2012 June

So, What Is SPF?

We all know that it’s important to wear sunscreen to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays, however, most people don’t really understand what SPF is or how the different SPF numbers work. Well, at Eastside Dermatology, we want you to be in the know so that you can be prepared for the summer sun and know exactly what to shop for when it comes to sunscreen.

SPF or sun protection factor notes the ability of a sunscreen to block Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun, which can lead to a sunburn. SPF measures the length of time it would take a person to sunburn if they were not wearing sunscreen vs. the time it would take with sunscreen on. For instance, if it takes a person 10 minutes to sunburn without sunscreen then wearing SPF 15 would protect 15 times longer (or 150 minutes) for that same person to sunburn.

SPF 15 blocks about 94% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 45 blocks about 98%. This shows that SPF 30 is not twice as good as 15, which is a common misconception. Most dermatologists recommend SPF 30 due to the fact that the majority of people do not apply sunscreen as heavily or as often as recommended. For best protection, sunscreen should be applied approximately 20 minutes prior to outdoor activity and heavily enough to cover the surface of the skin. Sunscreen should be reapplied after approximately every 1.5 -2 hours of outdoor activity. Even if your sunscreen says that it’s waterproof, you should always reapply after water exposure.

Most sunscreens do not protect against Ultraviolet A (UVA) light, which reaches deeper into the skin and can cause wrinkles and skin cancer. UVA light comprises about 95% of ultraviolet light from the sun. The best protection from UVA light are physical sun blocks that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

In addition to sunscreens, some clothing lines contain SPF factor of 30 and can provide additional protection. The FDA is currently in the process of changing the SPF ratings and in the future there may be no sunscreens with an SPF of over 50. These changes are expected within the next year.

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Don’t Stop Laser-ing Just Because It’s Summer!

Today, laser technology is enabling some of the most exciting advances ever in the field of cosmetic dermatology, however, to some, the start of the summer season means the end of “laser season.” Typically, once we get a few warm days and the sun and shorts begin to come out, people think that they can no longer have these treatments performed.

To the surprise (and delight) of most of our patients however, laser treatments CAN still be done during the summer months. While it is recommended that you stay out of the sun for 10 days after treatments, Dr. Parks of Eastside Dermatology says, “After 10 days, if laser patients practice good sun protection with hats and sunscreen, we haven’t seen any problems. With the proper protocol after treatments, people can definitely still do lasers in the summertime.”

Eastside Dermatology, serving Columbus and Hilliard, Ohio, takes full advantage of the latest laser technology to perform tattoo removal, skin resurfacing, vein removal, and many other procedures as safely and conveniently as possible. Check out all of our laser services below during the summer and all year round!



Our Locations

Two convenient locations to better serve you:

150 Taylor Station Rd. Suite 250
Ohio 43213

4617 Leap Ct.,
Ohio 43026

Our Promise

At Eastside Dermatology, Dr. Alan Parks and his entire team are dedicated to providing the highest quality cosmetic and surgical skin care for their Columbus and Hilliard, Ohio-area patients.

Eastside Dermatology & Skin Care Center is associated with the DocShop patient education network. is an informational resource for patients considering dermatology treatments.

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