outdoors for an extensive period. 2) Always apply sunscreen in the morning to your face, arms and hands including frequently missed areas such as your lips and ears – any place that will be exposed to the sun. 3) To make certain that you use enough sunscreen, a good rule of thumb is one ounce (amount to fill a shot glass) of sunscreen on your body. 4) Also, look for broad spectrum protection. This means that the product blocks UVA and UVB rays. My favorites included Aveeno Continues Protection® SPF 30.

"Remember that the sun can rob your skin of its natural beauty, and that every exposure to the sun is damaging to the skin.  It’s important to limit your sun exposure no matter what the season or time of day. "

How should we go about deciding which level of SPF sunscreen to apply? SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB rays from damaging the skin.  Sunscreen increases the amount of time you are being protected from sunburn. For example, if your “natural burning time” is 5 minutes in the sun, a properly applied SPF 30 sunscreen will protect you from burning 30 times longer or about 150 minutes.   However, it’s better to be safe than sorry!  Apply sun protection generously and often when you’re outside.   Reapplying is critical, and should be done every two hours. What’s considered an ethic skin, and does this type of skin demand for a special sun protection regiment? People of olive and dark skin tones such as those of Latin decent, Black, Asian, Native American and Mediterranean decent, are considered to have ethnic skin.   Today 1 out of 3 Americans have ethic skin.   An interesting fact to note is that in 2050 half of Americans will be of Hispanic, Black or Asian decent.  People with ethnic skin should follow a regimen that is consistent with the amount of UV exposure which they get. What myths do people have about SPF? Some people believe you don’t need sun protection as much when you have a naturally olive or dark skin tone.   The truth is many ethnic women are dying of melanoma (skin cancer) because by the time they see a dermatologist, their prognosis is maybe much worse! Another myth is that sun protection is only necessary in the summertime.   Sun safety is year-round. Remember that the sun can rob your skin of its natural beauty , and that every exposure to the sun is damaging to the skin.  It’s important to limit your sun exposure no matter what the season or time of day.

Which skin care products are on your must-have list? Products with natural ingredients such as oatmeal and soy are among my favorites, like those found in Aveeno. []  These ingredients help to cleanse, moisturize and protect the skin.   In fact, colloidal oatmeal is one of the few natural ingredients that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined is efficacious as a skin protectant.  Colloidal oatmeal is also the #1 dermatologist-preferred natural ingredient.   Soy, such as found in Aveeno® Active Naturals® lotions and Continues Protection® Sunblock lotions are processed by a special proprietary method that maintains the integrity of the soy in a form that can produce benefits to the skin.   Soy has been shown to help hydrate skin, even skin tone, smooth texture and soften skin over time. aside from sun protection, how else can we prevent our skin from premature aging? eat right, don’t smoke and use products that have antioxidants in them.  Antioxidants can be in the form of vitamins such as C & E, as well as soy.  Antioxidants help prevent free radical damage to the skin caused by sunlight. Retinoic Acid is another product that helps to prevent premature aging. What are some of the most common skin treatment requested by your clients? Treatments for skin dyspigmentation, acne and premature wrinkling and dry, irritated "sensitive" skin. I also see patients who need treatment for skin cancer. Why did you decide to partner with Aveeno at the 2008 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim? I partnered with the Aveeno® Active Naturals® line because I believe in its formulation, and it is backed by science.   It was great to be at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim event because it was a good forum to remind people that beautiful, healthy skin is always in fashion. What aspect of your career as a dermatologist do you enjoy the most, and what are your future career plans? I will continue to endorse advocacy for awareness for all skin types as well as continue clinical research in dermatology. Does the fact you live in Florida have any impact on your fascination with sun care protection? Well, I do believe it is a matter of the utmost importance to remind, educate, and reiterate the importance of sun protection and skin cancer awareness.

It was a pleasure to interview Dr. Rodriguez you can find out more about SPF and Aveeno products at:

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