Posts filed under ‘The Doctor is In’
Tanorexic or beautifully bronzed, as tans fade, our summer skin follies come into full view. It’s true that when the endless summer days finally come to an end, we’ll all have some reckoning to do, but some of us will have more skin sins to pay for than others.
Dark, lightly toasted, red or just rosy, all sun exposure is damage…
By Dr. Katie Rodan
Last week, a patient came to see me, worried about a new mole she discovered on the bottom of her foot. After a careful examination, including a biopsy, I was able to give her good news that the mole was benign and not the cancerous melanoma she feared it was. Nonetheless, she was wise to check it out. Skin cancers on the feet, particularly on the soles, between the toes and under the nails often go undetected until it is too late. And there is no reason for this because skin cancer, especially the potentially deadly melanoma, is treatable, if discovered early. Therefore, getting to know what your moles look like and being aware of any change or new growth can be life-saving.
Although the bottoms of your feet are one of the last places most people think to look for moles, try making it the first place you check. As I tell my patients, “start with your toes, work your way up to your nose,” checking every square inch of your skin including your scalp. People assume that because the soles of their feet are not sun-exposed, melanoma is unlikely to form there. It is true that the most common forms of skin cancer –basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma– have a direct relationship to sun exposure. However, melanoma is different. It is commonly found in the sun protected areas of the skin, i.e. the buttocks, feet, scalp and back. The reasons are unknown but are correlated with a history of severe sunburn as a child or teenager. It is believed that intense sun exposure during a critical time in the development of a person’s immune system may predispose one to this increased risk.
Here’s a tip: While you are having your daily stretch, get up close and personal with your feet. Sit with your heels together and lift up each foot as you check for moles or dark spots … especially those of you with a darker skin type which can make moles harder to spot. Remember, you’re looking for the ABCDEs of melanoma—any spots that are asymmetrical, have an irregular border, are variable in color, have a diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser, or evolve/change over time. If you see anything suspicious, make an appointment with your dermatologist. The life you save may be your own … or the dermatologist may give you the great news that all of your moles are benign, as I did with my patient.
By Dr. Kathy Fields
As a dermatologist, I learned early on that fun in the sun can translate to aging and skin cancer. But as a wife and mom, between family trips to the lake, hiking adventures and outdoor parties, summer is hands down my favorite time of year. I refuse to give up on the activities I love, but I won’t compromise my skin’s health either. Here’s how I’ve learned to enjoy the best of both worlds …
1. Be in the Know. Knowing what to look for when it comes to SPF and using products correctly is the most important thing you can do. Here’s what to watch out for:
- Use only “broad spectrum” sunscreens (that provide proportionate UVA and UVB protection … all R+F sunscreens fit the bill).
- Don’t get hosed by “waterproof” claims. (Even the best are only “water resistant,” so always reapply after getting wet).
- Stay inside the safety zone. Only an SPF of 15 to 50+ can lay claim to reducing the risks of sun exposure. And even when using SPF, don’t stay out longer than you would if unprotected.
2. Beat the Heat—Even on the Go. Be prepared sunup to sundown and do what I do: keep the following “Sun-Emergency Kit” on hand:
- ESSENTIALS Body Sunscreen
- ESSENTIALS Lip Shield
- ANTI-AGE Age Shield Hand Balm
- Your favorite R+F SPF
- Plus an extra pair of sunglasses, a broad-brimmed hat, a large lightweight scarf and an umbrella
- And two aspirin to take immediately if you do get a sunburn.
With the real facts about sunscreen usage and these items on board, you’ll be protected from the elements come rain or shine! So get sun-savvy and never leave home without your “Sun-Emergency Kit”—Doctor’s orders!
By Dr. Katie Rodan
I recently saw a patient in my office who was complaining of tiny, rough, slightly red bumps on the back of her upper arms. She said she’d had this condition since she was a child, and although it was slightly better; it still bothered her and made her self-conscious about baring her arms.
Sound familiar? You may know it as “chicken skin” or “goose flesh,” but this condition, formally called Keratosis Pilaris (KP), is actually estimated to affect between 50-80 percent of adolescents and approximately 40 percent of adults.
But as widespread as it is, most people are too embarrassed to seek treatment. As a derm, I’ve heard every self-treatment idea in the book, from people trying to scratch the bumps off to attempting to exfoliate them away. Unfortunately, neither work and, more often than not, make the situation worse.
For best results treating KP, avoid aggressive exfoliation and make sure to keep the area hydrated with a moisturizer that helps regulate skin cell proliferation. For a more proactive treatment approach, try a moisturizer that contains urea and/or salicylic acid. When used regularly, it can be very effective at improving KP.
So reduce the urge to scratch, and instead, bump up your moisturizer … soon enough you’ll dare to go bare!
By Dr. Kathy Fields
You don’t need an invite to a red carpet event for your skin to make a new debut. And you don’t have to be a celebrity to get a star-quality complexion. When it comes to flattery, years of experience at photo shoots, video shoots and trips to the Oscars have taught me it’s all about the lighting. Lighting is so important, that on professional shoots, grip trucks filled with thousands of dollars of sophisticated lighting equipment arrive hours before the hair and makeup artists and models ever even set foot in the studio.
But you don’t have to hire a lighting crew to see your skin in a better light. You can illuminate your own incandescence just by increasing the smoothness and evenness of your skin through regular removal of dulling dead skin cell buildup.
Not only does light reflect more evenly off of a smooth surface, freshly exfoliated skin gives you a glow that’s more than skin deep. That’s because when your skin looks better, younger and fresher, you feel better too, and genuine confidence is always an attractive quality.
To get the best results from your exfoliation efforts, know your skin and use products appropriate for your skin type. Contrary to popular belief, bigger, coarser particles have less of a smoothing effect, and in fact, can end up doing more harm than good.
When it comes to your face, neck and décolletage, look for exfoliation products that feature fine, smooth beads. Keep in mind that gentle, regular exfoliation is far more effective than when you make an occasional aggressive attack. If you want to increase results, don’t scrub harder, just rub a little longer and use more often so your skin’s stunning performance will get the rave reviews it deserves.
After trying multiple over-the-counter (OTC) products that fail to deliver on their promises, many of my patients are ready to throw in the towel and take more extreme measures. But the issue isn’t that topical products are incapable of working, it’s that skin conditions have a complex origin. Because many factors contribute to the onset of a problem like acne or sun damage, no single ingredient nor product can provide a fast fix. And the “here today, gone tomorrow” products constantly popping up on the department store shelf perpetuate an approach of reacting to problems instead of preventing them.
Recently, a female patient came to see me to schedule an appointment for a fractionated CO2 laser treatment to address stubborn brown spots that hadn’t responded to any products she’d tried in the past. Two years prior she underwent this treatment with another doctor and found it helpful. Reminding her what a serious, painful and costly treatment this was, I recommended the Rodan + Fields® REVERSE Regimen to her. Assuming “more pain, more gain,” my patient was initially resistant. Luckily for her, I was able to convince her to try REVERSE in the short time between our consultation and her scheduled laser treatment.
A few weeks later, she called apologetically to cancel the appointment. The reason? REVERSE had worked so well, she didn’t feel she needed the procedure anymore.
Apology gladly accepted! That’s what our Multi-Med® Therapy product philosophy is all about: skin transformation, no appointment necessary. When you combine the right medicines, in the right formulations, in the right order and then use them consistently, you can achieve office-like results, at home. Less pain, and a lot more gain.
By Dr. Kathy Fields
Young urban hipsters have embraced with affectionate irony some of the most unfortunate trends of the seventies and eighties, and of these the moustache is perhaps the most surprising of all. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Tom Selleck as the moustachioed Magnum PI, but let’s face it, it’s not really the best look for most guys. And certainly not for us gals!
If you’re one of the many, and I mean MANY women who suffer from extra facial hair above the upper lip, you know all too well how unattractive this trend looks on ladies. And you’ve probably tried lots of methods for minimizing or completely clearing your unwanted “stache” with bleaches, waxing or even laser removal.
Even when they work, these approaches can have residual effects like redness, dryness and even cause increased sun sensitivity and, consequently, hyperpigmentation. And whether as a result of irritation or melasma, a darkening of the skin between the upper lip and bottom of the nose is even harder to hide than a hairy moustache.
The solution? Well, as they say in my husband’s home country, England, when referring to the space between the edge of the subway platform and the train, “mind the gap.” In the case of your face, let this phrase act as a reminder that paying special attention to this little area when it comes to sun protection can make a big difference.
It’s a tough area because whether or not you actually apply sunscreen above your lip, chances are you sweat or wipe it off during the day, especially during flu season when runny noses abound. Make sure to pay careful attention to this gap between your nose and lips and take the time to reapply your SPF there throughout the day.
So, next time you apply your balm and facial SPF, I hope you hear my voice in your head saying to you: “Mind the gap.” And as I walk down the streets of San Francisco and pass the plaid-shirted hipster in the oh-so-skinny jeans, I’ll hear my own voice in my head saying “you may have a moustache, but you’re no Tom Selleck!”