In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’d like to discuss a question submitted by a DermTV Live viewer. The viewer asked, do I have any tips for people with freckled, light-colored skin? Obviously, people of Irish ancestry often have this colored skin which is lighter and frequently freckled. The real problem with this color skin is it has a genetically determined decreased protection from the sun and the reason it does is because there’s just less natural pigment to protect from the sun. So that genetically increases their susceptibility to sun damage, and that increased susceptibility to sun damage is further demonstrated by the fact that they have lots of freckles and those freckles frequently darken in response to the sun and they get more and more freckles. I have three tips for people with this type of skin. Number one concerns sun protection, it’s not just sunscreen but sun protection because I’m including with that, in addition to sunscreen, oral supplementation to help prevent sun damage. In addition, nightly antioxidants and, third and equally important is the tip of twice a year instead of once a year annual skin cancer screening exams which, for them, are semi-annual to ensure the early detection and early treatment of any precancerous lesions, but let’s go back to sun protection. There are pills called Heliocare which contain an herbal extract from the fern plant, and that’s called polypodium leucotomos, and it’s a pretty fancy word, but it’s a natural antioxidant which is well-absorbed and has been demonstrated to decrease sun damage, particularly in people with light-colored skin. Obviously, you also want to have people with light-colored skin use sunscreen every day with an SPF of 30 with UVA protection and make sure they use it on all areas of their skin that are exposed to the sun and, of course, re-apply it frequently. The nightly antioxidants again are more important on light-colored skin because those antioxidants can better help protect that genetically weaker, more susceptible skin against skin cancers and premature aging of the skin. Lastly, the frequent semi-annual skin cancer screening exams are very, very important, because there is nothing better at treating skin cancer than preventing it and, if precancerous moles or early skin cancers are picked up, the earlier they’re picked up, the easier they are to cure 100%. So, for everybody out there with light-colored skin or any colored skin, Happy St. Patrick’s Day.