Skin Care Basics

Our team of specialists and staff believe that informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well being. For your personal use, we have created an extensive Patient Education Library covering an array of dermatologic topics. Browse through these diagnoses and treatments to learn more about topics of interest to you. Or, for a more comprehensive search of our entire Web site, enter your term(s) in the search bar provided.

As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.

Acne

Acne is a common skin condition affecting our teenage and adult patients. Early treatment of acne is important to prevent the development or worsening of acne scars.

Acne treatment options include prescription-strength medications, including topical retinoids, antibiotics or isotretinoin. Your dermatologist will recommend an acne treatment plan based on several factors, including the severity of acne (mild, moderate or severe), its location, presence of acne scars, and your response to previous acne medications.

Actinic Keratoses

Actinic keratoses (also referred to as "AKs") are dry, scaly patches that form on sun exposed areas of the skin, such as the scalp, face, and forearms. Actinic keratoses are considered precancerous because they have the potential to become a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Your dermatologist will be diligent in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring actinic keratoses. Treatment options include procedures, such as cryotherapy (freezing), and topical medications (5-FU, imiquimod).

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, also called "eczema" is a common skin disorder that causes dry, itching and inflamed skin. The rash of atopic dermatitis comes and goes in cycles. A variety of triggers, such as allergies or infections may lead to a "flare", or worsening of the rash.

During a flare, treatment options include topical corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors (Protopic), antihistamines, and antibiotics. Your dermatologist will recommend a treatment based on the location of the dermatitis, severity of symptoms, the presence of possible skin infection, and your response to past treatments. Atopic dermatitis can often be kept under control with appropriate skin care, including the regular use of moisturizers.

Botulinum Toxin (Botox, Dysport)

Botulinum toxin is a non-invasive treatment for the treatment of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging skin.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are acidic solutions used to rejuvenate the surface of your skin. The solution acts causes the outermost layer of skin to be "peeled" away and reveal the underlying, more youthful appearing skin below.

Dermal Fillers

There are a variety of dermal fillers available to plump lips, sculpts cheeks and fills in wrinkles and folds. Available options include Juvederm and Restylane. Your dermatologist will choose a dermal filler that best meets your specific aesthetic needs. Dermal fillers may be used in combination with other aesthetic procedures.

Hair Loss (Balding)

Hair loss is a common complaint among our patients, both men and women. Although is it normal to shed hairs each day, excessive hair loss can lead to a thinning hair line, and areas of baldness. There are several hair loss treatments that may help promote hair growth or hide hair loss.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing uses laser light to gently produce a controlled injury of the skin that encourages new skin cell growth. In short, old skin cells are removed to make way for new skin cells. This offers an effective and non-surgical way to treat wrinkles, scars and blemishes. New laser systems are extremely accurate and targeted, providing enhanced results and improved safety.

Latisse

Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) is a prescription treatment approved by the FDA for the growth of eyelashes. It is applied to the base of the upper eyelashes once-a-day on an ongoing basis. Eyelashes grow longer, thicker and darker after 4 weeks of use, with full results after 16 weeks.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes inflamed areas of thickened skin. There are several types of psoriasis with plaque psoriasis being the most common.

Although there is no cure for psoriasis, there are several effective psoriasis treatments that that can help bring psoriasis under control. Psoriasis medications include those applied to the skin (topical corticosteroids, vitamin D derivatives, and topical retinoids) and those taken by mouth (cyclosporine and methotrexate). In addition, phototherapy (PUVA) and new biologic medications provide additional treatment options for moderate to severe psoriasis that fails to respond to other treatments.

Your dermatologist will a recommended a treatment based on the type of psoriasis, its location, severity, and your response to previous treatments.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin disorder that causes redness and swelling of the face, usually among those 30 to 50 years old. There are four subtypes of rosacea that describe the changes to the skin. Rosacea subtype 1 describes the flushing and facial redness that may appear. Rosacea subtype 2 (papulaopustular rosacea) describes the bumps and pimples that may develop. People with rosacea have more than one rosacea subtype at the same time.

Early rosacea treatment is important to prevent rosacea symptoms from worsening. Options include topical medications (azelaic acid, metronidazole) and oral medications (low-dose doxycycline). Laser or light therapies may also be used to control the redness or skin thickening. Your dermatologist will recommend a treatment plan based on the subtype of rosacea present and its severity. It may be helpful to use a rosacea diary to track your symptoms and identify your personal triggers. Avoiding these triggers is a key step to keeping rosacea under control.

Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the two major forms of "non-melanoma" skin cancer. Skin cancer treatment options, include medications (imiquimod, 5-FU), excision, and Mohs Surgery. We strongly recommend the regular use of sunscreens and sun avoidance measures to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

Regular skin self-exams are also important for monitoring changes to your skin. Contact us if you find a skin lesion that you find concerning.

Unwanted Facial Hair

Unwanted hair is a common concern among our patients. Laser hair removal provides an effective and safe treatment option for many, though repeat treatments are necessary.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common condition that causes waxy, yellowish, scaly patches to form on oily areas of the skin such as the scalp, eyelids, ears and in the folds around the nose.

The skin is the body's largest organ and accounts for roughly 18% of an adult's weight. It serves as a protective outer layer that keeps in moisture and keeps out invasive organism (like infections). It protects our organs against injury. It also helps regulate the body's temperature and has self-healing capabilities.

The best way to maintain healthy skin is to prevent skin damage from occurring in the first place. Wrinkles, age spots and leathery patches are all the result of skin damage from overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. But the aging process for skin is unavoidable. As we age, skin becomes dryer and thinner. Repeated movements of facial muscles, such as frowning, smiling or squinting, cause wrinkles over time. Stress, gravity and obesity also contribute to aging skin. And because the skin is thinner, it is more susceptible to bruising.

Photoaging

The premature aging of the skin from ultraviolet light exposure is called photoaging. Photoaging occurs when ultraviolet radiation penetrates deep into the dermis, damaging collagen fibers and causing the increased production of abnormal elastin. This breakdown in fundamental skin structures leads to deep wrinkles, fine lines, discoloration of the skin (age or liver spots), leatheriness and sagging skin.

Skin Care Routine

A healthy skin care routine throughout life can reduce the symptoms of aging in the skin. Be sure to:

  • Wash your face using a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water twice a day.
  • Pat skin dry; don't rub it dry.
  • Exfoliate the skin twice a week to remove dead cells.
  • Apply a moisturizer to skin immediately after a shower or bath.
  • Wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 every day.
  • For women who wear makeup, be sure to leave time each day when the skin is clean and free of makeup.
  • Do not use tanning beds.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and drink lots of water.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep every day.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Conduct a monthly self-examination of your skin to detect any changes that might lead to cancer.
  • See your dermatologist once a year.

Anti-Aging Treatments

Beyond prevention, in today's world there is a wide range of options for slowing down the affects of aging on the skin. See the Cosmetic Dermatology section of this website for more information about:

  • Botox
  • Chemical peels
  • Dermabrasion
  • Fillers
  • Laser Resurfacing
  • Retinoids

Skin Infections

Anyone who has a break in the skin is at risk for an infection. There are three types of skin infections:

Bacterial Infection

There are many bacteria that live on the surface of healthy skin. But with a break in the skin, these bacteria can invade the outer layer of skin and cause an infection and rash. Staph is a common cause of bacterial infections of the skin. Impetigo is one of the most common causes of skin infections in children. Oral or topical antibiotics are used to treat bacterial skin infections.

Viral Infection

Viruses are parasitic organisms that can live and grow inside living cells. They cause either a degeneration or a proliferation of the cell. Most causes of viral skin infections are either from Human Papilloma Virus, which causes warts, or Human Herpes Virus, which causes cold sores, chicken pox, shingles, genital herpes and mononucleosis. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Generally, medications are prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms of the infection, such as a rash or itch. Additionally, vaccinations are used to prevent viral infections.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections of the human body are called mycoses and affect only the outer layer of skin. Although seen in all areas of the body, skin mycoses most frequently appear as yeast infections, thrush, athlete's foot or jock itch.