F. Victor Rueckl, MD - Lakes Dermatology & The Spa at Lakes Dermatology
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Skincare Blog

In an effort to keep you informed about the latest products and procedures, please visit our Skincare Blog. And if you have any questions about any of these articles, please don't hesitate to call our office. Thanks for visiting!

How is My Sunscreen's SPF Number Determined?

The SPF - sun protection factor - of any sunscreen is determined in an FDA-approved, independent lab and must be determined by using a panel of at least 20 human subjects. It is determined by measuring the time it takes to develop skin redness (erythema) to a known amount of radiation. The most important factor you need to consider when choosing sun protection is the ingredients in the sunscreen, not the SPF number.

What Does "Broad Spectrum" Mean?

Often people misinterpret broad spectrum to mean "full protection", but this is not the case. Broad spectrum indicates the ability of a product to protect against parts of the UVA and UVB spectrums; it does not guarantee protection against all wavelengths.

What Should Be Additionally Formulated Into Sunscreens?

Unfortunately, even products with broad spectrum SPFs cannot completely block the sun. Some UV radiation reaches and penetrates the skin, generating free radicals and attacking the skin cells, collagen, and elastin. A recent university study shows, however, that the inclusion of antioxidants in SPF formulations increases protection by the action of their neutralizing activities on the free radicals generated by the rogue UV rays. With the addition of these antioxidants, the SPF properties of the sunscreens were enhanced, allowing them to provide the broad-spectrum protection. While the technology is still be developed to fully incorporate antioxidants into sunscreens, you can add a separate antioxidant, like SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, or SkinCeuticals Phloretin, to aid in your skin's ability to protect itself.

What is SPF?

SPF is an acronym for ‘Sun Protection Factor,’ a number assigned to a product to measure the length of time it can, in theory, protect skin from reddening from UVB, compared to how long the skin takes to minimally redden without the protection of that product. The protected time can be determined by taking the usual time the person reddens while unprotected, times the SPF number of the product. For example, if it takes this person 20 minutes to redden usually, the product assigned an SPF 15 will in theory protect this person 20 x 15, or 300 minutes, approximately 5 hours. Reapplication ahead of this 5 hour mark will help, though. Don't wait until the last minute to reapply! The most effective tool you can use in the war against skin aging and cancer is education on the use of SPF. While the SPF has become the standard measure for UVB protection, none exists for UVA.

Sunscreen Advice

You should wear your sunscreen everyday, whether you're running errands, going for a hike, or simply meeting a friend for lunch. UVA and UVB rays are present everyday--rain or shine--and can penetrate your skin constantly. It’s true that the wonderful sun we so enjoy can be damaging and dangerous. Facts are that over exposure to the sun has caused a dramatic increase in skin cancer. One in six Americans will be diagnosed in their lifetime, and over one million this year. Scientists believe the sun causes 90% of the aging of the skin and their concerns are constant subjects in the media. We want your skin to be healthy, so visit us often to purchase your proper sunscreens and put them on each day. Also, come in anytime you notice a change in your skin--protection and prevention are the best advice for keeping your skin at its best.

Improved Understanding of Inflammation in Acne Pathophysiology:

Leading to New Developments in Treatment

New technologies have shown the presence of inflammatory pathways throughout all stages of acne lesion formation.


Acne vulgaris (AV) is the most common skin disorder seen in ambulatory dermatology practices in the US. As a result, advances in pathophysiology that can lead to new therapies are always of high interest. Our understanding of the pathophysiology of AV is evolving as new technologies have shown the presence of inflammatory pathways throughout all stages of acne lesion formation. As our understanding of the pathophysiology of AV increases, researchers can focus on targeting specific points in cascades of inflammation as they develop new therapies to treat AV.

To Read the entire article, please click here to download a PDF.


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Lakes Dermatology
8861 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 290
Las Vegas, NV 89117
Phone: (702) 869-6667

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8861 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 190
Las Vegas, NV 89117
Phone: (702) 341-7546 (SKIN)

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