Got Skin in The Game? Let’s Protect It

You can protect your skin just by knowing your skin type. Your skin type tells you whether you need a minimum SPF of 30 or if 15 will do. It also tells you whether you need to start annual skin check-ups at age 30 or if you can wait until you’re 40.

Your skin type can also predict your chances of skin cancer. That’s right. The amount of pigment your skin has can predict your skin’s reaction to the sun and, ultimately, your risk, overall, of skin cancer.

Knowing your skin type is the first step to keeping it safe. Wondering which category you fall into? Read on.

The Fitzpatrick Scale

This scale is a scientific skin classification system. It has six categories to describe different skin shades and characteristics.

What Fitzpatrick Skin Type Are YOU

Find your skin type by matching it to the category below that best describes your skin shade BEFORE sun exposure. Then read the ways you can better protect your skin type. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1 

For this skin type, your skin is ivory, and your eyes are a light blue, green or gray. Your hair is red or light blond. You have freckles. Your reaction to the sun? You always burn and don’t tan. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 2

You have fair or pale skin. Your eyes are blue, green, or gray, and your hair is blonde. You usually get freckles and burns that peel. You rarely tan. 

How to Protect Yourself

You have a high risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. Your skin easily ages and gets sun damage. Protect yourself with the following tips:

  • Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
  • Protect your skin with long sleeves, a broad-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. 
  • Give yourself a monthly skin check
  • Get an annual skin check with your doctor, especially if you are over thirty. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 3

Your skin is either fair or beige, and your undertones are golden. Your eyes are hazel or light brown, and your hair is dark blonde or light brown. Your skin freckles, burns, and tans sometimes. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 4

You have olive or light brown skin. Your eyes are dark brown. You don’t get freckles, you rarely burn, and you tan easily.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 5

Your skin is dark brown. Your eyes are dark brown or black, and so is your hair. You seldom get freckles or burn. Your skin always tans in the sun. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 6

Your skin is dark to darkest brown. Your eyes are brownish-black. You never get freckles or burn, and you always tan. 

How to Protect Yourself

You have a risk of skin cancer from sun exposure. So, protect your skin from the sun with the following tips: 

  • Use and SPF 15 or higher sunscreen
  • Wear long sleeves, a broad-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Give yourself a monthly skin check
  • Get an annual skin check with your doctor, especially if you are over the age of forty.

Summary

Knowing your skin type can help predict your chances of getting skin cancer. The Fitzpatrick scale is a classification system that predicts your skin’s reaction to the sun based on how much pigment it has. And since knowledge is power, you can use what you know to protect yourself from the sun. 

It’s best to have daily sun protection regardless of your skin type. If you have light skin, you’ll need an SPF of 30 or higher every day. If your skin is tan to dark, you need a daily sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. 

All skin types should do a monthly self-exam. See a dermatologist for an annual exam starting at about 30 if you have light skin. If your skin is tan to dark, see a dermatologist for a yearly exam after 40. 

Ready to begin your journey to healthier skin? Please call 888-993-3761 to schedule an annual skin check today with one of our dermatologists at the Skin and Cancer Institute. 

How Lasers Can Reverse Sun Damage

Are you one of the people who grew up when it was “cool” to bake in the sun? It’s okay. You can admit it. After all, millions of people from your generation are right there with you. They’ve also accumulated sun damage. And with it the consequences, which include aged-looking skin and an increased risk of skin cancer. 

Fortunately, modern science can undo this damage with LASERS. That’s right. Lasers. They send forth magical bursts of light that can make new skin grow. If it sounds high-tech, it’s because it is. Let’s dive right in, shall we? 

What Are Lasers?

A skin laser is a tool used to improve your skin’s tone, texture, and coloration with targeted, controlled light and heat. NASA said Laser means:

L – light

A – amplified

S – stimulated

E – emission

R – radiation

How Do Lasers Work?

Some lasers (non-ablative) penetrate the layers of your skin and injure it in a tiny, controlled way. This stimulates your body’s healing process. Collagen and elastin rush in to build fresh skin cells and collagen. The result is newer-looking skin that is tighter, smoother, and more clear. 

Other lasers (ablative) remove the top layer of skin to reveal fresher skin underneath. 

Now that we know the fountain of youth is in your dermatologist’s office (in the form of a laser) let’s take a look at what different lasers can do for your aged, sun-damaged skin. 

  • Lasers Can Target Spots

Pigment-specific lasers remove brown pigmentation, including freckles, liver spots, and melasma.

  • Lasers Can Target Veins

Vascular-specific lasers like Pulse Dye Laser (PDL) target broken blood vessels (a result of sun damage).  

  • Lasers Can Target Wrinkles

Wrinkle-specific lasers go deep and increase collagen production, which produces young-looking skin.  

  • Lasers Can Target Cancer

Some lasers can target lesions, both benign and malignant. 

Get Ready For Laser Treatment

It takes about one month to prepare for your laser treatment. You’ll need to take special care to avoid sun exposure during this time. This means wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. You’ll want to also protect yourself with an umbrella, hat, and sunglasses. 

On Your Procedure Day

Laser resurfacing is an outpatient procedure so expect to go home the same day. You can also expect to be given something to manage the pain. The procedure can vary from about 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on what type of laser is being used and how much work you’re doing. 

Post-Procedure

Expect to clean and moisturize your face diligently for a few days. Some lasers just make your skin red for a while. But, depending on the type of laser used, you might need to clean your skin regularly and apply an ointment after the procedure to prevent infection and scab formation. Talk to your doctor about which type of laser is best for your skin condition and how long they expect the healing process to take. 

Closing Thoughts

Millions of people like you grew up during a time when baking in the sun was acceptable–and even encouraged. Times have changed, but your skin damage is still there in the form of spots, veins, wrinkles, and maybe even lesions. Lasers can undo some of this damage. Talk to your dermatologist about the best course of treatment for your unique skin. 

Are you ready to begin your journey to healthier skin? Contact the Skin and Cancer Institute at 888-993-3761 today to book an appointment.

How Winter Sunscreen Can Save Your Skin

Our dermatologists want you to wear sunscreen during the Winter. Don’t think you need it? Well, you do. The sun’s UV rays are with us daily. If the sun is up, UV rays cascade down.

Even if the day is cloudy and overcast, the sun has still come out. Sure, the sun’s UV rays are weaker in the Winter than in the Summer. But they’re still there, causing your skin:

  • DNA damage
  • Premature Aging
  • Cancer

That’s why the Skin and Cancer Institute dermatologists want you to wear sunscreen daily, even in the Winter. Still not convinced?

Here are three facts that show you ARE getting damaging UV rays in the Winter and need to protect your skin with daily sunscreen. 

  1. Altitude–If you live at a high elevation, more UV rays will reach the ground than if you live at sea level–but you’re still getting UV damage daily at sea level.
  2. Clouds–UV rays can and do make their way through clouds, and you’re still getting exposure if the day is cloudy. 
  3. Surface reflection–UV rays bounce off nearly every surface. This is especially true of pavement, water, and snow. 

UV Exposure

A person’s amount of UV exposure depends on variables like ray strength, exposure time, and protection from clothing or sunscreen. But the bottom line is that you ARE getting damaging UV rays in the Winter. 

Winter Sunscreen is a Necessity

Ultraviolet rays reach your skin even when it’s cold and even when it’s cloudy. And the damage these rays do to your skin is cumulative, so the damage builds, little by little, year after year. 

But, I Don’t Burn in The Winter!

You probably don’t think of the winter months as a time you need to wear sunscreen. That’s because winter sunburns are rare as you’re more covered up than usual and spending more time indoors compared to summertime. Still, winter sun damage happens (if at a reduced rate), and sunscreen is necessary. 

Sunscreens Are Better Than Ever

There have been so many incredible advances in the formulation of sunscreen that wearing it can be enjoyable. Gone are the days when physical (mineral) sunscreens left your face looking chalky. Nowadays, they can come tinted to match your skin tone beautifully, like Taheri MD Ultra Shade Sunscreen

The Bottom Line

Dermatologists want you to wear sunscreen in the Winter. If the sun is out, so are damaging UV rays, regardless of whether the day is clear or cloudy.

Yes, the sun’s UV rays are weaker compared to the Summer, but they are still causing damage. This includes DNA damage and premature aging that could lead to skin cancer. 

Year-round sunscreen is necessary, even if you don’t burn in the Winter. Sunscreen formulations are better than ever nowadays and can be enjoyable to wear. 

Are you ready to begin your journey to healthier skin? Please call us today at the Skin and Cancer Institute, and we’ll help you set up an appointment with one of our dermatologists for an annual skin check-up. 

Love Your Skin This Valentine’s Day

You want to look your best this Valentine’s day, and that means glowing skin that radiates health from the inside out. You want to look great for YOURSELF (and of course, you want that special someone to notice, too). 

But how do you get your skin to look radiant fast? Especially if Valentine’s day is almost here? Introducing . . . three tips to love your skin this Valentine’s day. 

  • Hydrate–the trick to getting glowing skin fast is to make it look as plump and moisturized as possible. So work from the inside out to hydrate your skin. 
  • Exfoliate–to remove dullness and reveal fresh skin underneath. 
  • Protect–you’ll need to stay away from anything that could make your skin red, like the sun and some cosmetic procedures like chemical peels.  

Tip #1: Hydrate

The trick to loving your skin this Valentine’s day is to tank up on H2O. Drink as much water as you can leading up to the big day. Not just the minimum eight glasses a day, but much more. Think 10+ glasses of water daily. 

Eat Water-Rich Foods

Food that drips with water is just what your skin needs to hydrate quickly. Choose to eat plenty of foods that are approximately 90 percent water, including certain fruits, dairy products, and vegetables.

Fruits

  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Oranges

Dairy Produces

  • Skim milk
  • Plain Yogurt

Vegetables

  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cauliflower

Tip #2: Exfoliate 

Exfoliate to reveal new skin that is more vibrant than the old, drab layer that includes dead skin cells. This instantly fresh layer will make you love your skin this Valentine’s day.

At-Home Exfoliation

You can easily exfoliate at home with warm water and an over-the-counter exfoliation product that’s gentle. Just be sure to moisturize your face immediately after exfoliating (to seal in the moisture). 

Get a Professional Facial

A professional facial is an excellent way to get your skin glowing quickly. Mention to your aesthetician that you’re trying to get your skin to look its best fast for Valentine’s day. This will help them focus on exfoliation and hydration. Ask them to skip the extraction process of unclogging your pores by hand, as this can temporarily leave your skin looking red and blotchy.  

Tip #3: Protect

You want to protect your skin from anything that could inflame it. The last thing you need before Valentine’s day is a red or swollen face that’s in the process of healing. For example, it takes about a week to heal from lasers and injections. So, steer clear of the following things:

  • Injections and facial fillers
  • Cosmetic lasers
  • Chemical Peels
  • The sun
  • Harsh wind

In Summary

You want to love your skin this Valentine’s day and this is completely possible, even if you only have one to three days to prepare. 

Start by hydrating with as much water (and water-filled foods) as possible. 

Then, exfoliate your skin either at home or with a professional facial. 

Finally, remember to protect your skin from the sun and wind. And put off any injections, fillers, chemical peels, or other cosmetic procedures until after the big day because it can take up to a week to heal from them. 

Ready to begin your journey to glowing skin EVERY day of the year? Contact the Skin and Cancer Institute for an appointment. Our experts will assess your skin and recommend the best procedure for you. 

Everything You Need to Know About Treating Acne Scars

We explored how to avoid getting acne scars in our recent blog post, “Can You Clear Acne on Your Own.” That’s where we learned that two (out of six) types of acne–nodules, and cysts–leave SCARS. We learned how to prevent acne scars by seeing a dermatologist for an oral antibiotic. 

Let us mention at this point that there’s nothing wrong with acne scars if you have them. They’re a natural part of your body’s healing process. With that said, we’ve never met anyone who likes their acne scars, and most people want to know how to get rid of them.

If you’re one of these people, read on because we have all the information on the latest tech to fade your acne scars into oblivion. 

How To Fade Acne Scars

The first step to getting rid of acne scars is to understand what type of scars those deep under-the-skin nodules and cysts left you. 

Acne scars come in five basic shapes called boxcar, icepick, rolling, hypertrophic, and keloid. We’ll tell you what each scar looks like and then how to treat it. 

Types of Acne Scars and How to Treat Them

Atrophic scars look like indentations on the skin. They include boxcar, icepick, and rolling scars.

Boxcar Scar

Looking at the shape of this scar is a bit like looking into a tiny empty box–it’s broad with sharply-defined edges.

Icepick Scars

These scars are narrow and small and go deep into the skin’s surface. They are often found on the checks. They’re tough to fade and require persistence with treatment. 

Rolling Scars

This type of scar has wavy edges that make it look rolling and uneven.  

There’s an arsenal of treatments for the scars mentioned above, including chemical peels, dermabrasion, dermal fillers, laser therapy, and microneedling. And there are a few treatments you probably haven’t heard of like:

  • Punch excision–a cookie-cutter-like tool cuts out the scar, and the wound is stitched closed. 
  • Punch grafting–is like punch excision, except that it gets a plug of new skin before it’s closed.
  • Subcision–uses a needle to release the tissue under the acne scar and let it rise. 
  • CROSS (chemical reconstruction of skin scars)–a tiny amount of acid is placed on top of the scar, which causes the formation of fresh new collagen fibers. 

Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars

Hypertrophic scars look like raised bumps of scar tissue the same size as the original acne that caused them. Keloid scars, on the other hand, grow bigger than the acne that caused them. They’re also raised. Your dermatologist can reduce their appearance with techniques that include:

  • Steroid injections to soften the scar and make it flatter. 
  • Silicone sheeting to soften the scar and reduce its height.
  • Surgical removal
  • Laser therapy

The Bottom Line

Deep acne nodules and cysts leave five basic shapes of acne scars. While they all are treatable, some, like icepick scars, require more persistence than others to fade. 

Most atrophic acne scars (indentation) respond to treatments like chemical peels, dermabrasion, dermal fillers, laser therapy, and microneedling. They might also respond to punch excision, punch grafting, and subcision. 

Hypertrophic and keloid scars are raised lumps that can respond to steroid injections, silicone sheeting, surgical removal, and laser therapy. 

If you don’t like your acne scars, rest assured that our dermatologists have the expertise and technology to help make them less visible. Ready to begin your journey to smoother skin? Contact the Skin and Cancer Institute today at 888-993-3761 for an appointment.

Skin-Healthy Foods to Look Radiant And Prevent Cancer

You want your skin to radiate health, AND you don’t want to get skin cancer. Well, you can get both healthy skin and avoid skin cancer too. How? Eat. Healthy. Foods. 

Studies show their antioxidants, immune boosters, and anti-inflammatory properties in food will improve the look of your skin and could reduce your risk of skin cancer. 

Beta Carotene 

This nutrient converts to vitamin A to boost your immune system’s ability to fight disease, which may include skin cancer. You can find it in fruits and vegetables that are orange-colored, including:

  • Carrots
  • Apricots 
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash
  • Mango
  • Cantaloupe

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Skin cancer has been linked to inflammation, and omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. You can find this beneficial nutrient in walnuts and flaxseeds. Also, look for it in the following types of fish:

  • Albacore tuna
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring

Zinc

Zinc helps fight cancer by keeping the immune system functioning well. A 2017 study found it replenishes antioxidants. It also helps boost proteins that help with DNA repair. Look for zinc in foods like:

  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Shellfish
  • Beef 
  • Lamb

Lycopene

Reports have linked lycopene to a lower risk of some cancers. Plus, lycopene’s red pigment may help prevent sunburn. Foods that contain lycopene include papaya, apricots, blood oranges, pink grapefruit, guava, tomato, watermelon.

Polyphenols in Tea

Studies show green tea helps prevent skin cancer because it has antioxidants plus tumor-inhibiting and anti-inflammatory properties. This can help repair cell damage from sun exposure. 

Surprisingly, green tea absorbs UV damage and scavenges for free radicals. You’ll need four to six cups of green tea each day to reap these skin benefits. 

Selenium

Studies show that a high selenium intake could lower your risk of cancer by about 30 percent. But where do you find this mineral? Look for Brazil nuts plus meats like chicken and grass-fed beef. 

Vitamin C

When we say vitamin C, you say…oranges? Yes? We’re not surprised! For most people, this is their go-to vitamin-C-rich food. 

But Vitamin C can be found in so many other foods…they’re worth exploring. In addition to citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, look for vitamin C in the following three vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Bell Peppers
  • Leafy greens 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has proven immune-boosting properties and the most beneficial form is vitamin D3. But where, besides milk products, can it be found? Look for vitamin D in the following three foods:

  • Beef liver
  • Fatty fish
  • Egg yolks

Vitamin E

This proven antioxidant prevents free radical damage to your skin. It also absorbs UV-light energy and helps skin and veins act as protective barriers to the sun. You can find vitamin E in the following three foods: 

  • Soybeans
  • Wheat germ 
  • Sunflower seeds

The Last Word

Your skin can look radiant, AND you can prevent skin cancer by eating nutritious foods. Studies show that foods with antioxidants, immune boosters, and anti-inflammatories all promote skin health and could reduce your risk of cancer. 

So, look for the following nutrients: beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, lycopene, polyphenols in tea, selenium, and vitamins C, D, and E. 

Wondering if your food choices are doing enough to give you radiant skin and reduce your risk of cancer? Ask your dermatologist during your annual skin check-up. 

Ready to schedule your appointment? Call the Skin and Cancer Institute today at 888-993-3761 and we’ll get you all set up. 

The Best Sunscreen For Every Body Part

You need the best sunscreen for every body part. That means what’s suitable for your arms and legs is not necessarily what’s best for your face and neck. So, which sunscreen do you put where? Stick with us as we explore the best sun protection for you–from head to toe, we’ve got you covered!

The Best Facial Sunscreen

Let’s face it; your facial skin is the most visible and delicate on your entire body. So it makes sense that you’d want to find the best sunscreen for your face, which makes up about one square foot of skin, by the way.

Choose Non-Comedogenic Sunscreen

You’ll want protection without pore-clogging ingredients that could make acne flare. So, look for NON-COMEDOGENIC products. This means they won’t plug your pores.

Get Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Your face needs broad-spectrum sunscreen. It protects your facial skin against both UVA and UVB rays. Not all facial sunscreen falls into this category, so you’ll want to make sure you see “BROAD SPECTRUM” written on the container.

The Best Facial SPF is 30+

The skin on your face needs a minimum SPF of 30. Sun protection factor measures how much sun exposure it takes to burn your skin with sunscreen versus without sunscreen.

Here’s another way to see it. SPF is about the INTENSITY of sun that hits your skin, not about how many minutes of sun you get.

Higher SPF = More Sunburn Protection

An article by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) called “Sun Protection Factor (SPF)” explains it this way:

“The following exposures may result in the same amount of solar energy:

  • One hour at 9:00 a.m.
  • Fifteen minutes at 1:00 p.m.

Generally, it takes less time to be exposed to the same amount of solar energy at midday compared to early morning or late evening because the sun is more intense at midday relative to the other times.”

To Mineral, or to Chemical? That is The Question

Now that you know the best sunscreen for your face is a non-comedogenic one, is broad-spectrum, and SPF 30 or higher, there’s only one question left to answer. And that question is this: does your face need a physical or chemical sunscreen, and what’s the difference, anyway?

The Difference Between Physical And Chemical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients reflect the sun’s rays with a physical barrier.

Chemical sunscreens, by contrast, absorb the sun’s rays and then release them through the skin in the form of heat.

Choose a Physical (Mineral) Sunscreen For Your Face

Mineral sunscreen is the way to go, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne, because mineral sunscreens tend to be non-pore-clogging.

Your Body Needs Sunscreen Protection

Let’s move on to the rest of your body–which makes up about 20 square feet of skin! This is a lot of surface area to cover with sunscreen, which is why dermatologists recommend you rub the equivalent of a shot glass full of sunscreen into your skin.

Where to Rub in Sunscreen

You’ll want to pay special attention to rubbing sunscreen on the parts of your body that are exposed to the sun. If you’re in a bathing suit, you’ll need protection everywhere. This includes your:

  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Torso
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Ankles
  • Feet

What Brand of Sunscreen Should I Use On My Body?

The best sunscreen for your body is, well, the one you’ll use. Seriously. So, feel free to focus on sunscreen features (like broad-spectrum and SPF) instead of stressing about the brand.

Have Fun

This is also the time to have a little bit of fun. So, assuming the sunscreen you’re considering meets all of the requirements for broad spectrum and SPF, then you get to move on to the fun things . . .

Do you find the look of the bottle attractive and ergonomic? How about the smell? Do you like it? If you can sample it, consider how it looks and feels on your skin. If it’s a sunscreen you can get excited about and use, then it’s the best sunscreen for you.

Do you have additional questions about sunscreen? Your annual skin check-up is a great opportunity to ask them as you’ll be face to face with your dermatologist.

Are you ready to schedule your appointment? Please call us at the Skin and Cancer Institute today: 888-993-3761.

It’s National Cancer Prevention Month

In honor of National Cancer Prevention Month, let’s talk about skin cancer, the most common type in the world. More people get skin cancer than any other type of cancer. If you live to 70, there’s a one-in-five chance you’ll develop skin cancer. So how do you prevent it? How do you make sure you’re one of the 4 in 5 people who will NOT develop skin cancer?

Skin Cancer is Preventable

The most important thing to know about skin cancer is….drum roll… it’s PREVENTABLE. That’s because approximately 88 percent of skin cancer cases are linked to sun exposure (and sun exposure is something you have some control over). The key is to pick up some healthy skin care habits– preferably at a young age–and continue them as you grow older.

Healthy Skin Care Habits

You can protect yourself from the sun by following healthy skin care habits, such as limiting your sun exposure. In addition, the American Academy of Dermatology Association also recommends that you seek shade, wear sun-protective clothing, and apply sunscreen.

Seek Shade

It’s vital to seek shade during the time when the sun’s rays are most intense. Generally, peak sun hours are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Wear Sun-Protective Clothing

Protective clothing on hot, sunny days when you’re dripping sweat can be as simple as wearing a loose, breathable cotton or linen long-sleeve shirt while you’re in the sun.

Apply Sunscreen

And applying sunscreen means you put it onto all sun-exposed skin (face and body) 15 minutes before you go outside. Remember that sunscreen wears off and loses its effectiveness over the day, so it’s best to regularly reapply, especially when you’re swimming or under intense sun rays.

Other Ways To Protect Yourself

In addition to the tips listed above, there are many other ways to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. These include wearing a hat and sunglasses, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, protecting your lips, staying away from tanning beds, avoiding sunbathing, using sunscreen pills, and getting an annual skin check-up.

Wear a Hat (And Sunglasses, Too)

Broad-brimmed hats protect your face and neck from intense rays that could otherwise damage your skin. The same is true of sunglasses, which protect your eyes from harmful UVA / UVB rays.

Use a Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

A broad-spectrum sunscreen will give you maximum protection from skin cancer. Make sure to buy and use one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.

Protect Your Lips

The delicate skin on your lips is susceptible to lip cancer. Protect yourself with lipstick, chapstick, or lip balm with SPF.

Stay Away From Tanning Beds

Using a tanning bed one time when you’re young can raise your risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent. The Skin Cancer Foundation calls tanning beds “dangerous”. Each time you tan this way, the sun damage builds up and creates genetic mutations.

Avoid Sunbathing

Although less dangerous than tanning beds, the sun’s rays are still harmful and increase your risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Most people prize a bronze glow to their skin, especially in the summertime. If this describes you, consider getting this glow from sunless tanning products like sprays and lotions.

Use Sunscreen Pills

There’s a pill for almost everything these days, and that includes sun protection. Sunscreen pills are an excellent way to get a little extra help for your skin. But they’re no substitute for conventional sunscreen, so make sure to use that too.

Get an Annual Skin Check-up

National Cancer Prevention Month reminds us that dermatologists recommend getting a professional skin check-up each year. This is a great time for you to ask questions and advice from your dermatologist. And it’s the perfect opportunity for your dermatologist to take a look at your spots and moles and determine if anything looks suspicious and needs treatment.

Ready to celebrate National Cancer Prevention Month? Book your annual skin check exam today! Call us at the Skin and Cancer Institute, where we’re prepared to help you begin your journey to healthier skin.

Can You Clear Acne on Your Own?

So you have acne, and you want it gone. But how? Is it even possible to clear acne on your own? Some people say it is; others say you need to see a dermatologist. What’s the truth? The Skin and Cancer institute put together this guide to answer all these questions and more.  

Acne, by Any Other Name

Zit…acne…pimple–whatever you call it, it’s no fun when it’s on your face, staring back at you in the mirror. And you’ve probably dealt with it at least one point in your life. Eighty-five percent of teens get acne, and it doesn’t always go away in adulthood. In fact, 30% of adults get acne (sometimes as late as age 60). 

What is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that develops when a hair follicle gets blocked. Your body naturally produces oil, which travels through the hair follicle to the surface of the skin. But when the pore gets blocked (by dead skin cells, makeup, etc.), bacteria starts to grow inside. 

What Type of Acne Can You Clear On Your Own?

There are several types of acne that you might have success clearing up on your own with over-the-counter products. These acne types include:

  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Papules – little red bumps.
  • Pimples – pus-filled bumps.

How To Treat Acne On Your Own

Now that you know it’s likely you can clear four types of acne yourself let’s talk about how to do it. Small pimples, papules, blackheads, and whiteheads all respond to over-the-counter products like:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide – kill bacteria
  • Salicylic Acid – unclog pores, reduce inflammation
  • Retinoids – unclog pores and reduce oil 

All three of these are great options for clearing your own acne when it’s whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pimples. Use them daily in your skincare regime for continuous acne control. 

Remember, Clear Pores = Clear Skin

It’s essential to keep your pores clear to prevent acne because prevention is, as they say, key. So use skincare products and makeup that are non-comedogenic, which means they won’t clog your pores and cause acne flare-ups. A comedo, by the way, is a basic acne lesion (which you don’t want). 

Other Ways to Keep Your Pores Clear

In addition to using skincare products and makeup that’s non-pore clogging, it’s also a good idea to wash your face, morning and night. Exfoliants, whether they’re chemical or physical, can also help keep your pores clean by sloughing off dead skin cells. 

When to See A Dermatologist 

You can usually see some success treating the simple types of acne on your own. However, two types (nodules and cysts) require medical attention–usually an oral antibiotic for acne. Sometimes this is combined with a topical treatment. You need to see a dermatologist if you have acne that is deep and painful. The following types of acne (which leave scars) usually don’t clear on their own or with over-the-counter products:

  • Nodules–painful bumps under the skin that are large and solid. 
  • Cysts–painful bumps under the skin that are large and pus-filled. 

Antibiotics For Acne

Deep bacterial acne like nodules and cysts require a prescription for oral antibiotics. Your dermatologist is an acne expert and will most likely prescribe one of the following antibiotics: 

  • Doxycycline
  • Erythromycin
  • Tetracycline
  • Minocycline
  • Trimethoprim
  • Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim
  • Dapsone

What’s The Bottom Line?

It’s possible to clear acne on your own with over-the-counter products like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids. But this is generally only true when the acne is minor. Black and whiteheads and small red and pus-filled bumps are usually fine to treat on your own. But, deep, painful bumps require medical attention and probably won’t go away with over-the-counter products. For these, your dermatologist will prescribe an oral antibiotic. Sometimes this is also combined with a topical treatment. 

The Skin and Cancer Institute doctors are standing by to diagnose your acne. They’ll give you all the best recommendations for treating it, including a prescription if you need oral antibiotics. Ready to begin your journey to clear, pain-free skin. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

Botox, Dysport, And Xeomin Are Similar – Here is How

People talk about Botox so much these days you’d think it was the only wrinkle relaxer on the market, but it’s not. Botox’s younger brand-name siblings, Dysport and Xeomin work in the same way and are just as effective (if less talked about) than Botox. This probably stems from the fact that the FDA approved Botox first, while the other two alternatives were approved a few years later.

Botox was discovered by an eye doctor more than thirty years ago. She was trying to help a patient’s eye spasms. But what she also found out was that botulinum toxin did something else–it smoothed her patient’s eye wrinkles! This led to the use of neurotoxin injections for cosmetic purposes.

What are Botox, Dysport and Xeomin?

All three of these are brand names for neurotoxins. They all contain botulinum toxin type A. It blocks the release of neurotransmitters and temporarily paralyzes your muscles so they can’t contract. The result is wrinkle-free skin. They are used to treat forehead wrinkles, the “11s” wrinkles in between the eyebrows, and crow’s feet.

Botox

  • Botox is made by Allergan.
  • It got FDA approval in 2002.
  • It takes about 4-7 days for botox to work.
  • Botox can last up to five months.

Dysport

  • Dysport (pronounced diss-port)
  • Is made by Galderma.
  • The FDA approved it in 2009.
  • It only takes 2-3 days to kick in.
  • It can last up to five months.

Xeomin

  • Xeomin (pronounced Ze-oh-min)
  • Merz Pharmaceuticals makes it.
  • It won FDA approval in 2010.
  • Effectiveness kicks in after 4-7 days.
  • It has been shown to last up to six months.

Alternative Uses for Botox, Dysport and Xeomin

Botox, Dysport and Xeomin are all good options for smoothing out wrinkles. But did you know they can do more than make you look younger? They also help alleviate migraines. It turns out that neurotoxin injections can keep pain signals from reaching your brain. Your dermatologist can also use neurotoxins to treat excessive underarm sweating. It works by blocking the nerve signals responsible for activating sweat glands.This paralyzes overactive sweat gland nerves. Neurotoxins are also used to relax the jaw muscle in people who clench their teeth. This helps weaken the jaw muscle and make it look less developed and pronounced.

Which is better: Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin?

Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin are all made from botulinum toxin type A. It blocks the release of neurotransmitters and temporarily paralyzes your muscles so they can’t contract. These three neurotoxins are slightly different, although mostly similar. Talk to your dermatologist about which one they recommend for you. Some dermatologists have more experience injecting one neurotoxin over another. The big unknown in whether or not you’ll get a natural looking result depends less on the product injected and more on the skill of the injector, so steer clear of med-spas with injectors who are not doctors.

Bottom Line

Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin are all great products that the Skin and Cancer Institute offers its patients. We have highly-trained injectors to handle all of your cosmetic concerns. If you’re ready to begin your journey to smoother, more wrinkle-free skin, contact us today to schedule your appointment.