Can Sunscreen Prevent Skin Damage?

In 2012, new rules from the Food and Drug Administration took effect governing label information regarding sunscreen. Included in the new rules are defining the term “broad spectrum.” And so, it means sunscreen offers protection from both ultraviolet UVA and ultraviolet B – ultraviolet A and B – in proportional amounts. Before, sunscreens did not address UVA radiation which causes skin cancer and early aging, but not necessarily the tell-tale signs of sunburn.

Additionally, claims such as waterproof, sweat-proof sunblock are no longer allowed. Sonya Lunder, Senior Analyst at Environmental Working Group says, despite greater awareness of the damage sun can do and products with higher sun protection factors, melanoma rates are still increasing.

In a recent radio interview, Dr. Johnson shared tips to protect your skin from sun damage.

Here’s a full transcript of the interview:

HOST:Joining us right now is Dr. Bill Johnson.

I’ll be very honest, Bill, I’ve never read a label on a sunscreen in my life.

DR. BILL JOHNSON: Well, that’s probably not an uncommon comment.

The key factor is to look at what’s called the SPF or Sun Protection Factor.

HOST: Yeah, I’m aware of the 30 to 40 to 50. If I have 50, it means it’s a real good block. If it’s a 10, it’s not as good. But, man, I just slosh that thing on. We have a spray, we put that on and that’s about it.

DR. BILL: Well, I’m okay with the sprays. The sprays probably need to stay on your skin a little bit longer before you’re going to get protection. Most lotions, we feel they’re in good shape after you put it on for about ten minutes; the sprays may take fifteen to twenty minutes before you have real protection.

HOST: Really? I didn’t know that!

DR. BILL: Yeah.

CO-HOST: I didn’t either!

DR. BILL: I like the sprays. I use the spray quite a bit, but it does take a little bit longer for it to get up against your skin and for the sunscreen to settle in and give you good protection.

HOST: This is just kind of a very off-the-cuff comment. I see Asians taking this more seriously than American Caucasians.

DR. BILL: Absolutely, yeah.

HOST: I see them at the golf course – full long sleeve, long pants, hats. I mean, boy, they are so sensitive and I don’t know if their skin is more sensitive to the sun or they just got the message. But you see people that guard against it, they look so much better when they’re sixty.

DR. BILL: Well, I think the Asian culture has become very youth-driven and they have listened better and they are aware that about 90 percent of all the aging our skin does is related to sun exposure.

HOST: Wow! 90 percent of it, Bill?

DR. BILL: 90 percent, and almost all the pigment changes, almost all those spots and uneven color that you see as you get older, almost all of that is related to being in the sun.

HOST: Yeah. Well, darn.

CO-HOST: Yeah, me too. Can we stop it now if we haven’t done it in the past?

DR. BILL: Well, it’s better. I mean, you’re still making a difference and it’s good to go ahead and stop it. But a lot of that damage has already been done so all you can do now is try and prevent future damage. That’s why it’s so important for children to have good sunblock because the damage they’re doing now may not show up for forty years but it’s still being done right now.

HOST: Can’t reverse it. I’ve seen these creams advertised at midnight, that won’t work?

DR. BILL: There actually are some retinoid – like Retin-A type – products that can reverse some of those effects. And then, there are also some laser and other techniques that we do here in the office and are available at the doctor’s office that can reverse some of the effects.

HOST: When is it time for somebody to get a spot checked out?

DR. BILL: If you have a family history of melanoma or personal history of melanoma, you should be checked every year – one to three years – whether it’s you or a family member.

HOST: This is with a dermatologist?

DR. BILL: Usually with a dermatologist. Many of your regular primary doctors are fully trained to do the initial screening and be able to say, “Hey, we need to send you to the derm and get that looked at.”

HOST: Dr. Bill Johnson, cosmetic surgeon, you know, I’ve seen Joan Rivers and, to me, it’s like, “Okay, listen. Let me grow old because, at some point, you cross the line with any surgery when people know you’ve had surgery.”

DR. BILL: Well, I’m a true believer in the subtle touch.

HOST: Yeah.

DR. BILL: And so, when I do my work, I really prefer it to be no one can tell I’ve been there.

HOST: I mean, Kenny Rogers doesn’t even look the same. Have you seen him?

DR. BILL: I saw him just recently. You’re right.

HOST: He’s in a Geico commercial. Now, listen, we’re all getting older. I think there’s a line between getting something that makes you look better and getting something that makes you look creepy.

DR. BILL: I agree with that and there are different schools of thought on that. But, more and more, the main trend in cosmetic surgery is to do work that makes you look like a younger you, not like somebody else.

HOST: That’s exactly right.

Bill, our pleasure! Thanks for being on with us today.

DR. BILL: Well, thank you.

Have questions?

Email us at with any questions that you may have or if you want to know what special offers that Innovations Medical may have regarding fat transfer, liposuction and their other cosmetic procedures. Contact our Dallas branch at 214-643-8665.

Dr. Bill Johnson MD, MMM Innovations Medical
Contact us with any questions or call our Dallas office at 214-643-8665.