Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Smartphone Skin Cancer Apps

Looking back at my first cell phone I never realized that it would become a technology that I rely on so heavily. But smartphones and their millions of applications have changed the way we communicate, track appointments, follow the news, bank, shop, watch movies, listen to music, and check the weather. Now mobile technology is even changing how we approach wellness, fitness, healthcare, and medicine. An estimated 44 million health apps were downloaded in 2011 ranging from simple calorie counters and workout logs to ones that track symptoms and even diagnosis illness. There are now even new skin cancer apps: Skin Scan and LoveMySkin.

I like that these apps raise awareness about the importance of skin cancer screening, however I have strong concerns about anyone using a $5.00 app for real medical decision making. The key to surviving a diagnosis of melanoma is catching it early, and so I cannot recommend any app that might delay a lifesaving medical check-up. Recently I wrote about Melafind, a new imaging technology that looks below the skin’s surface to analyze moles for signs of cancer. It went through years of testing and a thorough FDA approval process. Skin Scan is basically a photo app that can give different readings on the same mole depending on how bright the ambient light is.

If you are concerned about skin cancer and want to use these apps, use them for mole mapping and as a photo archive, but leave the analysis to a trained dermatologist. I do like and recommend apps that have been developed for improving sun-smart behaviors. MyUVAlert by Coppertone is free and provides local UV forecasts and reapplication reminders. It even lets you create profiles for every family member.

There is a strong drive to empower consumers across all levels of healthcare which has led to a surge in medical apps. But with Apple’s recent hire of a Director of Medical Marketing, and the FDA soon to publish its final guidelines on mobile medical applications, health apps should become more medically trustworthy. Until then there is no substitute for a professional medical evaluation.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Skincare for the Mommy-to-Be

You’re expecting and you’re dealing with the wild hormone fluctuations, weird food cravings, and drastic changes to your body that go along with growing a healthy baby. There are a million things to do to prepare and the last thing you probably want to think about is your skin.

We’ve all heard of “the glow” of pregnancy. Unfortunately, in reality skin problems turn out to be just as common as radiant skin. Although, most over-the-counter treatments are fine to use, many of the products you depended on before are now unsafe. Since creams and lotions get absorbed into the bloodstream and ultimately come in contact with your developing baby, it is important to know which products and ingredients need to be avoided.

Soy products are appealing to many women looking for natural ingredients and are generally safe to use. However, they can have strong estrogenic effects causing some women to experience the “mask of pregnancy” or melasma. If you have dark skin tones you should avoid soy or look for products with “active soy” which has had those compounds removed.

Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that boost collagen production and cell division. These anti-aging products are great for reducing fine lines and improving skin tone, but oral retinoids are a known cause of birth defects. To be safe, it’s wise to avoid even topical skin care products containing them.

Salicylic acid is in the aspirin family. It is commonly found in acne treatments, creams, cleansers, gels, and toners. It works as an exfoliant, keeping pores clear and preventing breakouts. Like retinoids, salicylic acid has been shown to cause birth defects in its oral form and is best to be avoided.

Manufacturers for both BOTOX and Restylane recommend discontinuing use during pregnancy. If you had treatments before learning you were pregnant, don’t worry. It is unlikely toxin levels would be high enough to cause any harm. Just wait until post-partum to resume injections.

Since many products and ingredients get listed under different names below is a chart to help you sort through them all.



Active soy


Alpha hydroxy acid


Azelaic acid

Benzoyl peroxide

Glycolic acid

Beta hydroxy acid

Lactic acid


Mineral based products


Sulfur based products


Topical vitamin C


Retinoic acid


Retinyl linoleate

Retinyl palmitate

Salicylic acid




Vitamin A derivatives

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Flawless Fridays

Greenville Dermatology would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year, and to celebrate we are launching a new promotion for 2012. On January 20th, we will host our first Flawless Friday. Be sure to join us for $10 off per unit of BOTOX and $50 off JUVÉDERM. Throughout the year, we will continue to bring you new discounts on the last Friday of each month*. Please check our website or call to speak with our staff for more details.

In addition to the monthly specials, all year we will be offering buy one, get one free LATISSE kits. You can learn more about LATISSE from my website by clicking here.

I’m looking forward to a great year and hope you’ll take advantage of these offers. As always I am proud to serve you with the best in skin health, cosmetic treatments and spa services. Trust your skin to the best and be sure to join us for Flawless Fridays.

*Due to a scheduling conflict I will be hosting Flawless Fridays on the third Friday in January, (January 20th) call our office to book your appointment today.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resolve to Save a Life

Every New Year it’s the same thing. We resolve to get fit, manage debt, stop smoking, recycle more, and drink less. And usually we do a good job until the end of February when old habits start to creep back into our routines. This year instead of making the same perfunctory resolutions, resolve to make a difference in someones life.

Educate a young person about the dangers of skin cancer and malignant melanoma. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer is linked to excessive sun exposure in the first 10 to 18 years of life. All it takes is just one blistering sunburn in adolescence to more than double a person's chances of developing melanoma later, and according to the CDC, one third of US teens aged 14-17 had a sunburn last year.

Although children are not commonly diagnosed with skin cancer, it is becoming a more frequent diagnosis in teenagers. Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old and it is largely preventable. “Dear 16-Year-Me” was just named one of the most shared videos of 2011. It has a powerful message every teenager needs to hear. Please share it with friends and family. And resolve to prevent skin cancer.