Monday, January 27, 2014

The Best Skin Care Apps

The secret to beautiful, healthy skin is at your fingertips. With a simple download to your smart phone, you can now scan, snap or swipe for advice and prevention tips on just about every health topic. Skin care is no exception. Use apps to:

Look your best
From insider tricks for loosening and cleansing blackheads to recipes for homemade exfoliators, beauty advice apps are available in abundance. Apps like “mySkin” also help users find the best skin care products for their skin type. For a personalized recommendation, build a wish list in the app to review with your dermatologist at your next appointment. We think “2000 Beauty Tips,” “Age Defying Tricks,” and “Natural Beauty Tips” are fun.

Assess Acne and Aging
With “Skinfoto,” users can take before-and-after photos of problem areas to track acne, skin tone and pore size and monitor how the face reacts to particular skin care products. “My Own App” also uses photos and facial recognition technology to assess the signs of aging by measuring the number of lines, wrinkles and age spots on a user’s face.

Minimize UV exposure
Get localized, real-time information on UVA and UVB rays to help plan your day and minimize exposure to the harmful rays with apps like “MyUVAlert,” “Sunblock,” and “Ultraviolet.” Some of the apps also provide sunscreen reapplication reminder alerts and tips for staying safe in the sun.

Detect skin cancer
Apps like “LoveMySkin,” “SkinVision” and “UMSkinCheck” are available to help evaluate suspicious moles or skin lesions for skin cancer. The apps let users take a photograph or scan of the suspicious area and then uses mathematical formulas to check for the ABCDEs of skin cancer: asymmetry, irregular border, varied color, a diameter larger than a pencil eraser and the evolution of the area (any new symptom or change in size, shape, color, or elevation). Some of the apps also allow users to track moles over time, set periodic self-exam reminders and even send snapshots directly to their dermatologists.

While beauty and medical apps can be beneficial for preventive maintenance and provide insight into your skin health, they are not a definitive source for diagnosing skin conditions. In fact, the apps often carry disclaimers that they cannot provide accurate diagnosing and should not be used to replace advice from a trained physician. The skin care experts at Greenville Dermatology are available to help you find the best products and treatments for your skin. Visit us today or schedule a consultation by calling (864) 242-5872. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Truth Behind Hand Sanitizer

At the height of flu season, it is important to wash your hands properly and frequently. Most people tend to use antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers because they appear to be a more convenient option. However, these products may not be as beneficial to the skin as we once thought. 

Antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers have recently come under scrutiny by the FDA, which this month proposed a rule that will require manufacturers to prove their products are safe for long-term use and are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of infection. According to health officials, there is no evidence that the products are more effective than washing with plain soap and water. In fact, they may cause more harm than good.

Evidence suggests that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products could pose potential health risks. Most antibacterial products contain an ingredient called triclosan. Although triclosan helps kill bacteria, it also helps make the bacteria resistant to antibiotics, creating super bacteria.

Other harmful ingredients found in antibacterial products are parabens. These chemicals are used to prevent microbe growth in a lot of personal care products like shampoos and body washes. Parabens have also been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, and skin irritation. The four most common parabens to watch out for in hand sanitizers are: butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. According to health officials, about 2,000 individual products contain these harmful ingredients.

Most hand sanitizers have 60 percent alcohol or ethanol and are generally a safe alternative when soap and water are not available. However, health officials believe that washing with soap and water is still the best method for preventing the spread of illness.

At Greenville Dermatology, we carry a range of natural soaps, body washes and skincare products that will help keep your skin feeling fresh and healthy. Our skincare experts are also available to help you find the best products for your skin. Visit us today or schedule a consultation by calling (864) 242-5872. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Risks and Rewards of Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is one of the leading cosmetic procedures requested by our patients today. Nearly half a million laser hair removal treatments were performed by dermatologic surgeons in 2011, the last year for which figures are available, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Laser hair removal uses pulses of laser light to destroy hair follicles and permanently remove unwanted hair. The procedure provides three main benefits:
-It’s precise. When performed properly, the lasers can target and destroy dark, coarse hair without damaging the surrounding skin.
-It’s fast. It only takes a fraction of a second to destroy a hair follicle, and the laser can treat many hairs at the same time.
-It’s effective. On average, 90 percent of patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to five sessions.

However, complications resulting from poorly performed laser procedures led to a surge in litigation in recent years. A recent study published in JAMA Dermatology showed the percentage of lawsuits over laser surgery that involved a non-physician operator increased to 78 percent in 2011 from 36 percent in 2008. Laser hair removal was the most commonly performed procedure cited in the litigation.

Performed improperly, laser hair removal can cause disfiguring injuries, severe burns and, on the rare occasion, death. It is extremely important to consult a qualified medical professional to perform laser hair removal.

Using a laser requires planning by trained physician who can assess your skin type, perform a proper skin screening prior to treatment and create an appropriate schedule for follow-up treatments. Your dermatologist will be able to advise you on the best options to protect your health and provide optimum results.

Dr. Miller is a board-certified dermatologist and is a licensed and trained laser hair removal operator. If you are considering laser hair removal, schedule a consultation with Dr. Miller by calling Greenville Dermatology today at (864) 242-5871. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Article: Skin Resolutions for the New Year

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

It's never too late to start taking care of your skin to make it look its best. If you want skin that glows and appears younger and less wrinkled, here are some New Year's skin resolutions to get you started.

1. Stop Smoking

There are plenty of other health reasons to stop smoking, but the skin is affected by smoking as well. A smoker's skin over time becomes thickened, leathery and less able to heal itself. The nicotine literally cuts off the blood supply and oxygen to the skin. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, do yourself a big favor and stop. You will not only feel better, but look better as well.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Protecting your skin from the sun is essential and mandatory for healthy, wrinkle-free skin. It needs to be worn every day on sun exposed areas. The rays of the sun that cause aging and wrinkles (called UVA) reach the skin even on cloudy days and penetrate deeply enough to damage the collagen layer and the living skin cells. Incorporate a sunscreen into your daily regimen either in your make up or a light moisturizer.

3. Avoid Tanning Beds

It is now a known fact that tanning beds cause skin cancer. Utilizing tanning beds in the teen years increases the risk for developing a melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer, later in life. If that isn't a good enough reason by itself, then tanning beds can also cause skin wrinkling and a leathery appearance to the skin. Tanning beds should simply be avoided.

4. Maintain a Healthy Diet

A diet rich in antioxidants and nutrients is not only good for general health, but for the skin as well. Incorporating colorful fresh fruits and vegetables into the diet and avoiding foods high in fat and foods prepared by frying can help the skin repair damage from the sun and the pollutants in the air.

To find out more resolutions for clear and glowing skin, click here to read the rest of the article or call Greenville Dermatology today at (864)242-5872.