What SPF are you really getting in your sunscreen?

Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Axelv.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Axelv.

So what SPF (sun protection factor) should you really be using when you look for sunscreen?  The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends SPF 30 or higher.

But in a recent article by Yang, et al in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), researchers found that the actual SPF that is getting onto the skin is less.  Why is this? While we recommend to our patients to use 2 mg/cm^2 of skin (e.g. a shot glass full to cover the entire body), practically it gets applied unevenly and people use much less and don’t reapply the sunscreen as frequently as they should.  So, instead, these authors suggest that applying a sunscreen with higher SPF like 70+ is a good idea to account for potential under-application of sunscreen.  Interestingly, the cost of high SPF sunscreen is often about the same price as the lower SPF sunscreens, so hey, why not?

‘Tis the Dermatology Interview Season, cont.

The Dermatology Interview Season is firmly underway! 

This can be a very exciting but also stressful time.

Here are some of my personal quicktips for the interview season based on past experience (disclaimer, my past experience was years ago…):

Pre-interview dinners. Helpful to go.  You’ll learn a lot about the program and the personality of residents.  Some programs may ask for feedback from residents or faculty who are present.  Be yourself.  Be nice.  Try to be on time (although winter travel can always be tough to predict!) Look up the restaurant and dress appropriately.

Tips for the interview. It may be helpful to take a look at the frequently asked questions list.  Get a curveball?  Don’t worry — probably meant to see how you think through things or respond.  You’re not expected to know everything or be perfect.  And it’s okay to say, “I don’t know” — that’s true for any situation.

Thank you letters. Rank list is probably already made by the time your letter arrives, but send emails or letters as you see fit; try to put something somewhat personal in there.

Herpes from wrestling?

Courtesy of Wikipedia user David MonniauxYes, it is possible. And we dermatologists have a fancy term for it: “herpes gladiatorum.”  It is also referred to as “wrestler’s herpes,” “mat pox,” or “scrumpox.”  In previous posts, we learned that the herpes virus (HSV) is transmissible through various means of contact with other infected individuals and can occur in various places (lips, hands, eyes, genital area, etc…).  Well, wrestlers are frequently in close physical contact with each other and with the mat during matches or practice.  As such, the herpes virus can spread.  Usually, the herpes rash breaks out over the face, neck or arms.  The rash can be tingling, painful, and can show the same little blisters which pop and crust over as in other herpes infections.

If you suspect that you have a herpes infection (or your opponent has herpes), get it checked out before your wrestling match (or any other close contact sport for that matter).  Prevention is key!