Dr. Katie Beleznay

Vancouver Skin Care Specialist

Dr. Katie Beleznay is a leading medical and cosmetic dermatologist specializing in the latest treatments to repair and rejuvenate the skin

Summer Sun Tips & Best Sunscreens for 2019

May is skin cancer awareness month and as we move into the summer months, I thought I’d share some tips to help protect your skin in the sun. I’ve also provided some recommendations on my favorite sunscreens below.

o Whenever possible, avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10 am and 3 pm, when UVB is most intense.

o If avoiding the sun is not possible, cover up with clothing as much as possible and wear a broad brimmed hat to protect your face. 

o Always use a high SPF (30+) broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection factor.

o The higher the SPF the better.  While there seems to be a persistent myth that once you get over a certain SPF it doesn’t matter, in fact, studies have shown that higher SPF sunscreens do provide more protection.

o Most people under apply sunscreen by half. So apply liberally and remember to reapply!

o Spread sunscreen, don't rub it in. Best protection is achieved from a uniform layer on the surface of the skin.

o Contrary to some common myths, chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens are both effective forms of protection. What is most important is to find a sunscreen formulation that you like and will actually use!

o Think about sun protection and sun damage at a cumulative level. Protecting from a sunburn today is important, but long-term protection from skin cancers and photoaging is critical (and can save your life!)

o Using sunscreen on a daily basis can significantly reduce your risk of various forms of skin cancer including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.


Some of my recommended sunscreens

Some of my recommended sunscreens

I'll wrap this up by providing a list of sunscreens that I personally like. Each person is different and my recommendations will vary depending on your skin type ie. oily, sensitive etc.  but this is a great set of products to choose from.

o   La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Stick Sunscreen SPF60

Love this for my kids’ faces! Easy to apply and I’m less likely to get sunscreen in their eyes as they squirm. It’s also good for people who work out or sweat a lot.  I use it on the back of my hands and lips.

o   Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen Powder SPF 50

I like this sunscreen as a top up throughout the day! It’s easy to apply (dust powder on), it’s easy to carry (throw it in a purse or bag), and for those that wear makeup you don’t have to worry about reapplying a sunscreen over top of your foundation. 

o   Vichy Mexoryl XL Sun Protection Cream SPF60

This is a good work horse for all over sun protection, goes on smooth and is well tolerated

o   SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50

I like this one for the face. It’s purely mineral, light weight and has a nice tint to it.

o   Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion with Helioplex SPF 60

Many of my acne prone patients like this one - it’s inexpensive, easy to apply and tends to be well tolerated

o   Reversa Radiance Cream 4% Glycolic Acid SPF30

I like this for the winter months or days when I’m not spending the day at the beach (or else I go up higher in SPF).  It is well tolerated and has some other perks such as glycolic acid for brighter skin.

o   SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50+

While not pictured (I just ran out!), this is another go to of mine. It also acts as a superscreen to protect against infrared rays

Shaping the Perfect Profile

Was Marilyn Monroe onto something? In the cosmetic world there has been a big focus on the lower face and jawline, emphasizing the importance of the chin for balance and symmetry. In this age of selfies, there has even been a term coined: “profiloplasty,” which refers to aesthetic treatments used to improve a patient’s profile.

At a recent meeting we discussed that injectors shouldn’t just be giving our patients mirrors, but showing them photographs, so they can see their face in 3 dimensions rather than just the frontal view.  It impresses me how many millennial patients seem to know their proportions; they often ask about the chin and jawline and want to improve the profile of their nose. How do people know what their nose looks like in side profile or that their chin is slightly retruded? They know because they take selfies from all angles!  As cosmetic physicians it’s important that we think of the face from all angles. Yes we can fill a cheek or soften a fold, but we need balance, symmetry, and harmony between the different facial features. A full cheek may look imbalanced if present with a weak chin and lower face. 

This brings me back to Marilyn Monroe. In the US, a person’s right to medical privacy ends 50 years after their death and in 2013 Marilyn Monroe’s medical records were auctioned off.  These records seemed to indicate that Marilyn Munroe had chin augmentation in the 1950s. Could this have contributed to her iconic beauty? Most would agree that she is one of the timeless beauties. So perhaps Marilyn was indeed onto something with the focus on her chin and in photographs she really worked those angles to emphasize her stunning chin and jawline!


Say Cheese: The Power of a Smile

There has been a great deal written about the benefits, from happiness to health, of smiling. Studies have shown that forcing ourselves to smile tricks our brain into thinking we are happy. The simple act of smiling spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness while serotonin is associated with reduced stress. So a forced smile is certainly better than no smile at all.

Research has also been done that demonstrates the power of a genuine smile. This genuine smile is referred to as a Duchenne smile, named after French physician Guillaume Duchenne who studied the physiology of facial expressions in the nineteenth century. In one long-term study,  photos of young women were reviewed and those with a Duchenne smile were significantly more likely to report higher marriage satisfaction and overall well-being up to 30 years later. One could conclude that those who smile regularly and sincerely are more likely to lead happy lives.

Can you tell the difference between a genuine smile and a fake one? Studies have shown that even at young ages children can tell insincerity with facial expressions. When you look at the two images below, the smile on the right portrays two hallmarks of a Duchenne smile: contraction of the zygomatic major, raising the corners of the mouth, and the orbicularis oculi, raising the cheeks and producing crow's feet around the eyes. Since contraction of the orbicularis oculi happens naturally when we smile but cannot easily be faked, the absence of crow’s feet can signal an insincere smile (or the result of being “over frozen”).

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For patients undergoing treatment with neuromodulators (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin), preserving the natural smile is essential. Patients who receive too large a dose of a Botox in the crow’s feet may appear to have a fake or insincere smile even when they are genuinely happy. Don’t get me wrong, I think a small amount of neuromodulator for crow’s feet is a wonderful option to soften lines and prevent wrinkles. Also receiving cosmetic treatments can help patients to feel better about their appearance overall, increasing confidence and happiness (resulting in more smiles!). Choosing the right injector will make sure that your emotions continue to show and your face doesn’t appear “frozen.” One of my guiding principles as an injector is to make sure patients achieve natural looking outcomes. Understanding the facial anatomy and ensuring that injections to lessen the appearance of crow’s feet do not eliminate the appearance of that natural, genuine Duchenne smile is very important!

Tips for Radiant Winter Skin

This post originally appeared on the Carruthers & Humphrey blog


It’s no great surprise that your skin care routine should be modified alongside the seasons — but winter can be particularly stressful. In addition to harsh weather, there’s the added pressure of the holidays and often an increase in food and alcohol consumption, all of which impact your health and the health of your skin.

While much of our advice rings true throughout the calendar year (yes, always use an SPF — even in January!) there are a few specific things you can include during the winter to keep your skin extra protected.

Ante up your moisturizer.

If your cure for a stubborn winter chill is a hot shower or bubble bath, you definitely aren’t alone. But all that extreme heat can do a number on your already dehydrated skin. Be sure to lock in moisture post-shower by applying a thicker emollient or moisturizer, like Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore for the face and Cerave moisturizing cream for the body.

The same goes for hand washing during cold and flu season: increased hand washing necessitates increased moisturizing to avoid having this exposed surface dry out even faster. And if you’re especially prone to dry, cracked lips, consider using a hydrating balm or ointment like vaseline and keeping a lip treatment like HA5 Lip in your pocket throughout the season.

Tack on laser treatment.

Winter is a great time to get laser or light-based treatments, because it is recommended to minimize sun exposure following treatment. While you make plans to approach 2019 with a refreshed outlook and updated goals, why not add a rejuvenated appearance to the list with IPL or Clear + Brilliant?

Reconsider your drink order.

New Year’s resolutions aside, there are other reasons to consider minimizing your alcohol consumption at this time of year. When your skin (not to mention your overall health) is already working overtime to combat cold, dry weather, limiting your alcohol intake can go a long ways — and the same goes for caffeine. By setting some healthy restrictions on these dehydrating beverages, you can keep your skin healthier and more hydrated all winter long.