Dr. JoAnn Yanez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (right), joins KCAAs “On the Brink” host, Erin Brinker (left) and Tobin Brinker (middle) to discuss natural ways to stay safe in the sun.
Full Transcript of Interview Below.
- Topics include:
- What to look for in a safe sunscreen
- Getting free Vitamin D from the Sun
- Tanning bed use and skin cancer risk
Erin Brinker: Welcome back, I’m Erin Brinker.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are on the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050 FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. I am so excited to welcome to the show, a regular guest who always has something interesting and fun to say, Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the director of the AANMC, which is the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. She is an ND, a naturopathic doctor, and holds a masters in public health, and there’s a CAE, I’m going to ask you what that is.
Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. JoAnn Yanez’ career has spanned advocacy, academia, naturopathic patient care, and public health. Dr. Yanez serves as vice president of the Academic Collaborative for integrative health and on the advisory board for the national association of advisors for the health profession. Dr. Yanez, welcome to the show.
Tobin Brinker: Hello? Can you hear us?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I can hear you now, yes sir.
Erin Brinker: Okay.
Tobin Brinker: Awesome.
Erin Brinker: Awesome.
Tobin Brinker: So welcome to the show. Now Erin mentioned in your introduction that you had the letter CAE and she wasn’t sure what that meant, so let’s start with that. What’s CAE?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: CAE is a Certified Association Executive and it is a credential that is administered through the American Society for Association Executives, and that’s the big umbrella organization that represents the folks who run associations.
Tobin Brinker: Wonderful, wonderful. Now, what’s going on in naturopathic medicine right now? What are we going to be talking about today? I’m not able to pull up my end of the message here, so we’re doing this a little off the cuff.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Not a problem. It’s the summer time and we’re getting our pool ready here at our house. I’ve got a four year old who just can’t wait to-
Tobin Brinker: We’re losing you doctor, Dr. Yanez, you’re cutting in and out here. Can you give us a call back because we’re having some difficulty with this connection?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Sure, I will do that.
Erin Brinker: Hello .
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Is this better?
Tobin Brinker: You sound better. Erin was able to fill me in here, so we’re talking about skin care and being safe around the pool and things like that.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.
Tobin Brinker: Why don’t you go ahead and enlighten us?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Sure thing. I think being in southern California, having my own four year old who constantly wants to be outside, and it just made me think what do naturopathic doctors do to stay safe in the sun in the summertime, and what are some things that we can do naturally to stay safe in the sun. That was really the emphasis of what I was speaking with her about today. I think that there are a lot of questions that folks have, especially right now about sunscreen. There are lots of debates about what is safe, and is sun exposure safe, do we need a little bit of sun to make our own Vitamin D, how much is too much, what types of sunscreens are safe, especially when you’re thinking about your children?
Those are all ideas and topics that we were bantering around. In relation to that, I think when you’re thinking about sun exposure, our bodies were meant to synthesize vitamin D from the sunlight, and so some sun exposure actually is healthy. We were seeing low vitamin D levels across the board in lots and lots of folks, and potential for health issues as a result of that. So some sun exposure is healthy and recommended, however, it’s finding that balance, and obviously also knowing your genetics and your skin melanin composition. Some of us are more sun challenged than others. That’s definitely something to think about.
Tobin Brinker: So I’m very fair skinned and I burn really easily, but I’m also a runner so I’m actually out in the sun quite a bit. Should I be using sunscreen every time I go out? Are there natural alternatives to sunscreen? What are your recommendations?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know, the most natural alternative, is putting on clothing. I think that clothing is underrated and folks don’t think about the factor that most clothing will block most of the UVA and UVB rays. I think if you’re really thinking about a non chemical approach to sun exposure, putting on a hat, putting on a long sleeve shirt, having any sun exposed areas covered by clothing, it’s possible. Obviously if you’re running you can’t run with an umbrella, that would look kind of silly, but I think protecting sun exposed areas as much as you can, number one, and remembering the areas that we forget. The back of the neck, the back of the ears, for gentleman who don’t have as much hair on the tops of their heads, remembering those spots that may not be covered by hair.
Erin Brinker: The top of your feet.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And really just being diligent about sun exposure. If you’re choosing a sunscreen, making sure that the sunscreen that you are choosing don’t have many of the harmful chemicals in there, zinc and titanium are two good mineral based components of sunscreen, so that can be very helpful for folks.
Tobin Brinker: I had not heard that before, that’s good to know.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah, you know one other thing, having a very very active four year old, sometimes getting sunscreen on a kid can be a little bit of a challenge, and I know parents are tempted to use the sprays. The thing about a lot of these sunscreen sprays, is that they aerosolize, or they put the particles into the air where they can be breathed in, and we don’t quite know the safety of all of the chemicals that are inside many of the sunscreens and what the impacts are for long term exposure of breathing those in, so I typically don’t recommend the aerosol sunscreen sprays.
Tobin Brinker: Yeah, no, as a personal choice I don’t use the aerosols as much. If I have a choice, I try to get a cream. For a variety of reasons. I don’t like the way the aerosol stick to my skin. I don’t feel like my skin breaths as well when I’m running, versus if I’m using a lotion. I feel like it’s a very different feeling. I tend to use lotions more. I also I take your advice, I tend to wear long sleeve shirts when I’m going on a long run, loose fitting so that they breathe a little bit, but a longer sleeve shirt.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think just recognizing that we’re in southern California and we are going to get more sun exposure in our lifetime than maybe somebody living in North Dakota, we would need to practice more due diligence on a regular basis and remember that we are getting more of a total load on that sun exposure, and so being cognizant of it, being mindful if you are going to be outside, during the peak sun hours of 10 to four, that you’re really thinking about I’m protecting my largest organ, my skin. What am I doing to stay safe in the long term?
Tobin Brinker: I have to ask, because both my sisters did this when they’re younger, and I’m sure there’s a lot of young kids that do this today, but sisters would put baby oil on their skin, and then they would put lemon juice or something like that in their hair, to try and lighten their hair and they would go and lay out, and that was a big thing, they want to get their tan. I know today, in modern times we have the spray tan and I see a lot of people go to that, or they go to tanning places. Are there any recommendations on dealing with those kinds of issues?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, you know I think number one it comes down to me embracing the skin that you were born with. What is that all really about? We want to look different, we want to have some unattainable version of beauty. I think if we just embrace our skin tone period, whether it’s light or dark or somewhere in the middle, that’s really the healthy mindset that I’m coming from, coming from a place of just loving the skin that you were born with.
The sun exposure and tanning for the sake of tanning, I don’t personally recommend. Especially with tanning beds as they increase the UVA rays and skin cancer exposure and skin cancer risks in a lifetime, so I do not personally recommend tanning beds for those reasons. There are some therapeutic reasons for tanning beds including Seasonal Affective Disorder, if you’re living in the Pacific North West and you’re not getting sun exposure. That’s a totally different animal, and not something that we really have to deal with here in Southern California. I do not typically recommend sun beds or tanning beds.
Tobin Brinker: Yeah, well thank you. Thank you Dr. Yanez, I apologize to cut you off there, it was kind of a rough interview this morning. I apologize for the technical difficulties, but we’re out of time and we’re up against a break here, so thank you. We’ve been talking with Doctor-
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you very much.
Tobin Brinker: JoAnn Yanez, and I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And I’m Erin Brinker, and we are on the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5, and FM 102.3. I’m going to leave this saying good bye to Dr. Yanez myself. I know that she can’t hear me, but it will be in the podcast. Always enjoy having her on the show. She knows what she’s doing, if you go to AANMC.org and that’s the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical College, AANMC.org, you can find out more about Dr. Yanez and all of the incredible work that she does. We’re going on a break.