Monday, November 25, 2013

Removing Summer Skin Pigmentation

 The harsh rays of the summer sun may have left your skin with age spots, freckles and dark spots. This hyperpigmentation of the skin results from excess sunlight without proper protection from sunscreen. If your skin is affected by pigmentation, it’s not too late! Greenville Dermatology provides several treatments that can help even your skin tone. 

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) is a facial procedure that treats splotchy pigmentation, brown spots and broken capillaries, enhances new collagen growth, and removes fine lines and wrinkles. It can also be used on dark spots on the arms and legs. IPL uses short blasts of a polychromatic, high-intensity light to penetrate just below the skin’s surface and break up the melanin that causes uneven skin tone. A series of three to six treatments is recommended for best results. 

Light Chemical Peels
Light chemical peels are designed for light to mild cases of skin pigmentation. Chemical peels not only reverse pigmentation, but also firm the skin and fight against aging. These treatments can be used on the face, hands and arms. Most patients see reduced pigmentation after two treatments a year. 

Retinol Products
In the most basic terms, retinol is the whole vitamin A molecule, one of the best vitamins for your skin. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals and generates cell growth. Products with retinol reduce pigmentation from the sun, as well as fine lines and wrinkles. Although you can buy retinol products over the counter, best results are achieved when a dermatologist prescribes a retinol product specifically for your skin. 

There are many treatments and products available to reduce and reverse skin pigmentation caused by the sun. To find out which treatment is best for you, call us or make an appointment today at (864) 242-5872.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Are you losing your hair?

Everyone loses hair. In fact, it’s natural to lose approximately 50 to 150 hairs every day. However, hair loss of more than 150 hairs per day can indicate a condition known as alopecia – excessive or abnormal hair loss. Alopecia is generally characterized by a sudden loss of patches of hair, general hair thinning or a receding hairline. Although hair loss is associated mainly with men, roughly half of all women over age 40 experience excessive hair loss. Read on to learn about the different types of alopecia and how we can treat them.

Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which is where hair growth begins. This skin condition is usually diagnosed when clumps of hair fall out, resulting in totally smooth, round hairless patches on the scalp. In some cases, the hair may become thinner with noticeable patches of baldness, or it may grow and break off, leaving short stubs. In all forms of this condition, the hair follicles remain alive and ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. Hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and after many years. The most common treatment for this patchy hair loss is injections of corticosteroids into the scalp every four to six weeks. Children and some adults may be treated with topical corticosteroids applied directly to the skin. Some people choose not to treat this condition, since hair usually grows back within a year.

Androgenetic Alopecia
The most common type of hair loss from the scalp is androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness. Androgenetic alopecia accounts for 95 percent of all cases of head-only hair loss and results when hair follicles become sensitive to the hormone androgen. This condition is hereditary, so having a family history of androgenetic alopecia increases your risk of developing it and influences the age at which hair loss begins, the speed at which it occurs, its pattern and extent. However, family history is not always a factor: research has shown about 12 percent of people with this type of hair loss have no trace of it in their family trees. Androgenetic alopecia is permanent and continues with aging. Early stages of hair loss can be slowed or reversed with medication, and more advanced cases can be treated with hair transplantation.

Telogen Effluvium
This type of hair loss occurs when the body goes through a traumatic event such as child birth, extreme stress, major surgery, malnutrition, or severe infection. This condition can be difficult to diagnose, as hair loss is not always immediate. Hair can begin to shed six weeks to three months after the traumatic event. It is possible to lose handfuls of hair at a time during this period, but hair growth eventually returns to normal.

Traction Alopecia
This condition is caused by localized trauma to the hair follicles from tight hairstyles that pull at hair over time. If the condition is detected early enough, the hair will regrow. Braiding, cornrows, extensions and tight ponytails are the most common styling causes of traction alopecia.

All of these conditions are diagnosed through a medical history and physical examination. The dermatologist will ask questions about hair loss, determine the pattern of hair loss and examine the scalp. Certain tests, such as a hair analysis or blood tests, can help diagnose the condition. Traction alopecia can also be caused by a short-term event such as stress, disease or medication, which can alter the hair growth and shedding phases.

If you think you may be experiencing excessive hair loss, avoid brushing or teasing your hair and use a wide-toothed comb. Dr. Miller has had years of experience diagnosing and treating hair loss. To make an appointment with us, please call Greenville Dermatology today at (864) 242-5872.

Monday, November 11, 2013 Article: Managing Hair Bumps (Pseudofolliculitis Barbae)

The following is a preview of an article Dr. Miller wrote for Click here to read the full article.

Many men have trouble getting a close shave due to the formation of ingrown hairs. Often called razor bumps or hair bumps, the medical term for these bumps is "pseudofolliculitis barbae" or PFB. PFB is much more common in darker skinned races, but anyone can get them. Mild cases can interfere with social and occupational functioning and severe PFB can lead to scarring and disfigurement.

What Causes PFB?

PFB occurs when the edge of the cut hair is so angled or acute, that it forms a sharp point instead of a flat stub. This occurs more frequently in darker skinned races because the hair is naturally curly or kinky and comes out of the skin at an acute angle. This makes it impossible to cut the hair without forming a sharp point. As the hair begins to grow, the sharp pointed tip of the hair can pierce the skin and allow the hair to grow under the skin, forming a bump. The body treats this ingrown hair like it is a foreign body or splinter and tries to destroy it with inflammation. The inflammation is what causes pus, pain and eventually scarring.

Can PFB Be Prevented?

Preventing PFB can be difficult. The only sure way to prevent PFB is to avoid shaving the hair close to the skin. For some professions, this is not acceptable as many businesses and the military do not allow their employees to grow a beard. Changing the shaving technique and the type of razor that is used can sometimes work. Shaving the hair without stretching the skin does not cut the hair as close, which makes it more difficult for the cut hair to pierce the skin. By using a single blade razor versus using a multi-blade razor, the hair is also not cut as close to the skin and accomplishes the same thing. Shaving the hair "with the grain" or in the same direction that the hair is growing can also help prevent the cut hair from piercing the skin. In some cases of PFB, the act of shaving the skin causes enough irritation that the skin becomes swollen around the hair. This allows the hair to penetrate the skin and causes PFB. In these cases, a soothing shaving balm or mild topical steroid lotion applied immediately after shaving will help prevent PFB. For some patients with PFB, laser hair reduction will decrease the magnitude of the problem and may be an option.

To find out what can be done to treat PFB and scarring caused by PFB, click here to read the rest of the article or call Greenville Dermatology today at (864)242-5872.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dr. Miller's Tips for Updating Your Fall Skincare Routine

Think of your skincare products like you do your wardrobe - you wouldn't wear a winter coat in the summer, would you? Just like your clothes, the products you use on your skin should be appropriate for the season. Now that the leaves are starting to fall in Greenville, it’s time to change tactics and choose products that keep your skin soft and moisturized. The following are Dr. Miller’s tips for maintaining healthy skin during the cooler months.

1. Switch up your cleanser

Opt for a gentle, hydrating cleanser in the fall and winter. Cold weather can dry out your skin, and alcohol-based toners and cleansers with harsh detergents can further irritate your skin. Cream-based cleansers are usually mild and forgiving during the winter season. Look for products with ceramides, which are natural lipids (fats) that help skin retain moisture. Research indicates that people with dry skin have lower levels of ceramides than people with normal skin.

2. Exfoliate!

Although it may seem counterintuitive, using a skin-sloughing agent is actually the best way to treat parched, flaky skin. Use a face and body scrub twice a week to whisk away dead skin cells. For your face, choose a gentle, fragrance-free exfoliant with glycerin, since the skin on your face is more sensitive than the rest of your body. Also look out for oil-based scrubs, which hydrate while they exfoliate. 

3. Use a heavier moisturizer

During the fall and winter months, wind tends to chap the skin and heat from radiators can dry it out. Keep your skin healthy by applying a thick moisturizer both in the morning and at night, paying special attention to the areas around your eyes and mouth. Remember that dry skin makes wrinkles and fine lines look more pronounced. 

4. Remember your sunscreen

You may not be lounging by the beach or pool, but that doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen. A good rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen whenever you leave the house, no matter the weather. Be sure to read the labels carefully – opt for a broad spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB coverage. For day-to-day use, SPF 15 should be fine. If you spend several hours outside, remember to reapply every two hours.

5. Personalize!

Everyone’s skin is different, so the best thing you can do is personalize your skin routine to your own unique characteristics – age, the climate where you live, your skin type, etc. A dermatologist can make individualized recommendations for your skin and suggest products that work well together. Greenville Dermatology’s retail store carries a variety of products that are gentle and moisturizing, perfect for the fall and winter months. To speak with a dermatologist, stop by today or call us at (864) 242-5872.