Scars left behind from acne, surgery, chicken pox, burns or other injuries, especially when they appear on your face, can be disfiguring physically and emotionally.
Scars are a natural part of the skin’s healing process, and most small scars fade over time to become nearly invisible. The larger and more severe the skin damage and the longer it takes to heal, however, the more prominent the scar will be. If the appearance of a scar bothers you, a visit to your dermatologist may be in order.
Today, dermatologists offer many cosmetic treatment options that can significantly reduce the appearance of large, raised scars. Although scars cannot be eliminated entirely, modern cosmetic techniques can significantly minimize their visibility for an improved appearance.
Leading cosmetic dermatology options include:
- Dermabrasion: A technique that involves removing the upper layer of the skin, allowing new skin to regenerate.
- Laser scar removal: Using a high-energy light, a dermatologist can remove or reshape disfigured scar tissue. Different types of laser scar removal are used for different types of scarring.
- Microdermabrasion: A non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that applies microscopic crystals. This gently exfoliates and smooths the outermost layer of dead skin cells, revealing younger, healthier looking skin.
- Chemical peels: Typically administered as a facial peel, this treatment involves applying an acid solution to remove and smooth the scarred outer layers of skin.
- Topical cream, gel or ointment: Special creams can be applied directly to a scar to soften the tissue and promote healing.
In some cases, more than one treatment, or a combination of procedures, may be recommended to attain your optimal results. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best treatment for your specific goals and degree of scarring.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your scars, visit your dermatologist. Most scarring is highly treatable by an expert. We can assess the scar, review treatment options, and help you select the most effective therapy for significantly reducing your scars’ visibility.
Many people are bothered by the small, unsightly clusters of purple, red and blue veins that commonly appear on the legs. These blemishes are called spider and varicose veins. Factors that lead to the formation of these veins include heredity, gender, and pregnancy. Prolonged standing, obesity, hormones, and physical trauma may also contribute to the development of varicose veins.
In addition to the visual appearance of the veins, many people may experience the following symptoms:
- Leg pain
- Leg fatigue or heaviness
- Burning sensations in the leg
- Swelling/throbbing in the leg
- Tenderness surrounding the veins
Varicose veins may remain merely a cosmetic issue or can progress to more serious health complications. Delaying treatment may cause leg discoloration, swelling and ulceration, or predispose to blood clots. It’s important to consult your regular physician when you first notice signs of varicose veins.
For patients troubled by the appearance of their veins, there is help. Varicose veins can easily be removed with the help of a dermatologist. A time-tested treatment, sclerotherapy is a simple, safe, and effective non-surgical procedure used to treat unwanted varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy diminishes the appearance of varicose veins by injecting a “sclerosing agent” into target veins to shrink the vessels and minimize their appearance. While a specific treatment plan can only be determined following a consultation with your dermatologist, most patients notice a significant reduction, if not total elimination, of their unwanted veins over the treatment period.
Sclerotherapy has been used for generations by dermatologists to help patients eliminate spider and varicose veins. Sclerotherapy can enhance your appearance and improve your self-confidence. Visit your dermatologist for an initial consultation and find out if you are a good candidate.
Cold winds, low temperatures and dry indoor conditions can strip the skin of its natural oils that serve as a natural moisturizer. Although the cold winter months often cause dry skin, with proper skin care habits you can have a healthy complexion that lasts all season long.
You can’t control the harsh winter climate, but you can protect your skin by learning how to manage the factors that trigger dry, flaky skin.
How Can I Protect My Skin from Dryness
For starters, apply a heavy moisturizer or cream daily to help retain moisture and keep skin from drying out. Since strong, brisk winds can cause chapped skin, it is also important to cover exposed areas by wearing a hat, scarf or mittens when going out into the cold air.
Furnaces, radiators and fireplaces that you use to heat your home during cold winter months may feel wonderful in the middle of winter, but they can be extremely drying. To add moisture back into your home, try using a humidifier. Frequent showering and hand washing can also dry out your skin. Keep skin moist with lotion or cream immediately after you shower and wash your hands to seal in moisture.
No matter what season you’re in, if your dry skin becomes inflamed or develops a painful itch, visit our practice for a proper evaluation and treatment plan. A dermatologist can help you modify your current skin regimen accordingly to help your skin stay healthy with the changing seasons.
Skin care should be an important part of your daily hygiene. This should include cleansing the face daily, moisturizing, applying sunscreen and avoiding harsh products. A good skin care routine starts with understanding the unique needs of your skin type. In many cases, skin can be classified into four different categories: normal, dry, oily and combination.
To determine your type of skin, try this simple test:
- Wash your face and gently pat it dry.
- Wait approximately 15 minutes and then press lens-cleaning tissue paper on different areas of your face.
- If the paper sticks or picks up oil on all parts of your skin, then you have oily skin.
- If the paper does not stick on any part of your face, then you have dry skin.
- If the paper only sticks to your chin, nose and forehead, then you have normal or combination skin.
Normal Skin Types
The ideal skin type, normal skin is characterized by a smooth, even tone and usually blemish free. It also tolerates most skin care lotions and creams. A regular skin care regimen combined with a balanced diet is often enough to maintain healthy, youthful skin.
Dry Skin Types
People with dry skin lack natural moisture. Dry skin may flake during the winter months, and chapping or cracking may occur when skin is extremely dry or dehydrated. Applying gentle moisturizer throughout the day and drinking plenty of water can help relieve dryness and also fight against premature aging. Avoid overexposure to the sun, harsh winds and smoking which can aggravate dry skin.
Oily Skin Types
If you have oily skin, you may be more prone to acne due to excessive oil secretions (sebum) on the face. Oily skin may appear greasy, and is commonly seen among adolescents due to hormonal changes which increase production of sebum. To manage oily skin, use cosmetics sparingly and only apply oil-free products when possible. Wash skin once or twice a day, avoid lotions and creams and always remove makeup before going to bed.
Combination Skin Types
Combination skin is a blend of both dry and oily skin, most often characterized by an oily T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) and a dry neck and cheeks. Different parts of the face may require slightly different care. Applying a toner or anti-acne product on the T-zone to remove residual oils and impurities may be helpful in managing oily skin, while a mild moisturizer may be needed for the cheeks.
Having trouble determining your skin type? Visit your dermatologist for expert skin care advice and a personalized treatment plan for every type of skin. The state of our skin is affected by nutrition, general and emotional health, exercise and genes. How well you care for your skin will play an important role in achieving your healthy glow.
The nails take a lot of abuse. From gardening and dishes to regular wear and tear, harsh chemicals and hard work can really take a toll on the condition of fingernails and toenails. Many nail problems can be avoided with proper care, but others may actually indicate a serious health condition that requires medical attention.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nail problems comprise about 10 percent of all skin conditions, affecting a large number of older adults. Brittle nails are common nail problems, typically triggered by age and the environment. Other conditions include ingrown toenails, nail fungus, warts, cysts or psoriasis of the nails. All of these common ailments can be affectively treated with proper diagnosis from a dermatologist.
Mirror on Health
A person’s nails can reveal a lot about their overall health. While most nail problems aren’t severe, many serious health conditions can be detected by changes in the nails, including liver diseases, kidney diseases, heart conditions, lung diseases, diabetes and anemia. That’s why it’s important to visit your dermatologist if you notice any unusual changes in your nails.
Basic Nail Care
It’s easy to neglect your nails, but with basic nail care, you can help keep your fingernails and toenails looking and feeling great. Here’s how:
- Keep nails clean and dry to prevent bacteria from building up under the nail.
- Cut fingernails and toenails straight across to prevent ingrown nails and trauma.
- Avoid tight-fitting footwear.
- Apply an anti-fungal foot powder daily or when needed.
- Avoid biting and picking fingernails, as infectious organisms can be transferred between the fingers and mouth.
- Wear gloves to protect your fingernails when doing yard work or cleaning house to protect the nails from harsh chemicals and trauma.
- When in doubt about self-treatment for nail problems, visit your dermatologist for proper diagnosis and care.
Always notify a dermatologist of nail irregularities, such as swelling, pain or change in shape or color of the nail. Remember, your nails can tell you a lot about your overall health, and a dermatologist can help determine the appropriate treatment for any of your nail problems.
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