New York Dermatology - Board Certified Dermatologist - Dr. Gary Rothfeld - (212) 644-9494

New York Dermatology
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Glossary: Dermatology


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NYC Dermatologist Center
30 East 60th Street
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New York, NY 10022
Tel: 212-644-9494
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Glossary: Dermatology

An infection that leads to a collection of pus within the tissue.

Removal, such as by an ablative laser.

A condition that has appeared recently or is of a short duration. The opposite of chronic or long-lasting.

A substance that triggers an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to it.

Hair loss.

Alopecia, androgenic
Hair loss in men and women from hormonal changes to the hair follicles. In men, it is referred to as “male pattern baldness."

Alopecia areata
An autoimmune, often reversible disease in which hair loss occurs in sharply defined patches, usually involving the scalp or beard.

Alopecia totalis
A form of alopecia areata that leads to total hair loss from the scalp and face.

Alopecia universalis
A form of alopecia areata that leads to total hair loss on the scalp, face, and body.

The growing phase of the hair follicle. Each hair follicle goes through a growth phase (anagen) that last several years, before a resting phase (telogen) that last several months. Finally there is the declining phase (catagen).

Atopy (atopic)
A genetic predisposition to the development of hypersensitivities, including allergies, and asthma.

A decrease in the volume of tissue. Atrophic skin is thin and may appear slightly sunken.

Autoimmune disease
A disease that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues ("auto" means self). Examples include rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Basal cell
A type of skin cell found in the lowest levels of the epidermis. These generate new skin cells (keratinocytes) that grow to the surface of the skin.

Benzoyl peroxide
A medication with antibacterial effects that is commonly used for mild acne. Brand names include Clearasil, Proactiv, and Benzac.

Biopsy (skin)
The removal of tissue to diagnose a skin disorder.

(see comedo)

An enclosed collection (bubble) of fluid within or beneath the epidermis.

Blue nevus
A benign mole with a dark blue color that results from the pigment being in the deep layers of the skin. Seen most often in older children or adolescents.

Large blister that measures at least 1cm (0.4 inches) at its widest point. Larger than a vesicle.

Plural of bulla.

The declining phase of the hair follicle. During catagen, the hair follicle shrinks. Each hair follicle goes through a growth phase (anagen) that last several years, before a resting phase (telogen) that last several months. Finally there is the declining phase (catagen). 

An infection of the skin, usually by bacteria (staph and strep).

Long-lasting. The opposite of acute.

A protein in the dermis layer of skin that provide skin with its bulk and strength. A reduction in collagen, as occurs with aging, causes skin to lose its fullness.

A dilated hair follicle and sebaceous gland filled with sebum and bacteria. A comedo may be “open” in which the sebum is exposed to the air causing the sebum inside to turn dark or black. This is referred to as a “blackhead.” A comedo may be “closed” in which the sebum inside remains white. This is referred to as a “whitehead.”

Plural of comedo.

A family of medications used to control inflammation. Different from the “steroids” (anabolic steroids) used by athletes and body builders. May be taken by mouth (prednisone) or applied topically to the skin (1% hydrocortisone cream).

Topical corticosteroids may be ranked on their strength. Group 1 (I) corticosteroids are “super potent” and have the greatest risk of side effects if used for prolonged periods. Group 7 (VII) corticosteroids are “low potency” and include 1% hydrocortisone that can be purchased over the counter.

A cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen, is used to remove skin lesions.

Dermal filler
A substance injected into the dermis to give the skin a fuller look.

A general term used to describe inflamed skin. There can be many causes of dermatitis, such as an allergic reaction or atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis can be short-term (“acute”) or long-term (“chronic”). Acute dermatitis causes the skin to appear red, blistered or swollen. Chronic dermatitis causes the skin to appear thickened, rough, and darker than the surrounding skin.

The medical specialty focused on the diagnosis and treatment of people with skin conditions (including hair and nails).

Dermatologic surgery
The diagnosis, treatment and repair of clinical and cosmetic problems of skin, hair, nails, and other tissues by surgical and non-surgical methods. Procedures include laser surgery, cryosurgery, excision, Mohs surgery, dermal fillers, and hair restoration. Also called dermasurgery.

A fungi that lives on the top layer of the skin. Found on all people, including those with normal skin. May overgrow, leading to problems such as athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) or tinea versicolor.

The deep layer of skin that lies below the epidermis. Contains collagen, blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands (eccrine glands), and sebaceous glands.



A protein found in the dermis layer of skin that provides skin with its elasticity. The loss of elastin, as occurs with aging, leads to skin that loses its shape.

Electrodessication and curettage (ED&C)
The removal of skin growth with a rounded knife (curette). The wound is heated to prevent bleeding. May be used to treat certain types of skin cancer or precancerous lesions. A local anesthetic is injected before the procedure.

The top layer of skin that lies above the dermis. It is composed primarily of a type of squamous cell called a keratinocyte. Cells at the base of the epidermis (basal cells) generate keratinocytes that grow to the surface. The epidermis replaces itself every 12-14 days. There are no blood vessels in the epidermis so a cut or scrap of the epidermis does not bleed


A type of cellulitis.

Redness of the skin that is greater than the surrounding skin. May be a sign of inflammation from flushing, infection, sunburn, or other conditions.

An acute rash that results from an infection, particularly viruses.

The removal of a skin growth with a scalpel. The wound is usually closed with stitches. If done for purposes of a biopsy, the tissue may be sent to a laboratory for further examination under a microscope.

The removal of the top layer of skin. This may occur naturally as the result of a skin disease, such as sunburn. Or it may result from an elective procedure such as dermabrasion or microdermabrasion.

Fitzpatrick type
A scale used to measure the darkness of skin. Fitzpatrick type I describes someone who is pale, with very little skin pigment, who easily sunburns. Fitzpatrick type IV describes someone who is dark with a lot of skin pigment who easily tans when exposed to sunlight.

The inflammation of one or more hair follicles, usually due to a bacterial infection.

Also known as boils, acute collections of pus, or abscesses arising from several hair follicles and surrounding tissue.

Hair bulb
A bulbous collection of actively growing cells at the base of a hair follicle that constantly produces a strand of hair.

Hair follicle
The part of the dermis from which hair grows. Sebaceous glands are often connected to hair follicles.

Halo nevus
A mole with a white ring, or halo, around it. Relatively common and usually seen in children. For reasons still unknown, the immune system starts to recognize the mole as abnormal and leads to changes in the pigment of the surrounding skin. Rarely malignant (cancerous), although it should be examined carefully.

Hives (see urticaria)

A low-potency topical corticosteroid used to treat skin inflammation. Available in 1% formulations without a prescription.

An area that is darker than the surrounding skin.

An area that is lighter than the surrounding skin

Immune system
A complex network of specialized cells and organs that work together to defend the body against "foreign" invaders such as bacteria and viruses. In some conditions, the immune system may not function properly and may even work against the body. This leads to “autoimmune” diseases, such as arthritis and lupus.

A flat spot that appears different from the surrounding skin. Measures no more than 1cm (0.4 inches) at its greatest diameter. Smaller than a patch.

Malassezia furfur
The fungi that causes tinea versicolor. Another name for Pityrosporum folliculitis.

The pigment in skin, created by melanosomes, that gives skin its color. Increases when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays).

The cells in the dermis that create melanin.

Mohs surgery
A specialized surgery that removes a tumor (or other lesion) in stages. Each portion of removed tissue is examined under a microscope to make sure that cancerous cells have been removed while sparing as much normal skin as possible.

Plural form of nevus.

A mole.

A round, raised lesion on the skin that measures at least 1cm (0.4 inches) at its greatest diameter. Larger than a papule. If filled with fluid, referred to as a bulla. If flat, referred to as a plaque.

A fungal infection of the toenails (usually large toe) or (less commonly) the fingernails.

A raised lesion on the skin that measures no more than 1cm (0.4 inches) at its greatest diameter. Smaller than a nodule or plaque. Referred to as vesicle if filled with fluid.

A flat spot that appears different from the surrounding skin. Measures more than 1cm (0.4 inches) at its greatest diameter. Larger than a macule.

Pathology (dermatopathology)
The examination of tissue under a microscope or with other tests to determine the underlying cause of a condition, define the borders of a lesion, or measure the response to treatment.

The aging of skin that is accelerated from exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) rays from sunlight or tanning booths

A rash that appears when sunlight strikes skin that has been sensitized by contact with certain plant materials. For instance, lime juice can sensitize the skin so that exposure to sun leads to a rash where the juice made contact.

Pityrosporum folliculitis
The fungi that causes tinea versicolor. Another name for Malassezia furfur.

A flat, raised lesion on the skin that measures at least 1cm (0.4 inches) at its greatest diameter. Referred to as a nodule if rounded or dome-shaped.

Itching. The sensation that creates the desire to scratch or rub.

An elevated lesion, similar to a vesicle, that contains the remnants of the body’s dead white blood cells (“pus”).

A category of medications used for a variety of skin conditions. Retinoids applied to the skin include Differin, Renova, Retin A Micro, Tazorac, and tretinoin.

A fungal infection of the skin caused by a dermatophyte. Similar fungi may cause athlete’s foot or jock itch. Ringworm is not caused by a worm.

Sebaceous gland
The glands in the dermis that produce sebum, an oily secretion the lubricates the skin. Found most densely on the face, forehead, nose, and upper back (locations where acne most frequently develops).

Excessively oily skin due to the overproduction of sebum. Increases the risk of acne or seborrheic dermatitis.

The oil produced by sebaceous glands in the skin. Protects and moisturizes the skin.

(see zoster)

Skin Tag
A skin tag is a small harmless, painless, skin-colored growth. It is commonly found on the neck and arm.

Squamous cell
A type of flat cell forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body (such as the bladder, kidney, and uterus), and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Keratinocytes that form the epidermis are a type of squamous cell.


Short for staphylococcus, a type of bacteria.  A common cause of skin infections, including impetigo and boils.

Steroids (see corticosteroids)

Stratum corneum
The outermost layer of the epidermis that provides a protective barrier for the skin below.

Short for streptococcus, a type of bacteria. A common cause of skin infections, including folliculitis and cellulitis.

Dilated, thread-like blood vessels that appear in the skin as red or dark purple lines. Commonly occur with rosacea, aging, and other skin disorders.

The resting phase of the hair follicle. Each hair follicle goes through a growth phase (anagen) that last several years, before a resting phase (telogen) that last several months. Finally there is the declining phase (catagen).

Telogen effluvium
Sudden, diffuse hair loss that occurs when hair is “pushed” prematurely to the resting state of telogen. Possible causes include high fevers, childbirth, severe infections, severe chronic illness, psychological stress, major surgery or illnesses, starvation, and certain medications.

Tinea capitis
A fungal infection on the head.

Tinea cruris
A fungal infection in the genital area. Also known as jock itch.

Tinea pedis
A fungal infection of the feet. Also known as athlete’s foot.

Tinea versicolor
A common, unsightly, harmless fungal infection that causes discolored patches on the skin of the back, chest, neck, and upper arms. Caused by pitysporum, also known as Malassezia furfur.

Something that is applied to the skin, such as an ointment or cream. A medication to be rubbed over a rash may be referred to as a topical medication.

An allergic reaction of the skin. Commonly called hives.

UV Radiation
Sunlight is composed of visible light (all the colors we see in daylight), infrared radiation (which provides warmth), and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is carcinogenic (cancer-causing).

The virus that causes chickenpox. It also may be reactivated years later and cause shingles (see also zoster.)

A small blister that measures no more than 1cm (0.4 inches) at its greatest diameter. Smaller than a bulla. If the lesion has pus but no fluid inside, it is referred to as a papule.

Whitehead (see comedo)

Dry skin.


A painful rash due to reactivation of the chickenpox virus, usually years after the initial infection. Commonly called shingles.

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 Dear Friends
Our goal at NYC Dermatology is to be the Tiffanys of Skin
Care. I personally see every new patient who visits our office. I am not just a physician, I am a Board Certified Dermatologist. My goal is, quite simply, to provide the type of dermatologic care which I  would seek for my own family. This is a very important point, since physicans often use the phrase "Doctor's Doctor" to refer to those individuals who typically are selected by physicians themselves for personal care. I am confident that my practice fully meets that definition. This is the type of 5-star care and service that our patients expect, deserve and receive. I treat every patient the way I would want to be treated: with courtesy, dignity and respect. I carefully listen to their skin-care concerns and offer a variety of options including a treatment plan that I believe will give them the best results and the best dermatologist. We also support our patients with a very fine medical staff . Please take a moment to explore our top of the line winning website. My philosophy is simple…Experience Counts and Quality Matters. Please allow me to solve your skin problems.  After all, at NYC Dermatology , our philosophy is if you look great you will feel great with gorgeous skin.”
Best Regards,
Dr. Rothfeld

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NYC Dermatology is a full service cosmetic dermatology practice under the direction of Dr. Rothfeld. We offer the latest, most innovative treatments for skin. All of our treatments are customized to your specific needs.

Our mission is to provide high quality skin care services with minimal downtime to our patients, and to educate our patients on properly maintaining skin health. We strive to provide education first on the skin care procedures and products we offer, allowing our patients to make informed decisions about their skin care.

Dr. Gary Rothfeld is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon who specializes in aesthetic procedures. Dr. Rothfeld cares for all types of skin conditions with a special emphasis in the areas of cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery.  Dr. Rothfeld was raised in New York , and as a young man was drawn to the performing arts and creative writing. A strict academic upbringing led him into science and medicine instead. After many years of rigorous training followed by preceptorships and mentorships that added to his skill and experience, Dr. Rothfeld has found art again. Dr. Rothfeld stands on a foundation of science but is now able to express himself creatively in the world of aesthetic medicine.

Every patient is a unique palette of conditions, goals and temperament that require delicate consideration, and sometimes inventive solutions. Dr. Gary Rothfeld is able to provide the entire gamut of dermatologic services, including medical dermatology, injectables, laser treatments and surgery. This gives him a range of possibilities when evaluating a patient. Combination treatments are often tailored to provide the patient with results ranging from subtle to dramatic.

Dr. Rothfeld strives to listen and understand the patient's specific goals and concerns, and provide them with satisfying results. NYC Dermatology endeavors to make the patient's visit as comfortable and pleasant as possible, making their best effort to take the pain out of beauty. Dr. Gary Rothfeld and his staff approach their work with absolute joy and infectious enthusiasm, which is felt throughout his practice.

Trained in Dermatology, NYC Dermatology by Board Certified Dermatologist NY Dermatology Dr. Gary Rothfeld possesses the special knowledge, skills and professional capability that distinguishes him as an outstanding  Dermatologist in NYC , Manhattan , New York at NYC Dermatology by Board Certified Dermatologist. Top New York City Dermatologist, Dr. Rothfeld  in Manhattan treats the most difficult cases until the problem clears.  Dr. Rothfeld, a Board Certified Dermatologist at NYC Dermatology in Manhattan, New York is caring, detailed, and meticulous and will never give up until the problem is cleared.  Dr. Rothfeld, a board certified dermatologist in nyc who practices Dermatology in Manhattan, New York has treated many patients in the entertainment and music industry is caring, detailed and meticulous and will not give up until the condition resolves.  Dr. Rothfeld is recognized as one of the best Dermatologists in NYC by the entertainment industry.

NYC Dermatology is under the medical supervision of Dr. Gary Rothfeld, a Board Certified Dermatologist.
To enhance every aspect of your skin care, Dr. Rothfeld has personally created a superb line of cosmetic procedures..

NYC Dermatology by Board Certified  Dermatologist Dr. Gary Rothfeld  is a board certified NYC  Dermatologist with a  New York City office in Manhattan, New York  providing expert skin care, dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology services.

A board certified dermatologist in NYC specializing in dermatology and dermatologic surgery including state-of-the-art cosmetic surgical procedures, Dr. Gary Rothfeld  is known for his attention to body symmetry and his dedication to meeting patients’ personal goals. His specialties include full body liposuction using the tumescent technique, facial fat transplantation, Botulinum injection into facial lines and laser resurfacing. NYC dermatology  specializes in chemical peels, vein injections, laser, restylane, Perlane, Botox injections, JUvederm, non-surgical facelifts, collagen implantation and treatment of skin cancer.
As an expert in the field of dermatology and cosmetic dermatologic surgery, Dr. Rothfeld is has appeared on national television shows. Dr. Rothfeld has also been quoted in many high profile national magazines.
Our goal at the manhattan office of Board Certified  Derrmatologist , Dr. Gary Rothfeld is to create an atmosphere of professionalism, trust and complete patient satisfaction at the NYC Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Center in Manhattan, New York.  Dr. Rothfeld, Dermatology Director of NYC Dermatolgy is a Board Certified  Dermatologist at NYC Dermatology who has treated many patients in the  entertainment industry.
   Schedule an appointment at our office which provides top of the line  expert skin care, dermatology, cosmetic dermatology services, and advanced dermatology laser treatments for cosmetic needs and medical skin conditions. We offer a full range of services including surgery for skin cancer, laser hair removal, Botox®, the Fractionated Resurfacing laser, Titan laser, and acne photodynamic treatments. Our main goal is to provide you with the most effective and advanced treatment. Join the NYC Laser Center NYC Dermatology Mailing List Our periodic newsletters include exclusive offers, educational articles, as well as free treatment & product drawings! Email: in our Media  office and   including different offers and many more. We offer a variety of services from Botox® to Liposuction . Please contact us with any questions you may have or schedule an appointment online or by phone for a consultation.   Beauty Is Forever!  and Dr. Rothfeld  at NYC Dermatologist has over 20 years of experience with his beauty tips. 

During your office consultation  and examination you will be provided with a detailed plan of the treatments that will benefit you most.  NYC Laser Center NYC Dermatology top laser dermatology center offering skin care, dermatolgy,cosmetic dermatology services, and laser treatments for sun damaged skin, acne, acne scars, rosacea, pigmentation, laser hair removal, broken blood vessels, as well as superficial and deep wrinkles. We offer patients in Manhattan,  services including general dermatology, wrinkle fillers such as Restylane®, Captique,  Perlane,Cosmoderm and Cosmoplast, Radiance® (radiesse) and Sculptra. We also offer Botox®, Cosmelan, Velasmooth, Fotofacial, Titan laser, Refirme, and the Fractionated Resurfacing laser. in the treatment of acne, rosacea, skin cancer and  surgery.  Dr. Rothfeld has taught numerous other physicians on the proper use of Botox®, medical hair transplants, and lasers in  the country.   Acne Photodynamic Treatment - Botox® - Botox® for Hyperhidrosis - Cellulite - Cool Laser  - Cosmelan Depigmentation Treatment - Glycolic Acid Peel - Fat Transfer - Fotofacial / IPL Fractionated Resurfacing Laser - Hair Loss - Laser Hair Removal - Liposuction -  - Surgery - Minimal Scar Technique -  Photodynamic Rejuvenation Radiance® - Restylane® - Sclerotherapy - Sculptra - Smoothbeam - Stretch Marks - SunFX - TCA Peel - Tattoo Removal - Titan Laser Facelift - V-beam Laser Treatments - Velasmooth Our cosmetic surgeon includes Dermatologist  Dr. Gary Rothfeld Board Certified Dermatologist  at NYC Dermatology.  Our NYC dermatologist offers advanced dermatology laser treatments for cosmetic needs and medical skin conditions. We offer our services to Manhattan , Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens locations through our Manhattan office in NYC


Sun Protection


Ultraviolet radiation is the major cause of skin cancer, including melanoma. It is important for everyone to be aware of its damaging effects and take measures to avoid overexposure.

Although many people enjoy the appearance of tanned skin and think it looks "healthy," tanned skin is damaged skin. The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight penetrates the deepest layers of the skin where it harms the cells. The body responds by making more pigment (melanin) to try to protect itself, but the damage has already happened and may be permanent. The more exposure you have to the sun, the more likely you are to develop skin problems later in life.

Ultraviolet Radiation

The damaging part of sunlight is called ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays. It is categorized into three types:

  • UVC rays (wavelengths = 200 nm to 290 nm) are the shortest and most powerful of the UV rays. UVC is the most likely to cause cancer if it reaches skin. Fortunately, most of it is absorbed by the ozone layer in our atmosphere. However, there is concern that a thinning of the ozone layer may be causing more UVC to reach the earth's surface.
  • UVB rays (wavelengths = 290 nm to 320 nm) are less damaging than UVC, but more of it penetrates to the earth's surface. It is the most common cause of sunburn and skin cancer. UVB is particularly strong at the equator, at high elevations, and during the summer.
  • UVA rays (wavelengths = 320 nm to 400 nm) are the least powerful of the UV rays, but they are present all year and can penetrate windows and clouds.

Sun Protection

The first and more effective way to avoid sun damage is to stay out of tthe sun as much as possible.

If you cannot avoid being exposed to sunlight, there are five basic defenses that you should keep in mind when you go outdoors:

  • Avoid peak hours of sunlight
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Shade

Avoid Peak Hours of Sunlight (UV Index)

In general, UV rays are the greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It is best to avoid the outdoors during these hours without protection, particularly during summer, in tropical regions, or at altitude. During this time, you should pay close attention to the appropriate use of sunscreen, clothing, sunglasses, and shade.

You can obtain an accurate measure of the amount of UV rays in your area by looking up the Ultraviolet (UV) Index. The UV Index is like a weather forecast. It provides a report on the amount of damaging UV rays that are expected to affect a region on a particular day. The UV Index changes day to day according to time of year, cloud cover, atmospheric ozone, and other factors.

The following table is a breakdown of the UV Index. A high UV Index number means that you are at greater risk of being exposed to ultraviolet radiation. You should take special care to avoid outdoor exposure to sunlight when the UV Index is moderate or greater.

  • 0 to 2 = Minimal
  • 3 to 4 = Low
  • 5 to 6 = Moderate
  • 7 to 9 = High
  • 10 or more = Very high

The UV Index can be found on our Website or in local papers, usually in the weather section.


There are several factors to consider when selecting the right sunscreen. (See the Sunscreens handout for more information.)

Sun protection actor (SPF) - Sunscreens are rated by the amount of protection they provide from UVB, measured as the "sun protection factor" or SPF. Sunscreens with higher SPF provide greater protection from the sun. It is best to use sunscreens that offer a minimum SPF of 15.

Broad-spectrum sunscreens - It is best to use a sunscreen that can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. These are called "broad-spectrum" sunscreens.
Most of the original sunscreens blocked only UVB, but increased awareness of the damage caused by UVA has lead to the development of ingredients that protect against UVA too. Broad-spectrum sunscreens combine ingredients to provide a product with greater protection.

Common sunscreen ingredients that  provide protection from UVB rays:

  • Cinnamates
  • Octocrylene
  • PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)
  • Padimate O and Padimate A (Octyl Dimethyl PABA)
  • Salicylates

Common sunscreen ingredients that  provide protection from UVA rays:

  • Avobenzone (Parsol 1789)
  • Benzophenones (oxybenzone, dioxybenzone, sulisobenzone)

Sunblocks - "Physical" sunscreen ingredients lie on top of the skin and work by reflecting or scattering UV radiation. They are particularly useful for people who are sensitive to the ingredients found in other sunscreens. Sunblocks often contain one or more of these ingredients:

  • Zinc oxide
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Iron oxide

Although past formulations were unsightly (often leaving a white film on the skin), newer "microfine" formulations are invisible after being applied. Microfine titanium dioxide is effective at protecting from both UVA and UVB rays.

Water resistance - Sunscreens are classified as "water-resistant" if they maintain their protection after two 20-minute immersions in water. They are classified as "waterproof" if they maintain their protection after four 20-minute immersions. You should seek a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen if you will be participating in water sports, such as swimming or water skiing, or will be actively sweating.

However, independent testing has shown many products do not perform well in the real world. So it remains a good idea to apply sunscreen every time you leave the water, or frequently if you are actively sweating.

Using a Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be applied evenly and liberally on all sun-exposed skin within 30 minutes before going outside to give sunscreen time to take effect. (Sunblocks are effective immediately after being applied.) Sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours or following swimming or sweating. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply frequently at least every two hours.

The chemicals may lose effectiveness over time, so it is important to throw away sunscreen that is past its expiration date or is over two years old.

No sunscreen is 100% effective; take additional measures to avoid the damaging effects of the sun's rays.


Clothing can provide excellent protection from the sun. However, not all clothing is protective. A thin, wet, white t-shirt will provide almost no protection from UV rays. When selecting clothes for sun protection, consider the following:

  • Cover your head, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet.
  • Use a hat that is broad-brimmed (brim should be at least four inches wide).
  • Wear fabrics that are thicker or with a tight weave; these allow less sunlight to penetrate the skin.
  • Wear darker-colored clothes that absorb more UV rays.
  • Wear clothing made from nylon or Dacron because it is more protective than cotton.
  • Avoid remaining in wet clothes because wet fabric may allow more UV rays to penetrate the skin.
  • Wash clothing with chemical absorbers to increase their protectiveness.
  • Some clothing comes with a UPF rating that stands for "Ultraviolet Protection Factor." This measures the ability of the fabric to block UV radiation from penetrating to the skin. A fabric with a UPF 15 allows only 1/15th (6.66%) of the UV radiation to penetrate your skin as compared to uncovered skin.

Garments fall into 3 categories:

  • Good protection: UPF = 15 to 24
  • Very good protection: UPF = 25 to 39
  • Excellent protection: UPF = 40 to 50+

Choose clothing with a UPF rating of at least 15. Keep in mind that the UPF of a garment will decrease over time as the fabric wears.


Overexposure to sunlight can cause cataracts and macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness. Sunglasses can provide protection. However, not all sunglasses are of value. A darker lens itself does not guarantee protection. Look at the label to ensure that the glasses provide UV protection. Sunglasses should be large enough to shield your eyes from many angles. Look for sunglasses that are described as blocking 99% or 100% of UVA and UVB. The glasses may also be described as providing UV absorption up to 400 nm.


If possible, remain in the shade when outdoors. Keep in mind that shade does not provide full protection from the sun because UV rays can bounce off reflective surfaces, such as sand, snow, water, concrete, or even porch decks. In addition, some fabrics used as shade devices, such as parasols or umbrellas, may not provide sufficient protection. If you seek shade under a cloth, look for a fabric that is thick, tightly woven, and dark-colored.

Clear window glass provides protection from UVC and UVB, but not UVA rays. If you are frequently exposed to sunlight while driving, the plastic interleaf of your windshield (which prevents it from shattering) can help block the light, but side windows have no such protection. Non-drivers can make use of additional window shade devices. Drivers in some states may be able to use darkly-tinted glass in the side windows, but this is illegal in some states.


  • Avoid the sun when its UV rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater. Apply it 30 minutes prior to being exposed to the sun and reapply every two hours. Consider using a water-resistant sunscreen if you will be active (sweating) or in the water.
  • Use a sunblock on your lips.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat when outdoors.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Wear tightly woven, dark clothing to cover your arms, legs, and feet.
  • Stay in the shade when possible.
  • Avoid reflective surfaces, such as water or snow.
  • Avoid sunbathing.
  • Don't be fooled by cloudy days since damaging rays can penetrate clouds.

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NYC Dermatology - Manhattan Dermatology - Skin Institute of New York - Skin Cancer Doctor- NYC Cosmetic Dermatology-  Cosmetic Dermatological Surgery - New York City - Board Certified Dermatologist

Manhattan Office 

 Dr. Gary Rothfeld
NYC Dermatology - Board Certified Dermatologist - New York, NY
30 E. 60th St. Ste. 805
Manhattan, New York 10022

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