Debunking Acne Treatment Myths

We have all heard acne treatment myths at some point in our lives. Among the most common is the belief that toothpaste is an effective remedy for treating pimples.  The opposite is true.  While there are some ingredients in toothpaste that might seem effective in shrinking bumps, there are others that can do far more harm than good, and cause damage to the skin.

The myth that toothpaste could be used as a treatment for acne may have gained popularity when most products contained triclosan, an antifungal and antibacterial agent. Many manufacturers today no longer include this ingredient in toothpaste because studies suggest that it could negatively affect our health.

Triclosan has been removed from most toothpaste but there are still other ingredients included that prove beneficial for our teeth but harmful to our skin. These are:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Menthol
  • Flouride
  • Sodium benzoate

Using these substances on the skin can make acne worse or result in allergic reactions that include swelling, redness, or itching.

Another popular myth involves using ice to treat pimples.  While applying ice may work in temporarily alleviating symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pain in inflammatory types of acne; it has little or no effect on other types of pimples that are non-inflammatory such as blackheads or whiteheads.

It is also important to keep in mind that using ice does not treat the contents (oil, bacteria, debris, and dead skin) inside a pimple.  Additionally, applying ice for long periods to the skin can lead to rosacea, dilated blood vessels, tissue damage, or frostbite.

Damage to our skin and other complications can be avoided by using dermatologist-approved products that are intended for skin care.  They contain ingredients that have been tested and recommended by professional organizations such as the American Academy of Dermatology.

If you choose to use more natural remedies, speak with your dermatologist about their risks and benefits before applying them to your skin.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Understanding Popular Skincare Products

Hyaluronic acid, retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are all common ingredients found in many popular skincare products.  Before purchasing any goods that include these ingredients, it’s important for consumers to understand what they are a buying and applying to their skin.

Here is a guide to some of the most common skincare ingredients to help you choose what’s best for you:

  • Hyaluronic Acid- is found naturally in our bodies, most commonly in the eyes, skin and in joint fluid. This substance helps with retaining water needed to keep joints and tissues well lubricated.   As we age, the production of hyaluronic acid decreases, resulting in our skin losing hydration, volume, and firmness.  Hyaluronic acid is added to skin care products to increase hydration, help skin feel more supple, and improve its texture.
  • Retinol- is a derivative of vitamin A. Products containing up to 2% retinol can be purchased over the counter, anything above this number may require a prescription.  Using retinol provides several benefits such as promoting cell turnover, reducing inflammation, treating acne, preventing the breakdown of collagen, and improving the appearance of skin texture and tone.
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)- are natural acids found in foods. There are several types of AHAs used in skincare products, these include glycolic acid (from sugar cane), tartaric acid (from grapes), citric acid (from citrus fruits), hydroxycaprylic acid (from animals), and lactic acid (from lactose or tomato juice). AHAs can help promote skin firmness, remove dead skin cells, improve the appearance of wrinkles and treat dry skin.

Reading the label on skincare products is very important. Pay attention to the ingredients and know their positive or negative effects. If you are unsure about how these ingredients may affect your skin, you should consult a dermatologist.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call (718) 206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Learning More About Keratosis Pilaris, A Skin Condition That Can Worsen In Cold Weather

Weather associated with the Fall and Winter months can negatively impact your body in many ways, including how it affects your skin.  Jamaica Hospital Medical Center would like to share information about one such skin condition, keratosis pilaris, that is normally associated with cold, dry weather.

Keratosis pilaris is a common, chronic skin condition that causes small, scaly bumps on the skin where there are hair follicles. These bumps are the result extra keratin, which is a type of protein that’s part of skin, hair, and nails. Keratin forms under the skin, blocking the opening of the hair follicle. When the hair follicle becomes plugged it leads to tiny rough, red patches on the skin that often resemble goose bumps. These bumps can appear on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. They can also appear on the cheeks and on the sides of the torso.

It is unknown as to why keratin builds up, but you are considered more at risk of developing it if you have a parent or sibling who has it. Also, those who already have eczema or atopic dermatitis are believed to have an increased chance of having the condition.

While understanding what causes keratosis pilaris is still somewhat of a mystery, we do know one factor that can exacerbate the condition – the weather. Even though keratosis pilaris is not officially considered a seasonal condition, it usually becomes worse in dry or cold conditions, typically associated in the Fall and Winter months. This is because cold weather breeds dry skin, which in turn seems to irritate keratosis pilaris. For some, thankfully, the rash will disappear once warmer temperatures return.

Although there is no cure for keratosis pilaris, for some the condition can improve with age and without treatment.  For others, symptoms can be managed through a few different treatment options, including the use of topical exfoliants or retinoids or, in severe cases, laser therapy. There are also many things you can do at home to reduce the symptoms of keratosis pilaris, including:

  • Using a moisturizer or a lubricating lotion
  • Not vigorously scrubbing the skin
  • Drying off gently after showering
  • Using a humidifier to eliminate dry air
  • Avoiding the use of harsh cleansers and soaps

It is important to note that treatment may improve the appearance of the bumps, but the condition often comes back if treatment is stopped.  You should speak with your doctor or dermatologist to determine the correct course of treatment for your skin condition.

To make an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Keloids

When our skin is injured our body begins the healing process and produces collagen to mend the damage; this results in a scar.

However, when our bodies continue the healing process after the initial scar is formed, excess collagen is produced causing the scar to become flesh-colored, raised and larger than the original wound. This is known as a keloid.  

Keloids are most commonly found on the shoulders, chest, cheeks and earlobes. However, they can develop on other parts of the body, and you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Scars that feel soft and doughy or hard and rubbery
  • Scars that are itchy, painful or tender to the touch
  • Scars that become darker over time

Although any type of injury to the skin can lead to keloids, some people are more likely to develop them than others. At-risk individuals include:

  • Those who are African American, Asian or Latino
  • Those who are 30 years old and younger
  • Those who have a history of keloids in their family
  • Pregnant women

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) the risk of getting a keloid can be reduced by following these measures:

  • Wearing a pressure earring after getting ears pierced. They should be worn for at least 12 (and preferably 20) hours a day for 4 to 6 months
  • Spot testing areas of the skin before getting a tattoo or body piercing and wearing a pressure garment as soon as the skin begins to thicken
  • Informing your surgeon before surgery that your skin is prone to developing keloids. There may be a technique your surgeon can use to reduce the likelihood of keloids forming after surgery
  • Following AAD recommended tips to properly care for a wound
  • Applying silicone sheets or gels to the skin as soon as it heals

Keloids are typically not harmful to a person’s health but for some individuals, they may become a cosmetic concern. The appearance of a keloid can be improved by receiving laser therapy, pressure treatments, corticosteroid shots, surgery or by freezing the scar. It is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations after these treatments to avoid the return of a keloid.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sunscreen and Skin Cancer Prevention

Sunscreen protection- properly using sunscreen Many of us enjoy soaking up the sun in the summer, however, it is important that we do so safely and with discretion to prevent skin cancer.

One of the best ways to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays is to wear sunscreen.  Studies show that using sunscreen regularly reduces the incidence of melanoma (a form of skin cancer) by 50-73%.

Sunscreen works by preventing the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.   Your sunscreen’s ability to prevent radiation from damaging your skin is measured by its SPF (Sun Protecting Factor). It is highly advised that you use sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher, as this offers better protection.

The Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen which offers protection against UVA and UVB radiation. Too much exposure from either type of radiation has been linked to skin cancer.

Additional recommendations for proper sunscreen use include:

  • Applying sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure to ensure the product has enough time to properly bind to the skin
  • Applying sunscreen generously and regularly
  • Checking product instructions for how often  sunscreen should be applied
  • Reapplying sunscreen after swimming or excessive sweating

It is important to keep in mind that protecting your skin from the sun does not only include wearing sunscreen. Remember to wear protective clothing or accessories such as broad-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts and limit the amount of time spent in the sun.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Winter Skin

Winter can be a particularly harsh season for our skin. During this time of year, temperatures are cold and we spend more time indoors where heating systems tend to deplete the water content in the air.  Low humidity in our environment contributes to dry skin.

Dry skin commonly appears as being rough and flaky patches, which can show up anywhere on the body but mostly on the arms and legs. In severe cases, your skin can develop creases and cracks when it is extremely dry.

Drying of the skin typically occurs when the outer layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum, becomes compromised. The stratum corneum which is composed of dead skin cells and natural oils; acts as a protective layer that prevents water from evaporating from the surface. When water evaporates, outer skin cells become flaky and will cause cracks and fissures.

There are steps you can take to retain moisture and prevent dry skin. Here are a few:
• Bathe in warm water, never hot
• Use mild soaps that contain moisturizing creams
• Pat the skin dry with soft towels
• Use a moisturizer several times a day on exposed areas of the body.
• Drink a lot of water
• Apply sunscreen to prevent drying out from the sun’s rays
• Wear gloves
• Avoid wearing wet articles of clothes outdoors.
• Have a humidifier in the home

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital to discuss dry skin and how best to treat it, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Dark Circles Under the Eyes

young woman applied concealer on her eye circles

Having dark circles under your eyes is not uncommon but they can be frustrating for those who have them.  There are many ways adults and children can develop dark circles under their eyes.

Some of the more common factors that contribute to dark circles are lack of sleep or too much sleep, an iron deficiency, stress, allergies or nasal congestion.

Dark circles under the eyes caused by the more common factors can often be resolved by using over the counter remedies.

If you are getting adequate sleep, have a healthy diet, take vitamin supplements and dark circles still persist, you may have a condition called hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation is caused by an excessive amount of melanin in your system causing dark patches to develop on the skin.  These patches often form under the eyes.

Some additional causes of hyperpigmentation are:

  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Scarring
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Acne
  • Burns
  • Skin pigmentation abnormalities (Thin skin under the eye showing veins)

Since hyperpigmentation does not fade on its own and in some cases can be permanent, you may want to seek the advice of a dermatologist.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Adult Acne

problematic skin before and after makeup

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some adults continue to get acne well into their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.  There is even a possibility that you can get acne for the first time as an adult.

As an adult, acne can be frustrating because the remedies you used as a teen are rendered useless or can even make your acne worse.  But, how do we determine whether the marks on our skin are acne or merely a blemish?

Blemishes, or pimples, can show up on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders because these areas have the greatest number of oil glands.  The marks come and go with little or no treatment.  Acne, on the other hand, has a long term affect, requires treatment and if left untreated, may leave dark spots and permanent scars on the skin.

Women who are menopausal are more likely, than men of a similar age, to get what dermatologists call “adult-onset acne.”

Some other reasons for developing adult acne are:

  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Excessive use of hair and skin care products
  • Medication side effects
  • Undiagnosed medical conditions
  • Excessive consumption of carbohydrates
  • Excessive consumption of  dairy

There are many do it yourself remedies, but if nothing clears your adult acne, you should see a dermatologist.  With proper treatment and a great deal of patience, it can be controlled.

If you would like to have a consultation with a dermatologist, you can call the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Nail Fungus

nail fungus

Nail fungus, or onychomycosis as it is known medically, is a condition that is commonly found on nails of people of any age, although primarily it is seen in older adults, it can be seen in children as well.. It usually begins as a white or yellow spot under the nail that progressively takes over the whole nail. It appears more commonly on toe nails than on finger nails because this type of fungus likes to live in an environment that is warm, dark, moist, as is commonly found inside of shoes and also where there is reduced blood flow. Men tend to develop nail fungus more often than women.
Nails that are infected with fungus will show signs of being:
• Thickened
• Brittle, crumbly or ragged
• Distorted in shape
• Dark in color
A few risk factors for developing nail fungus are being diabetic, having a nail injury, being immune-compromised, living or working in humid conditions, having poor circulation, receiving chemotherapy, wearing tight fitting shoes, having poor hygiene, and having other fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
There are different ways to treat nail fungus and they range from the simple home remedy to the more intensive that is prescribed by a physician. Home remedies can include applying a vapo rub, tea tree oil, trimming and filing the nails, and over the counter nail creams and ointments. The more intense methods prescribed and administered by a physician includes oral antifungal medications, medicated nail polish, nail removal and laser light therapy.
Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in all conditions of the feet. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

History of Sunscreen

Three sunscreen tubes isolated on white

The use of sunscreen is highly promoted and protecting our skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays has become a major concern as we learn more about the damages it causes. Today we are able to choose from many brands that offer the level of protection we need- but did you know the concept of sunscreen is nothing new? In fact, sunscreen was used by ancient Egyptians.

The Egyptians were known to use rice bran extracts, jasmine and lupine extracts as a sunscreen because they realized these ingredients had the ability to absorb the sun’s very strong rays. These chemicals are still used today in some of the modern sunscreen products.

Modern sunscreen products really started to become popular in the 1930’s. A South Australian chemist, HA Milton Blake created a sunburn cream that had some limited success. This was followed by the introduction in 1936 by the L’Oreal Company of a sunscreen product that was very effective at providing protection from the sun’s rays. In 1938 a chemist by the name of Franz Greiter developed a cream called Glacier Cream that provided added protection. He is also credited for identifying the sun protection factor (SPF) that became a standard measurement of sunscreen effectiveness.
In 1944 an American pharmacist patented a sunscreen product that eventually would become Coppertone.

Later developments in this field produced products that would protect the skin from the UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Manufacturing sunscreen is a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to evolve. With more and more literature being published about the sun’s harmful effects on the skin, people will always be looking for better ways to stay protected as too much exposure can lead to skin cancer and other dermatologic conditions.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.