Sun-kissed shoulders aren’t cute when it comes to longtime dermatologist and owner of California Skin & Laser Centers, Dr. Gerald Bock.
He’s been in practice since 1974 and says he tells his patients that sun exposure to the skin is like cigarette exposure for the lungs.
“The whole bit about you need to get sun exposure to get vitamin D is bullshit. Sunlight is a toxin for the skin,” he says. “The more sun you get, the more problems you’re going to have. You can take vitamin D by mouth, it’s very easy and very safe and you don’t have to ruin your skin to do it.”
His office specializes in cosmetic, laser, and general dermatology and Dr. Bock shares his tips with San Joaquin Magazine on how to stay safe in the sun—not just in the summertime—but all year round.
When it comes to Melanoma, a type of cancer that develops from the pigment-containing cells in the skin, it’s very difficult for people to recognize signs on their own. Dr. Bock advises that no one should rely on self-examination as means to properly diagnose Melanoma.
“Melanomas can be very difficult to recognize even for dermatologists. One thing that is helpful is that people should not be getting new moles after the age of 30,” Dr. Bock says. “Now, people get these things that are pigmented that are rough on the surface called keratosis, and that’s not anything to worry about, but a new mole after age 30 can be a tip-off of problems.”
If a person notices irregular pigment on the skin’s surface or a mole much larger than a pencil eraser, visit a dermatologist immediately. These are all signs of catching Melanoma in its later stages and according to Dr. Bock, this skin cancer needs to be caught as soon as possible.
“Visit a dermatologist who uses something called a dermatoscope, that’s a little device that magnifies the mole and also takes a picture of it,” Dr. Bock says. “That greatly increases the accuracy of finding early Melanomas and you want to find them early. These things aren’t forest fires, they progress relatively slowly, but people should get in touch with a dermatologist.”
Three tips for staying safe in the sun:
Go out in the evening or early morning
Protect yourself with clothing
Use sunscreen in areas that are difficult to protect with clothing
“Wrinkles, sun spots, discolorations, everything you think of with aging, the vast majority of that is due to sun exposure,” Dr. Bock says. “Use clothing as much as possible to protect the skin. Clothing is more efficient and more effective for a particular area. I tell my patients they should be wearing long sleeves and long pants, winter and summer.”
California Skin & Laser Center
1617 Saint Marks Plaza, Ste. C, Stockton
999 South Fairmont Ave., Lodi