Sun Safety

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.

Because of the ultraviolet radiation it emits, the sun is inherently dangerous to human skin. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology stipulates that there is no safe way to tan. Tanning is the skin's natural response to damage from the sun. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency proclaims that everybody, regardless of race or ethnicity, is subject to the potential adverse effects of overexposure to the sun. That's why everyone needs to protect their skin from the sun every day.

How We Burn

When ultraviolet light penetrates the epidermis it stimulates melanin, the substance responsible for skin pigmentation. Up to a point, the melanin absorbs dangerous UV rays before they do serious damage. Melanin increases in response to sun exposure, which is what causes the skin to tan. This is a sign of skin damage, not health. Sunburns develop when the UV exposure is greater than the skin's natural ability to protect against it.

Sunscreens and Sunblocks

The sun emits two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays that are harmful to human skin. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis and lead to wrinkles, age spots and skin cancers. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn, cataracts and immune system damage. Melanoma is thought to be associated with severe UVB sunburns that occur before the age of 20.

Sunscreens absorb ultraviolet light so that it doesn't reach the skin. Look for sunscreens with the active ingredients PABA, benzophenones, cinnamates or salicylates. Sunblocks literally block the UV rays instead of absorbing them. Key active ingredients for sunblock success are titanium oxide and zinc oxide.

There is no sunscreen or sunblock that works 100%. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the manufacture and promotion of sunscreens. Sunscreens are given a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number that indicates how long a person can remain in the sun without burning. It is recommended that people use products with a SPF of 15 or greater. Sunscreens are not generally recommended for infants six months old or younger. Infants should be kept in the shade as much as possible and should be dressed in protective clothing to prevent any skin exposure and damage.

There is no such thing as "all-day protection" or "waterproof" sunscreen. No matter what the SPF number, sunscreens need to be re-applied every 2 to 3 hours. Products that claim to be "waterproof" can only protect against sunburn up to 80 minutes in the water. Products labeled "water resistant" can only protect against sunburn up to 40 minutes in the water.

Even in the worst weather, 80% of the sun's UV rays can pass through the clouds. Additionally, sand reflects 25% of the sun's UV rays and snow reflects 80% of the sun's UV rays. That's why sunscreen needs to be worn every day and in every type of weather and climate. The sun's intensity is also impacted by altitude (the higher the altitude the greater the sun exposure), time of year (summer months) and location (the closer to the Equator, the greater the sun exposure).

Protecting Yourself From Sun Exposure

  • Look for sunscreens that use the term "broad spectrum" because they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF rating of 15.
  • Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you head out into the sun to give it time to seep into the skin.
  • Apply sunscreens liberally. Use at least one ounce to cover the entire body.
  • Use a lip balm with SPF 15 or greater to protect the lips from sun damage.
  • Re-apply sunscreen immediately after going into water or sweating.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Use sunscreen every day regardless of the weather.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats and protective clothing to limit skin exposure to the sun.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible.
  • Avoid using tanning beds.

Treating a Sunburn

If you experience a sunburn, get out of the sun and cover the exposed skin as soon as possible. A sunburn will begin to appear within 4 to 6 hours after getting out of the sun and will fully appear within 12 to 24 hours. Mild burns cause redness and some peeling after a few days. They can be treated with cold compresses on the damaged area, cool baths, moisturizers to prevent dryness and over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams to relieve any pain or itching. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids when you experience any type of sunburn.

More serious burns lead to blisters, which can be painful. It is important not to rupture blisters as this slows down the natural healing process and may lead to infection. You may want to cover blisters with gauze to keep them clean. Stay out of the sun until your skin has fully healed. In the most severe cases, oral steroids may be prescribed to prevent or eliminate infection along with pain-relieving medication.