Medical Tip of the Month: Eyelid Dermatitis
Date: December 4, 2014Eyelid dermatitis, aka, eyelid eczema, manifests as a red, swollen, itchy rash. The skin may also have a rough, wrinkled, and thickened appearance if it’s been rubbed and scratched. This condition is common in women and in individuals with a history of sensitive skin or eczema. It may be caused by an allergic or irritant reaction to cleansers, eye creams, makeup, sunscreens, fragrances, essential oils, eye drops, or contact lens solutions with preservatives. Exposure and allergy to nickel (jewelry, tweezers, eyelash curlers) or gold (jewelry), adhesives from false eyelashes, certain nail cosmetics, and hair dyes may also be involved. Some are affected by airborne allergens including dust mites and plant pollens. Physical aggravating factors include extremes of temperature and humidity and rubbing or scratching.
- Avoiding rubbing and scratching.
- Wash eyelids with plain water or use a cream cleanser designed for sensitive skin.
- Avoid contact with irritants. Strictly avoid allergens that have been confirmed by patch tests — this is necessary life-long.
- Avoid eyelid cosmetics while the dermatitis is active.
- Wear protective wrap-around glasses if exposed to cold, wind, dust particles etc. Glasses can also make it easier to stop scratching and rubbing the eyelids.
Hypoallergenic moisturizers can relieve dryness and irritation and antihistamines are helpful to minimize itching. Occasionally, prescription medications, such as topical or oral steroids are required.
(Adapted from: http://dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/eyelid-dermatitis.html)
Medical Tip of the Month: Melasma
November 4, 2014
Melasma is a common patchy, brown facial discoloration occurring primarily in women.
- Genetics: Women with brown pigmented skin, ie, Latinos and Asians.
- Hormonal influences: Pregnancy and the birth control pill (BCP).
- Sun exposure.
- Strict sun avoidance with use of a broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and SPF 50.
- Consider discontinuing the birth control pill (when involved).
- Use of prescription bleaching agents. Those containing Hydroquinone with or without Tretinoin and a mild steroid are most effective.
- Non-prescription bleaching agents containing kojic acid and vitamin C have been shown to be effective.
- Superficial chemical peels.
Tip of the Month: Preventing & Treating Sun Damage
October 7, 2014
Photo-aging, also known as photodamage, sun damage, and dermatoheliosis refers to the structural and functional deterioration of sun-exposed skin, resulting in wrinkling, roughness, altered texture, discoloration, brown age spots (lentigines) and mottled hyperpigmentation.
These signs correlate with anatomic changes in the skin, including decreased thickness, degeneration of collagen, and the appearance of abnormal cells (atypia).
Photo-aging can be improved with the following measures:
- Minimize sun exposure especially during mid-day (10am - 4pm).
- Each day apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection and minimum SPF 30 to sun exposed areas.
- Each night apply a prescription product with Tretinoin or Tazarotene (Retinoids) to improve the appearance of sun damaged skin and reverse some of the damage.
- Treat photodamaged skin with Fractional Laser Treatment or IPL Photorejuvenation.
Medical Tip of the Month: Actinic Keratoses
September 5, 2014
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are dry, typically scaly patches that form on areas of the skin exposed to the sun, primarily the scalp, face, forearms, and back of the hands. Actinic keratoses are rough surfaced, scaly, and range in color from skin-toned to reddish-brown. They vary in size and can grow if left untreated. People often have multiple AKs which can appear in groups and may itch or become tender, especially after sun exposure.
Actinic Keratosis and Skin CancerActinic keratoses are precancerous and have the potential to develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a type of skin cancer. Performing frequent self-examinations of the skin and seeing a dermatologist for regular screenings can help detect AKs and skin cancer.
Risk Factors for Developing Actinic KeratosisAKs are most common in people with light-colored skin and hair (blond or red hair), freckles and years of excessive sun exposure. The condition typically occurs in men and women over 40 years old. However, younger people and those with darker skin can still develop AKs if they receive frequent sun exposure.
Treatment for Actinic KeratosisThere are many treatment options for Actinic Keratosis. Schedule an appointment with our medical staff if you suspect you have AKs. The physicians of Dermatology Associates Medical Group have many years of experience diagnosing and treating Actinic Keratosis and skin cancer.
Medical Tip of the Month: Tinea Versicolor (TV)
August 5, 2014
Tinea Versicolor (TV) is a common skin eruption in teens and young adults that occurs primarily during the warmer months of the year. It typically presents as discolored spots that may be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. The spots may be white, pink, red, or brown and are often more prominent following sun exposure since affected skin doesn't tan. The eruption is most commonly seen on the trunk but may occur anywhere on the body. It may be scaly and is usually asymptomatic but may itch. While it is caused by the overgrowth of a type of yeast, it is non-contagious.
Predisposing factors include:
- Hot, humid weather.
- Lots of sweating.
- Oily skin.
- A weakened immune system.
Common treatments include antifungal shampoos, creams, and lotions that typically contain one of the following active ingredients: ketoconazole, pyrithione zinc, or selenium sulfide, which are available in various over-the-counter products. For more widespread cases, prescription strength medications, including potent antifungal pills, may be prescribed by your dermatologist. Recurrences are common and may be prevented by using an antifungal shampoo twice monthly during the warmer months of the year.
Adopted from the American Academy of Dermatology: Tinea Versicolor - http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/tinea-versicolor
The physicians of Dermatology Associates Medical Group have expertise in treating conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. To schedule a consultation, please call 310-274-9954.
Medical Tip of the Month: Are Sunscreens Safe?
July 1, 2014
Here are the facts on sunscreens:
- Regular application of a broad spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light exposure. This reduces your risk of premature aging of the skin and skin cancer. For outdoor activity, it's best to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater.
- The FDA regulates sunscreens. The ingredients in sunscreens must be shown to be safe and effective before being approved.
- Concerns have been raised about several ingredients found in certain sunscreens:
- Oxybenzone: Protects skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Approved in 1978 by the FDA. No data shows it causes hormonal abnormalities or any significant health problem in humans.
- Retinyl Palmitate: Protects skin from premature aging. Naturally found in our skin. There is no evidence it increases the risk of skin cancer in humans.
- Nanotechnology: Prevents active sunscreen ingredients from leaving a white residue on the skin. This leads to better coverage and improved protection from UV radiation. Nanoparticles do not enter the body through healthy or sunburned skin.
Adopted from the American Academy of Dermatology web page, "Is Sunscreen Safe?".
Treating Skin Inflammation and Irritation
Date: June 3, 2014Intertrigo is a common skin eruption that occurs in areas where skin rubs against skin, ie, underarms, under the breasts, and the inner thighs/groin. Intertrigo has many different potential causes including:
- Fungal/yeast infections
- Bacterial infections
- Irritation dermatitis
- Allergic contact dermatitis
Predisposing factors include heat, moisture, and weight gain. Not surprisingly, a mainstay of treatment is to minimize these factors and treat the underlying cause.
The physicians of Dermatology Associates Medical Group have expertise in treating intertrigo and other skin conditions. Learn more about your treatment options by calling 310-274-9954 for a consultation.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Date: May 1, 2014
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and estimates state that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. While melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, it is also important to monitor for the more common and less serious non-melanoma skin cancers.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common non-melanoma skin cancer. It typically develops in individuals with fair complexion and usually affects sun exposed areas, most commonly the face. Basal cell carcinomas often look like a pimple or a small crusted bump that bleeds and/or fails to heal. These lesions can cause significant destruction of the affected area and should be removed promptly.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common non-melanoma form of skin cancer. Like basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas typically develop in individuals with fair complexion and usually affect sun exposed areas. They can appear suddenly and grow rapidly and are more common in elderly individuals. Squamous cell carcinomas are usually crusted thick bumps and may be tender and/or painful. In addition to causing destruction of the affected area, squamous cell carcinomas have the potential to metastasize and should be treated promptly.
Protecting Yourself Against Skin Cancer
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher every day and SPF 30 or higher for prolonged outdoor activities.
- Avoid direct sunlight for long periods, particularly between the hours of 10 am and 4 PM.
- Examine your skin monthly for growths, discoloration, or other changes in appearance.
- Schedule a professional skin exam once a year.
If you are concerned about a growth or discoloration on your skin, have it evaluated by one of the qualified dermatologists at Dermatology Associates Medical Group. Please call 310-274-9954 to schedule a consultation.
Are You Increasing Your Risk of Age Spots?
Date: April 2, 2014
Solar lentigines, also known as age spots, sun spots, or liver spots (because of their brown color), become more visible with age and often appear as dark brown spots on the face and hands. They occur on areas of the skin most commonly exposed to the sun. Prevention and treatment can lead to both healthier and better-looking skin.
Prevention of Age Spots
- Use adequate sun protection. Always wear a sunscreen with UVA and UVB broad spectrum protection and an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreen should be worn year-round and applied 15 – 30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply once every two hours, or more often if you are sweating a lot or swimming.
- Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Avoid long periods outdoors when the sun’s rays are the strongest – typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear protective clothing. UV-blocking clothes are an excellent choice for prolonged exposure. For other outdoor activities, choose clothing that covers your arms and legs along with a large hat and sunglasses.
Treatment of Age Spots
Several treatment options are available for solar lentigines. Prescription bleaching creams can lighten the appearance of spots. Intense Pulsed Light Photorejuvenation treatments are beneficial. Laser therapy is commonly used for more intense age spots to help diminish their visibility and leave the skin looking healthier.
If you have health concerns about dark spots or dislike their appearance, have your age spots evaluated by one of the qualified dermatologists at the Dermatology Associates Medical Group. Learn more about your treatment options by calling 310-274-9954 for a consultation.
Hair Loss in Women: Why am I Losing Hair?
Date: March 4, 2014
There are many causes of hair loss, or alopecia. It is important to determine the underlying cause in order to correct the problem.
It's common for women, starting in their 50s, to notice a decrease in scalp hair volume. This is often accompanied by increased visibility of the front of the scalp with preservation of the frontal hair line. Often there is a history of hair loss in other family members. This condition is known as female pattern androgenetic alopecia and can be treated with topical medication.
Hair grows in 3 distinct cycles:
- Growing (Anagen)
- Resting (Telogen)
- Intermediate (Catagen)
Approximately 87% of scalp hairs are growing, 10% are resting and ready to be shed, and 3% are intermediate. Generally, between 50-100 hairs are shed daily with greater shedding occurring when the hair is washed. If the hair cycle is altered with more hairs going into a resting state, increase shedding occurs. There are multiple potential causes of telogen effluvium hair loss including hormonal changes, illness, surgery, weight loss, and medications/supplements. Fortunately, this type of loss generally resolves spontaneously after the underlying cause is corrected.
Scalp Conditions and External Factors
Hair loss can also occur due to inflammatory conditions that affect the scalp such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema. Infections with bacteria and fungi can also cause hair loss. Many hair treatments such as straighteners, perms, bleaching agents, excessive hair drying, etc can potentially damage hair causing breakage leading to hair loss.
The physicians of Dermatology Associates Medical Group have expertise in evaluating and treating hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss, please call us at 310-274-9954 for a consultation.
What's the Best Anti-Aging Cream?
Feb. 4, 2014No wonder this is one of the most common questions we receive. It's difficult and confusing to choose from the multitude of creams and potions with purported anti-aging benefits.
Many over the counter creams contain ingredients, such as, peptides, growth factors, vitamins, hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid, etc, which have anti-oxidant and/or anti-aging properties. Some products have limited clinical data showing they improve the appearance of the skin. The active ingredients in these creams are not classified as drugs or regulated by the FDA and do not change the structure or the function of the skin. In other words, their benefits are limited. In addition, there aren't comparison studies to rate these creams so ultimately it's trial and error. Also, there is no correlation between price and effectiveness.
Ok, so what's the answer? The best anti-aging cream is a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 rating applied daily. The second best anti-aging cream is a prescription strength retinoid such as, tretinoin (e.g., Retin A, Renova) or tazarotene (Tazorac) applied nightly or every other night. The caveat is that these products make your skin more sensitive in general and to waxing in particular. A less potent alternative is an over the counter cream containing retinol. Sunscreen use is critical due to increased sun sensitivity from topical application of retinoids. Finally, retinoids should not be used during pregnancy or nursing.
If you have questions about your home skin care regimen, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.
Tips for Help with Perleche and Chapped Lips
Date: Jan 2, 2014Perleche, aka, angular cheilitis, is a common irritating eruption of the corners of the mouth. It is more common in the elderly, especially those who wear dentures although it also seen in children. Perleche is caused by an infection involving fungi and/or bacteria. Potential predisposing factors: include nutritional deficiencies, dry mouth, a lip-licking habit, drooling, immunosuppression, and others. Treatment is based on the exact cause(s) of the condition, but often an antifungal cream such as clotrimazole is combined with a topical steroid like hydrocortisone.
Chapped lips are commonly seen during the winter months due to decreased ambient humidity. Many people lick their lips in an attempt to soothe them. This aggravates the problem due to evaporation of saliva leading to further dryness. Treatment involves frequent, liberal application of lip balms, especially those with petrolatum. Topical steroids, such as, hydrocortisone ointment, are beneficial for short periods to reduce burning and stinging. Finally,stop licking!