Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sun Damage and Young Teens

There’s a feeling of invincibility that comes with childhood.  If you’ve ever had a child roll their eyes at you as you try to explain the importance of not talking to strangers or wearing a seatbelt, you understand how difficult it can be to make them understand that certain dangers are real.  A new study of 585 children using UV photography to show hidden signs of sun damage has made the specter of skin cancer all too real. 

For the study, children were photographed using standard photography, cross-polarized photography and UV photography.  The results revealed more than the mottled pigmentation and dark spots that indicate photoaging, it unfortunately uncovered that even 12 and 13 year olds are showing signs of advanced sun damage.  The severity of which showed a high correlation with known risk factors such as having light-colored skin, blue eyes, red hair, and already visible freckling. 

The researchers hope the images get more kids to think about sun safety.  It’s hard to ignore the evidence when it’s written on your own face; and the photography doesn’t lie.  The more damage highlighted in the UV images, the greater the cancer risk.  I generally don’t like scare tactics, but will use them if I can save a child from facing melanoma later in life.  Our Visia complexion analysis can expose hidden damage and make recommendations for renewal and maintenance going forward.    

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hair Loss: Salon vs. Medical Approach

The average person loses 50 to 100 hairs in the normal course of a day. The discovery that more and more is getting left in shower drain can be a little upsetting, but hair loss is a common condition in both men and women. It can be the result of any number of things from illness and diet to age and medicines. If you are experiencing hair loss your first response might be to run to your favorite salon for some expensive shampoo and serums. An estimated $175 million was spent on hair loss products last year; unfortunately a lot of that money was wasted.

If you need your hair cut, colored, or styled, definitely a stylist is what you want. If you’re looking for hair loss answers, then a dermatologist is what you need. Some people hear dermatology and only think skin. Dermatologists specialize in the treatment of diseases that affect the skin, nails, and hair. I will take your medical history, ask about any lifestyle changes, and do a scalp biopsy to evaluate the hair follicles. This allows me to determine whether the hair loss is genetic, due to a hair disorder, due to an underlying health condition, or due to something external like stress. Most people will have an identifiable cause that can be addressed with medication, hormones, or better nutrition. If no trigger is present, then it’s likely hereditary and can be treated with Minoxidil. Be skeptical of anyone who claims to be able to determine the cause of your hair loss just by looking at the hair itself.

When it comes to hair loss the more quickly medical consultation is sought the better. Some treatments do regrow hair, but many just stop any additional hair loss.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Palomar Laser at Greenville Dermatology

Lasers have been used to treat all kinds of dermatological and cosmetic skin conditions. The technology has been around for years and like cell phones, has gone through several generations. Compare your new iPhone to the old Motorola DynaTAC 8000. It stored thirty numbers, gave you half an hour of talk time, and took eight hours to charge. Likewise the difference between old and new lasers is just as vast.

When looking into laser treatments, it’s important to know that all lasers are not created equal. A lot of the technology that’s out there is simply out-of-date. Burning off layers of skin has become a catch-all with claims that it will treat discoloration, wrinkles, unwanted hair and surface veins. The procedures are painful and leave patients with swollen, red faces.

I consistently look for new technologies and procedures that enable me to deliver genuine results to my patients. Our new Palomar laser’s patent pending microfractional technology uses laser energy microbeams to precisely space treated areas of skin at a microscopic level, leaving some skin perfectly intact. In the treated areas, the body's natural healing process creates new, healthy tissue to replace the areas of affected tissue, resulting in healthier, younger-looking skin. The untreated areas maintain the tissue's stability for quicker recovery.

With this new laser we provide an initial free consultation to evaluate skin type, discuss expectations and give an overview of the process. Most procedures take 30-45 minutes and require 2 to 5 sessions. With this new laser we are able to treat laser hair removal, stretch marks, brown spots, vascular and pigmented lesions (broken blood vessels), and scar visibility reduction and have found that the Palomar laser treats all these conditions quickly and cost-effectively.