Your Skin and the Sun

Meet Dr. Leslie Rosoph M.D., C.M., C.C.F.P., E.M., F.R.C.P.C. Les, as he is known to our family, is one of my husband’s dearest friends, and our go to MD for just about everything.

Dr. Rosoph received his Medical Degree from McGill University. He obtained a residency in Emergency Medicine at The University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg.  Dr. Rosoph went on to obtain a residency in Dermatology at University of Toronto.

Dr. Rosoph currently practices dermatology in North Bay, Ontario.

First off, I want you to know that I am someone who enjoys being outside.  I love to walk, run and hike in the great outdoors, and that includes being in the direct sunlight. I love to sit in the sun, read, and get a little color.  However, I am here to tell you that I am no longer going to partake in this activity, because Dr. Rosoph scared me straight. If nothing else, I hope that this enlightening interview does the same for you!

L.W.: I see my dermatologist twice a year for skin checks. How can I get the most out of my visits with her?

L.R.: In order to get the most out of your visits to the dermatologist, here is what I recommend:

1. Come in with NO makeup. This sounds logical enough, but often, female patients stick to their daily routine of applying makeup, and forget that this makes it difficult for the doctor to thoroughly and properly check the facial skin.

2. Do not come in with a spray tan. Like makeup, it can alter the look of the skin, by darkening otherwise benign moles because the spray deposits the color unevenly.

3. Do not pick off any lesions. You would be surprised just how many of my patients do this.

4. Do not be embarrassed to show the doctor your feet. Many people are surprisingly self-conscious about the appearance of their feet. In my practice, I have actually had to request that patients allow me to thoroughly check between their toes and other areas of their feet.

5. Participate in the process.

If you are concerned about something, tell the physician early on in the visit, or circle the mole with a pen. It is also a good idea to come in with a list.

L.W.: I wholeheartedly agree! I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have left the doctor’s office and remembered that I forgot to ask him/her about something!

L.R.: The patient could also take a photo of a suspicious looking mole and that way its size is documented. This assists us in seeing the changes in size and color. A physician needs to see the landmarks in order to compare.

Taking the photo on your cell phone is a good idea, since the quality is good and you are likely to have your phone on you at the time of the visit.


Up to 1/3 of all Caucasians will be diagnosed with a Non Melanoma Basal or Squamous Cell Carcinoma in their lifetime. This is treated surgically.


1 in 60 will be diagnosed with a Melanoma in their lifetime, and that number is on the rise.


Risk Factors

1.         Coloring: Fair skinned people who are not good tanners are at risk. Most people are in denial about this. Patients will often tell me that they are good tanners, neglecting to say that they almost always burn first.

2.         Having more than 50 moles on your body increases your risk of developing a Melanoma.

3.         If you experienced a lot of sunburns as a young person, your chances of developing a melanoma, increases significantly.

4.         Intermittent high intensity sun exposure, like that experienced when on vacation, increases your chances of developing a    Melanoma.



Sun Protection

Sun protection is key! It is never ever too late so start right now!


1.         Dr. Rosoph recommends applying a sunscreen with an SPF of 60, especially if you are planning to be outdoors for more than an hour. SPF implies the degree of UVB protection. However, look for a sunscreen that has both UVB as well as UVA protection. When you read that SPF 30 has been proven effective against sun damage, you must remember that the amount used in the testing is quite copious. Dr. Rosoph believes that the average person is NOT going to apply copious amounts of sunscreen to their face and body so he recommends using a normal amount of SPF 60, both on the face and the body.

2.         For daily use that does not involve prolonged time in the sun, SPF 30 is fine. Any SPF contained in make up is fine and will provide extra protection as well.

3.         We all know that sun damage ages the skin, but did you know that a smoker’s skin ages faster than a nonsmoker?

4.         When in the sun, wear a hat. There has been a significant increase in skin cancer on the scalp.

5.         As we age, the chances of skin cancer increases. Plan now, in your middle age, for maintaining the health of your skin in your elderly years.

6.         Check your skin once a month using two mirrors. Hold a hand held mirror to see the reflection of your back in a large mirror. Look for new moles and show your doctor immediately. Added problems occur when people delay or neglect to report things.


L.W.: What is your opinion of spray tans?

L.R.: Spray tans are fine, and certainly a much healthier alternative to sun tanning.



Readers, I hope that you have gleaned much from this discussion. Personally, I have begun to eliminate my bad habits. For instance, I was reading the paper at 5:30 PM in our back yard the other day, and ran inside for a sun hat. I will be spray tanning only, and if I feel like reading in the sun, I will have nothing less than 60 SPF on my face and body, wearing a hat and sitting under an umbrella!