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

Filtering by Tag: skin care

Summer Sunscreen Tips

When it comes to sunscreen the most important thing is that you use it! However, even when people are diligent about wearing sunscreen they may still be putting their skin at risk. I wanted to address a few things that everyone needs to know to ensure maximum protection for your skin.

The most common mistake people make when using sunscreen is not using enough and not applying it frequently enough. Sunscreen should form a film on the skin when initially applied. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 oz of sunscreen to cover your body (though obviously this needs to be adjusted based on your body type). Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun and reapplied every two hours, no matter what SPF.

Sunscreens should be a minimum of 30 SPF but I always suggest the higher (SPF) the better. In the morning we recommend that sunscreen go on after moisturizers or other creams, but before makeup. Always reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating and apply it on dry skin. 

We recommend using sunscreen daily all year round as the sun’s rays reflect off surfaces such as snow, sand and even concrete, so be sure to protect your skin. In addition to sunscreen it is recommended to wear photo-protective clothing and always wear a hat when spending any extended time in the sun. Beyond the risk of skin cancer, the sun can also lead to signs of premature aging like wrinkles and brown spots. If your skin is already sun damaged it is important to do regular skin checks.

The weather is heating up and I know everyone is excited to get out in the sun. If you follow the advice above your skin (and your dermatologist) will thank you!

Trends in Dermatology for 2018

As we start off the New Year I wanted to share a few emerging trends in dermatology. In my practice I treat patients for both medical and cosmetic concerns so I will highlight some developments in both areas.

On the medical side there are a number of exciting new treatments emerging for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema and acne just to name a few!

Eczema – This chronic condition can be challenging to treat, particularly since, to date, we have had limited effective systemic medications. Dupilumab is a new biologic that was approved by the FDA in 2017 and has been approved by Health Canada for roll out in 2018. Dupilumab is a human monoclonal antibody that is designed to inhibit overactive signaling of two key proteins (IL-4 and IL-13) that are believed to be major drivers of the underlying inflammation in atopic dermatitis (eczema). We dermatologists (and our patients) have all been awaiting the approval of this new medication as the data suggests it is quite effective and safe. A number of other biologics and topicals (including non-steroid options) are also in the pipeline, promising even more options to treat this condition.

Psoriasis – There are a number of new biologics being introduced for the treatment of psoriasis as well. New IL-17 inhibitors and IL-23 inhibitors, including risankizumab, guselkumab, tildrakizumab, ixekizumab and brodalumab (all a bit of a mouthful to say J), are either recently approved or in the final stages of gaining approval to be marketed in the US and Canada. If you suffer from psoriasis you can ask your dermatologist whether any of these new medications may be right for you. Topicals in newer formulations, such as spray foam (enstilar), also continue to gain popularity for treating mild to moderate psoriasis where a high-powered biologic medicine is not called for.

Acne – In terms of acne treatments there is new evidence that certain combination treatments, such as adapalene and benzoyl peroxide (TactuPump Forte) can help treat acne, including more severe acne, and can also prevent and treat acne scarring. There are number of new topicals in the pipeline for acne treatment as well, including topical sebum inhibitors that could act to reduce “oily skin” that may drive acne in some patients.

Moving on to cosmetic treatments, there are a number of themes influencing the way we treat patients.  

Body Sculpting - Each year the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) surveys consumers to understand their views on cosmetic treatments. For the fourth consecutive year the treatment of excess fat ranked as the #1 thing that bothered people about their appearance. This has given rise to the popularity of treatments such as CoolSculpting. A number of new and faster CoolSculpting applicators have recently become available and I believe this treatment will continue to increase in popularity. In addition, Belkyra (Kybella in the US), which was originally approved as a treatment for double chins, is now being used (off-label) on different body sites as well to help treat stubborn fat.

Combination treatments – Increasingly you will find different cosmetic treatments, such as neuromodulators like botox, being used in combination with fillers, and lasers, for more effective results. We have moved away from simply treating a line or wrinkle to thinking of the face in 3-dimensions and focusing not only on the skin, but thinking about the underlying structures as well. The aging process is complex and while a patient may be bothered by one thing, we may approach this concern with a combination of treatments to address related concerns. Often a combination approach may provide the most effective and longest lasting improvement. 

Natural looking outcomes – While this is not a new theme, it is definitely one that continues to be important. The desire to ensure a natural look has led to the rise in treatments like microneedling and thermage, skinboosters, and the use of more frequent, but smaller treatments with filler and neuromodulators such as botox. This also aligns with the goal of prevention and using cosmetic treatments to help preserve skin elasticity and collagen, so that your skin can stay looking healthy and vibrant longer.

Focus on men - Men have always represented a smaller proportion of the cosmetic patient population but they continue to grow each year. While men make up only about 10% of the total patient population for popular procedures like botox, the number of men seeking cosmetic treatments has increased dramatically over that past several years. Understanding the unique needs of men and developing customized treatment plans to emphasize masculine features continues to be a focus.

These trends will continue to play a big role in my practice in 2018 and beyond. I will continue to keep up-to-date on the latest in both cosmetic and medical dermatology. If you have any questions or want to book a consultation, please feel free to contact us.


5 Winter Weather Skin Tips

The seasons have changed and the holidays are upon us. To add to all the year-end excitement (or stress) of visiting family, office holiday parties, and crowds at the mall, many people are also dealing with increased skin issues due in part to colder weather. 

If you want to protect and rejuvenate your skin this winter here are my top 5 tips along with products I recommend to my patients, especially this time of year.

1.    Stay hydrated. This is important year-round but often as temperatures drop people forget to continue drinking water and instead increase their intake of coffee, which can dehydrate the body and dry out your skin and lips. Wine and salty foods, which tend to be consumed in larger amounts throughout the holiday season, also have a dehydrating effect. So be sure to drink plenty of water.

2.    Increased hand washing = increased moisturizer. Tis the season for colds and the flu. In order to keep your health in tip-top shape, prevention is key with hand washing and/or use of a hand sanitizer regularly. It's actually a misconception that hand sanitizers are more drying. Studies have shown that soap and water can dehydrate your hands even more. Either way, after cleansing your hands, it is important to rehydrate using a thick moisturizer. Carry them in your purse or pocket if you can.  

3.    Switch to Creams and Balms. Lightweight moisturizers should be substituted for heavier creams and balms that provide deeper nourishment for the skin. Generally I recommend maintaining your daytime routine and switching to something heavier at night. Vaseline also works wonders on dry, cracked skin on hands and feet.

4.    Always Remember SPF. No dermatologist’s list would be complete without a reminder to protect your skin from the sun, no matter what time of year. Especially if you are a winter sports person, remember that the sun reflects off the snow, amplifying the effects. Using suncreen or lotion with SPF year-round will help maintain your skin over the long run. And don’t forget to use lip balm with SPF too.

5.    Humidify. Using a humidifier is a good way to replenish your skin’s moisture. If you don’t have one you can also get a humidifier-like experience by closing the bathroom door when you shower to create a more humid environment.  However, long, hot showers will work against your skin so limit showers to 5-10 minutes and keep the water warm but not hot.

Some of my favorite products to protect against harsh winter weather are:

  • Hand moisturizers: Norwegian formula hand cream, Cetaphil hand barrier cream. Consider putting thick moisturizer like Vaseline in a cotton glove for better penetration. 
  • Body moisturizers: CeraVe Cream, La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume, Aveeno eczema cream.
  • Sunscreen: La Roche Posay Anthelios (SPF 30, 45, or 60), Neutrogena Ultra Sheer (SPF 30, 45 or 60). There are many other good brands out there and the most important thing is to be sure that whatever sunscreen you use has broad spectrum coverage.

Top 10 Sun Protection Tips

I recently returned from a week in Hawaii and am happy to say that nobody would know it by looking at me. When it comes to photoprotection, I definitely practice what I preach. However, spending time at the beach, I saw a lot of people who were simply not protecting their skin from the sun. In some cases this had clearly added up to years of sun damage. That inspired me to write a post sharing my top sun protection tips...


This is not the way most of the Western world enjoys the beach but sun avoidance is the best advice I can offer.

This is not the way most of the Western world enjoys the beach but sun avoidance is the best advice I can offer.

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

  2. 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. You should have seen me on the paddle board in Hawaii with my full sleeve rash guard and hat. But it worked!

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

  4. Use higher SPF at higher altitude. A study at Vail ski resort published in the Journal of Academic Dermatology demonstrated SPF 85 sunscreen as significantly more protective than SPF 50.

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

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

  7. Contrary to some common myths, chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens are both effective forms of protection. What is most important is to choose a photostable sunscreen that works for your skin.

  8. Think about sun protection / 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!)

  9. Using sunscreen on a daily basis can significantly reduce your risk of various forms of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma) and solar keratoses.

  10. I'll wrap this list up by providing a list of sunscreen brands that I recommend to patients:

    • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 30, 45 or 60 with Helioplex or Sensitive Skin SPF 60

    • La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 30, 45, 60 XL

    • Vichy 60 with Mexoryl

    • Loreal Ombrelle 60 XL

    • SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50

    • Intellishade SPF 45 Matte

I hope you find this information helpful. I look forward to sharing more skin tips through my blog. If you have any comments or questions please ask below or tweet at me @kbeleznay.