5 Questions You Have about Psoriasis Answered
Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions treated by dermatologists and it affects a significant proportion of the US population. Whether you've known it or not, chances are you've already encountered several people who have psoriasis in your life.
5 Things You Should Know About Atopic Dermatitis
From who's susceptible to what to avoid, here are 5 things everyone should know about eczema, specifically atopic dermatitis.
Your Dermatologist Prescribes Topical Steroids - What Are They?
Dermatologists have many strategies and tools available to treat skin conditions. One treatment that is very common in dermatology clinics is prescribing topical steroids. Steroids are used to treat common skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.
Preparing for Your Dermatologist Visit: Hair Loss Basics
Early diagnosis of hair loss is crucial because certain types of hair loss in the category of cicatricial alopecia can result in irreversible damage. To make full use of each dermatology visit, patients can help by being equipped with a basic knowledge on hair loss and an understanding of the goals of your dermatologist during the visit.
Melanoma or Mole? Learn to Recognize the Difference
Since both moles and melanoma come from melanocytes, how can you tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma?
You Need a Skin Biopsy - What Does That Mean?
Many dermatology patients will undergo a skin biopsy at some point during their lives, especially if they have a new lesion that could potentially be a skin cancer. During a biopsy, a sample of body tissue is taken so that a type of doctor, known as a pathologist, can examine the individual cells in the tissue under a microscope in order to make a more definitive diagnosis.
Diagnostic Accuracy: What Patients Need to Know
Nearly every person will experience a diagnostic error in their lifetime, according to a 2015 report by the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as Institute of Medicine). That's a scary fact to wrap your head around. We hold our doctors and healthcare professionals to a high standard, expecting them to understand our symptoms and diagnose us correctly every time. But doctors are humans after all.
Consumer Complaints of Cosmetics: More Reporting is Needed
The FDA has limited oversight when it comes to cosmetics. So what can be done to protect consumers from products that cause adverse affects? Kwa and Xu highlight efforts to regulate a $60 billion industry and explain how you can help.
Acne Scarring: Established and New Treatment Strategies
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions worldwide and there is a wide spectrum of acne scarring from which patients can suffer. We write about the many treatment options patients can take to remedy their scars.
Ellie Goulding Doesn't Shower After the Gym. Understanding Bromhidrosis.
Ellie Goulding created waves when she said doesn't shower after working out. With summer just around the corner, it's a good time to talk about body odor (BO), or in "medicalese," bromhidrosis.
Adult Atopic Dermatitis Sufferers Have New Hope - The FDA Approves Dupilumab
Finally, there is a new hope for adult patients suffering from moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (AD), or eczema. Both dermatologists and AD patients can celebrate. Dupilumab has been approved by the FDA to treat adult AD although its long-term safety and effectiveness have not been established yet. More data is needed on how long benefits last and whether there are safety concerns that have not yet become apparent based on the clinical trials.
Sunburns: What a Dermatologist Wants You to Know
With summer just around the corner, it's important for everyone to know a little bit more about sunburns. What are they? What can you do to avoid them? And what can you do once you have a sunburn?
Avoiding Common Allergens in Consumer and Personal Care Products
Atopic dermatitis (AD), or eczema, is a skin problem that is characterized by itchy, red, and inflamed skin. Up to 20% of kids will have AD. What if we could prevent the development of allergic contact dermatitis in children? There are some experts who believe we can. They are advocating for a strategy called Pre-emptive Avoidance Strategy.
Picking the Right Sunscreen - Some Rules to Live By
Sunscreens are an important part of skin care. These products reduce the risk of skin cancers, protect from photoaging caused by the sun, and prevent sunburns.
Moisturizers and Eczema: More Than a Treatment?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis (AD), is a common inflammatory skin disease with the hallmark of itchy, red, and "angry" skin. It's the most common skin disease we see in babies and newborns. Moisturizers have long played an important role in the treatment of AD. But what if moisturizers did more? What if moisturizers could actually prevent AD before it even started in high-risk newborns?
VisualDx Editorial Board – Commendations
VisualDx Editorial Board members are dedicated to enhancing patient care through professional service, leadership, and commitment to advancing standards in clinical practice, medical education, and research. Most recently, the following board members were recognized by the International League of Dermatological Societies and by William D. James, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Vaseline under your eyes: Could it be so simple?
Turning 30 has made me look at beauty a little differently, especially living in Los Angeles. I hear the stories of women 25 year old getting “preventative” Botox and I think to myself how silly is that. But then I reflect about it and it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Why not try to capture this youthfulness for as long as possible.
Two College Campuses Grappling with Meningitis Cases
Princeton University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, are grappling with meningitis cases among their students, with two separate strains of the bacterial disease suspected to be the cause. Santa Barbara health officials identified 4 students who were recently diagnosed with the bacterial infection that causes meningitis. One of the Santa Barbara students had both feet amputated because of the infection, caused by the meningococcal bacteria.
Giving Back and Sharing Knowledge: Medical Students Volunteer at High School in East LA
As a med student, shortly after starting your studies, friends, family members, and even patients begin to ask you health questions. I think one of the most exciting things about med school is applying classroom knowledge by teaching it to patients and people who are not in the medical field. Insights from Lisa Altieri
I’m never in the sun. Do I still need to wear sunscreen?
As daylight hours get shorter, outdoor activities are winding down and you spend less time in the sun. You may work long hours indoors with hardly any time to step outside for a few minutes of sunshine. So is wearing sunscreen necessary? A recent study argues it might be … at least if you want to slow skin aging. Seasonal Insights from Dr. Belinda Tan
The Four Creepiest Crawliest Critters That Might Be Nibbling On You
It's Halloween and sometimes the scariest things of all are the smallest little monsters in our homes and on our bodies! In the spirt of the season, we asked some of our experts to share images and videos they've collected of the spooky little buggers in action. ------------------- And the top four creepiest critters include:
Researchers May Have Found a Way to Reduce Baldness in Men and Women
With an estimated 65% of men and 85% of women suffering from some noticeable hair loss by age 60, researchers have long sought a way to help them. Now British and American scientists say they may have found a solution that would actually replace lost hair – rather than just relocating it with transplants or slowing its loss with medication.
The Miracle Canker Sore Remedy That Most Physicians Have Never Heard Of
Got canker sores? Isn’t it incredibly lame when you get one? Or worse, two? Can’t enjoy food…can’t enjoy a romantic kiss…generally ruin your life for a week? Did you ever wonder what causes them? And why have you never heard about a treatment for them that really works?
Vibrio Vulnificus Causing Infections in Florida
In Florida this year, nine people have died and another 27 reported infections from Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, which lives in salty water. Such infections are rare, but cases have steadily risen in Florida since 2008, when 15 cases and five deaths were reported. Vibrio vulnificus are naturally occurring bacteria in saltwater, which are more commonly found in stagnant and brackish waters with lower salinity levels, such as estuaries and inlets.
Natural Pimple Remedies: Do they work?
Is toothpaste really a good way to get rid of acne (pimples)? Does garlic help acne scars go away? I went to some of my favorite social media outlets and posed the question “What is your natural remedy for a pimple on the face” and received many different responses.
Dermatology in Beijing
Insights from Michael CardisVisualDx is a clinical decision support tool developed by the company that publishes Skinsight.com VisualDx is used by physicians, students, and medical staff around the world.
Worried about the Measles Outbreak in the U.S.?
Measles cases are on the rise in 2013 with recent outbreaks in several states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 159 cases of measles from January to August, 2013. Most cases were in persons who were unvaccinated (131 [82%]) or had unknown vaccination status (15 [9%]). The biggest outbreaks were in New York, North Carolina and Texas. Measles had been virtually eliminated through vaccination in 2000. But the measles virus continues to be imported to the U.S. from other countries where vaccination rates are much lower and then spread through populations in the U.S. where vaccination rates are low.
7 Superfoods for the Skin: Eat Your Way Towards That Healthy Glow
Beauty from inside out. This concept holds true especially when we are talking skin health. Stripping down to the basics, we have the option to direct our path towards healthy, youthful skin by making smart choices in the foods we nourish our bodies with. We are living in an era where focus on wellness, anti-aging and nutrition has provided us access to a wide selection of supplements, vitamin-fortified topical products and treatments to give us that radiant, youthful skin. But which ones do we choose and what should we eat?
 Days of Summer . . . Top 5 Tips to Reverse Sun Damage
So summer is almost over… and we are left with glowing tans and bikini lines that we could show off for maybe a few weeks after that awesome beach trip.
Simply Sunburn Solutions
The summer is a great time to enjoy the sun and get some extra Vitamin D but it’s also a time when we sunburn the most. Not only can we get sunburn from a being outside on a sunny or cloudy day but we can also get burned from tanning salons. It’s the UV light from the sun and the tanning beds that gives us the tan and the burn. So what can we do about it?
Got Melanin? Part Two in Our Series on Skin of Color
In part one of the series, we looked at melanin and skin coloration, as well as several conditions common in skin of color. As we discussed, melanin is the substance that gives color to your hair, eyes, and skin.
What is melanin you ask? Well, melanin is the substance that gives color to your hair, eyes, and skin. The summer is a great time to celebrate skin health, especially since we show it off more now than in other months. Although all skin types can be troubled with the same skin health issues, some conditions occur more often and/or are more difficult to diagnose in individuals with darker skin. These conditions include: melasma, vitiligo, keloids, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
How to Improve the Pesky Bumps of Keratosis Pilaris, or “Gooseflesh”
Are you bothered by small bumps along your upper arms or thighs? These bumps are most likely a skin condition called keratosis pilaris. Just like acne, rosacea, and melasma, keratosis pilaris is a medically benign (harmless) condition, but it can still leave you feeling self-conscious of your appearance. This post will tell you a little more about keratosis pilaris, who is most susceptible, and what you can do about it.
Pimples, a constantly flushed complexion, prominent blood vessels, and a bulbous nose – if you’re familiar with any combination of these symptoms, chances are good that you may have rosacea. You wouldn’t be alone. Approximately 14 million people in the US and millions more worldwide have this persistent and trying skin condition. Often referred to as “adult acne,” rosacea is actually a chronic inflammation of the face. Its cause is unknown, and there is no permanent cure.
News Flash: Recent Study Finds Dramatic Rise in Skin Cancer Among Young Adults
A recent study published in the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings reports that between the years 1979 and 2009, the incidence of melanoma increased eightfold among young women and fourfold among young men ages 18 to 39. “There is currently a melanoma epidemic in the U.S., particularly in young women and middle-aged men. This has been documented by various large population-based studies, with our study confirming that trend in young women,” said Mayo Clinic dermatologist Dr. Jerry Brewer.
Your Red, Itchy, Bumpy Pregnant Skin: PUPPP
Of all the common skin conditions caused by pregnancy, pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, or PUPPP, is probably the one that women find the most frustrating. Similar to linea nigra and striae (stretch marks), PUPPP is benign and harmless to the mother and unborn child. However, this fact doesn't lessen the discomfort and often annoying effects on the skin caused by PUPPP.
Linea Nigra, or the Dark Line of Pregnancy
During the 9 months of pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through extraordinary changes. If this is your first pregnancy, you might be astonished by the number of small surprises that you discover during your term as a result of pregnancy’s effect on the skin. One of these may be a thin, darkish line that runs from the naval (belly button) to the pubic area. This line can also extend from the pubic area through the naval to the top of the belly. No need to worry, though! This is linea nigra, a common – and harmless – skin condition of pregnancy.
Cellulitis: What You Must Know about Warm, Red, and Swollen Skin
What Causes Cellulitis? Similar to impetigo, another common skin infection, cellulitis is often caused by Streptococcus (“strep”) or Staphylococcus (“staph”) bacteria. These bacteria usually live on the skin of healthy people but can enter the body through a break in the skin. Where impetigo is a superficial skin infection, cellulitis occurs when the bacteria get into the deeper tissue under the skin and overgrow. Unlike impetigo, cellulitis is not contagious.
5 Common Triggers for Childhood Eczema
As winter approaches, the skin irritations and rashes associated with eczema tend to start showing up with increased frequency. As a pediatric dermatologist I see this trend in my patients every year. Eczema in children first shows up in infancy and gets better as kids get older. But in the meantime, many sufferers of childhood eczema find this time of year uncomfortable. In this post I explain some of the common triggers of eczema-related rashes and offer some suggestions for parents to deal with these symptoms.
Skin Cancer Linked To Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
A new review of prior research reveals that treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors appears to increase their risk of developing skin cancer. The findings stem from an analysis of 21 previous studies conducted between 1998 and 2010, as well as eight study summaries that had been presented at research conferences during the same timeframe. All the studies had focused on the potential for cancer risk in association with the use of standard TNF inhibitors...Read the full story: Yahoo! Health Learn more about skin cancer:
Sunburn "Pain Molecule"
Researchers at King's College London have found a molecule in the body which is the cause of the pain felt from a sunburn. The discovery could lead to medications to treat pain caused by other common inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, according to the study.
Summer Skin Fitness - Part II: Topical Treatments for Skin Conditions That Worsen in the Summer
Despite our best efforts, there are some skin conditions that invariably get worse in the summer. I fully understand why many of my patients come to dread the summer as a time of frustration. Maybe you can relate? They spend fall, winter, and spring clearing their skin and then watch it worsen during the summer despite their best efforts to wear hats and sunscreen. Part of the problem is due to our busy lifestyles and the increase in sun exposure during the summer months. I tell my patients they don’t have to despair; there are actions they, and you, can take beyond sunscreen and hats that will help minimize the effects of skin conditions that worsen in the summer.
Summer Skin Fitness III: Treatments for Visible Leg Veins
The end of summer is perfect timing for the last topic in my series on Summer Skin Fitness. I started the summer with colorblind laser therapies and then described how you can manage pesky conditions that are made worse by the summer sun. Now summer is nearly over, which makes it the perfect time for treating visible leg veins. In this post I explain 3 different types of visible and bothersome leg veins, treatments that are available, and why this is a good time of year to address them.
If you aren't yet familiar with the skin care blog SKINmission yet, we are proud to present some of the great content that can be found on this blog created and driven by Amanda Iverson Tschetter, MD.
Is the scabies rash contagious?
Q: Is the scabies rash contagious? The rash itself is not contagious, but the mites that cause scabies can be transferred from person to person. Passing scabies to another person requires skin-to-skin contact. There have been authentic cases of scabies being transferred through handshakes, but it typically takes longer, closer personal contact to transfer scabies. People living in crowded conditions and shelters during times of poverty are most at risk.
Why Isn’t Mohs Surgery Popular for Malignant Melanoma?
Question: I’ve heard so much about the high cure rates for Mohs surgery in treating nonmelanoma skin cancers. Why isn’t Mohs surgery popular for malignant melanoma?
Summer Skin Fitness - Part I:
Imagine the carefree feeling of being beach-ready all year. With the information I shared last year on laser therapy and the information I’m about to share here on summer skin, that carefree feeling is definitely possible for you to achieve this year! Last November I wrote the second in a series of posts on laser therapy. The beginning of summertime and warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to wrap up the series on laser therapy and at the same time introduce a new series of posts I call Summer Skin Fitness.
Living With Psoriasis
Psoriasis can be a very upsetting diagnosis, but you should know that you are not alone. Around 7 million people (2-3%) Americans are affected by psoriasis. People with psoriasis have thickened, red, and often scaly patches on their skin. Psoriasis is very likely to run in families, but it can also be triggered by certain situations, such as emotional stress, injury to the skin, infection, as well as taking certain medications. The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it seems to be caused by errors in how the immune system functions. Recently, many celebrities have announced that they are afflicted by psoriasis. From Kim Kardashian to CariDee English (winner of America's Next Top Model in 2006), women famous for their beauty have all of the same treatment options available to them as anyone else.
Pseudofolliculitis: Razor Bumps
Pseudofolliculitis is the medical term for those pesky lesions more commonly known as “razor bumps,” “shaving bumps,” and “ingrown hairs.” It is a common, chronic condition that can be quite bothersome for those affected.
Living with Mohs: Battling Chronic Skin Cancer
My Mohs story actually began about 50 years ago when, as a youth, I developed chronic head-to-toe psoriasis. Psoriasis—characterized by thick, red, scaly patches on the skin that sometimes itch—is a life-long condition thought to be caused by a malfunction in the immune system. My psoriasis was extensive, and by adulthood, after getting married and entering the work force, I sought out more aggressive treatments to help manage the disease. At the time, treatment options were limited. Some of the therapies used back then would be considered inappropriate by today’s treatment standards. These treatments put me on a path to skin cell damage that would eventually lead me to my first Mohs surgery, which was 5 years ago.
The Itchy, Crusty, or Blistered Skin of Impetigo: Advice on This Common Skin Condition.
Impetigo (em-pah-TY-go) is a common superficial bacterial infection of the skin that usually resolves itself within a matter of weeks. Often unsightly and itchy, it can be a miserable experience. Impetigo is more commonly associated with children (children 6 years old and younger are more likely to be infected), but it can occur in all ages. What You See There are two types of impetigo: blistering and non-blistering. Non-blistering impetigo is often characterized by:
Stretch Marks and Pregnancy
When you become pregnant, body changes are guaranteed. Your physique, moods, and energy levels will alter as your baby develops. Pregnant women also may encounter changes on their skin. A dark line extending vertically down the abdomen (linea nigra) is one example. Another common example is striae, also known as stretch marks.
Warning: Skin Products Tainted with Mercury
CNN reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a warning to consumers that skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps and lotions contaminated with mercury have been found in at least 7 states. The products are made aborad and sold within the United States as skin lighteners and anti-aging creams. Products are being promoted as being able to remove age spots, freckles, wrinkles, other skin blemishes and even acne medication for teens.
CNN asks "Can you eat to beat psoriasis?"
A balanced diet is crucial for overall health. But do certain foods also have specific benefits for managing psoriasis? Many people with the disease believe so. However, research has yielded mixed results. Here’s what’s known about diet and psoriasis—and what’s not.
Morgellons: An Expert's Opinion
Morgellons is a highly controversial condition within the medical community. Many experts agree that the condition is likely related to some form of mental disease. In July we posted the article Morgellons Disease: A Disease of the Skin or the Mind?. Today, we revisit this topic by sharing with you this recent post from Dr. Dominic Carone.
Quick ways to lose weight, and inches from your waist, are touted on millions of infomercials and ads on the Internet. However, one new treatment that is now FDA approved may be a good alternative for those thinking about undergoing a surgical procedure to shed some pounds.
Copper Socks Help Clear Foot Fungus
In August 2010, 33 Chilean miners were trapped underground when their mine collapsed. The hot and humid conditions the miners were subjected to live in during their time underground caused the miners to suffer from various skin conditions. One common problem the miners faced was foot fungus. After their rescue doctors attempted treating the foot fungus with antifungal creams to no avail.
How to Minimize Your Risk of Laser Therapy Complications
The right laser has the ability to treat dark spots, remove hair, smooth your complexion and even erase visible facial blood vessels. Lasers are usually non-invasive so there is minimal wound care and no down time. With all the beneficial features laser therapy offers, it’s not surprising that there continues to be an exploding consumer demand for the technology. Yet many people don’t realize that whenever you have any type of laser therapy, there is always a risk of developing complications such as burns, scars, discoloration, or an infection.
Finding a Well-Trained Mohs Surgeon (Learning Series pt. IV)
As Mohs surgery becomes an ever more widely accepted and available treatment option for nonmelanoma skin cancer, it is very important to know how to choose the right surgeon. Technically, any surgeon who can cut the skin and process the tissue using the Mohs method is performing Mohs surgery – there is no specialized quality control requirement for surgeons who decide that they want to do Mohs. Consequently, as the interest in Mohs increases, it becomes especially important for a patient to select a qualified surgeon. What’s at stake? Nothing less than a patient’s chance for being cured and avoiding disfigurement.
My Mohs Surgery - A Personal Narrative
Before I share my experience with Mohs surgery and what I learned, I want to make a very strong point. If you have anything on your skin that stays on for more than 1-3 months, get it checked out. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. We often see the pictures of what skin cancer is supposed to look like: my lesions didn’t look anything like the examples. Personally, I’d always thought skin cancer would appear much worse, but mine didn’t even look odd. I wasn’t even expecting it to be skin cancer. So please, if you have any abnormality, get it checked out.
What Psoriasis Taught Me
Testimonial by Gina M I’m forty years old and was diagnosed with psoriasis five months ago. Despite my late diagnosis, psoriasis has always been a part of my life and has taught me valuable lessons in empathy and self-confidence.
History of Mohs and the American College of Mohs Surgery (Learning Series pt. III)
In the first two posts of this Mohs Learning Series, I described the reasons why Mohs is gaining popularity and why the need for Mohs is greater than ever. But how did the unique procedure that is Mohs surgery begin? Who was the first person to conduct Mohs surgery? What is the future for Mohs surgeons and patients? I answer all these questions and more with a simple description of the Mohs history and the development of the American College of Mohs Surgery. I hope that you will find this history as fascinating and relevant in today’s Mohs environment as I do!
Mohs Surgey: What To Expect (Learning Series pt. II)
As a Mohs surgeon and member of the American College of Mohs Surgery, I love sharing information about what I feel is a very exciting advancement in skin cancer surgery. In my first post for this Mohs Learning Series, I introduced Mohs surgery by explaining how it differed from traditional skin cancer surgery and its advantages. With Mohs, most of my patients will leave my office fully repaired, with the highest cure rate, a minimal amount of removed tissue, and the least amount of disruption to their daily life.
Introduction to Mohs Surgery (Learning Series pt. I)
Are you aware the U.S. is experiencing a skin cancer epidemic? The Skin Cancer Foundation points out that treatment for nonmelanoma skin cancer (squamous and basal cell carcinoma) increased by 77% between the years 1992 and 2006. Ninety percent of these nonmelanoma cancers are due to sun exposure, which means more people than ever before are developing nonmelanoma skin cancer on body parts that tend to be most exposed to the sun: the face, neck, hands, and feet. Scarring and skin tissue removal are huge concerns to patients who are facing cancer surgery on these areas. Fortunately, Mohs surgery – or simply “Mohs” – offers an alternative to traditional surgery.
Tanning Beds Minimum Age Raised To 18 In California
The youngest legal age for using tanning beds has gone up from 14 to 18 years in California after Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bill into law. Beforehand, those aged between 14 and 18 were allowed to use tanning salon services if they had permission from their parents - not any more. For the first time anywhere in the USA, anybody under the age of 18 years is will be banned from using ultraviolet tanning beds and devices in commercial premises in the state of California. The new law (SB 746) will go into effect on the first day of 2012...
Diet and Young, Healthy Looking Skin
This morning I was doing my usual morning scan of CNN for interesting stories and found that they published a Q&A for "What can I eat to keep my skin looking younger?" Below you will find an article written by Dr. Andrea Pennington that was originally posted on Skinsight on October 19, 2009 (link to original post and some great related topics are below). - Jeremy, VisualDx Staff Is Your Diet Aging You? I can tell what my 3-year-old daughter has been snacking on because it’s visible all over her precious face. Would you be surprised to learn that the telltale signs of what you have been eating – or avoiding – are equally noticeable just by looking at your face? It’s true. Dermatologists explain that our skin is a window into our overall health and can show clues of what’s going on under the surface.
FDA Approves New Lice Treatment
It's the Tuesday after Labor Day and today marks the first day of school for millions of students around the US. Therefore today also marks the beginning of those pesky school-time ills that plague our children. Head lice is among the worst parasites kids can encounter. Head lice are hard to kill and more persistent than wildfire. Typically forcing parents to wash everything their child owns or has possibly come in contact with.
Sunscreen Pill: Natural UV Blockers Found in Australian Coral
Scientists at King's College London believe that a pill that can protect humans from damaging ultraviolet radiation is about five years away. Tropical coral found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef contains natural UV blockers. Researchers are trying to unravel the biochemical secrets of the chemicals present in the coral by collecting samples during night dives.
The Myth of the Base Tan
Spring and summer are upon us and – with the lessons learned last summer long forgotten – you’re getting ready to head back to the beach. Instantly, you think before putting that sunscreen on that maybe if you just let your skin get a little bit tanned at the beginning of the summer, then you can avoid getting those painful pink burns and you can avoid smearing on gobs of sunscreen for the rest of the summer. Of all the stories I hear, this is the one that really troubles me the most. “Doc, I’m going to the tanning booth to get my base tan before summer starts,” or “But Doc, I burn badly once at the start of the season, but then I’m good to go until the fall.”
Choosing the Right Sunscreen
With summer well under way, whether you’re a routine sunscreen user or were driven to the drugstore by a bad sunburn, you’ve probably been overwhelmed by the enormous selection of sunscreen products on the shelves. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new guidelines and regulations last month regarding sunscreen labeling that will be implemented before the next summer, so even if you are sticking to a familiar product, there’s room for confusion, as the packaging and labels may change to fit regulations. Here is a primer to help you navigate the products and choose which is best for you.
10 Rules For Healthy Skin
Ten rules for healthy skin from the University of Connecticut Department of Dermatology. 1. Wash your face in the morning and evening with a mild, gentle, super-fatted soap to remove dirt, bacteria, make-up, etc. After age 40 you only need to cleanse once per day. 2. Lubricate your skin. Dry skin looks older. 3. WEAR complete (UVA & UVB) SUNSCREENS or sunblocks to protect your skin. Try to avoid the mid-day sun.
Treat Acne : Topical Retinoids
First, a preface on the 4 causes of acne formation: plugging of the hair follicle/oil gland unit (hyperkeratinization of pilosebaceous follicles) increase in testosterone causing increased waxy/oil production (hyperseborrhea) bacteria colonizing the follicle/gland unit (P. acnes) inflammation
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Xeomin for for temporary improvement of moderate to severe glabellar lines (frown lines). Under the brand name Bocouture, Xeomin is already approved in 14 countries including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. It was FDA-approved in 2010 for the treatment of cervical dystonia and blepharospasm.
Top Natural Sunscreens - from the Daily Green
Check out The Daily Green's top natural sunscreen recommendations at 21 Affordable Natural Sunscreens that Work (includes pricing on each brand).
Treating An Itchy Rash or Skin with Hydrocortisone
Question: Is it bad to treat itchy skin with hydrocortisone, because it merely treats the itch (if even that) and not the underlying cause?
Reasons To Visit a Mohs Surgeon
The tip of the iceberg… By the time you have made it to your Mohs surgery appointment, typically many prior steps have already happened. Perhaps you first noticed a bump or a spot that bled when you washed your face many months before. You thought it was a pimple or a blemish, but eventually, after several months, you realized this was not your average zit, and it was time to see a doctor.
Uneven Skin Tone
As summer tans fade, we may see remnants on our skin of those happy hours spent in the sun. That is because the cells (melanocytes) that produce skin tone or pigment (melanin) are stimulated by sun exposure to produce more melanin. Excess melanin can cause visibly uneven areas of darker skin, a condition called hyperpigmentation. Conversely, other areas may lose melanin, resulting in pale or white spots, a condition called hypopigmentation.
Vitamin D and Health
Physicians have long understood the role of vitamin D in bone growth (1). Recently, though, new attention has focused on the role of vitamin D in many other body processes, including the functioning of immune and neural cells. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased susceptibility to influenza and tuberculosis infections; cardiovascular, autoimmune, and neurodegenerative diseases; and multiple cancers, including colon, breast, ovary, and prostate. Given the importance of this vitamin to overall health and the role of ultraviolet sunlight in producing it, strategies to raise vitamin D levels – without harmful sun exposure – has been the subject of recent controversy.
Fame, Fortune, and Skin Disease
Famous people are immune from jail time, financial woes, and thanks to graphic designers, bad looking skin. They may look like they have flawless skin, but underneath all those Photoshop layers are some common conditions that can affect anyone. Read on to see some notable people and airbrush-free images of skin diseases they have dealt with.
Treating Dry, Itchy Skin
Can you prevent dry skin by using chemical-free skin care products? I worry about a buildup of chemicals on my skin causing acne, dry skin, or skin cancer.
Helping Doctors Get You the Right Diagnosis
Skin conditions can be a bit of a mystery even to trained professionals. The team that brings you Skinsight also makes a clinical product called VisualDx (www.visualdx.com) for physicians, nurses, and educators. We were excited to see this recent story on Fox News in Los Angeles about VisualDx. If you don't have access to flash to watch the video, you can click on the link below.
Breast cancer is a disease that affects women of all ages, incomes, and ethnicities. Men can also get breast cancer, but it is rare, accounting for less than 1% of all breast cancers. In 2008, it is estimated that 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 67,770 new cases of noninvasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the United States. In addition, an estimated 40,480 women with this disease will die. An estimated 1,990 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 450 men will die of the disease.
Psoriasis is More than Skin Deep
The National Psoriasis Foundation sponsors Psoriasis Awareness Month each year in August. This skin disorder affects 125 million people worldwide and inflicts both physical and emotional pain on its sufferers. Psoriasis not only affects the skin, but it also affects the overall health of its sufferers. Approximately 10–30% of psoriasis sufferers will experience psoriatic arthritis. Individuals with psoriasis are also at risk of becoming obese and developing cardiovascular diseases.
May: Skin Cancer Awareness
In March of this year, the Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) purchased a full-page advertisement in The New York Times and released a television ad exhorting viewers to "go get a tan" because "your body will thank you," with images of indoor tanning beds - in use - flashing across the screen. A headline from one of their advertisements reads: "Tanning Causes Melanoma HYPE," and Sarah Longwell of the ITA claims that tanning is "just what the doctor ordered.
Early Stages of Melanoma
Melanoma cancers are classified most frequently by their depth into the skin and the deeper layers of the skin. The pathologist reads the biopsy and measures the depth of the melanoma cancer cells under the microscope. There are several melanoma stages, an early melanoma is typically quite superficial. The hope is that people will recognize the early signs of melanoma, see their doctor, and have the lesion removed – and that the pathology report will reveal a melanoma that has not deeply invaded the skin. A melanoma that has not invaded into the deeper skin is called a “melanoma in situ.”
MRSA and Bedbugs
With infestations on the rise recently, bedbugs have been quite popular in the news. Bedbug bites are extremely uncomfortable and lead to itchy skin reactions similar to other insect bites, such as mosquito bites. Their notoriety comes both from increasing numbers of hotels, apartments, and retail stores with large infestations and from the difficulty of eradicating these pests.
Vaccine Exemptions Linked to Spike in Measles Cases
Measles has been on the rise in the US. This is due, in part, to concerns regarding the safety of the MMR vaccine. Although recent research has provided strong evidence against the association of autism with MMR vaccine administration, some parents still choose to request one or more vaccine exemptions on the basis of personal beliefs for their child to attend day care or school.
Top Medical Myths Most People Believe
It is difficult to determine where some medical myths originate from, but many are old wives’ tales passed on from generation to generation (Don’t touch that toad, you’ll get a wart!!). Here are some more common, often believed medical myths.
Alcohol and Skin
Spring Break is supposed to be fun. For some, consumption of alcohol has become a part of the spring break tradition. But before you go bottoms up, know how alcohol can affect your skin, and what you can do to minimize those effects. Alcohol...
A Guide to Mohs Surgery
Cancer-curing surgeryMohs micrographic surgery is a developing type of skin cancer surgery that is generating impressive cure rates. About 99% of basal cell cancers and 95% of squamous cell cancers are cured with Mohs micrographic surgery. The American College of Mohs Surgery has awarded fellowship training to a number of leading physicians for this highly specialized “precision surgery,” increasingly recognized as a powerful tool to stop cancer in its tracks – literally, at a cellular level.
Health Alert: Cocaine Levamisole Toxicity
When image contributors on opposite sides of the country submitted photographs to VisualDx of patients with dark purple lesions of the ears, cheeks, and face, we realized we were witnessing the emergence of a serious public health concern.
Topical Steroid Use and Children: Reasonable Fear or a Phobia?
I’m a pediatric dermatologist who specializes in the care of severe inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. These conditions can impair the overall health, development, and quality of life of affected children.
Medical Spa Trends for Spring
As two aestheticians who have worked in a medical spa for quite some time, we have noticed two distinct trends. First, there are certain treatments that are popular year-round, and second, there are distinct spikes in requests for certain services that correlate with specific seasons. In this post we share our observations with you.
The Effects of Lupus on Skin and Body
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a law that designated October of that year as Lupus Awareness Month. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, at least 5 million people worldwide have a form of lupus. This autoimmune disease is more prevalent in women, especially women of color. While there is no cure for lupus, we now know more about the disease than ever before. It is important to understand the different forms of lupus and how they affect one’s body and lifestyle.
Cocaine Levamisole Toxicity
Disease summary is provided courtesy of VisualDx, the visual diagnostic decision support system for health care professionals. To view more images of Cocaine Levamisole Toxicity and other visually presenting diseases and adverse drug reactions, log in to VisualDx or try it now. Diagnosis Synopsis Cocaine Levamisole Toxicity : Cocaine contaminated with levamisole has been detected in the United States since 2003, and the incidence of toxicity caused by this contamination has been increasing rapidly since 2008. Use of cocaine that has been adulterated with levamisole can lead to a constellation of symptoms including agranulocytosis, neutropenia, and a vasculitis-like purpuric tender skin eruption. The most common sites of purpura are the external ears and cheeks. The purpura is generally followed by skin necrosis, but resolves several weeks after cessation of cocaine use. Recurrent use of contaminated cocaine generally results in recurrent skin eruptions.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Diagnosis Synopsis Merkel cell carcinomas (cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinomas) are rare skin malignancies that demonstrate both neuroendocrine and epithelial differentiation. They are so named for their histological similarity to normal Merkel cells of the skin. They most frequently occur on the head and neck of the elderly but can also be seen elsewhere on the body. White individuals have 20 times the risk of blacks for developing Merkel cell carcinoma; it is, therefore, thought that UV radiation may play a role in the pathogenesis.
What will my doctor prescribe for psoriasis?
What will my doctor prescribe for psoriasis?
How long does it take for the poison ivy rash to develop?
How long does it take for the poison ivy rash to develop?
Where on the body is the most common place to get ringworm?
Where on the body is the most common place to get ringworm?
How can I tell if my rash is psoriasis?
How can I tell if my rash is psoriasis?
How can I get rid of the scaly skin and rash from psoriasis?
How can I get rid of the scaly skin and rash from psoriasis?
Trips to the Nail Salon: Things to Know Before You Go
For most people, a manicure or pedicure is a chance to pamper oneself. Unfortunately, a trip to the nail salon is not without its dangers, such as the risk of infection or damage to the nails. Here are some things you should be aware of before you treat yourself. Infections
Your Skin: Tips for Flying
When it comes to vacationing for spring break, there is one thing almost everyone overlooks: the time you spend in the air can do a number on your skin. While we have already discussed what you need to pack to protect your skin during your vacation, here are a few DOs and DON’Ts to ensure your skin looks its best before, during, and after your flight.Before your flight:
Managing Chilblains with an Active Outdoor Winter Lifestyle
Every winter my fingers and toes develop painful, red, swollen areas with a sensation that feels like a cross between a burn and a deep itch. These symptoms last several weeks until eventually the skin blisters and cracks. The cracked skin then becomes susceptible to infection and becoming extremely chapped.
Cold Weather Skin Conditions: Frostbite, Raynaud's Phenomenon, and Pernio
During the winter months, I hear a lot of concern from patients about frostbite. Frostbite is a very real danger in extremely cold weather. However, patients often confuse other dermatological conditions – such as frostnip, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and pernio – with frostbite. I hope to clear up some of the confusion by explaining these conditions here.
What Bit Me
What bit me? Bedbugs. Scabies. Fleas. Spiders. Ticks. Lice… All can cause rashes, itching, and a lot of worry. The recent surge in bedbugs in eastern cities has everyone talking about how to find and kill bed bugs. But if you have a new rash or itchy red bumps, how do you know if bed bugs are the cause? Maybe your skin problem is not even related to insects or bugs and is caused by something different altogether. Many skin disorders like eczema (atopic dermatitis) and/or infections of your pores (known as folliculitis) can have an itchy rash, and these conditions have nothing to do with biting bugs, although people often wrongly assume that these common skin conditions are “bug” related.
Healthy Lips for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day has arrived! Whether you embrace this day or cringe at the mere mention of it, we can all agree that romantic relationships play a huge role in our emotional and physical well-being. Just one encounter with an infected partner can affect our lives and health forever. No matter what your relationship status is, everyone can benefit from a little education on sexually transmitted diseases.
Day One: Botulinum Rejuvenation
If getting rid of lines around your eyes and forehead are at the top of your wish list, we have just the thing! Botulinum rejuvenation is quick and easy. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
Vitamins and Skin: What You Need to Know
A multitude of over-the-counter skin care products – from sunscreens and moisturizers to cosmetics – tout vitamins and antioxidants as ingredients. What importance do vitamins play in skin and skin health, and do these products really work?
Colorful Terms for Dry Skin
During winter, skin is subjected to an increased amount of moisture loss. As a result, I hear the term dry skin used a lot. There really are many terms in dermatology related to dry skin. In fact, the term dry skin is a layman’s phrase. I’m going to share some of the more colorful and interesting terms physicians use to describe this condition. Often, the medical term itself is a clue to the symptoms it is referring to. I selected and interpreted a few terms that I find particularly interesting and relevant to this time of year.
Skin Rejuvenation 201
In our last posting, we discussed ways for you to improve the appearance of your skin without having to visit the dermatologist. Incorporating things such as sunscreens, moisturizers, and over-the-counter retinoids can all contribute to a more youthful appearance, but these changes are subtle and require long periods of time before they become noticeable. Minimizing exposure to ultraviolet radiation, whether from the sun or a tanning lamp, is beyond a doubt the most important (and simple) change you can make.
Day Twelve: Tumescent Liposuction
On the twelfth day of cosmetic procedures, we would like to introduce you to a “body sculpting” procedure that can help make unwanted fat disappear. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
Day Eleven: Leg Vein Treatment / Sclerotherapy
The eleventh procedure we want to share with you can help make small varicose and spider veins on the legs disappear – usually after just one visit. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
Day Ten: Facial Blood Vessel Treatment
Another new cosmetic procedure we would like to share with you is facial blood vessel treatment, which gets rid of small broken blood vessels on the cheeks and around the nose. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
The Twelve Days of Cosmetic Products and Procedures
The holiday season is upon us! Twelve Days of Dermatology. This year we at Skinsight would like to bring you the Twelve Days of Cosmetic Products & Procedures. Each day we will be discussing a different procedure that you may or may not have heard of. You may even want to put these on your cosmetic wish list for Santa! Seasons Greetings from the Skinsight Team.
Day Three: Latisse® (Bimatoprost Solution)
If longer eyelashes are number one on your wish list, this treatment is sure to put a holiday twinkle in your eye. Don’t forget to talk to your dermatologist before trying this one out.
Day Five: Microdermabrasion
If softer skin with a more even tone is what you’re wishing for this holiday season, we have the procedure for you! Microdermabrasion is quick, easy, and low-cost. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
Day Six: Chemical Peels
If you want to start the year off fresh, a facial chemical peel can get rid of dead skin cells and rejuvenate your skin. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before choosing this procedure.
Day Seven: Intense Pulsed Light (“The Photofacial”)
For the seventh procedure we want to show you another way to even out your skin tone – intense pulsed light can treat a variety of skin discolorations. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
Day Eight: Cosmeceuticals
For the eighth day we introduce you to cosmeceuticals, cosmetic agents (such as eye creams) that are non-prescription but only available through a physician’s office. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before using these products.
Day Nine: Laser Resurfacing
If younger looking skin is what you’re after, laser resurfacing can help improve discoloration, wrinkles, and acne scars. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
Day Four: Laser Hair Removal
Unwanted hair can put a damper on your holiday fun. Laser hair removal is the gift that keeps on giving. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
Day Two: Fillers
Injectable fillers can “erase” deep lines around the mouth, cheeks, and chin – for a softer holiday smile. Be sure to consult your dermatologist before deciding on this procedure.
Skin Rejuvenation 101
Dr. Sherrif Ibrahim It’s a common situation: A woman somewhere between the ages of 40 and 70 comes to see me in the office during a break in her day and says, “I’m here! Make me look ten years younger!,” immediately followed by, “buuuuut I have a dinner function tonight at 7, so nobody can know I’ve had anything done.” This is a frustrating situation for procedural or cosmetic dermatologists, because what most people do not understand is that while there are many options for minimally invasive cosmetic interventions, the approach to skin rejuvenation is a process. It is a combination of changes in behaviors and the way you treat your skin that each make incremental changes that ultimately, over the course of months or even years, contribute to that youthful appearance we do so desire.
How to Manage Dry Skin During Winter
In my last post I covered winter itch, a common skin condition from September through May. However, you don’t need winter itch to have dry winter skin. Skin can feel uncomfortable even when it doesn’t itch. I am going to explain why skin dries out in winter and then give you some suggestions to help keep your skin moist during the winter months.
Your skin is a strong, yet delicate barrier that both protects us and plays a role in defining who we are. When something happens to your skin it is a natural tendency to want to fix the problem. Unfortunately, not everyone has the means to get medical help. Luckily there are a number of Dermatologists and doctors that donate their time and skills. November is all about being thankful. In tribute to the upcoming holiday, we would like to recognize several humanitarian efforts in the world of dermatology.
Laser Therapy 101, Part 2 of 3: Laser Hair Removal & Laser Genesis
Earlier this year I wrote posts that addressed the various options available for treating hyperpigmentation (chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and over-the-counter products). My last post, Laser Therapy 101: Cleaning Up Summer Fun, described laser therapy as an option for treating skin with dark spots and scars made worse by sun damage. But what about dark spots caused by hair growth and our attempts to remove unwanted hair? My next big topic for Laser Therapy 101 is using lasers to remove unwanted or excess hair as well as treat hyperpigmentation and scarring from ingrown hairs caused by shaving (pseudofolliculitis barbae).
Laser Therapy 101: Cleaning Up Summer Fun
Even though summer is over, chances are your skin still shows evidence of summer fun. Autumn is the ideal time to do some housekeeping for your skin. In the spirit of the new school year, I am going to explain various in-office laser procedures capable of cleaning up the effects of summer sun. Think of this post as Laser Therapy 101.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. It is caused by a bacterial infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by ticks and transferred to humans through saliva during a tick bite. Awareness of Lyme disease is important because it is completely curable in its early stages with common antibiotics. Chronic disease or long-term untreated disease, on the other hand, can lead to a variety of symptoms with permanent damage to multiple internal organs. In the United States, Lyme disease can be divided into three stages: early localized disease, early disseminated disease, and chronic disease.
Despite its name, the season for winter itch begins, like clockwork, in September and October. That’s when the air starts to get cooler and drier, and the skin begins to dry out.
Spiderbites: Bugs We Love to Hate
Halloween is coming up, and you know what that means: creepy crawlers abound. While most spiders we see around this time are plastic, there are roughly 30,000 species of real spiders, and many of them are venomous. How can you know when you get a spider bite, and what should you do if you get bitten? Only a few species of spiders have fangs that are strong enough to penetrate human skin. In the United States, venom from species of Loxosceles and Latrodectus produce well-known toxic effects. We will also discuss the tarantula’s unique means of attack.
What my friends ask me: Chemical Peels
Last week I received a call from a friend of mine who was hysterical because she had purchased a chemical peel from a website, applied it to her face, and had the rapid onset of burning, redness, pain, and discoloration. I asked her what she had ordered and how she put it on. It turns out that she ordered a 35% trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel and applied it directly to her cheek. Not all peels are created equally, and if you’re not sure what you are ordering, application should be left to health care professionals such as dermatologists and plastic surgeons. In general, it is a good idea to consult a doctor prior to using any chemical peel because certain aspects of your skin, your medical history, and your expectations will dictate what type of peel is best for you.
Toasted Skin Syndrome (Erythema ab igne)
There’s been a lot of buzz about “toasted skin syndrome” this week at the hospital and in the media. For those unfamiliar with the condition, toasted skin syndrome, also known as erythema ab igne, is a skin condition that occurs after repeated exposure to heat at temperatures lower than those that cause noticeable burns on the skin.
Commonly asked questions about skin cancer
Since anytime is a good time to talk about skin cancer, I thought this would be a great time to address some of the most common questions I am asked in the office regarding skin cancer. As the month progresses, I welcome more questions from our readers. In the meantime I hope you find these helpful.
Exfoliants and Emollients Part 1: Weeding Your Way Through the Marketplace
With so many skin care products in the marketplace, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by selection. This post is the first of a two-part series where I will explain the different types of products in a skin care regime. My goal is to help you understand
Exfoliants and Emollients: Weeding Your Way Through the Marketplace Part II
My last post was the first of a two-part series where I offer my insight and advice on how to select the right cleansers, exfoliants, humectants, antioxidants, and moisturizer products for your skin and budget. The first post covered cleansers, exfoliants and humectants. In this post I discuss antioxidants and moisturizers and their role in helping your skin slow down the aging process. My goal is to help you understand 1) how to use these products, 2) what to look for in the ingredient labels, and 3) which ingredients are worth your money.
A Lifetime of Psoriasis
Testimonial from Ron F I was in college the first time I got psoriasis. Since then I’ve had it for many years and have tried many different treatments. Throughout my life, psoriasis was always there as an emotionally troublesome and physically uncomfortable disease.
Fleas are bloodsucking parasitic insects that live on pets, livestock, and humans. Human fleas (Pulex irritans) are relatively uncommon, and the species most likely to bite humans is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) or the rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis).
September's Here. Back to School and Skin Health 101
It’s hard to believe how quickly the summer has come and gone. It seems no sooner than we were gearing up once again to inform and educate about the sun and skin, it is time to shift gears and begin getting ready for school. This month the Skinsight team will be focusing on “back to school” topics both for teens and young adults as well as for younger children. Additionally we’ll be taking some time to talk about how you can help your skin recover from summer. Dr. Lisa Ginn will be blogging about common skin care product ingredients and regimens such as emollients and exfoliants. We will check in with Dr. Bernhard and Dr. Goldsmith about some common skin conditions to be aware of as children return to school.
New Treatment for Advanced Melanoma Shrinks Tumors (summary of article from MSNBC.com)
An experimental drug called PLX4032 shrunk advanced melanoma tumors in 81% of patients, according to an early phase study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. For two patients, the tumors disappeared completely, while in 24 others the tumor shrank by more than 30%. In most cases the shrinkage was temporary, so the goal is for the drug to be combined with other treatments to produce a long-lasting effect. PLX4032 is designed to target tumor cells with a mutation in a gene called BRAF.
Phototherapy and Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic scaly skin condition that affects primarily the top layer of the skin, or epidermis. The cause of psoriasis, while not entirely understood, is due in part to an individual's inherited genetic background and its interactions with the immune system and skin cells. Within psoriatic skin, there is an exaggerated immune response, which leads to overproduction, or hyperproliferation, of skin cells in the epidermis. Overactivation of the immune system in psoriasis also leads to inflammation, and together these phenomena are manifested by the thick, red, scaly skin that characterizes psoriasis.
What to expect when you see a dermatologist about your acne
I love meeting a new patient who has come to the dermatologist's office for the first time for acne. Although it has been over a decade, I still remember clearly being a teenager who was extremely self-conscious about my appearance, and frustrated with acne. I tried many over-the-counter products with no sustained results. It wasn't until several years later when I saw a dermatologist and started a regimen of prescription medications that I really felt comfortable about taking control of my acne and feeling great in my skin. I enjoy treating patients with acne because I relate to their frustrations, and also feel confident that we will be able to work together to make their skin better.
Laser Hair Removal: What You Need to Know
Over the past 5 years, I’ve watched laser hair removal increase in popularity. As laser hair removal becomes more common, there are some important things about this procedure I feel you should know.
Two Types of Scars and Treatments
Any time you break your skin there is a potential to develop tissue on the healed wound that wasn’t there before. This tissue is a scar. In the care of my patients who’ve had any injury or surgery, my goal is to have the skin look as though there is no apparent scar. The best scenario would be that the patient heals so cleanly that no one else would know the skin had ever been broken.
Patient compliance refers to how well a patient follows their doctor’s prescribed treatment plan. It’s often understated but very important when it comes to obtaining satisfactory results.
How to Choose a Dermatologist
If you are looking for a dermatologist, you may be wondering the best way to go about choosing one. At times, external factors dictate who you choose, whether it is a provider within your insurance network, the dermatologist with the soonest available appointment, or the only provider within a 50-mile radius. Many of us, however, have some flexibility when it comes to choosing a dermatologist.
Wound Care and Over-the-Counter Antibiotic Creams
Many wounds, even superficial ones, can turn into unsightly scars, so it makes sense to promptly and effectively treat them. But many of my patients automatically reach for an over-the-counter topical antibiotic treatment as a preventative measure against infection. Ironically, not only do these treatments fail to prevent infection, but using them may actually increase your chance of skin irritation. In fact, bacitracin, a common ingredient in over-the-counter topical antibiotic ointments, was once voted Allergen of the Year by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.
7 Months Pregnant and Diagnosed with Lyme Disease
Story from Krista I’m not a sick person. In fact, I rarely go to the doctor. So when I came down with a 104°F fever, headache, and sore throat during a summer weekend seven years ago my biggest concern was for my baby; I was just over seven months pregnant.
How to calm a sunburn
Nearly everyone has experienced some type of sunburn, and even a mild burn can cause significant discomfort with pain, itching, burning, dry and peeling skin, and, in severe cases, blistering. The best way to treat a sunburn is to prevent one.
When to seek help for your bug bite
July is prime “biting season” for insects, whether they are mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, chiggers, or other biting insects. There are very few people who have not experienced the discomfort of incessant itching from a bug bite.
How do I get rid of poison ivy rash?
Poison ivy usually has to run its course. In the meantime, symptomatic treatments such as calamine lotion, Aveeno® oatmeal baths, Domeboro® compresses, or topical corticosteroids may help relieve itching.
Acne Awareness Month 2010
Whether you are fortunate to have clear skin or fighting in the battle against acne, Skinsight would like to enlighten you about acne and the different kinds that are out there. Believe it or not there are different types of acne affecting a wide variety of people every day, such as picker’s acne, rosacea, and acne keloidalis nuchae. For acne awareness month, we have special articles, slide shows, and discussion forums dedicated to the skin condition that affects over 85% of Americans at some point.
Mom vs Teen Acne
As a young girl I was fortunate to have very few encounters with teen acne, especially since the American Academy of Dermatologists states 85% of teenagers experience it. However, I often overheard my sister battling it out at the bathroom mirror. She had a nightly routine, always being sure to wash her face before bed, whereas I tended to go to bed makeup and all. Now, as the mom of a teenager, I have experienced hands-on the challenges of teen acne and how unbelievably frustrating it can be.
Acne and Diet
Is it true that foods such as french fries, candy, chocolate, and milk cause acne? Do fat, sugar, and dairy really have adverse effects on your skin? Although many of us grew up believing that our diet was intimately tied to our complexion, the association is not clear-cut.
Acne Myths 2010 - Part 2
Continued from part 1... Myth #3: Using a facial scrub will help clear pores and improve my acne.
Acne Myths 2010 - Part 1
Acne is an extremely common problem for both adolescents and adults. It's not surprising that there are many misconceptions and myths about acne, and I'd like to take the time to address some of them here. Myth #1: My acne is caused by my diet.
Why Your Doctor Appointment is Late
A common complaint I hear from people is their annoyance with late-running doctor appointments. I’m very sensitive to this issue. When I went to medical school, my goal was to be efficient and see my patients right on time. I didn’t understand what “on time” meant until I became a practicing physician.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Acne Treatments
If you have acne, you're certainly not alone. An estimated 85% of US adolescents and young adults have acne, making it one of the most common skin conditions in the nation.
What's the right way to apply suncreen?
Q: What’s the right way to apply sunscreen?
I've had a lot of sun damage and burns in the past. Should I see a dermatologist?
I've never had a skin cancer, but I've had a lot of sun damage and burns in the past. Should I see a dermatologist?
Q: What does a dermatologist look for in determining if a lesion is cancerous? How is it confirmed?
I've had "precancers" in the past, but never a skin cancer. What does this mean?
Types of Sunscreens
Sunscreens, which come in all shapes and sizes, are anything that stops the skin from absorbing ultraviolet (UV) rays. So clothing, hats, sunglasses, and physical and chemical agents (ie, lotions, creams, pastes, and gels) are all sunscreens.
I have skin cancer, now what?
I've been diagnosed with skin cancer by my dermatologist, but I've been told it's nothing to worry about. So why does it sound so bad when I hear about it in the news?
Malignant Melanoma - How I Saved My Life
Did you know approximately 20 out of every 100,000 light-skinned people will develop malignant melanoma? With odds like that you might not think it’s worth it to give much thought to this cancer. But malignant melanoma is real. I was one of those 20 in 100,000. My story isn’t unusual. In fact, you may find that my sun exposure sounds a lot like yours. I’m in my 30s and spend most of my days inside at work. It’s been years since I spent my summers life guarding at the pool. Plus, as an adult I always wore sunscreen whenever I knew I was going to be outside for any length of time. So what happened? Why did I get malignant melanoma? And more important, how did I manage to detect it early when it really wasn’t a prominent concern on my health radar?
The Personal Side of Melanoma
Personal account by Kierna Terrisse The first time I noticed the mole on my fiancé Eric’s upper arm, we were living in New York City. It was only a mole, so we ignored it. Three years later we were celebrating our honeymoon when I noticed the mole appeared more distinct. It looked strange, but still, neither of us gave it much attention. At the time I didn’t realize something so simple and harmless looking could kill you. If I knew then what I know now, things might have turned out much differently.
Awareness About Actinic Keratoses
Actinic keratoses (AKs), also known as solar keratoses, are small rough or scaly areas of skin due to damage from sun exposure. Some AKs can turn into squamous cell skin cancer, so it is important to perform self-examinations often and catch them early. Spots usually appear in those who are older (over 50), but they can start appearing in younger adults who have had a lot of sun exposure. Darker-skinned individuals are rarely affected. To learn more about AKs, click here.
Awareness About Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. Darker-skinned people are much less likely to develop SCC, though it is the most common form of skin cancer in people of African and Asian descent. SCC can cause tissue destruction or it may spread internally, causing serious health problems and even death if neglected. To learn more about SCC, click here.
Awareness About Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), also known as basal cell epithelioma, is the most common form of skin cancer. There are several sub-types of BCC including nodular BCC, infiltrating BCC, and superficial BCC. All types of BCC usually occur on sun-damaged skin but can occur anywhere on the body (except the palms and soles). More than 99% of people with BCC are white, and 95% are between the ages of 40 and 80. To learn more about BCC click, here.
Awareness About Moles
There are two types of moles, typical and atypical. Both require monitoring, especially when there is a history of extreme sun exposure.
Skin Cancer in African Americans
May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. We should feel proud that as a society, we have learned so much over the last generation about preventing, diagnosing, and treating skin cancer. However, research reveals that skin cancer awareness and education specific for African American skin is lacking. Most people are under the wrong impression that African Americans can’t get skin cancer. The good news is that skin cancer in the African American population is relatively low. The bad news, however, is that most African Americans suffer a significant delay in the diagnosis of the disease which results in greater difficulty in treating and curing the disease.
Skin Cancer Awareness Month Overview 2010
We here are Skinsight are extremely passionate about the education and prevention of skin cancer. For Skin Cancer Awareness month we have brief informative blogs about the various skin cancers and moles. Skin Cancer is preventable and there is a very high cure rate when the condition is identified early. We suggest the following things:
Skin Cancer Awareness Month
May is a very important month for me. In addition to mother’s day and the true start of spring in upstate New York, May is skin cancer awareness month. Working with a Web site and company dedicated to providing information and tools to help clinicians, patients, and consumers better understand visually presenting conditions, and in many cases dermatologic issues, I feel skin cancer is one of the most important topics we deal with each year. There are several different types of skin cancer, some types more threatening than others. What touches me the most, however, is how curable skin cancer can be if detected early and the simple steps everyone can take to prevent skin cancer.
Study Suggests Women with Rosacea are More Likely to be Perceived Negatively by Others - What Do You Think?
A new study conducted as part of the national educational campaign Rosacea SKINsights finds that women with rosacea symptoms are "more likely to be perceived by others as unhealthy, insecure, less intelligent."
Q&A: True Acne or Rosacea?
Q: I’m an adult who’s been dealing with recurring breakouts for years. Are adult acne and rosacea the same thing?
Rosacea Symptoms and Treatments
Rosacea is a chronic, common problem for many adults and appears in many different forms and levels of severity. All forms of rosacea have at least one of three primary symptoms. These include 1) pimples similar to acne, 2) redness and/or prominent blood vessels, and 3) rhinophyma (an enlarged, bulbous, ruddy nose). A person with rosacea may have just one symptom, a combination of two symptoms, or all three. In my experience, rosacea affects men and women equally, although rhinophyma tends to be more common in men.
Everyone at one point or another has heard about ultraviolet (UV) rays and their potential to harm our skin. What are UV rays, and why should they concern you?
Misconceptions of Prepping Skin for Spring Break
Spring Break is just around the corner – sunshine, here we come! Just know that the incidence of melanoma, which has nearly doubled in the last decade, is increasing at a rate faster than any other cancer. While most people take several measures to decrease the chance of getting skin cancer, some of these measures are ineffective. The following are common misconceptions of how to "prep" your skin for Spring Break.
Tanning Beds: “How to Get Ready for the Sun”
Before you head out to that sandy beach you may hit the gym or go on a diet to get your body bathing-suit ready. You may even consider going to a tanning salon to get a “base tan” before hitting the beach – this is NOT a good idea according to dermatologists!
Types of Skin Cancer
While you are having fun in the sun, don’t forget to protect your skin. Overexposure to sun is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. Make sure you keep that in mind while you are laying out by the side of the pool while sipping on your piña colada.
Prescription Skin Lightening Agents: Part 2
In this two-part series we continue to cover various prescribed methods for evening out skin tones. Part 1 looked at hydroquinone and mequinol. Part 2 covers azelaic acid, corticosteroids, and more. Azelaic Acid: Treat both acne and pigmentation disorders This medication works wonders for acne, destroying acne-causing bacteria before they have the chance to cause outbreaks. An additional benefit is that it is a very effective treatment for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, much of which is caused by acne outbreaks. So it works on two levels – improves acne and some of the pigmentation disorders that appear with it.
Prescription Skin Lightening Agents: Part 1
In this two-part series we continue to cover various prescribed methods for evening out skin tones. Part 1 looked at hydroquinone and mequinol. Part 2 covers azelaic acid, corticosteroids, and more. In my practice, one of the most common concerns among people of color is uneven skin tone due to hyperpigmentation, or irregular darkening of the skin. Over the past few months, I’ve written a number of posts about hyperpigmentation concerns – including irregular patches, spots and scars – and which conditions warrant a consultation with a dermatologist.
What’s the best way to get rid of blackheads?
Q: What’s the best way to get rid of blackheads? I have this blackhead-popping thing that looks like a syringe and would like to know if these are safe to use. A: Blackheads, or comedones in medical terms, are “clogged pores.” Dead skin cells and dried secretions from the skin’s oil (sebum) glands can produce plugs in the hair follicles (commonly known as pores).
Which will clog my pores the least? Lotion, cream, or gel?
Q: What’s the difference between a lotion, a cream, and a gel? Which will clog my pores the least? A: The consistency of the products is the biggest difference.
If you struggle with controlling acne, you are not alone. Acne can have an extremely negative impact on quality of life because it is usually quite visible. While many cases of teenage acne resolve with age after hormones calm down, for some adults, acne becomes a chronic condition, causing frustration and a never-ending search for “the cure.”
Don't Ignore These Dark Spots on Your Skin!
Mild forms of dark spots (hyperpigmentation) on the skin are not usually medically significant. Sunspots on the hands of a middle-aged, fair-skinned woman, for example, may be a cosmetic concern to her, but they are typically benign and in no way endanger her health. However, if these spots were to grow or get darker in a dramatic fashion, it would be best to consult a dermatologist to discern if they are in fact harmless or not.
Understanding Acne Rosacea
Acne rosacea is a chronic disorder that primarily affects facial skin. It typically appears after age 30, first as red blotches on the cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead. Over time, the affected areas become more severe and more persistent, and blood vessels may appear. Untreated, acne rosacea can develop into bumps and pimples. Many sufferers also experience irritated eyes that appear watery or bloodshot.
Hypopigmentation on Arms
Q: Can hypopigmentation on the arms that has been present for about 10 years still leave one’s skin? A: Hypopigmentation is the loss of color in the skin, and the contrast of the light spots is especially more noticeable after months in the summer sun, when the rest of your skin may be darker. If your pale spots have not changed in size over 10 years and are small, it is probably a common and benign condition that is actually a type of scarring, and which is not likely to disappear without treatment.
Side Effects of Chemical Peels
Q: I have never had a chemical peel and would like to try one, but I am afraid of the thought of acid on my face. Should I be worried? A: Chemical peels can improve and smooth the texture of facial skin by removing damaged outer layers and can be helpful in treating dull facial texture and color, fine wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, uneven pigmentation (solar lentigines, or “sun spots”), melasma, mild acne, and even precancerous lesions (ie, actinic keratoses).
New Gentler Lasers
The development of new laser technologies is encouraging, especially the introduction of gentler tools that provide excellent results with less damage and downtime than original ablative lasers. While safe and effective, ablative lasers are harsh and indiscriminately remove layers of skin. The resulting wounds were at greater risk of infection and required a couple weeks of healing followed by months of redness. While these lasers generated good results for wrinkles, I searched for alternatives, as I would feel hesitant to undergo these types of procedures myself.
For a New Year, New You: Start the Decade off with a Commitment to Beauty!
That’s right, I said it! This year – this decade – I want you to focus on beauty. Being beautiful means being healthy, and I want you to do everything in your power to make yourself more beautiful. Sound vain, trivial, and superfluous? Well, not really. While I’m not suggesting you get plastic surgery or injectable fillers, Botox®, or laser, I am suggesting that you look at your skin as a reflection of your overall health and that you make smart choices to protect your beautiful skin and take action to make your skin and body healthy.
Make Your Wrinkles Disappear
Many of my patients come to me for Botox® Cosmetic, a revolutionary enzyme that makes wrinkles virtually disappear. At very high doses, it is considered a toxin, but to treat wrinkles, a dilution 3 million times less than the toxic level is used. The Botox enzyme has been used safely and successfully since the 1980s for a number of conditions, including muscular disorders. Side effects do not occur frequently but could be potentially serious, including:
The Twelve Days of Dermatology
Skinsight has decided to give everyone the gift of knowledge with the Twelve Days of Dermatology this holiday season. Each day we will be covering subject matter relating to rashes, skin conditions, and other dermatology topics.
Preventing Rashes While Outdoors
Q: I’m outdoors a lot. What can I do to prevent a rash? Sunlight can cause a lot of different skin reactions. The best way to prevent this is by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen. Plants that cause allergies, such as poison ivy, are commonly encountered by people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Stay away from plants you suspect could be poisonous, and wear gloves and protective clothing when gardening. Dr. Lowell Goldsmith and Dr. Jeff Bernhard contributed their expertise on behalf of VisualDx for the above information.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day Twelve: Humanitarian Efforts
On this Twelfth Day of Dermatology, we here at Skinsight would like to wish everyone happy and safe holidays. In the spirit of the season, we would like to recognize some of the humanitarian efforts that many dermatologists participate in throughout the year.
The Skin Rash and Itch of Hives
Q: How can I get rid of the skin rash and itch of hives?Hives is a prime example of a skin condition that responds extremely well to oral antihistamine treatment. A drug such as Benadryl®, Claritin®, or Zyrtec® can be very effective in relieving the rash and itch from hives. These drugs can also be obtained without a prescription. Hives can sometimes form around the mouth and can be associated with breathing problems. In more serious cases, a visit to the emergency room and sometimes adrenalin shots are necessary.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day Eight: Acne
Everyone would rather have the white stuff on the ground than whiteheads on the face, especially during this time of year. Whether you’re naughty or nice, acne is one gift everyone would send back if they could.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day Nine: Hair Loss
Finding presents for all your loved ones can be very stressful this time of year. The stores can get so crowded that you may just want to pull your hair out. Hair loss, however, is no joking matter.
Q&A: Where should I go for laser procedures?
Q: Where should I go to have laser procedures performed? A: Patients who want to look younger have a confusing array of options, including where to go for cosmetic procedures. I talk about this topic at greater length here, but, essentially, this is what I recommend evaluating prior to undergoing a cosmetic laser procedure.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day Seven: MRSA
For the Seventh Day of Dermatology, Skinsight has decided to give you interesting information about the skin infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly abbreviated and referred to as MRSA.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day Five: Nails
During this busy time of year, it is easy to let nail health fall by the wayside. But take time to remember the importance of your hands and feet (including nails!), particularly during this cold, dry time of year. Fingernails grow an average of only 0.1 mm each day, and toenails grow 1 mm per month; however, age, time of year, family history, diet, and activity level all affect the rate of how quickly each person’s nails grow. Nails grow faster on fingers (and even faster on the dominant hand) than toes. Men’s nails grow faster than women’s, except during most cases of pregnancy.
Dark Spots on Legs
Q: I am a black woman suffering from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Is there anything you can recommend to improve the appearance of my legs? Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a relatively common condition where the cells that govern skin pigment, melanocytes, respond to inflammation by generating an excess of coloring, or melanin. The excess melanin shows up as dark spots or scars in affected areas.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day Four: Aging Skin
No trip to the Fountain of Youth necessary this holiday season when you know one of the main factors of aging skin, the sun.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day Three: Skin Cancer
The weather outside maybe frightful but having your skin unprotected would not be delightful. The ultraviolet rays from the sun are just as harmful now as they are on the hottest day of summer. Whether you are traveling to a tropical location to get away from the snow, or you are a cold-weather-activity enthusiast, always remember to use sunscreen. One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Protecting your skin year-round could decrease your chances of developing skin cancer.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day Two: Indoor Tanning
On the second day of Christmas, try not to give the gift of artificial sun. Instead, give your loved one a bronzer, which can be applied over sunscreen, for a sun-kissed look without the skin damage!
Considering cosmetic dermatology? Take your time in learning about and evaluating procedures, especially those that make permanent changes. For example, I see many people who get permanent eyeliner-type tattoos and want to know how to get them removed 3 or 4 years later. Although some are delighted with permanent cosmetic procedures, ideally you should consider something that lasts at most 2 years. Most treatments that we offer last 6–12 months.
12 Days of Dermatology – Day One: Skin Rash
If on the first day of Christmas you ended up with a rash from the wool sweater your grandmother sent you, here is some information on rashes just for you!
Rash Under Armpit
Q: I have a red, itchy rash under my armpit. I work out a lot. Could it be from sweating? It is difficult to say exactly what is causing the itching you are experiencing without seeing the rash in person. However, there are a few possibilities of what commonly cause an itchy rash in an individual’s armpits.
Herpes Tops List of Skin Health Searches on Skinsight for 2009
The most-searched skin condition on Skinsight this year was herpes, a lifelong skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV infections are contagious and spread by skin-to-skin contact with the infected area. An estimated 10-60% of the general population is infected with genital herpes, and only 20% of those infected with HSV develop visible blisters or sores.
Skin Rash, Herpes, and MRSA: Top 10 Skin Topics Viewed for 2009
Learning new things is always good, especially when it involves one’s health. Your skin is a very visible indicator of your well-being, and many have come to our site to explore our picture database of different kinds of skin conditions. Here is the list for top 10 skin topics viewed on Skinsight.com this year¹.
Can antibiotics cause a rash?
Q: Can antibiotics cause a rash? Yes. Antibiotics, such as penicillin and doxycycline, can cause rash. These rashes are seen as a symmetrical outbreak of red, blotchy, slightly raised welts (wheals) and solid, raised spots (papules). This rash will typically begin on the trunk or back and spread to involve additional areas of the body.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common type of eczema, often called “the itch that rashes.” The itch can be overwhelmingly intense, especially in children, who are its primary sufferers. The disease usually begins in childhood – 90% of initial cases of the condition develop before age of 5 years, with 65% developing the condition during their first year.
Q: How can I prevent scabies? The only way to prevent scabies is to avoid contact with any persons who are infected with scabies. If you suspect a rash on your body may be scabies, see a physician who can identify the clinical pattern of scabies. A physician may attempt to scrape off the mite and look at it through a microscope to make a definite diagnosis. There is no blood test for scabies. Some drugs and medicines can also make people more susceptible to scabies.
Dangerous Skin Rashes
Q: How can I tell if a skin rash is dangerous, or a sign of a dangerous condition? If your rash is accompanied with fever or chills, you should see a physician. It may be something as simple as a 24-hour virus, or it could indicate something more serious. There are a number of dangerous conditions that are urgent, and then there are some serious skin conditions that are not necessarily urgent. This distinction may not be easy for a patient to make, so it is necessary to see a physician. Some signs and symptoms that may indicate that a rash is dangerous include:
Impetigo in Adults
Q: I just developed impetigo. How does one get it as an adult?Impetigo is a superficial skin infection that is common in young children; however, individuals of any age can be affected. Impetigo is usually caused by bacteria from the staphylococcal (commonly known as staph) or streptococcal (commonly known as strep) species. Generally, those who are affected are carriers of these bacteria, meaning that their nostrils are colonized by the bacteria.
Acne in Skin of Color
I didn’t suffer with acne until I was an adult. Just into my thirties, I noticed more breakouts. What’s worse, the annoying red pimples left brown marks on my skin for weeks to months! Now I understand why.
The Scabies Rash
Q: What is scabies rash?Scabies is a common condition caused by a tiny mite that is approximately the size of a pinhead. This mite burrows into the outermost layer of the skin and lays eggs. The body’s reaction to the mite causes inflammation and itching. The rash may look like red or scaling spots on locations such as the chest, buttock area, groin area, and hands and feet. The rash of scabies typically does not involve the scalp, except in children. The tell-tale lesion of scabies is called the burrow, which usually requires a magnifying glass to see.
Mesotherapy for Facial Rejuvenation
Because skin is the largest, most visible indicator of aging, patients increasingly turn to dermatologists for advice and information about keeping skin looking healthy, supple, and firm as they age. Even as recently as 10 years ago, that meant plastic surgery – expensive, deeply invasive procedures with extensive risk and recovery time, and sometimes rather unnatural results. But now, more people first consider nonsurgical, noninvasive methods that help skin more naturally retain moisture, elasticity, and firmness – a younger appearance without going under the knife.
Levulan Kerastick Treatment
Q: My 88-year-old mother has been diagnosed with actinic keratoses on her face. Her physician has recommended Levulan Kerastick treatment. She does not know if she wants to go through with the treatment. What will happen if she does not have it?
How long do skin rashes typically last?
Q: How long do skin rashes typically last? Rashes can last any amount of time, from minutes to hours, days to weeks, or even months to years, depending on the cause. The rash from hives, for example, may last only a number of minutes or hours. One individual hive lesion lasts for less than a day, but the general rash may last for weeks. Rashes such as psoriasis or eczema can last for months to years unless treated. Dr. Lowell Goldsmith and Dr. Jeff Bernhard contributed their expertise on behalf of VisualDx for the above information.
We human beings come in a delightful rainbow of colors, from porcelain to pink to olive and brown to darkest ebony. So while we’re not all dark skinned, in a way, we’re all “people of color,” and we have the innate intelligence of our bodies to thank for giving each of us the perfect skin tone for our native habitat.
National Healthy Skin Month
November is healthy skin month. This is a good reminder that, even though we’re exposed to less sun now, it is still a great time to protect the appearance of and marvel at the uniqueness of our body’s largest organ. I’ve always admired the visual beauty of different skin tones. But understanding the science and purpose behind the various shades of our human tapestry expands my appreciation even more. This month, in a blog called Skin Tones, I share some insights on why we all have ”skin of color.”
What Causes Hives?
Q: What causes hives?Hives is a common skin eruption caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to something a person has been exposed to. It may be caused by foods, such as tomatoes, seafood, or artificial sweeteners, or any number of other things. Penicillin is the most common cause of hives. Physicians are not often able to determine the cause of hives unless it is obvious to the patient.
Ethnic Skin Types
As the globe shrinks via mobile technologies that allow people from many different cultures to interact instantaneously, the nuances of “ethnic diversity” become ever more apparent. Certainly, as we erase geographic borders, dermatologists are treating a much wider range of skin types. A loose terminology is developing in response to the changing patient mix.
Dangers of Cosmetic Laser Surgery
It happens on a regular basis. I walk into the room and I see a miserable-looking patient who went somewhere they shouldn’t have for a laser treatment and paid the price. The person who wanted to look better now has burns, scars, and deep embarrassment. The lesson here is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Is Your Diet Aging You?
I can tell what my 3-year-old daughter has been snacking on because it’s visible all over her precious face. Would you be surprised to learn that the telltale signs of what you have been eating – or avoiding – are equally noticeable just by looking at your face? It’s true. Dermatologists explain that our skin is a window into our overall health and can show clues of what’s going on under the surface.
Summer Skin Repair
As the sun wanes and beach vacations end, it’s time to evaluate summertime skin damage. Of course you used sunscreen diligently and faithfully wore your wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, but if you enjoyed a lot of time outdoors this summer, you might see evidence of damage anyway.
Many of my patients, particularly women aged 20 to 50, are concerned about the same thing – a “mask” of mottled skin on the tops of the cheeks and temples. This common (and benign) condition is called melasma, a Greek derivation meaning “dark pigmentation of the skin.” Melasma can happen to anybody, but it is more common among darker-skinned people and those who tan easily.
Summer Skin Concerns
While spending more time outside in the summer months, we must be thoughtful about our skin. As our shield from environmental factors, our skin is exposed to greater potential harm when we are outdoors. And we must heed this rule, in particular: use sunscreen or sun block every day, rain or shine.
Mesotherapy, the Injectable Rejuvenation
The success of injectable cosmetic Botox® in erasing furrowed brows, crow’s feet, and wrinkled lip lines has prompted growing interest in other subcutaneous therapies to achieve new kinds of cosmetic results.
My toddler daughter routinely expresses concern over the red birthmark on my left calf. She pats it and says, “Mommy, you have a boo-boo. Let’s put some cream on it.” She wants to “make it better” for me, to make this mark go away. I thank her for her concern and tell her that it’s OK – it’s just a little mark on my skin called a “birthmark.” She listens as I explain, puzzled, and then looks for her own birthmark, which she doesn’t have – further compounding the mystery.
Q&A: The Pain of Paper Cuts
Q: Why do paper cuts hurt so much, and what can I do to treat them? A: For the small wounds that they usually are, paper cuts can be particularly painful, likely related to several factors. First, paper cuts most commonly occur on the hands and fingers, where the densely packed nerves that give us fine tactile sensations also transmit pain signals from the outer layer of skin (the epidermis). So, in short, paper cuts can directly damage the nerves, causing pain.
Prepare Your Skin and Self for Autumn
Fall is a wonderful time for self-nurturing and introspection. As the weather cools and leaves change colors, many of my patients feel the need to look at areas of their lives they’ve let fall by the wayside. After the summer sun (and tan!) fades, we have a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the health of our skin and overall lifestyle and habits to prepare for the winter.
Chemicals in Health and Beauty Products
Cosmetics is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry with limited regulations. The FDA lacks the power to approve products or an ingredient used in cosmetics and has not specifically determined what is “safe.” Because compounds placed on the skin can readily be absorbed into the body, is this something to be concerned about?
Skin Cancer Prevention Procedures
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer annually. While we are learning a lot about the disease and how to treat it, the best course of action is preventing it. Many skin cancers develop from precancerous lesions called actinic keratoses, and dermatologists perform procedures and prescribe medications that “search and destroy” these lesions before they turn into cancer.
Top 5 School Skin Infections
September means back to school – the end of a busy summer vacation season and time for Mom and Dad to relax as the kids are occupied with new friends and activities. Sometimes the close contact that kids have with each other can lend itself to the development of some common childhood skin infections. Here we review some of the more common infections seen in this age group:
Natural Skin Care
All natural, fragrance free, safe for sensitive skin. These are words that we see a lot on beauty products. But what do they really mean? Many assume that using such products is somehow beneficial, but marketing terms may not actually mean what we assume. Here are a few thoughts about common product descriptions and what you need to know about them.
Is "Green" Good for Skin?
Today’s buzzword in many industries is green, including the personal care and cosmetics business. Words like natural and organic figure prominently on labels and in advertisements. But I’ve discovered it’s hard to get a handle on such terms, even when we are dedicated label readers.
Common Back to School Skin Infections
We’ve slathered them with sunscreen all summer and forced them to wear shirts and hats on the beach. Now, as we send them back to school, our kids may be exposed to common skin infections, more likely to break out in groups where they play, roughhouse, and sometimes share personal items.
Hand Sanitizer and Children
With concerns about the H1N1 swine flu and other infectious diseases, many schools are adding hand sanitizer to their list of required supplies this year. But this policy leads to several questions: What should we look for when selecting a hand sanitizer? Do these products really work? If they do work, will using them create drug-resistant organisms? No doubt some of you have seen concerning e-mail reports of children becoming gravely ill after ingesting hand sanitizer. I have two school-aged children, and I decided to find the answers before I set out to buy our school supplies.
Common Disorders Affecting Skin of Color
Skin color is determined by cells called melanocytes that produce a pigment known as melanin. The variation in skin color we observe in people around the globe is determined by the type and amount of melanin produced by melanocytes. A recent theory suggests that differences in skin color are a function of the skin’s ability to protect against ultraviolet radiation. Persons living closer to the equator produce more melanin because the ultraviolet radiation is more intense, and people living further away from the equator produce less melanin, resulting in lighter skin color.
Andy Kessler’s Death Sheds Light on Deadly Insect Stings
Skateboard pioneer Andy Kessler died earlier this week from an allergic reaction to an insect sting. His death is a dark reminder of the dangers that insect stings carry. Severe allergy (considered potentially life threatening) to insect stings are quite rare and occur in less than 5% of the US population. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, at least 40 people in the US die each year from insect stings.
Q&A: Botox Alternatives?
Q: Are there alternatives to Botox for effectively treating my frown lines? A: Well that’s a great question, but the answer may be “yes and no” – let me give a little background. After thousands of repetitive motions, muscle contractions, like frowning, wear deep grooves in the skin. One practical anti-aging strategy is to find ways to lessen the impact of facial expression on our faces. That’s where Botox® Cosmetic often comes in.
Q&A: Bleach Baths for Eczema?
Q: I’ve heard that baths with diluted bleach can successfully treat kids with eczema. Is this true? A: Common household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is best known as the product that “makes whites whiter,” but diluted bleach has also been used as a dental antiseptic and, in certain forms, as a wound disinfectant. Given the common perception of bleach as an irritant, one would think that bathing in it would be harmful, but clinical trials have actually proven this treatment to be very effective.
Q&A: Wrinkle Creams
Q: I have tried many wrinkle creams, but none of them seem to work. Why? A: There can be many reasons why wrinkle creams don’t seem to work. If you smoke, no cream can undo the damage to your skin. Smoking causes biochemical reactions in the skin that accelerate aging. Stopping smoking is the single most powerful “anti-aging” strategy there is. Aside from that, there could be other factors:
Prevent Skin Cancer with Topical Treatments
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer annually, so it is appropriate that we continue to identify the best treatments possible. But when it comes to actually preventing skin cancer, we mostly know only about the basic rules – use sunscreen, stay out of the sun, wear long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, etc. But dermatologists can offer effective topical skin cancer preventives that find and destroy precancerous cells, stopping the disease in its tracks before it takes hold. These noninvasive therapies not only prevent potential cancers from developing, they may also soften lines and wrinkles at the same time.
Low Vitamin D Levels
There has been extensive media coverage of recent studies linking vitamin D deficiencies to many common conditions and diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, elevated blood pressure, infection, and cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders. The principal source of the vitamin is unprotected exposure of the skin to the sun’s UVB rays – the kind that also cause sunburn, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer.
Poison Ivy Cross-Reactors
Developing an itchy rash after a hike in the woods or a day of working in the yard is not particularly surprising. An inadvertent brush with poison ivy or poison oak and the annoyingly itchy rash that develops is a common summertime problem in the Eastern US. But developing similar symptoms after preparing a fresh meal in your kitchen seems unexpected. As it turns out, it’s not so rare.
Take Personal Responsibility for Your Health
The vigorous debate about health care reform is grabbing headlines, and I think the energetic conversation is an extremely important one to have. The bloated, inefficient way we deliver what we call health care is costly, and the results we get for the money are not satisfactory. So it is a good thing to shine a focused light of inquiry on ideas to improve the situation. But it could take a long time, and it won’t be easy.
Acne is actually a wide variety of complex disease states, from small bumps to red inflammatory nodules and pustules, all influenced by genetic and hormonal makeup. To help understand it, we start with the fact that the human body is covered with millions of hairs, the vast majority so small they can’t be seen. But you can see the pores where the hairs protrude. And that’s where the trouble begins.
Dangers of Skin Cancer
Which state has the highest per capita prevalence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer? A good guess may be Florida or the sun-drenched states of the Southwest, but it’s actually Oregon. Even in a state with months of overcast skies and drizzle, skin cancer is a pervasive and potentially deadly disease.
Stress May Cause Skin Rashes
I recently treated a patient for perlèche, a sometimes painful and persistent rash that occurs at the corners of the mouth. This often fungal condition is typically caused by an overgrowth of Candida, and my patient asked if it could be aggravated by stress. It was the right question to ask. If you are stressed, not sleeping well, and getting rashes and breakouts, it may well be the case that these symptoms are all related.
Mojito Cocktail May Cause Painful Skin Rash
Warm summer months can provoke some unusual but recognizable rashes due to a combination of sun exposure and leisure activities. Imagine the following: You’ve recently had a weekend barbecue where the signature drink was the mojito – a concoction of rum, lime juice, mint leaves, and some other basic ingredients on ice. You’ve enjoyed this drink before without any problems – so why have you developed a painful rash on your hands after serving them to your friends at your backyard party?
The variations in skin color and tone we see across the human race is limitless. This amazing diversity is determined by the amount of pigment known as melanin, which is produced by specialized pigment-forming skin cells called melanocytes. Vitiligo is a skin condition caused by the destruction of melanocytes. It can affect any location on the body, and it manifests as a conspicuous white patch or patches. Although vitiligo affects all ethnicities equally, it is most noticeable in patients with darker skin. Entertainer Michael Jackson was perhaps the most famous sufferer of vitiligo.
Hot Tub Folliculitis Caused by Bacterial Contamination
Summer days and nights invite us to relax, so what could be better than a nice soak in the hot tub after an afternoon of gardening, golfing, or hiking? No harm, right? Not necessarily. Occasionally, you may find an unexpected surprise in the days that follow – an itchy rash.
Choose Health Over Health Care
Greetings! Long summer days call us outdoors, and that means skin is more vulnerable than ever. From mosquito bites and bee stings to sunburn and scraped knees, our skin is subject to much more potential harm during the summer. We all know that we must wear sunscreen to help protect us from the sun’s radiation. Is sunlight itself a bad thing? Of course not. The issue, many believe, is the shrinking of the ozone layer, earth’s natural sunscreen, which filters the most harmful radiation. When the ozone layer is healthy, we’re better protected from and in balance with the sun. We need its healing rays to not only nourish plants and animals but to activate vitamin D in our bodies. When we protect ourselves from the sun, we’re also potentially robbing ourselves of vital vitamin D. So what are we to do?
The Brain and Itch: Why It Feels So Good to Scratch
There are many causes of itchy skin, some resulting from unfortunate forays into poison ivy patches, assaults from pesky mosquitoes, or a chronic skin disease such as eczema (atopic dermatitis). Despite various causes, all can produce a similar sensation – an itch. Itch is hard to define, yet most would agree it is “that which produces the desire to scratch.”
Red Moles on Skin
It can be difficult to determine if a mole on your body is a warning sign for skin cancer. Some patients come into my office worried about red moles on their skin because they look suspicious. Red moles are often not true moles but instead are cherry hemangiomas. These round, bright red or purple spots are made up of blood vessels and are 1–4 mm in size. A person can have many cherry hemangiomas all over his or her body. These lesions are benign and do not necessarily need to be removed, though many patients have them removed for cosmetic reasons. If raised, they can become bothersome, and if they are scraped, bumped, or injured, they may bleed or become painful.
The Pain of Sunburn
We all know that it is best to avoid sunburns by using sunscreens and staying out of the sun during peak hours – important considerations for long-term skin health and skin-cancer prevention. But sometimes things happen. A forgotten hat, thinking you’re protected from the sun’s rays under your beach umbrella, neglecting to reapply sunscreen after a swim – everyday experiences like these can lead to a nasty sunburn and the pain that comes along with the characteristically red skin.
Mosquito Bite Relief
While the ideal scenario is to avoid getting mosquito bites in the first place, that’s certainly easier said than done. But here’s a helpful preventive tip: about 30 minutes before you go outside, take Claritin® or Zyrtec® to get antihistamine into your system before your first encounter with a mosquito. I find I have a very mild reaction if I’m bitten, with little swelling, redness, or itching.
Q&A: Sunscreen vs Sun Block
Q: Is there a difference between sunscreen and sun block? A: As summer approaches, we stock up on sun-protective gear. A walk down the “seasonal” aisle at your local store can be dizzying. Which product to choose – a sunscreen or sun block? Is there a difference, or are they interchangeable? There are, in fact, somewhat “technical” differences between the two. Sunscreens, also known as chemical blockers, are absorbed into the skin, so they should be applied 10–15 minutes prior to going out in the sun. Sunscreens absorb ultraviolet (UV) light in certain wavelengths. The UVA rays can cause long-term effects and contribute to photoaging and wrinkles. UVB rays are responsible for short-term effects like sunburns. UV light can easily degrade sunscreen, so it’s crucial to reapply every few hours for maximum effectiveness. Avobenzone, oxybenzone, and Mexoryl™ are common ingredients in many chemical blockers these days.
What does skin cancer look like? A visual examination of the types of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found in humans, and greater than half of all new cancers diagnosed are skin cancers. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are respectively the first and second most common forms of skin cancer, and nearly half of all Americans who live to age 65 will be diagnosed with one of these types of cancer. These common cancers are usually found in the most sun-exposed parts of the body, appearing in the skin’s top layer as a scaly area or bump that doesn’t heal. They can occasionally bleed. If detected and treated early, these cancers have a greater than 95% cure rate.
Sunscreen: Protecting Yourself from the Sun
Spend a day at the beach or pool, and you can’t miss the pervasive and unmistakable smell of sunblock products wafting through the air. Shelves in drug stores and supermarkets are crowded with “new and improved” potions, lotions, gels, creams, wipes, and sprays. But using sunblock only on beach or pool days isn’t enough. Make it an everyday habit – and not just a quick smear on your nose in the morning.
What Causes Skin Cancer?
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the greatest cause of the most common skin cancers. UV radiation, in the form of light, can come either from the sun or from indoor tanning beds. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers, by far the most common types of skin cancer, are directly related to the total dose of UV light that the skin receives over a lifetime of exposure.
Sun Protection: Sunscreen and Sun Protective Clothing
As spring days lengthen, we’re called back outside for walks and hikes, swimming, and lounging. And while that laze in the sun can feel awfully good, it comes with a potentially steep price. This is a reminder that you must be diligent about protecting your skin from the most harmful rays of the sun.
May: Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers in the US, and more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. That’s a staggering number, and that’s why preventing skin cancer is a huge health care priority. And prevent it we can – by making new habits and carefully monitoring our skin. Prevention starts with awareness, and this month, you’ll learn what you need to know about skin cancer from our team of experts, who are experienced and knowledgeable dermatologists.
Tattoo Removal Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
I want to recognize a dermatologist who is making a difference in the lives of others with a story I am inspired to share with readers. Dr. Bryna Kane is a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at the University of California. Raised by parents who survived the Holocaust, Dr. Kane witnessed firsthand the negative effect that tattoos could have on a person’s life. The tattoos used for identification in concentration camps would often cause hepatitis infections and other diseases. But the psychological effects were just as negative, serving as a constant reminder of a horrific and traumatizing experience. Holocaust survivors inspired Dr. Kane to help others manage unwanted tattoos.
Q&A: Banish Age Spots
Q: I don’t like the age spots that are starting to appear on my face. What can I do about them? A: So-called “age spots” are actually "sun spots.” Patches of uneven pigmentation affect many people and occur because the body distributes either too much or too little melanin (the pigment that creates skin, eye, and hair color) to an area. Uneven pigmentation results in a mottled appearance and can occur at different life stages, regardless of ethnic background or skin color.
Moles and Skin Cancer
A patient recently came in because – even though it was midwinter and her legs hadn’t seen sunlight for months – a mole on her left calf seemed to be changing, getting darker, maybe larger, too. She knew these changes were a warning sign for skin cancer. I’m always happy when a patient takes a proactive stance like this. And I’m relieved that we’re all becoming more educated about and aware of how skin changes – particularly in moles – can be a signal to pay attention and see your doctor. Such changes, even subtle ones, can be a precursor to skin cancer.
The Evolution of Soap
There are many different brands of soaps and cleansers on the market today designed for many purposes, from fighting acne-causing bacteria to providing moisture. With so many different types of soap available today, it is hard to imagine how we ever survived with plain old-fashioned soap that was not designed for a specific skin type or purpose. As with any innovation, soap has gone through many changes since its inception thousands of years ago to become as varied and beneficial as it is today.
Psoriasis Drug Linked to Rare and Fatal Brain Infection
Genentech, Inc. has voluntarily withdrawn the psoriasis drug Raptiva® (efalizumab) from the US market. Raptiva is associated with an increased risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML is a rare and usually fatal disease of the central nervous system. There are no known interventions that can adequately treat PML. The chief medical officer of Genentech, Hal Barron, MD, believes that Raptiva has helped many psoriasis sufferers, but the risk of PML outweighs the drug’s benefits. Approximately 46,000 patients worldwide have taken Raptiva for chronic plaque psoriasis. There have been 3 cases of diagnosed PML in patients receiving Raptiva. It is not known whether other unreported cases have occurred.
Q&A: Pimples Turn to Scars
Q: It seems like every time I get a pimple, it turns into a scar. How do I prevent that? A: You are right to focus on prevention. The first rule is, as tempting as it might be, don’t pick at your face! Picking at pimples irritates the skin and increases the risk of developing an inflammatory response that leads to scarring. Pay attention to how often you touch your face, consciously and unconsciously. Frequently touching your face can spread more bacteria, increasing the chance of acne scarring. Keep track of that habit and break it!
Q&A: Adult Acne
Q: I never had acne as a teen, but now I have adult acne. What can I do? A: Adult acne is more common than you may think. Twenty percent of women aged between 25 and 40 are affected by it, so you are not alone. Hormonal imbalances, often a symptom of PMS, are generally at the root of outbreaks, causing overactive sebaceous glands to produce excess oil. Stress can also play a big role in hormonal balance, elevating cortisol levels (the stress hormone) that pave the way for acne eruptions. Certainly, as we approach menopause, significant hormonal swings can prompt acne outbreaks – even if it has been 20 years since you had a pimple.
Q&A: Acne Scars
Q: My acne has improved, but now I’m left with scars. How do I get rid of them? A: The only key approach to acne scars is prevention. Treat acne promptly and for as long as it takes to clear. That’s 20/20 hindsight, of course, but it’s an important lesson. You will benefit from working closely with a knowledgeable dermatologist to treat your scars, and your condition might require multiple approaches. The best treatment for you depends on the type and severity of your scars.
Q&A: Botox Fear?
Q: I’ve been thinking about trying Botox, but I’m afraid. A: When we evaluate elective cosmetic procedures like Botox treatments, we should carefully consider the pros and cons. BOTOX® Cosmetic is a physician-provided treatment derived from a bacterial toxin, Clostridium botulinum, which paralyzes muscles. It has been used for decades to treat spastic muscle conditions (such as cerebral palsy), following trauma and injury, and even the symptoms associated with cluster headaches.
Vitalize Your Face – 10 Minutes Twice a Day!
The skin on your face and neck is delicate, and age and lack of care will be noticeable in those places first. We can’t do much about age, but we can influence how we care for our faces and necks – really, don’t forget the neck!
Q&A: Where to Start? Tips on How to Jump Start Your Skin Care Routine
Q: I feel like I am looking older and have never done anything about it. Do I have to use expensive products to improve the appearance of my skin? Where do I start? A: Aging skin, or “looking old,” is the result of two distinct causes – intrinsic and extrinsic conditions. Intrinsic aging is the natural aging process that begins in our mid-20s.
Top Acne Myths
When it comes to acne, there’s a world of information out there that doesn’t square with the truth. That’s likely not shocking because most acne sufferers are intensely engaged with the condition and have tried everything to treat it. Many believe common myths about acne and repeat them to others, perpetuating the myths and misinformation. Here are a few examples of “common wisdom” that many share about acne.
Do you appreciate your skin? If not, you should! We’re here to help you learn more about your skin – the biggest part of you, a vital organ. Skin is an amazing design of breathing armor that literally protects our fragile interior “operating systems” from harsh elements outside the body. Take care of your skin, and it will take care of you – by shielding you and radiating good health. By its very nature, skin is visual. So a picture truly is worth a thousand words. That’s what makes our site different: our images. We bring professional-level medical imagery directly to health care consumers to help them learn more about skin health, conditions, and diseases.