Dr. Toral Patel - 333 East Benton Place (Village Market), Suite 204 - Chicago, IL 60601 - 312-861-3911 Fax: 312-861-3912

By D&A Dermatology
January 12, 2015
Category: Dermatologist

Start 2015 off looking your absolute best! Dr. Toral Patel of D&A Dermatology in the Chicago Loop area is here to help you start the New Year off right.

We specialize in Cosmetic Dermatology to help you look your best. The following are just some of the services we provide that will help you accomplish your New Years Resolution for looking your best in the New Year.

Botox Cosmetic Treatments

As times goes by, have you begun to notice small laugh lines and crow's feet starting to develop? Then it may be time to start Botox Laser Hair RemovalTreatments. Not only can Botox help with laugh lines and crow's feet, but also with forehead worry lines, smile lines, and lines between your eyebrows. Almost everyone in good general health is a candidate for Botox. Botox is a great way to refresh your appearance as we head into the New Year.

CoolSculpting

CoolSculplting may be just the thing you are looking for to get rid of that stubborn belly fat that just won't go away. CoolSculpting is a technique that freezes away unwanted fat cells. The procedure has been cleared by the FDA as effective and safe. The best part is that is is done without surgery or downtime. You will love the way you look in the New Year.

Laser Hair Removal

Are you tired of shaving, waxing, plucking, and tweezing unwanted hair? At D&A Dermatology, we can help you get rid of that unwanted hair once and for all. We can remove hair from you legs, bikini area, arms, face, and other areas. You will enjoy the New Year spending less time removing unwanted hair.

Microdermabrasion

To help relieve the stress your skin endures from normal daily life and the environment, consider giving your skin a fresh start in the New Year with microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion can help strengthen your skin and thicken your collagen, resulting in smoother and younger looking skin.

Chemical Peel

If you would like to reduce the appearance of fine lines around your eyes and mouth, or reduce the appearance of age spots or freckles, or just generally want to improve the look and feel of your skin, you should consider a chemical peel. With a chemical peel, you will be putting your best face forward in the New Year.

These are just some of the services we provide to help you look your best in the New Year. To find out more, contact Dr. Patel at D&A Dermatology in Chicago at (312) 861-3911 today. Together, we will help you look your best in 2015!

By D&A Dermatology
December 18, 2014
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Botox  

While botulinum toxin, the root toxin used to make BOTOX cosmetic is by no means a new toxin, its usefulness in the medical and cosmetic fields was not discovered until the 1960s. At this time, Dr. Alan Scott, an ophthalmologist and researcher Edward Schantz started researching using botulinum toxin treatments. This initial research led to innovations in treating strabismus, which causes the eyes to appear crossed. As the decades passed, further research enabled scientists and doctors to find new uses for BOTOX, including to reduce temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The first official studies on the effects of BOTOX in wrinkle reduction were published in the late 1980s.

Mechanism of Action

BOTOX only works on dynamic wrinkles. These are wrinkles present when a muscle contracts, such as the facial muscles in your forehead. By keeping these muscles from contracting, our BOTOX Chicago Loop patients can achieve a smoother-looking face.

The ability for BOTOX to minimize excessive muscle contraction has opened up the possibilities to treat a number of conditions. Physicians currently use BOTOX to treat more than 20 medical disorders, including chronic migraines, overactive bladder and cerebral palsy.

How Long Does BOTOX Last?

BOTOX is not a permanent solution to wrinkle reduction. The body ultimately absorbs some of the toxin, which can return the wrinkles to their previous appearance. The duration BOTOX lasts differs from person to person. Typically, an injection will last anywhere from three to six months.

When BOTOX is injected, it can take anywhere from three to seven days to take full effect. Once the facial muscles become accustomed to relaxing, patients often can take longer durations between injections.

Ready to experience a younger-looking you through BOTOX? Call our Chicago Loop dermatologist's office at (312) 861-3911 to schedule an appointment.

By D&A Dermatology
December 16, 2014
Category: Skin care
Tags: Acne  
Acne Treatment ImageWhile acne usually appears during puberty, adults into their 50s can even develop acne. Acne is one of the most common skin problems, affecting 40 to 50 million Americans. Furthermore, the American Academy of Dermatology also reports that almost 85 percent of all people will experience acne at some point. If you’re dealing with acne then you are most likely looking for ways to get clearer skin. Follow these helpful tips from your Chicago loop dermatologist to promote healthier, acne-free skin:
 

1. Avoid overwashing

 
At the first sign of a pimple, you might feel the need to scrub your face as clean as possible. However, overwashing can strip skin of the essential oils it needs, which can make acne worse. Plus, acne washes contain strong chemicals, which can dry out skin. Try this approach instead: wash acne twice a day with only a mild face wash and lukewarm water. This will help reduce irritation
 

2. Opt for oil-free products

 
Oil-free cleansers won’t cause acne or clog pores, so they are the best choice for anyone, but particularly those prone to acne. When you go shopping for acne products, look for words like “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic”.
 

3. Limit sun exposure

 
The sun’s rays can dry out skin and aggravate acne. Not to mention sunbathing can cause wrinkles and even skin cancer. And if you are using prescription acne medications, you’ll most certainly want to avoid the sun (as your medication may already recommend), as it can make you more sensitive to UV rays.
 

4. Don’t pick or touch your face

 
When you notice a pimple your first inclination might be to pop or squeeze it; however, think twice before touching your skin. Our fingers and hands carry a lot of germs, which only get transferred to the skin. Plus, popping that pesky pimple could only push bacteria further into the skin, causing infection and scarring. Talk to your Chicago dermatologist about extractions.
 

5. Know your treatment options

 
If you aren’t happy with how your acne is responding to over-the-counter treatments, your dermatologist has a variety of different options from effective cleansers to hormonal treatments to extractions and antibiotics. We can get you on the road to clearer skin.
 
We would also be happy to sit down with you and create a unique treatment plan for clearing up your acne. Call us today to schedule your next dermatologist appointment.
By D&A Dermatology
September 16, 2014
Category: Skin care
Tags: Dermatology   skin care   skin problems  
It’s extremely tempting to spend as much time outside as possible when the temperatures are hot and the sun is high -- especially in the summer months. Many people look at this type of weather as the best time to go sunbathing, enjoying the beach or going to a park with family. But unfortunately, hot and humid weather is not a friend to your skin. Dr. Toral Patel runs a skin wellness center of Chicago called D&A Dermatology where she often treats patients who have serious skin problems that seem to only develop in the summer months.
 

Humid, Hot Weather & Your Skin

When the weather is humid it means that there is a lot of moisture in the air. That causes the pores of the skin to open and makes them susceptible to gathering dirt, oil and allergens. Too much humidity can cause problems like acne, skin breakouts, eczema and allergic reactions that show up on the skin. Many people who live in humid clients often complain of a condition they call “tropical acne.” As you can imagine this is a problem that most often affects patients who live in areas that are close to the equator, but Dr. Patel also sees these cases at her skin wellness center of Chicago.
 

How to Protect Your Skin

The best solution for this skin problem is preventative -- stay out of the hot, humid weather as much as possible. Stay inside in an air-conditioned room or at an air conditioned business during the hottest hours of the day. If you must do battle with hot humid weather, keep a package of wet wipes (preferably containing witch hazel) handy that you can use to keep your face clean as you sweat. Scrub your face clean intermittently throughout the day.
 
A common treatment for skin problems that occur because of humidity and hot weather is a topical antibiotic that Dr. Patel can prescribe at her Chicago office.
 

Get a Skin Checkup from Dr. Patel

If you feel that your skin issues may be related to hot, humid summer weather, and you need a solution ASAP, contact dermatologist Dr. Toral Patel at her skin wellness center of Chicago. She can provide you with products and treatments to rejuvenate your skin and give you a fresh new look.
Are you in search of a non-surgical way to freshen and rejuvenate the skin on your face?  In the Chicago microdermabrasionLoop, microdermabrasion treatments are available to help you improve the appearance of your smile.  This treatment is a less aggressive approach to improving the condition of your skin than dermabrasion.  It makes use of a minimally abrasive instrument to gently sand the skin, removing the thicker, uneven outer layer for an improved appearance.  This type of skin rejuvenation is used to treat light scarring, discoloration and sun damage.  There is little to no discomfort experienced with microdermabrasion, meaning you won’t need a topical or local anesthetic and there is no recovery downtime – just a renewed appearance.
 
What Should I Know About Microdermabrasion?
 
There are two kinds of microdermabrasion treatments available.  Microdermabrasion is essentially a powerful mechanical exfoliation with either the original crystal microdermabrasion technology or the newer diamond-tip microdermabrasion.  The original crystal microdermabrasion technology involves a hand-held device that streams tiny crystals across your skin.  An attached vacuum simultaneously suctions those exfoliating crystals back into the machine, along with the dead or loosened skin.  The newer approach uses a diamond-tip wand that is gently moved across your skin to exfoliate.
 
Each treatment will last for approximately a half hour.  During treatment you may feel a mild scratching as the procedure removes the superficial skin cells.  Additionally, you will notice a vibrating sensation similar to a massage.  There will also be a suction mechanism to lift off the dead skin.  After your treatment is complete, your dermatologist may recommend a special moisturizer or facial product to enhance and prolong your result. 
 
What are the Benefits?
 
For patients in the Chicago Loop, microdermabrasion can help achieve dramatic results, but it is highly dependent on the skill of your dermatologist.  For the best results, it is generally recommended that you get a series of treatments, which can be recommended by your dermatologist.  Because the machine can be adjusted depending on skin type and condition, even people with sensitive skin can get this treatment from a skilled dermatologist.  It takes about 30 minutes and there is no down-time for the skin to recover.  That is why it is commonly referred to as a “lunchtime peel.”
 
Are you a Candidate for Microdermabrasion in the Chicago Loop?
 
Facial microdermabrasion is sometimes performed in conjunction with facial spa treatments.  You can avoid any risks or complications and achieve optimal results by visiting our qualified dermatologist at D&A Dermatology.  With our dermatologist, you can rest assured that they are properly trained in the Chicago Loop for microdermabrasion treatments. 
 
Do not get microdermabrasion if you have extremely sensitive skin, diabetes, vascular conditions like rosacea, skin inflammation, bacterial infections, lack of tactile sensation, keloid scarring, cuts and abrasions, or have gotten Botox within 72 hours. 
 
It is important to realize that you have just taken off the outermost layer of skin, which is also its protection, so this is not the time to go to the beach or hit the tanning salon.  Be careful with your skin for a few days after treatment.  In other words, you can easily overdo it and irritate your skin, so take it easy.
 
Contact us at D&A Dermatology for more information on microdermabrasion in the Chicago Loop and to find out if you are a candidate for this treatment.  Glowing, youthful skin can be just around the corner with microdermabrasion.
By tpatel@dnaderm.com
February 18, 2014
Category: Rosacea
Tags: Dermatology   Chicago Loop  
If you experience frequent flare-ups of inflamed skin, you may have rosacea, which generally begins after age 30 and goes through cycles of flare-ups and remissions.  Over time, rosacea gets redder in color and small blood vessels may also appear on the face.  If left untreated, bumps and pimples may form, and the end of the nose may become swollen, red and bulbous.  It is not contagious, but there is some evidence that suggests that rosacea may be inherited. Dr. Toral Patel explains to our patients in the Chicago Loop that the inflammation caused by rosacea can affect the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead or eyelids. 
 
Chicago Loop Residents: Avoid Triggers for Rosacea
 
With each case unique there is no cure for rosacea, but our Chicago Loop dermatologist can prescribe oral antibiotics and topical medications to reduce the severity of the symptoms.  When your condition goes into remission, only topical treatments may be needed.  In severe cases, a vascular laser, intense pulsed light source or other medical devices may be used to remove any visible blood vessels and reduce excess redness and bumpiness on the nose. 
 
The National Rosacea Foundation found that the leading triggers of rosacea include:
  • Sun exposure
  • Hot or cold weather
  • Emotional stress
  • Wind
  • Alcohol
  • Heavy exercise
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot baths
  • Heated beverages
  • Some skin care products
  • Humidity
  • Indoor heat
To help reduce the incidence of flare-ups, a gentle daily skin care routine is recommended.  Your skin care routine should consist of mild, non-abrasive cleansers, soft clothes, rinsing in lukewarm water, and blotting the face dry.  Additionally, patients need to protect themselves from sun exposure by using sunscreens with SPF 15 or higher and sunblock that eliminate UVA and UVB rays. 
 
You are encouraged to keep a record of flare-ups to try and determine the lifestyle and environmental triggers that aggravate the condition.  Contact Dr. Toral Patel in the Chicago Loop for Rosacea treatment information and how to avoid certain triggers.
By tpatel@dnaderm.com
November 27, 2013
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Acne   Chicago Loop  
acne chicago loop ILMillions of people are affected by acne—both teens and adults alike.  This common, but frustrating condition can cause social anxiety and a lack of self-esteem, especially when treatments fail time and time again. If you suffer from acne in the Chicago Loop, our dermatologist, Dr. Toral Patel, is available to help create a proper skin care regimen to help.
 

Patients in the Chicago Loop, What Causes Acne?

 
To help you better understand acne, Dr. Toral Patel offers a closer look at what acne is.  Acne develops when the skin’s follicles are blocked with an overproduction of oil by the oil glands of the skin.  The excess oil creates an environment for bacterial overgrowth, which leads to inflammation and lesions on the surface of the skin in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and sometimes in deeper skin lesions called cysts.  Severe acne can cover the face, neck, chest and back.
 

Preventing and Treating Acne in the Chicago Loop at D&A Dermatology

 
There are a myriad of face washes and products sold for the treatment of acne—many without any proven effects. That’s why visiting D&A Dermatology is the best way to find an acne treatment in Chicago’s Loop that will be the most appropriate and most effective for your acne.
 
There are many simple ways to prevent and control mild cases of acne from home, including:
 
  • Wash your face gently with warm water and soap each day
  • Avoid excess washing and harsh scrubbing as this will only irritate your acne and lead to dry skin
  • Avoid touching your face as the oils from your hands can clog your pores
  • Do not pop or pick at acne lesions; it will only aggravate your skin more
  • Remove makeup before bed and avoid wearing heavy makeup
 
Remember, acne can’t be cured over night as it takes time for acne to heal. For severe cases of acne or when self-care techniques aren’t effective, visit Dr. Patel in Chicago’s Loop for acne care.
 

When to Visit Our Office in Chicago’s Loop for Acne Care

 
Waiting for acne to disappear on its own can be aggravating, lead to permanent scarring, and even cause severe depression.  In fact, severe cases of acne may only get worse and lead to additional skin damage.  Advanced acne treatments from our office in Chicago’s Loop can help heal existing acne, stop new lesions from forming, prevent scarring and minimize the embarrassment and emotional stress caused by this condition.
 
The severity of acne and the extent of treatment will vary for each patient. If you are one of the million’s of Americans that suffer from this skin condition, don’t put off treatment. Visit D&A Dermatology in Chicago’s Loop for professional acne treatment and care for blemish-free skin.
By tpatel@dnaderm.com
October 24, 2013
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

 

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

It’s that time of year- you can’t turn a corner without seeing a pumpkin. From muffins to lattes to front porches, they are the brightly colored mascots of fall. And as it turns out, pumpkins are packed with benefits that are great for the skin, too:

-       Natural fruit acids and alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) help speed skin cell turnover, resulting in a smoother, brighter complexion.

-       Vitamins A (beta carotene) & C are potent antioxidants that help stimulate collagen production and reverse the signs of aging.

-       Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which has been shown to be helpful for acne.

We are very excited to introduce a special chemical peel for the fall: the Phyto Pumpkin Enzyme Peel. This relaxing and effective treatment leverages the many natural benefits of pumpkin to reverse the signs of sun damage and aging, resulting in brighter, more even skin tone and a smoother texture. Chemical peels and pumpkins: 2 things we love at D&A, together at last! Call now to schedule your appointment, and reap the benefits of this favorite fall staple!

By admin@dnaderm.com
May 05, 2013
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

 

If you’ve ever found yourself wandering around a department store or cosmetics boutique, confused by the number of products that claim to turn back time and make your skin look better than ever, you are definitely not alone. Many of my patients come in with a bag full of expensive products, unsure whether or not any of them are working and overwhelmed by the complicated regimen they are supposed to follow. Patients often ask me to help them cut through the hype, and to recommend an anti-aging skin care regimen that is effective, simple, and won’t break the bank.  So here, in a nutshell, is my advice:

1. Wear sunscreen- every day, rain or shine. Yes, yes, I’m sure you’ve heard this before many times, but it really is great advice! The sun can wreak havoc on your skin in so many ways. It can greatly increase your risk of getting skin cancer, which I will talk about in a future post, but for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the other types of damage ultraviolet light can cause to the skin. Over time, excessive unprotected sun exposure can cause fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, scaly patches (which may be pre-cancerous), and a rough, leathery texture to the skin. As with pretty much everything else in medicine and health, prevention is better than cure, so start protecting your skin as soon as possible with daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both the UVA and UVB rays of the sun. I recommend SPF 30 for daily protection, and SPF 45-50 for more intense or prolonged sun exposure (outdoor exercise, skiing, beach or sunny vacations, etc).   Two favorite sunscreens of mine that patients love are Elta Clear SPF 46 (great for acne or rosacea-prone skin) and Skinceuticals SPF 30 Sheer Physical Fusion (a good choice for both daily use and post-procedure, such as lasers or chemical peels). If you like to multitask (I know I do!), try Revision SPF 45Intellishade Tinted Moisturizer; it has a magic one-shade fits all formulation, and layers beautifully under makeup. Keep in mind that the SPF rating only gives an indication of UVB protection; we do not currently have a rating for UVA protection, so your best bet is a sunscreen that states it is “broad-spectrum.” If you only do one good thing for your skin each day, wear sunscreen. Pure and simple.

2. Exfoliate your skin on a regular basis. The two most well known exfoliants are retinoids (such as retinol and tretinoin) and  alpha-hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acid). Incorporating one or both of these compounds in your skincare regimen can result in dramatic improvement over time.

Of all the anti-aging products out there, I think retinoids have the strongest scientific evidence behind them to prove their effectiveness.  Retinoids help build new collagen, increase turnover of skin cells, and unclog pores. Translation? Fine lines and wrinkles are improved, your complexion is brighter, and pores appear smaller.  Retinoids can also help treat and prevent acne, and can help fade the discolored marks that acne can leave behind. Milder strength retinoids (such as retinol0 are available in many over-the-counter formulations; stronger retinoids (such as tretinoin or tazarotene) require a prescription.  Any retinoid has the potential to cause irritation, redness and peeling of the skin, so I suggest that you work your way up slowly to regular use. Start by applying a pea-sized amount of your retinoid cream only two nights per week, and wait at least 15 minutes after washing your face before applying it (application on damp skin can increase irritation).  After two weeks of twice weekly use, increase to three times per week for a few weeks, and increase to nightly use after that only if you can tolerate it. You will still get good benefit by sticking to retinoid use three times per week, but maximal effects may take longer to see.  Ask us about the retinoids we carry in our office: Avene Retrinal Cream, Neocutis Nouvelle, and Renova; we can help you decide which product is best for your skin type.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acid) can be added to your skincare regimen along with retinoids, or, if your skin is too sensitive for retinoids, can be used in place of them for exfoliation. These acids are naturally occurring, often derived from sugar or sugar cane (glycolic acid) or milk sugars (lactic acid). These products sweep away dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, revealing the healthy skin underneath and resulting in a rejuvenated, more luminous complexion when used regularly over time. These exfoliants may also help increase the penetration of other anti-aging products into the skin, increasing their efficacy.

If tolerated, you may use a glycolic acid lotion every morning (such as Glytone Step 1 Exfoliating Lotion) and a retinoid cream every night.  Alternatively, you may do a glycolic acid peel or mask at home once a week. You should not layer retinoids with alpha-hydroxy acids because they will render each other ineffective; separate them out into AM & PM products. Make sure you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day (see point #1), since these products may make you more sensitive to the sun. Vivité Daily Lotion with SPF 30 is a great glycolic acid lotion with a built-in sunscreen, making it an ideal choice for morning use.

3. Fight DNA damage with antioxidants. I’m sure you’ve heard that a diet rich in antioxidant foods is good for your overall health. Similarly, topical products containing potent antioxidants are crucial for the health of your skin. Well known antioxidants in skincare products include vitamin C, vitamin E,  ferulic acid, phloretin, green tea, and coffeeberry, among many  others. These compounds neutralize free radicals created by ultraviolet light, pollutants and oxidative stress; these free radicals can damage DNA and initiate the cascade that results in skin cancer, sun spots, wrinkles, and the textural changes that are caused by photodamage.  Antioxidants are available in various forms, most commonly serums and lotions; they can be layered under sunscreen and makeup in the morning, be used as part of your nighttime regimen, or both.  We love the antioxidant serums by Skinceuticals: CE Ferulic and Phloretin CF.

4. Strengthen and repair the skin with a growth factor. Growth factors are small proteins that stimulate the formation of new collagen and elastic fibers, and promote the repair of damaged skin; use of growth factor products can improve the texture and elasticity of the skin, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration. Neocutis Biocream is a wonderful growth factor cream that many of our patients use as a night cream, and is a bestseller in our office.

Of course, your regimen should be uniquely tailored to your skin type, and should address your specific skincare goals.. I recommend that you use the above guidelines as a starting point for building your skincare regimen, and let us help you answer any questions you may have along the way.

Thanks for reading- and stay tuned for more posts from D&A. 

Dr. Patel

 

 

By tpatel@dnaderm.com
October 08, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

 

e2: Sublative & Sublime Laser Treatment

10% Off Full and Partial Face Individual Treatment

15% Package of 3 or more Treatments

Sublative and Sublime Rejuvenation are treatments that use fractional bi-polar radio frequency to penetrate deeper through the skin, maximizing collagen production while keeping the top layer of the skin intact. These treatments are effective for treating fines lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and for overall skin tightening.

**Package must be purchased by October 31, 2012.

Treatments must be scheduled and performed within 6 months of purchase.

 

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH: 15% OFF!

Glytone Mini Peel and Mild Gel Wash Package                                                                                                     

 Glytone Mini Peel Gel has won Allure Magazine’s Best Of Beauty Award! The gel provides a safe, at-home superficial face peel that creates more radiance in your skin.                                                                                                            

Glytone Mild Gel Wash is an exfoliating wash that improves skin texture and minimizes breakouts when used regularly. It is a patient favorite and tolerated by most skin types.  

By admin@dnaderm.com
August 21, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

 

SPECIALS AND EVENTS

August 2012: Enjoy 15% off all product purchases, and 30 dollars off any cosmetic service!

September 2012: Buy 3, get 1 free! Rejuvenate and exfoliate your skin with a series of Silkpeel® microdermabrasions or chemical peels.

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH: (please call or stop in for more information)

August 2012: Revision Intellishade® SPF 45 is an anti-aging tinted moisturizer for all skin types. This product is a patient favorite! It is formulated to match every skin tone; one shade really does fit all. It provides powerful sun protection against UVA and UVB rays, and also contains pepties, botanical extracts and antioxidants for anti-aging benefits. The moisturizer is available in an original formulation for dry skin types, and a matte formulation for those with oily skin.

September 2012: Skinceuticals Phloretin CF is a powerful antioxidant serum that has been featured in numerous beauty magazines and really delivers results. Antioxidants defend skin against toxic free radicals caused by sun exposure; these free radicals can cause DNA mutations and cell damage. Phloretin CF contains 3 powerful antioxidants: phloretin (derived from the bark of apple trees), ferulic acid (derived from plants), and vitamin C. When used regularly, this serum helps to stimulate collagen formation, diminish hyperpigmentation, and helps to protect the skin's DNA. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen plus Phloretin CF every morning and rest assured that you are being proactive about protecting and nourishing your skin.

MEDICAL UPDATES

Sunscreen: make it a year-round habit

As the weather gets cooler and we don't see as much sunlight, please remember to keep wearing your sunscreen! There are two ultraviolet rays from the sun that can cause skin cancer and skin damage: UVA and UVB. Even on a very cloudy day, about 80% of the sun's UV rays can pass through the clouds. Daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen is the best preventive measure you can take to protect your skin from skin cancer and premature aging caused by too much UV exposure. The SPF (sun protection factor) rating only gives you an indication of the UVB protection of a sunscreen; there is no rating system in the United States for UVA. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30-45; it should also say "broad spectrum," which indicates it has UVA protection as well. The FDA recently changed its  labeling requirements for sunscreens to minimize confusion and protect consumers against false claims; these changes are still being implemented by manufacturers and we will update you once they are fully in place.

If you have questions about which sunscreen is best for you or have a history of allergy or breakouts with sunscreen use, please come into the office and we can help you in your selection.

Common colder weather skin ailments

As we enjoy the last few weeks of summer and head into fall, there are some skin conditions that may start to worsen as the weather gets colder and the air becomes drier. Gentle skin care and the regular use of moisturizers is especially important during the fall and winter months. Below is some basic information on a few of the most common conditions we see in the office during the winter months: psoriasis, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.

Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition characterized by redness and scaling of the skin; the scalp, nails and joints may also be affected. It is a fairly common condition; both adults and children may be affected. The affected areas of the scalp and skin may be itchy or may not cause any symptoms at all. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease; this means it is caused by an abnormal response of the patient’s immune system, which attacks the patient’s skin as though it is a foreign substance. Common triggers for psoriasis flares include winter weather (due to decreased sunlight), stress, and infections.  While we do not know yet what causes psoriasis, some cases may be inherited and multiple family members may be affected. Over the past few years, new research has shown that patients with psoriasis may be at higher risk for heart disease, so it is important that psoriasis patients have regular follow up with their primary care provider to be monitored and treated for other cardiac risk factors, such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.

Many treatments for psoriasis are currently available, and the decision of which treatment is best for you will be based on the severity of your psoriasis and the risk factors of each treatment.  Topical medications (such as steroid creams and vitamin D ointments) work well for smaller focal areas of psoriaisis. Steroid foams and sprays are convenient and effective for the scalp. For patients with more extensive involvement, Dr. Patel may recommend laser therapy, phototherapy, or injectable medications.  Oral medications are also an option but less commonly used now that newer options with less required monitoring are available. If you have been diagnosed with or think you may have psoriasis, please call the office for an evaluation and discussion of treatment options.

Eczema is a catch-all term for dry itchy skin. There are several types of eczema, and they have different clinical presentations.  While we do not yet have a cure for eczema, we do have a good understanding of how to control the symptoms:

Barrier control: Patients with eczema have a defect in their skin barrier, which causes a decrease in the natural moisturizing factor of the skin as well as in increase in bacterial colonization (mainly staph bacteria). Prescription creams and over-the-counter moisturizers are available that help to strengthen barrier function and allow for better moisture retention in the skin.

Inflammation control: While moisturizers and gentle skin care are critical in the treatment of eczema,  many patients will have flares of itching and dryness that require prescription anti-inflammatory medications. The most commonly prescribed medications for eczema are topical steroids and topical immunomodulators ( such as Protopic® and Elidel®), but patients with severe extensive involvement may require short-term oral medications to suppress the immune response and get the disease under better control.

Phototherapy: Patient with more extensive or severe eczema may benefit from a form of treatment known as phototherapy. Certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light have been shown to be helpful in the treatment of eczema. Phototherapy is a carefully controlled method of delivering these wavelengths under a doctor’s supervision, using specialized devices such as light boxes or lasers.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common rash that is most often seen on the scalp, face and chest; the ears, underarms and other areas of the body may also be affected. It is sometimes mistaken for dandruff.  Seborrheic dermatitis is a harmless condition that results in red scaling patches that are sometimes very itchy and irritated. This condition is thought to be due to a yeast (Malassezia) that is a common inhabitant of human skin; patients with seborrheic dermatitis are more prone to reacting to this yeast. The condition tends to be worse in the winter months; it may also flare during times of stress or illness.

The mainstay of treatment for seborrheic dermatitis is an antifungal shampoo or cream to help reduce the amount of Malassezia yeast on the skin; some patients may also require anti-inflammatory creams such as topical steroids to calm down the redness and itching associated with the rash.

 

 

 

 

 

 





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