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.


  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Oranges

Dairy Produces

  • Skim milk
  • Plain Yogurt


  • 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. 

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 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


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. 


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. 

Want Fuller, Longer Lashes? Get Latisse!

If you dream of thicker, longer lashes, you can get a medication from your dermatologist called Latisse that will give you just that. This can replace messy eyelash glue and false lashes, as well as pricey eyelash extensions.

What is Latisse?

Latisse is a medication for glaucoma that has a happy side effect—it makes eyelashes grow longer and thicker than they could on their own.

How Does Latisse Work

Latisse (bimatoprost) makes eyelashes grow. It’s similar to prostaglandin, which is a natural chemical in the body.

How Latisse Was Discovered

Doctors started prescribing bimatoprost to glaucoma patients in 2001. Six to eight weeks later, not only did the medication treat the glaucoma, they noticed that it also made their eyelashes grow.

I’m I a candidate for Latisse?

Latisse is used to treat patients with “inadequate” eyelashes. This often refers to women who’s lashes have thinned with age. But plenty of people feel their lashes are “inadequate,” even if they are still young.

My Eyelashes Are Normal. Now What?

You can still use Latisse if your eyelashes are normal. Many people with normal eyelashes like the extra boost in volume and length that Latisse gives them.

How to Get Latisse

You can get Latisse from your dermatologist at The Skin and Cancer Institute.

How Much Does it Cost?

A 30-day supply of Latisse costs about $120. That’s about $4 a day. Because Latisse is for cosmetic purposes, it is not covered by insurance.

What Does It Look Like

Latisse comes in a tiny bottle and that looks like eye drops. It also comes with a disposable applicator. The liquid is clear.

How to Use Latisse

Each night, put a drop of Latisse on the clean applicator and apply it to the top eyelashes only. You’ll want to start at the inner corner of your eye and paint it across the lash line, just like eyeliner. Throw away the disposable applicator and remember to use a fresh one daily.

Side Effects

  • Redness, dryness, or itching of the eyes.
  • Hair growth on other areas of your skin where the medication touches.
  • Brown discoloration of the Iris
  • Darkening of the skin around the eyelids

What Happens if I Stop Using Latisse

Your eyelashes will go back to their regular growth pattern if you stop using Latisse.

Nail Fungus is No Fun: Learn how to Prevent it.

Nobody likes nail fungus, whether it’s on their nails or someone else’s. It’s unsightly, doesn’t feel good, and it’s contagious. So at the Skin and Cancer Institute, we’ve put together a guide to show you how to keep from getting it–and what to do if you become infected.

What is Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is a common infection of the fingernails or toenails caused by fungi (yeast, mold, or dermatophyte) that gets into the nail bed. Anyone can get a fungal nail infection, although you are more vulnerable than the general population if you have athlete’s foot, diabetes, or a compromised immune system.

Signs You Have Nail Fungus

You know you have a fungal infection when your nail turns white (yeast), brown (mold), or yellow (dermatophyte). Another tell-tale sign is a crumbling nail that breaks easily. If your nail stinks–even after you wash it–you probably have a fungal infection. Also, look for a nail that changes position and curls up or down. This is a sign that something is wrong. Another sign of a fungal infection is the way your nail feels. Is it more sensitive than usual? If so, you should see your dermatologist.

How Nail Fungus Spreads

Nail fungus spreads in damp, communal places like swimming locker rooms, swimming pools, and showers. The fungi get into the nail bed from a crack in the nail or nearby skin.

How to Treat Nail Fungus

Treatment for fungal infections starts with your dermatologist cutting your nail short and then scraping underneath to get as much fungus out as possible. Your dermatologist will then determine whether you need oral or topical medication or both.

Medication That You Swallow

Oral medication is the more aggressive (and effective) of the two options. Plus, it works faster than topical medication. Antifungal pills have some side effects, so your dermatologist will want to keep an eye on you. It takes two months to clear a fingernail infection and three months to remove a toenail infection. Medications you can take include:

  • Fluconazole
  • Griseofulvin
  • Itraconazole
  • Terbinafine

Topical Medications

Some topical medications are applied daily, others weekly. They include:

  • Amorolfine
  • Ciclopirox
  • Efinaconazole
  • Tavaborole

How to Prevent Nail Fungus

  1. Wash and moisturize your hands and feet regularly
  2. Have your own nail clippers, and don’t share
  3. Wear sandals in wet communal areas
  4. Keep your nails short and clean
  5. Wear socks that absorb sweat
  6. Buy breathable shoes

Take Away

Nail fungus is no fun—because it looks terrible, feels terrible, and is spreadable. It’s a common infection of the fingernail or toenail bed that happens when yeast, mold, or dermatophyte get in through a crack in the nail or skin. Look for white, brown, or yellow nails that flake easily. Nail fungus spreads in damp public places like locker rooms. You can avoid getting it by not going barefoot. Your dermatologist is a nail specialist and can treat fungal infections with oral or topical medications or a combination of both. Contact the Skin and Cancer Institute today if you think you have a fungal infection. 

Treat Yourself to Laser Hair Removal This Christmas

What could be a greater gift to yourself this holiday season than laser hair removal?  At the Skin and Cancer Institute, you’ll get smooth, hairless skin—without tweezing, waxing, or shaving. And, it can be done anywhere on your body (face, underarms, chest, back and bikini area). You name the body part and our lasers can remove the hair.  

What is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal destroys hair and is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the United States.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser hair removal kills hair follicles with concentrated light energy. The skin pigment is exposed to pulses of laser light. This melanin then absorbs the light and heats up and destroys unwanted hair.

How Do You Prepare For Laser Hair Removal?

Let your hair grow freely for six weeks before your procedure. This means no tweezing, waxing, shaving, etc. You want that hair root intact so the laser can target it during the procedure. Also avoid sun exposure before and after laser hair removal because it can make the procedure less effective.

How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Take?

The laser machine can treat an area about the size of a soda bottle cap at one time. It’s a fast procedure, especially for small areas like the upper lip, which only take a couple of minutes to treat. But larger areas–like the back–can take up to an hour.

How Many Laser Hair Removal Treatments?

You’ll notice less hair after your first session, but it takes many sessions to completely remove the hair. It takes about six treatments to remove all the hair from the chosen area.

Does Laser Hair Removal Last Forever?

Yes, laser hair removal is permanent but keep in mind that it can take three to seven sessions to achieve this.

Average Price of Laser Hair Removal

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimated that (in 2020) laser hair removal cost an average of $389 per session. But the price varies depending on factors like:

  • The size of the treatment area
  • Number of treatments required
  • The provider’s credentials

Is Laser Hair Removal Painful?

Your dermatologist will apply a topical numbing cream to dull the sting of the light pulses. This cream helps you feel less and relax more during the procedure. It takes about 30 minutes for the cream to numb your skin.

Take Away

Laser hair removal is the perfect thing to gift yourself this holiday season. It works by killing hair follicles with concentrated light energy. You’ll need to prepare six weeks ahead of time. Avoid hair removal leading up to your procedure. Also, avoid the sun before and after you get your hair removed with a laser. The laser works quickly, and takes just a couple of minutes for a small area and about an hour for a larger area of hair. You’ll need between three to seven treatments to remove all of the hair from your chosen area. The average price for laser hair removal is $389 per session. It’s extremely effective, non-invasive and your dermatologist will apply a numbing cream to dull the sting of the light pulses.

Laser skin removal is permanent, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Ready to begin your journey to less body hair? Schedule a consultation today to see what the Skin and Cancer Institute can do for you.

What SkinPen Microneedling Can Do For You

SkinPen is a little tool that can make a big difference to your skin’s texture. We offer it to our patients at the Skin and Cancer Institute because we like how it can smooth acne scars and wrinkles and leave your skin glowing in as little as three sessions.

What is SkinPen?

SkinPen is a handheld microneedling system to treat acne scars and wrinkles. It works on both the face and the neck in as few as three sessions spaced 30 days apart.

Five Benefits of SkinPen

There are many benefits of SkinPen, including that it requires little to no downtime, it can be used year-round, is effective on all skin types, it’s safe, and is FDA cleared. It’s comfortable because numbing cream is used before and during the procedure.

SkinPen Versus Chemical Peel and Lasers

The advantage of SkinPen microdermabrasion over a chemical peel is that it can be performed year-round, even after sun exposure. On the other hand, it’s recommended that you avoid the sun before and after getting a chemical peel or laser treatment.

How Microneedling Works

Microneedling is a procedure that pierces your skin to create thousands of microchannels. These tiny injuries to your skin stimulate your body’s natural healing process to repair acne scars and wrinkles. This remodeling of tissue improves your skin from the inside out. It does not cause any significant damage, and the overall structure of your skin remains intact.

How The Skin Heals

Your skin goes through three phases to heal from microneedling.

  • Inflammation: your immune system is triggered when the skin is pierced. Blood flow increases, and your body begins to create new tissue.
  • Proliferation: The wound is rebuilt with a new network of blood vessels and cells.
  • Remodeling: The skin is rebuilt with new tissues.

What It’s Like to Get Microneedling

You’ll feel a slight sensation and the vibration of the SkinPen during the half-hour microneedling procedure. It doesn’t hurt, though, because the skin is numbed before the procedure.

What Happens Afterward

Your skin will look like it’s sunburned after you get microdermabrasion with the SkinPen. You might also experience some tightness, itching, and discomfort. Your dermatologist will provide simple instructions for how to care for your post-procedure skin.

Once Your Skin Heals

Your skin will look radiant once it heals. After it goes through inflammation and proliferation, your skin is rebuilt with new tissue, which means it will look better than before. Expect acne scars and wrinkles to look smoother and less noticeable. Also, expect the overall look of your skin to be vibrant and glowing.

In Summary

SkinPen is a small handheld tool for microdermabrasion of the face and neck. It’s effective year-round on all skin types. The tiny micro-wounds are rebuilt with a new network of blood vessels and tissues as the skin heals. This new skin looks radiant and smoother than before.

Ready to begin your journey to smoother, more radiant skin? Contact us today at the Skin and Cancer Institute to schedule your SkinPen sessions with one of our providers.

5 Types of Warts And What to do About Them

What is a Wart?

A wart is an overgrowth of cells caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They are most common on the hands and feet but can grow anywhere on your body. There are five basic types of warts that you should be aware of. They all have similarities, though they look different and grow in specific areas of your body.

Planter Warts grow on the soles of your feet, and your body’s weight makes them flat and pushes them into your skin.  A plantar wart looks like a callous with black spots (which are clotted blood vessels).

Filiform Warts look like towers sticking up from your skin, sometimes in clusters. They grow on the face, typically around the eyes and lips.

Common Warts usually grow on the hands and feet. They are hard bumps that range in size from a pinhead to that of a pencil eraser.

Flat Warts form on women’s legs. They can also form on men’s beard areas and children’s faces. They grow in clusters, often dozens at once.

Genital Warts are sexually transmitted. They can look like a cluster of bumps (like cauliflower), or they can show up individually.

How Warts Spread

Warts are spread by skin-to-skin contact. Once you have them, you can spread them to other people–and other parts of your body. You’re especially vulnerable to getting warts in areas where your skin is broken, and HPV can get into your body.

Preventing the Spread

It’s essential to cover warts with a bandage and clothes. Also, try not to break your skin by biting your nails and pulling on hangnails, as this can make it easier to get HPV. Not everyone who comes in contact with warts will get them. It depends on the strength of your immune system. People with chronic skin conditions—like eczema—and immune-compromised people are more likely to get warts than people without these conditions.

Treating Warts

Your body’s immune system will often get rid of some types of warts on its own. For example, plantar warts usually go away after a couple of years. But just because they’ll eventually go away doesn’t mean they should be left untreated. It’s best to treat them so they don’t spread around your body or to someone else.

How to Remove Warts

The Skin and Cancer Institute offers a variety of treatments for removing warts, which include:

  • Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen is the most common treatment for warts. The wart is frozen and eventually falls off.
  • Excision completely removes the wart with a scalpel and usually requires stitches and local anesthesia.
  • Laser treatment is a good option for warts that have been resistant to other therapies.
  • Chemical peels are effective for clusters of warts.
  • Topical medication is the first line of treatment your dermatologist will recommend for genital warts.
  • Cantharidin is applied to warts to cause a blister to form under the growth. The wart will slowly separate from the underlying tissue over a week. When the tissue is fully detached, you return to the office so your dermatologist can cut off the dead wart.
  • Electrodesiccation and curettage is effective for common, filiform, and foot warts. Electrodesiccation burns the wart, and a curette scraps off the dead tissue.

When to See a Dermatologist

Your dermatologist is a wart specialist trained to diagnose and remove the five main types of warts listed above. Contact them today if you have a wart. They’re happy to help you on your journey to healthy, wart-free skin!

2 Techniques For Hair Restoration

It’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs each day. This hair is replaced by new hair growing in, so it’s not noticeable. It’s when you lose your hair faster than it’s replaced that it becomes visibly thin and bald. That’s where the dermatologists at the Skin and Cancer Institute can help. They have two techniques for hair restoration that will work whether you’re male or female (yes, women lose their hair, too).

2 Techniques For Hair Restoration

What is Hair Loss?

Hair loss happens when the regular hair growth cycle is disrupted, and the follicle dies. The result is fewer active hair follicles per square inch of scalp, making the hair look thin or bald.

Factors That Can Cause Hair Loss

You can lose your hair as a result of a medical condition, hormonal changes, heredity, or other factors that include:

  • Medications for high blood pressure, gout, heart problems, depression, arthritis, and cancer.
  • Hairstyles that pull on the hair like cornrows.
  • A stressful event can cause the hair to loosen and fall out temporarily.

Hair Restoration Specialists

Dermatologists are hair restoration specialists. They’re trained to diagnose and treat hair loss. At the Skin and Cancer Institute, our dermatologists have two effective techniques for hair restoration: platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and Follicular unit extraction (FUE).

PRP Comes From Your Own Body

Platelet-rich plasma comes from your blood. Your dermatologist will draw a small amount of blood in a vial and place it in a centrifuge machine. This separates the beneficial plasma from the rest of your blood.

Platelet-Rich Plasma

Also known as PRP, platelet-rich plasma can restore your hair. It contains natural growth factors that will activate your hair follicles to begin regrowing when it’s injected into your scalp.

FUE Hair Transplantation

During FUE, micro punches take individual hair units from a thick-haired donor area on the scalp to a bare spot. The FUE Hair system is non-invasive because it transplants individual hair units with no stitches or scarring.

No “Hair Plugs” Look

The FUE technique does not leave the same “hair plug” look as follicular unit transplantation (FUT). Instead, it looks natural, which is why our dermatologists rely on this technique.

Good Candidates For FUE

You may be a good candidate for FUE if you have an area of dense hair at the back of your head to donate to a spot that is thinning or bald. The denser the donor hair site, the thicker the results. You’re not a good candidate if your entire head of hair is thinning.

Your dermatologist’s advanced hair restoration techniques are helpful if you’re losing hair faster than your body can replace it. We have two methods for hair restoration that will work whether you are male or female: platelet-rich plasma and FUE hair transplantation. Our dermatologists are hair restoration specialists. Contact us today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.

Melanoma Facts You Need to Know

When it comes to skin cancer, melanoma is the most serious type and causes more deaths than any other skin cancer. Because of this, it’s vital to know the facts about melanoma.

melanoma skin cancer on woman arm with sun in the background

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a disease where skin cancer forms inside the cells that give your skin its color. These cancer cells are malignant and can spread to nearby tissue.

It Can Show Up Anywhere

The most common areas for melanoma are the arms and legs in women, and the head, neck and shoulders for men. Melanoma, though, can show up anywhere on the body in both men and women.

The Warning Signs of Melanoma

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your existing moles for any changes in their size, shape, color or texture. A changing mole is often the first clue that cancer is present.

Learn Your ABCDE’s

The “ABCDE” rule can help you identify moles that may be affected by melanoma.

  • Asymmetry
  • Border
  • Color
  • Diameter
  • Evolving


Most melanoma spots are not perfect circles or ovals. Instead, they’re asymmetric. So, if you draw a line through the center and compare the two halves, they won’t match.


A mole affected by melanoma will often have an irregular border. Instead of being smooth and well defined, it will be scalloped, notched or in some way irregular.


A normal mole is evenly colored, whether that’s black, brown, or tan. But a mole that’s cancerous will be multiple colors. Look for different shades of the same color. Or, look for multiple colors in the same mole. Sometimes the splotches of color can even be white, red, pink, blue or gray.


If a dark spot is the size of a pencil eraser or bigger, that’s a warning sign. Still, melanomas can be smaller than one quarter inch diameter. It’s best to detect them while they’re still small.


Look for a mole that is new or changes over time. This includes a mole that becomes itchy or bleeds.

Risk Factors

The main risk factor for developing melanoma is sun exposure.

Specifically, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Other risk factors include:

  • Moles
  • Male
  • Freckles
  • Fair skin
  • Light hair
  • Advanced age
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum
  • Weakened immune system
  • Personal or family history of skin cancer


Avoiding UV rays is the most important way to prevent melanoma. Wear sunscreen daily. Apply it at least 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply it throughout the day because sunscreen loses its effectiveness as time goes by. Other ways to protect yourself from the sun include wearing a hat, sunglasses and long sleeve clothing. Seek shade when possible and avoid being outside during the hottest time of the day. Also, avoid tanning lamps and sun lamps because they, like the sun, give off UV rays.

See a Dermatologist

Our dermatologists recommend you come in each year for a skin checkup. That’s when you’ll get a trained eye looking at your moles and freckles and letting you know if anything is amiss. They’ll ask you if any spots on your skin have changed over time. Also, they’ll look for asymmetry in your moles as well as their border, color, and diameter.

Contact us today to schedule your annual skin check up.

World AIDS Day

Each December first marks international world AIDS day, a time to raise awareness about the impact of this virus. At the Skin and Cancer Institute, we join people worldwide to support those affected by HIV/AIDS and the dermatological conditions from which they’re more likely to suffer. These conditions include Kaposi’s sarcoma, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, shingles, herpes, molluscum contagiosum, oral hairy leukoplakia, and thrush.

HIV/AIDS Impacts Skin Health

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that leads to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It weakens a person’s immune system and makes them more likely to suffer from the skin disorders listed below, especially Kaposi’s sarcoma or KS.

Kaposi’s Sarcoma

This type of cancer causes growth throughout the body, especially purple lesions on the face, legs, and feet. These lesions can also grow on other body parts, including the lymph nodes, liver, or lungs.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

This itchy skin condition looks like dandruff. It mainly affects the scalp but can also affect other parts of the body. About 35 percent of people with early HIV infection are affected by seborrheic dermatitis. That number rises to about 85 percent in AIDS patients.


This autoimmune skin disease causes cells to grow too quickly and form scaly, silver-colored patches that itch. Of those who have HIV, an estimated 2-5 percent also have psoriasis. Systemic treatments for severe psoriasis tend to suppress the immune system. An HIV-positive person’s immune system is already suppressed, which makes managing psoriasis in people with HIV a challenge for dermatologists. Often, the focus is on reducing flare-up triggers like stress, smoking, and food allergies.


A person may experience shingles symptoms if they have a compromised immune system. A Shingles rash is painful and itchy.


The herpes simplex virus is the cause of oral and genital herpes. Outbreaks can sometimes be severe in immune-compromised people and can spread to tissue in the brain or lungs.

Molluscum Contagiosum

This skin condition causes bumps with a dimple in the middle. It’s contagious and spread by contact with infected skin.

Oral Hairy Leukoplakia

This condition causes white patches on the tongue that may look hairy, which is where it gets its name. It’s frequently seen in people who are immune-compromised and is caused by the Epstein Barr Virus.


This is caused by strains of yeast called candida. This fungal infection is common in people whose immune response is low—it usually appears in the mouth or genital area. In untreated HIV, it can spread throughout the body and cause severe illness.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of skin conditions that affect people living with this virus. HIV/AIDS weakens the immune system and makes an affected person more likely to get a myriad of skin disorders, including Kaposi’s sarcoma, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, shingles, herpes, molluscum contagiosum, oral hairy leukoplakia, and thrush.

Our dermatologists have been trained to diagnose and treat all of these conditions. They’re happy to help on your journey to healthy skin. Contact us today for an appointment.