1.What’s the best general care for my skin?
Here are a few simple steps that most people can take to care for and protect their skin:
Use a gentle, non-drying cleanser twice a day, everyday, for your face and body.
Apply a moisturizer to hydrate skin on your face and body daily.
To reduce the risk of premature skin-aging and skin cancer, protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun by using a sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) when outside every day, wearing protective clothing outdoors, and avoiding overexposure to the sun and tanning beds/salons.
In addition, proper skin care should also include seeing a dermatologist.
2. What causes acne?
The truth is that we don’t know the entire story, but there are several facts that are known. Acne is caused by several contributing factors. Hormones are a major influence on acne. That’s why you don’t see acne before puberty. In women, birth control pills can either aggravate or improve acne. This probably depends on your response to the progestins in birth control pills. Bacteria contribute to acne – which is why either oral or topical antibiotics help. Greasy creams, perspiration, headbands and other things that can plug up pores make acne worse. Stress doesn’t help either. What you eat is generally not a major contributing factor to developing acne.
3. Are tanning beds safer than the sun?
No! Tanning beds use UVA rays, and although UVA rays are milder than UVB rays, their wavelengths are longer and they penetrate deeper through the skin’s layers. UVA rays contribute to wrinkling and burning the skin, as well as to the development of skin cancer. So it doesn’t matter if tanning beds are advertised as a method to tan safely, artificial UVA rays in tanning booths not only inflict the same type of skin and eye damage as the sun, but also may be as much as 20 times stronger than natural sunlight.
4. Can dermabrasion, chemical peels, or laser treatments get rid of wrinkles; what are the risks and benefits of each; and how long do the effects last?
Yes. And though the improvements can last many years, they are far from permanent and may have to be repeated at periodic intervals. Dermabrasion and medium-depth chemical peels have both been used for many years to improve the appearance of superficial wrinkling, eliminate sun-induced pigmentation and keratoses, and to improve the overall surface texture of the skin. In the past decade, laser resurfacing has become very popular and for the most part has begun to replace the other two procedures because the results are easier to control and predict. Laser resurfacing, however, is usually more expensive. All three procedures, if done correctly, are relatively safe, although localized scarring and pigment alterations can occur in a small percentage of patients.
5. If I have dandruff, does that mean my scalp is dry?
No! Mistakenly attributed to dryness because of the flaking it causes, dandruff is actually caused by excessive oil in the scalp. Medicated shampoos can help this condition. Shampoos for oily hair may also help to decrease oil build-up on the scalp, but these shampoos shouldn’t be used daily because they may dry out the hair (and skin) excessively.
6. Are dark-skinned people immune to skin cancer?
No! Anyone can develop skin cancer, although people with fair complexions do tend to be more susceptible to specific types of skin cancer and precancerous conditions than people with darker skin tones. In addition to fair skin and light hair, risk factors for skin cancer include exposure to toxic materials, such as arsenic and coal; industrial x-ray exposure; scarring from diseases or burns; family history of the disease; a tendency to freckle or burn easily; lots of sun exposure throughout your life; sunburns as a child or adolescent.
7. What type of SPF should I look for in sunscreen?
Most SPFs of 15 or higher will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Known as broad-spectrum sunscreens, these products contain titanium dioxide. Other active sunscreens are zinc oxide, oxybenzone, or Parsol 1789. While sunscreen helps to minimize damaging sunburns, it doesn’t completely prevent tanning or burning and should be reapplied every one to two hours.
8.What causes everyday rashes, and how can they be treated?
Everyday rashes can be caused by a number of things, from heat to insect bites to allergic reactions.They can be controlled by follwings certain steps:
Shower or bathe in warm, not hot, water. Use a gentle soap-free cleanser that won’t over-dry the skin, and try a bath additive.Use a moisturizer daily to help break the dry skin and itch cycle long-term.
9.When should I use a sunscreen?
To help protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun, dermatologists recommend wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher every day in all seasons…in summer and winter, on both cloudy and clear days.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen helps protect your skin from both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. UVA rays are believed to be responsible for photoaging — the damage that occurs to the skin from many years of exposure to the sun. It’s important to protect your skin from incidental sun exposure like while you’re driving in the car, walking outside, etc.
Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including lips, ears, backs of hands, and neck. Apply sunscreen generously and evenly before going in the sun, and reapply frequently after swimming, exercising, or sweating. It’s also important to look for a sunscreen product that is water resistant.
10.What causes dry skin, and what can I do to improve it?
When skin is dehydrated, the water content of the very top layer of skin is reduced, causing it to shrink. This shrinkage creates many of the familiar symptoms of dry skin, including itching, scaling, loss of elasticity and tightness. Scratching further damages the skin, leaving it vulnerable to infection.
Some causes of dry skin include:
Cold winter air
Too much soap and water, which washes away natural oils
Cleansing in hot water
11.What are cold sores and their causes?
Eighty percent of the population suffers from cold sores, also know as “fever blisters” and one-third experience recurrent outbreaks of cold sores.
A variety of factors can contribute to this virally related condition including over exposure to UV light, illness or fever, menstruation, physical or emotional stress and fatigue, and certain foods and medications. Usually found on the inside and/or around the mouth or lip area, the cold sore while initially blisters, can eventually turn into a painful ulcer.
12.What exactly is a suntan?
A suntan is caused by an increase in melanin, the pigment in your skin. Melanin gives skin its natural color. The more melanin, the darker the skin’s color. When UV rays contact the skin, a special type of skin cell makes and releases more melanin. This is a defensive response, as melanin can partially protect the skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun. But remember: there’s no such thing as a safe tan! A tan is a sign that some cells in your skin have already been injured by the sun. It’s your skin’s attempt to prevent further damage.