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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

(Don't) Fear the Beard


Spring is on its way in and sweaters, scarves and mittens are on the way out. The temperature is rising, but that doesn’t mean the beard trend is going anywhere. Although this manly fashion staple has been around for quite some time, the art of growing and maintaining facial hair hasn’t always come as easy for some as it has for others. The amount of time it takes for a cleanly shaven face to sprout a full beard varies for every man, but the average is about four weeks. Take note of these tips for growing a beard from the beginning to ending stages.

Ingrown Hairs
Sometimes known as razor bumps, ingrown hairs will sometimes occur in the beginning stage of growth when hair gets trapped inside the follicle or grows back into the skin. This will occur after your initial shave before you start growing out your beard. It is common, but very painful and uncomfortable. Be careful when treating the irritated area. Don’t pull it out from the top, as that can cause it to break instead of come out, which will create more irritation. Instead, put a hot, damp towel over your face, disinfect the area with some alcohol and use tweezers to gently pull out the hair as close to the base as possible to pull the bulb out. Don’t ever squeeze them with your fingers! Dirt under your fingernails could lead to an infection. 

Itchiness
Don’t stress. This should only last a couple of weeks. If you’re new to growing out your facial hair, this initial stage can be uncomfortable and will make you feel like you’ve got a rash under all of that stubble. Don’t worry! It’s most likely just your face drying out and collecting dust. Apply some lotion to your face daily, and you’ll be good to go. Remember, that annoying itch is only temporary!

Growing Pains
Like I mentioned before, the amount of time it takes to grow a beard is different for everyone. Be patient and avoid trimming or shaping your beard for at least a month. For some men that’s too long, and for others it takes two months to get rid of that patchy look. Use your best judgment, but avoid the clippers for as long as you can!

Grooming
When you’ve achieved your desired beard length, which should be after a month or so, you should start a beard grooming routine. You’ll experience the best results by shampooing and conditioning your beard a couple of times a week. Most guys use their regular bar soap in the shower, but you shouldn’t! It will dry out the skin underneath your beard and cause the hair to be brittle.

Trim your beard every week to every few weeks, depending on how long you want to keep your beard and the speed at which your hair grows. When trimming or shaping your beard, always use the right tools. For trimming full, thick beards, comb your beard before using shears. Some men prefer to use scissors, while others prefer to use electric trimmers with a high guard. For a more scruffy, stubble look, use a stubble trimmer every couple of days and an after-shave moisturizer afterward.

Do you have any questions about growing a beard that weren’t answered in this post? Ask your questions in the comments below, and we’ll help you out!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring in to New Skin


Warmer weather and fresh flowers are on their way as spring quickly approaches. As we wait with anticipation to pull out our sandals and pack up our sweaters, our skin might not be as ready to embrace the new season. Don’t worry! There is still time to prepare. Here are some tips to help get your skin ready for spring.

Feet
They’ve been bundled up in wool socks and leather boots, but it’s time to get your feet ready to see the sun again. The first step in getting your feet in tip-top shape is to exfoliate. Use a gentle exfoliating cleanser or scrub to wash away the dead skin and reveal soft, new heels and toes. Next, moisturize. Be consistent in this step, and don’t neglect your toenails and cuticles. The final step is optional (and primarily for the female readers), but a little color added to your toes is a great complement for your toe-baring sandals!

Body
Your skin is probably still recuperating from the dry, cold winter air. To give your skin a boost toward a springtime glow, start by exfoliating. Just like your feet, the rest of your skin needs a gentle cleanser or scrub to help buff away dry skin. Use an exfoliating brush or cloth in the shower along with your exfoliating wash for optimal results. The next step is to apply a moisturizing body lotion to rehydrate your skin. To take care of dry patches that don’t go away with the first two steps, you can invest in some over-the-counter deep moisturizing balms or, for extreme cases, talk to your physician about a stronger solution.

Face
Although staying true to your regular skin care routine is a good rule of thumb, throwing something new into the mix might be just what your face needs to achieve a healthy spring glow. An option you should consider is one of our many medi spa treatments. One treatment we recommend when first visiting our medi spa is a facial. Our many facial options include treatments like deep exfoliation, a therapeutic massage or extractions to clean out clogged pores and eliminate dead skin cells. These three steps will nourish your skin and promote new cell turnover. Another treatment we offer is microdermabrasion. This treatment rejuvenates your skin, using a state-of-the-art diamond-tipped wand to remove dead skin cells and other impurities.

Need more suggestions for warmer weather skin preparation or interested in learning more about our medi spa? Leave a comment below, and we’ll help you out!

All medi spa services are available by reservation Monday through Friday. Contact us at 901-759-2322 to book your treatment today!   

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kicking Athlete's Foot


What is it?
Tinea pedis, better known as athlete’s foot, is a common skin infection. While it can affect everyone, it is most common in adult men. It is caused by fungi called dermatophytes, which are commonly found in warm, damp areas like gym shower rooms, locker rooms or public pool restrooms where many people walk with bare feet.

Athlete’s foot takes many forms, but it is most easily recognized by an intense itching sensation on the feet, cracked or peeling skin (especially in between the toes) or a red rash and scaling on the soles. The infection normally causes a noticeable odor and often spreads to one or more toenails, causing them to appear yellow and thick.   

Prevention
Keep floor surfaces clean. Any area where you may be walking barefoot is important, but it’s especially important for bathtubs, showers and bathroom floors. Since athlete’s foot is most commonly contracted in public areas that you are not capable of monitoring or sanitizing, wear sandals or shower shoes while showering and walking in those places. Also, wash your feet with soap and water and completely dry them afterward at least once daily, and always avoid re-wearing dirty socks.

Powdering your feet before putting on your socks and shoes can also help prevent athlete’s foot. The powder will help control the moisture, which will keep your feet from creating their own warm, damp area as a result of friction and sweat.

Treatments
There are many options available for treating athlete’s foot. Most mild to moderate cases can be cleared up in two to three weeks with the use of over-the-counter anti-fungal cream, powder or spray. Ingredients you’ll want to look for in over-the-counter medications include terbinafine, miconazole, clotrimazole and tolnaftate. If your infection does not clear up after two weeks of consistent use and application of these medications, we strongly encourage you to visit a physician for a stronger anti-fungal prescription that can be offered in topical or oral forms.

If you are suffering from athlete’s foot, we encourage you to seek the medical advice of a physician. For more information about athlete’s foot or other fungal infections that affect your skin, please visit www. advanceddermatologymemphis.com or call 901-759-2322.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Skin Care Product Expiration


Skin care products can be expensive. People love to have them but hate to buy them – and that’s exactly why it’s easy to talk yourself into keeping that $50 bottle of moisturizer you bought three years ago that’s only half-empty. Although you may be saving money, you might be doing a disservice to your skin. Here is a brief guide on when to keep and when to toss your skin care products:

Makeup

Eyes
Of all your cosmetics, your eye makeup probably has the shortest shelf life. There isn’t a good way to clean the majority of the applicators you use, so it’s easy for bacteria to grow quickly and abundantly. You should throw away your mascara every one to three months. If it’s dry and clumpy, it’s well past its expiration. When it comes to liners, pencils can last up to a year if they’re the type that can be regularly sharpened, but gel and liquid liners should be thrown away every couple of months. Cream eye shadows can last up to a year, and powder eye shadow is good for up to two years. 

Lips
Lipstick will begin to dry out after about two years, and that’s your sign to toss it. Lip gloss, on the other hand, will start becoming extra sticky when it’s reached its expiration, and that usually happens after one year. 

Face
Powders and blushes tend to last up to two years. Powders will start to become flaky and dry when it’s time to toss them. Liquid foundation can last anywhere from six months to a year. When your foundation starts to lighten and separate into layers, that’s when you’ll know it’s time for it to go.

Cleansers

Face
Facial cleansers can last up to six months. If your cleanser includes benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, it’s important to note that they decay quickly and no longer work as they should after about four to six months. Glycolic peels and acne treatment pads will begin to dry out after two months and should be thrown out once that happens.

Body
Body washes can last for two to three years. If you notice a change in consistency, smell or color, stop using the product.

Moisturizers

Face
One year is a safe bet for most moisturizers. Although products that don’t contain anti-aging properties may last longer, the bacteria that accumulates in the jar causes your moisturizer’s shelf life to decline dramatically.

Body
Body lotions can last from two to three years. If you notice a change in smell, color or consistency, it’s time to replace it.

Sunscreen
As mentioned in a previous post, sunscreen is effective for up to three years after its purchase date. To ensure shelf life longevity, it’s important to store your sunscreen in a cool or room-temperature environment.

Do you have any product expirations that weren’t addressed in this post? Leave them in the comments below, and I’ll try to help you out!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quick Fixes for a Wedding Day Skin Dilemma


Planning your dream wedding can be very rewarding, yet extremely stressful. High levels of stress and other factors can lead to surprise breakouts in the days leading up to your wedding and even the morning of your big day. But have no fear! We’ve come up with some great preventive tips and emergency fixes that will help you get that bridal glow before you say “I do!”

Preventive Actions:
  • Don’t change your normal skin care routine. New products have the potential to cause skin irritation, so it’s best to stick with what your skin is already used to. If you don’t already have a regular skin care regimen, start one at least two months before your wedding day. 
  • Always remove your makeup at night. This should happen during your regular skin care routine, but nerves and stress could cause you to forget the night before your wedding. Make sure this is on your to-do list! Not removing your makeup at night could lead to breakouts caused by clogged pores and excess oils. Additionally, makeup left overnight can cause swelling and redness, which are two things you definitely want to avoid on your big day. 
  • Hydrate! Drink plenty of water to keep your skin moisturized and fresh. Hydrating will not only boost your skin’s appearance, but also your mood!
  • See a skin care specialist. At Advanced Dermatology’s medi spa, we offer oxygen facials and other services that can ensure that your skin looks flawless.


Quick Fixes:
  • For a quick and safe fix, apply benzoyl peroxide gel on the inflamed spot. Benzoyl peroxide is commonly found in over-the-counter acne treatments. In a gel form, it can be an effective way to spot-treat a surprise breakout. 
  • Try using a few home remedy solutions if you don’t have time to run to a store. Crushed aspirin with a few drops of water will help with problem spot redness and inflammation. Honey is another home remedy that is a natural antiseptic. Both can be used as spot treatments the night before or morning of your wedding. Don’t expect them to immediately make the pimple disappear, but they can help reduce the size and redness enough to cover with makeup.
  • Don’t touch it! The old adage “it’ll only make it worse” is true. Although tempting, try to avoid touching the area completely. Bacteria from your hands can spread to other pores on your skin and can also cause more inflammation around the already irritated area.

Have any questions about quick-fix treatments I didn’t mention? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll try to answer them. 






Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Common Infant Skin Conditions and How to Deal


Entering into the world of parenthood can be an overwhelming venture. The number of things you have to remember and take care of can seem vast, but when it comes to skin problems on your little one, we’re here to help. In this blog we’ll share a few common skin conditions that most infants experience and what to do about them.

Common Infant Skin Conditions:
Intertrigo
Occurs most often in babies younger than six months old

What is it?
Intertrigo is an irritant dermatitis that often surfaces as a red, raw and sometimes oozing rash that is found in babies’ skin folds, primarily in their chin and neck areas. It is caused by excessive moisture (normally from excessive drool or spit-up) that has collected in your baby’s skin creases that are not directly exposed to air. This rash can lead to bacterial and fungal infections and should be monitored regularly.

What are the treatments?
We recommend keeping the area as dry as possible by blotting the rash. Never rub it! Using a hair dryer on the low setting with cool air is another way to air-dry the irritated spot. We do not recommend applying ointments, which can lock in moisture and encourage the development of a bacterial infection.

Cradle Cap
Occurs most often in babies younger than six months old

What is it?
Cradle cap, known in the medical world as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is a rash that can appear on your child’s scalp and eyebrows. It can also appear behind the ears or on the neck, cheeks and chest. Cradle cap is often compared to dandruff due to the rash’s dry, flaky nature. The cause of the dandruff is unknown, and it doesn’t normally cause discomfort to infants.

What are the treatments?
Cradle cap often goes away on its own. If your child is experiencing a more severe case, try washing the scalp with baby shampoo once a day. Make sure that all the shampoo is rinsed off of the baby’s scalp to prevent more drying of the skin. 

Eczema
Begins to show in babies older than six months old

What is it?
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that appears in dry, itchy patches on your baby’s skin. In some babies, the rash can also appear red and weepy. Some infants experience mild eczema and others have more serious cases, but it’s rarely dangerous, as 20 percent of all babies will experience some form eczema. It is most common in children with a family history of eczema. In infants, eczema most often appears on the cheeks, forehead and scalp, as well as on the elbows and knees, the body parts most commonly used in crawling.

What are the treatments?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema, but there are ways to ease your child’s discomfort. We recommend a short, warm bath with unscented soap. You should also moisturize your child’s skin two times daily with a cream or ointment to help seal in moisture. Other treatments, like steroid ointments, are available for older children, but they are not ideal for infants.

Contact Dermatitis
Occurs in infants of all ages

What is it?
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin becomes irritated by something it has come in contact with. Grass, jewelry, soaps and detergents are a few common culprits. The rash can be red and mild or it can be harsh, forming large oozing bumps. In infants, the rash is most often caused by drool or wet or soiled diapers.

What are the treatments?
The rash will normally disappear after a few weeks, but it can also be treated with common ointments used to treat diaper rash, like A&D cream.

If you have any questions about any of these skin conditions, click here to visit our website or call 901-759-2322.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Types of Burns and Treatments


Your skin is the largest organ on your body. It’s actually very resilient given all the stresses it is exposed to every day! One thing that can change and damage the skin like no other is a burn. Every burn is different, and burns can be difficult to treat. The best way to keep your skin healthy is to avoid burns! That’s easy to say for something like a sunburn, which can be prevented by avoiding the sun or using sunscreen. But more severe burns are not always easy to prevent. Here’s the skinny on the types of burns and how to treat them.

Types of Burns
Most burns can be classified into one of three types. These include:

First-Degree (Superficial) Burns
Examples of first-degree burns include mild sunburn or a burn resulting from a short rendezvous between your finger and a hot stove. First-degree burns affect only the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, and they do not have blisters. First-degree burns rarely result in long-term tissue damage.

Second-Degree (Partial Thickness) Burns
A second-degree burn damages both the epidermis (outermost layer) and dermis (secondary layer) of the skin. Blisters, swelling, redness and more severe pain than a first-degree burn often identify second-degree burns. The blisters are caused by the heat from the burn causing blood vessels to dilate, allowing the plasma to escape into the skin.

Third-Degree (Full Thickness) Burns
These are the most severe burns, and destroy the epidermis and the dermis, often damaging muscles, bones or tendons normally protected by the skin. Someone suffering from a third-degree burn may not feel pain at the site, as this type of burn can damage the nerve endings. A third-degree burn will appear charred and white, having been damaged beyond blisters or redness. Rather than escaping into the skin, the blood plasma being released from the vessels will escape from the body, which can cause a loss of fluids and result in the body going into shock.

Causes of Burns
Burns can be caused by a variety of things. Below are the most common classifications for burns.
  • Thermal (heat) burns are caused by external heat sources that cause the skin’s temperature to rise. Things like hot liquids, metals or flames can cause thermal burns.
  • Radiation burns are caused by exposure to some form of radiation, such as x-ray machines or the sun.
  • Chemical burns are the type of burn you might expect to get in a science lab. Acids, detergents, solvents or other chemicals can often burn skin.
  • Electrical burns are what they sound like. They’re caused by contact with an electrical current. Someone suffering from an electrical burn may have other issues beyond burned skin.

How to Treat Burns
Treatment will depend on several factors, including the age of the patient, severity of the burn and the cause of the burn. Unless the burn is very minor and has no sign of blistering, you should see a doctor. Here are a few best practices to consider.

For Minor Burns
Sunburns or other first-degree burns can be treated at home. Consider the following treatment options:
  • Sunburns – Use aloe vera or cool washcloths to relieve the burning sensation. While nothing will prevent the peeling that results from a bad sunburn, lotion may help with the itchiness. The best way to treat a sunburn is not to get one!
  • Minor burns (like from a hot pot) – Run cool water over the affected area and use a hydrocortisone cream to treat the burn. Never use ice! It can damage the skin tissue. Use an over-the-counter medication (like ibuprofen) to treat pain as necessary.
  • Don’t smoke! Smoking can decrease blood supply, delaying tissue repair.
  • Watch for an infection or worsening symptoms. If you experience these things, see a doctor immediately.
  • See our previous post on wound care (link) for more information on caring for the affected area.

For Severe Burns
If a burn is blistering or oozing, see a doctor immediately! The oozing means that the burn has damaged more than just your outer layer of skin, and may have gotten through the dermis (secondary layer) as well. As mentioned earlier in this post, this loss of fluid can result in a patient going into shock.

For the Scarring
Severe burns often cause scarring, because the skin can regenerate only from the edges. That’s why skin grafts are often necessary. If you have a scarred area on your face or other area, it is sometimes possible to reduce the visibility of the scarring by using certain fillers or other cosmetic solutions. Talk to your dermatologist if you have questions about these options.

Have any questions about burns or burn treatments? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them there.