Posts for: March, 2019
Brown spots and skin discoloration are frequent complaints for many people. The most common form of irregular pigmentation is hyperpigmentation, a condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. Some people have abnormal skin pigmentation from a young age, and for others it is brought on later in life by sun damage or injury to the skin. Individuals of all ages, ethnicities and skin types can be affected, although those with darker skin tones are more prone to develop it.
Hyperpigmentation usually appears as brown spots and dark patches on the face, chest, arms and hands. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. Sun exposure, acne, genetics and hormonal changes can trigger or worsen irregular pigmentation.
Not all pigmentation problems can be avoided, but you can follow preventive measures to control and reduce dark spots from forming. It is especially important to use adequate sunscreen, manage your acne and discontinue the use of any oral medications that may be contributing to the problem.
How Can I Combat Hyperpigmentation?
The good news is that skin hyperpigmentation isn’t dangerous, and proper treatment can help rejuvenate troubling patches on the skin. There are many treatments at your dermatologist’s disposal, ranging from topical creams and dermabrasion to chemical peels and laser procedures. Your dermatologist will work with you to determine the most suitable treatment for your particular skin type and problem.
Although a frustrating condition, your skin complexion can be improved and corrected. Talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment options for you.
What is Psoriasis?
Have you been experiencing bumpy, white-scale-topped patches of red skin erupting over certain parts of your body? These itchy, sometimes painful plaques could be the result of an undiagnosed case of psoriasis. Although this skin disorder does not have a cure, there are several treatment options that can lead to symptom relief. Read on to learn more about psoriasis and how your local dermatologist can help!
The Background on Psoriasis
While there is no medical consensus on what exactly causes psoriasis, experts generally point towards an abnormality in how T cells operate in a patient’s immune system. T cells are normally used by the body in order to defend against foreign threats, such as viruses or bacteria. However, for those with psoriasis, these cells become overactive and start to treat healthy skin cells as if they were harmful. In turn, this leads the body to behave as if it had a wound to heal, or an infection to fight. As a result, sporadic patches of irritated skin begin to erupt on certain parts of the body.
Both the appearance of these symptoms and the level of their severity can be triggered through a number of factors, including:
- Skin infections
- Skin injuries
- Heavy stress
- Regular tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of specific medications, such as lithium, beta blockers, antimalarial drugs, and iodides
Although there is no cure for the disorder, your local dermatologist has a number of treatment methods that can slow down the growth of skin cells responsible for psoriasis’ uncomfortable rashes. An appointment with your skin doctor can determine which of these options is right for you:
- Steroid cream
- Coal tar (available in lotions, creams, foams, soaps, and shampoos)
- Ultraviolet therapy
- Retinoid (not recommended for women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant)
- Methotrexate (only for serious cases)
Need Relief? Give Us a Call!
You don’t need to live with the full discomfort of psoriasis; give our office a call today and discover how we can help!
Are you faithfully treating your acne but still seeing new breakouts? Your skin care routine could be to blame. Our Honolulu dermatologists Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun and Dr. Sarah Grekin discuss10 skin care habits that can worsen acne and dermatologists’ tips to help you change those habits.
1. Try a new acne treatment every week or so. This approach can irritate your skin, which can cause breakouts.
What to do instead: Give an acne treatment time to work. You want to use a product for 6 to 8 weeks. It takes that long to see some improvement. If you don’t see any improvement by then, you can try another product. Complete clearing generally takes 3 to 4 months.
2. Apply acne medication only to your blemishes. It makes sense to treat what you see, but this approach fails to prevent new breakouts.
What to do instead: To prevent new blemishes, spread a thin layer of the acne medication evenly over your acne-prone skin. For example, if you tend to breakout on your forehead, nose, and chin, you’d want to apply the acne treatment evenly on all of these areas of your face.
3. Use makeup, skin care products, and hair care products that can cause acne. Some makeup along with many skin and hair care products contain oil or other ingredients that can cause acne breakouts. If you continue to use them, you may continue to see blemishes.
What to do instead: Use only makeup, sunscreen, skin and hair care products that are labeled “non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores.” These products don’t cause breakouts in most people.
4. Share makeup, makeup brushes, or makeup applicators. Even if you use only non-comedogenic products, sharing makeup can lead to blemishes. Acne isn’t contagious, but when you share makeup, makeup brushes, or applicators, the acne-causing bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells on other people’s skin can wind up in your makeup. When you use that makeup, you can transfer their bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells to your skin. These can clog your pores, leading to breakouts.
What to do instead: Make sure you’re the only person who uses your makeup, makeup brushes, and makeup applicators.
5. Sleep in your makeup. Even non-comedogenic makeup can cause acne if you sleep in it.
What to do instead: Remove your makeup before you go to bed. No exceptions. If you’re too tired to wash your face, use a makeup remover towelette. Just make sure it’s a non-comedogenic towelette.
6. Wash your face throughout the day. Washing your face several times a day can further irritate your skin, leading to more breakouts.
What to do instead: Wash your face twice a day — when you wake up and before you go to bed. You’ll also want to wash your face when you finish an activity that makes you sweat.
7. Dry out your skin. Skin with acne is oily, so it can be tempting to apply astringent and acne treatments until your face feels dry. Don’t. Dry skin is irritated skin. Anytime you irritate your skin, you risk getting more acne.
What to do instead: Use acne treatments as directed. If your skin feels dry, apply a moisturizer made for acne-prone skin. Don't apply the moisturizer twice a day, after washing your face, and only when it feels dry.
You also want to avoid using astringents, rubbing alcohol, and anything else that can dry out your skin.
8. Over-scrub your skin clean. To get rid of acne, you may be tempted to scrub your skin clean. Don’t. Gentle exfoliation is important, but over doing it can irritate your skin, causing acne to flare.
What to do instead: Be gentle when washing your face and other skin with acne. You want to use a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser. Use a nylon or cotton wash cloth, using a gentle circular motion. Gently rinse it off with warm water. Then pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
9. Rub sweat from your skin during a workout. Using a towel to roughly rub away sweat can irritate your skin, which can cause breakouts.
What to do instead: When working out, use a clean towel to gently pat sweat from your skin. A quick rinse with water is always helpful when possible.
10. Pop or squeeze breakouts. When you pop or squeeze acne, you’re likely to push some of what’s inside (e.g., pus, dead skin cells, or bacteria) deeper into your skin. When this happens, you increase inflammation. This can lead to more-noticeable acne and sometimes scarring and pain.
What to do instead: Resist the temptation to pop or squeeze acne. You want to treat your acne with acne medication. If you have deep or painful acne, seeing a dermatologist is necessary to help clear your acne.
When to see a dermatologist
Many people can control their acne by following these skin care tips and using acne treatment that they can buy without a prescription. If you continue to see acne after giving these tips a chance to work, then it’s time to talk Dawson Dermatology in Honolulu, HI. Some people need prescription-strength acne treatment. Our dermatologists are here to help you find the best acne treatment to give you clearer skin.
With the right help, virtually everyone who has acne can see clearer skin.