Treating Warts

Treating Warts

Treating WartsThough not considered a medical emergency, warts are a common ailment. Some warts may even cause pain and negatively impact your quality of life. At our office, we are proud to provide several treatment options to help you get you on the path towards clear skin once again.

What are Warts?

Warts are benign or non-cancerous skin growths that develop when your skin becomes infected by a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus can penetrate your skin through a small cut or scrape. The virus triggers extra cell growth and creates a raised bump, where the skin becomes thick and hard.

Warts are contagious and are typically passed through direct skin-to-skin contact but can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces. The hands and feet are the most common areas where warts develop but can appear on other areas of the body as well. Anyone can get warts, however, children and those with weakened immune systems can be at an increased risk.

Common Types of Warts

Warts are often skin-colored, but can appear darker in hues such as brown or grayish black. Some are raised and rough like a callus, while others may be flat and smooth. You may notice small black dots on the wart, commonly known as wart seeds, which are small, clotted blood vessels.

There are several kinds of warts. The type of wart you have depends on where it develops on the body and what it looks like. Common types of warts include:

  • Common Warts – These warts often appear on your hands, fingers, and around the nail area. They are often small rough bumps.
  • Filiform Wart – Filiform warts grow on fingers as long threads and can grow and multiply very quickly. They are generally painless. If they develop in a sensitive area such as skin folds, they may cause itching, irritation, bleeding, and soreness.
  • Flat Warts – Flat warts can appear anywhere on the body including the face and tend to grow in large numbers. They are smaller and smoother than common warts, about the size of a pinhead.
  • Genital Warts – Genital warts are caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that spreads through unprotected sexual activity. For men, genital warts can develop on the penis, scrotum, and anus. Women can develop genital warts on the outside of the genitals but also within the vagina and on the cervix. You can also develop genital warts in the mouth or throat. These warts may cause itching or discomfort as well as bleeding during intercourse.
  • Plantar Warts – Plantar warts form on the soles of your feet, around the heel, or ball of the foot. They tend to grow in clusters and often callus over. Plantar warts are often flat or grow inward due to pressure. Standing or walking for long periods can become painful when you have plantar warts.

Diagnosis

In many cases, we can determine whether you have a wart or not by examining the area and growth. However, in some cases, we may need to perform a skin biopsy to be certain. During a biopsy, a small piece of the wart is removed and sent to a lab to be analyzed under a microscope.

Treatment Options

Some warts may disappear without needing any treatment at all or with at-home remedies. Please schedule an appointment if you notice any suspicious growths or if your warts begin to hurt, interfere with daily activities, or start to rapidly increase in size or spread. We are proud to offer several wart removal treatment options. During your consultation, we will discuss what treatment options are best for your situation.

  • Cryotherapy – Using liquid nitrogen, your doctor will apply the chemical to your wart. This causes a blister to form as the cells are burnt and the blood supply cut off, killing the infection. After a week or so, the dead skin will slough off. This treatment can be painful like a minor burn, so your doctor may recommend administering a numbing agent to the area.
  • Electrocautery – With electrocautery, an electric needle is used to remove the wart surgically. Both the virus and the wart are treated. Before the procedure, the area is numbed.
  • Laser Therapy – Laser removal is a more highly effective, minimally invasive, and speedy treatment option. A high-powered laser cuts off the blood supply from the wart while eliminating the virus from your body. After treatment, the wart dies and sloughs off within a week.
  • Salicylic Acid – Similar to chemical peels, salicylic acid works by removing layers of your wart at a time. This topical medication is a stronger dose than products that can be bought over-the-counter.

Depending on the severity of your wart or warts, multiple treatment sessions may be needed to completely remove the wart.

If you know someone who has a wart or if you have one, avoid touching it as it spreads easily from direct contact. Wear footwear in public showers, locker rooms, decks, and gyms as these are popular breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. Remember to wash your hands often. Keep your warts covered until you can come into our office for your consultation. For more information on warts and our treatment options or to schedule an appointment, contact The Pearl Dermatology today.

Back-To-School Skincare Tips

We know that this upcoming school year will be different from the years before. Some are returning to classrooms with masks while others continue with virtual studies. Whatever the school year looks like for you, we are here for all your skincare needs and want to make sure you and your skin are happy and healthy.

Schedule An Appointment

We recommend patients come in annually for a dermatology exam. We are happy to provide you with a full-body exam to check any moles or other suspicious spots on your skin. Bring any questions or concerns you may have about skincare and how to have healthy skin. Don’t hesitate to bring up anything that might concern you, as often a quick check can help diagnose any spots or areas you may be worried about.

Another benefit of scheduling your exam before the start of term is even if you aren’t suffering from breakouts, a routine check-up can help you to start the year out clear and fresh. We can help you determine your skin type or type of blemishes and acne that have been bothering you lately. After your exam, we can discuss what beauty and cosmetic products are right for you and your needs.

Make A Routine

Even if your day is extremely busy with classes, work, or extra-curricular activities, it is important to take time out of your day to care for your skin. Creating a good skincare habit is crucial to having youthful, glowing skin. Your routine doesn’t need to be complex, contain expensive products, or take hours to complete. We can help you find a routine that works for you and your lifestyle.

Do your best to stick to a routine. Though it won’t always mean you’ll have crystal clear skin, regular skincare habits can help you avoid painful blemishes and breakouts.

Be sure to check your products regularly, as cosmetic products do have expiration dates. It is very common for eye makeup and lip products to grow bacteria that can become harmful, so be sure to toss out products past their date and never share products.

Don’t Pop

Though it can be tempting to pop a pimple, especially before a big event, popping your pimples can lead to scarring and may spread acne-causing bacteria leading to more breakouts. Instead, wash with a good cleanser and use topical ointments to reduce the size. They won’t magically disappear overnight. It takes time for products to work, but you should quickly notice a reduction in redness and swelling. By using products regularly, you can also fight off future breakouts and pimples.

Exfoliate

Exfoliation is a key to healthy skin as it works to remove dead cells, bacteria, and debris from the surface of your skin and keep your pores clear. However, it is important not to use an exfoliator that is too rough or to exfoliate too often as it can irritate, damage, and dry out your skin.

If you have sensitive skin, we may recommend only exfoliating once a week while others may be able to do so twice. During your consultation, we can discuss which types are right for your skin type and goals. Always moisturize after exfoliating.

Rest

During sleep, your body works to refresh and repair any damage accumulated throughout the day so that you can awaken ready for the day. Your skin is the same! Make sure you give your body time to rest. Studies show adults should sleep 7-8 hours a day, and growing children need even more.

Choose Warm Water

Even though hot baths and showers sound relaxing and inviting, the harshness can be too much for your skin. The temperature of the water can upset your skin’s balance by stripping away oils that keep your skin hydrated and healthy. It can also lead to inflammation, redness, dryness, and itchy skin. Instead, we recommend using warm water and moisturizing right afterward to lock in hydration.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

Unmanaged stress can lead to forgoing good habits such as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, or remembering to follow a skincare routine. Though we know school and work can be overwhelming, it is important to try to be mindful of your stress levels for both your health and skin!

With summer over, start the year off right by scheduling an appointment with our office. A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and a regular skincare routine can make sure your skin is hydrated, glowing, and beautiful this year. For more information on our skincare tips or to schedule an appointment, contact The Pearl Dermatology today.

Treating Acne Scars

Do you struggle with acne breakouts despite having tried several over-the-counter products? Maybe you tried an acne-free skincare routine you saw online, only to still have stubborn spots?
While some people experience breakouts that come and go without leaving a trace, sometimes acne can leave scars that may take weeks or months to fade–if they fade at all. Acne breakouts can be frustrating enough, but the scars they might leave behind can be even more aggravating.

Fortunately, just like acne, even the most stubborn acne scars are treatable. With today’s medicine, there are many treatments available that can help to remove and fade blemishes, making them less noticeable. However, before treating acne scars it is important to have your acne under control to avoid future scarring. Though there are hundreds of over-the-counter products available to help, it is easy to forget that acne is not merely cosmetic. Acne is a medical condition best treated by professionals. Our dermatologists are experts in skincare and know that with the right treatment and skincare routine, anyone and everyone can achieve clear skin.

What Causes Acne Scars?

Acne scars typically form from acne penetrating deep into the skin and damaging the tissues beneath the surface. Acne is an inflammatory condition and scarring occurs depending on the extent and duration of inflammation. Scarring generally occurs when there is either too little or too much collagen produced during the healing process of the breakout. Acne scarring can be worsened if the acne lesion is picked, popped, or manipulated. Our dermatologists recommend to not manipulate your acne lesions.

Type of Scars

There are a variety of acne scars that develop, but all can generally be broken into three categories:

  • Depressed Scars, also known as atrophic scars, are scars that sit below the surface of the skin and develop from a lack of collagen during the healing process or from thick collagen pulling the skin surface downward.. These depressions can vary in shape and depth.
  • Raised scars, also known as hypertrophic scars, stand above the surface and are caused by an overproduction of collagen during the healing process. They are generally red, purple, or skin-colored enlarged, firm growths.
  • Dark spots are scars left behind once the zit has cleared. They can range in colors from light tan, dark brown, red, and purple and often fade on their own after several months to years.

How Do Dermatologists Treat Acne Scars?

Before we can treat your scars, it is important to have your acne under control and treated. Additionally, it is also good to know what type of acne you have and what type of scars are left as a result. Each type and color of acne scars responds to treatment(s) differently and some treatments may be better suited for particular types of acne. Your dermatologist will conduct a thorough examination of your skin, noting where the breakouts occur and what type of acne and acne scars are present.

By undergoing this exam, we will be able to determine whether you have acne or another skin condition and create a treatment plan customized for your individual needs. We will also take into account your lifestyle, age, skin type, diet, stressors, and previous treatments you may have tried to ensure successful treatment. Your treatment will be unique to your skincare needs.

Treatment Options

Some acne scars may fade over time. For those that remain even after trying over-the-counter products, professional treatment by your board-certified dermatologist can help. Treatment will depend on the type of scar and severity. In some cases, several types of treatment may be needed for the patient’s desired results. Common acne scar treatments may include:

  • Laser or light energy resurfacing
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Microneedling
  • Microneedling with Radiofrequency treatment
  • Topical prescription medication
  • Chemical peels
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Dermal fillers

Most treatments are successful in reducing the size and visibility of acne scars. As dermatologists, we can help you to find the treatment option for your needs so you can get back to looking and feeling like the most confident version of yourself. For more information on acne scars and our treatment options or to schedule a consultation, contact The Pearl Dermatology today.

Preparing Your Skin For Wedding Season During A Pandemic (and how to deal with face masks)

Wedding season is almost here, and our dermatologists at The Pearl Dermatology have put together a plan to help you look your best for your special day during this unusual time. Ideally, it is best to meet with your dermatologist at least 6 months before your wedding day, as some treatments may take longer than others to achieve your desired result. During your initial consultation, it is important to address all of your skin concerns with your doctor as well as the goals you would like to achieve from treatment. This will help us to create a plan & timeline as to when you should come in for each specific procedure.

Over the years we have helped so many brides achieve their fairytale look, and we have compiled a list of the most common conditions that women like to have corrected or treated before their big day. And this year, we have added how to deal with face masks. Below you will find examples of the treatment we can provide to help you look and feel your best depending on your specific goals and skin condition.

FACE MASKS

Masks play a vital role in reducing the spread of the coronavirus at your wedding. However, these masks can also irritate your skin, clog pores, and cause flare-ups and breakouts. Not just for you, but for the mothers of the bride and groom, bridesmaids, and other special guests. This reaction can be more than just a few pimples as patients are also reporting peeling skin, rashes, and raw skin as a result of wearing masks frequently. To help reduce your risk of developing mask-related skin problems, we recommend these steps to protect your skin.

There are three main ways that your face mask can damage your skin, including:

  • Rubbing: Masks can irritate your skin through friction leading to chafing and exposing raw skin, similar to a rug burn. The areas that are most commonly affected include the bridge of the nose and where the bands rub behind the ears. Over time, tight-fitting masks can cause the skin to break and become inflamed.
  • Irritation: Aside from contact irritation, your mask may also absorb natural oils or debris from outside that can irritate your skin leading to skin sensitivity or dryness. Residue from detergents or fabric softeners may also cause inflammation or irritation as the skin on your face can be more sensitive to chemicals. Those with skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema may experience occasional flare-ups as a result of wearing face masks frequently.
  • Clogged Pores: Face masks can also limit the breathability of your pores, increasing the risk of them becoming clogged and leading to breakouts. Masks can also create a perfect humid environment for bacteria to grow which can also contribute to breakouts and clogged pores.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD MASK FOR A WEDDING?

The CDC recommends that healthcare workers wear surgical masks and N95s, while the public wears cloth masks. The material of your mask affects how well it can protect you from the virus as well as how well you can breathe through it.

The best choice for your skin is a tightly woven natural fiber such as cotton, as it is effective while still being gentle on your skin providing an excellent balance of protection and comfort. Your mask should fit snugly over your nose and mouth, but also comfortably.

TREATING MASK-RELATED SKIN PROBLEMS

If your skin is experiencing the effects of a face mask, here is what you can do for the most common problems.

Dryness and peelings can be the first signs of mask irritation. Over time your skin can become sensitive, red, and inflamed. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face after each use and don’t forget to apply a moisturizer and/or ointment afterward to rehydrate and soothe your skin. Applying moisturizer or petroleum jelly before wearing your mask can also help to provide an extra layer against friction, chafing, and dryness.

If you begin to notice raw skin, breaks, or fissures, apply an over-the-counter ointment and dressing bandage to the area before putting your mask back on. This will help to prevent further skin damage. Remember to also apply the ointment at night or when you are not wearing the mask to protect and heal your skin.

Mild breakouts can often be treated with classic over-the-counter acne treatments, so most patients will be able to continue using their go-to products. Keep in mind that both prescription and over-the-counter acne remedies can be irritating to the skin due to frequent mask usage, even if you didn’t experience irritation in those areas before the pandemic. In these cases, you may need to use your treatment less frequently or adjust the amount used to help your skin.

If you are unable to find relief with these methods or if the symptoms worsen, please contact our office to schedule an appointment so that we can help you find the right treatment option for you.

WAYS TO PREVENT MASK-RELATED SKIN ISSUES AT YOUR WEDDING

As masks continue to be an essential part of our daily attire, here are some helpful tips to prevent skin problems from developing underneath your mask.

  • Avoid wearing makeup beneath your mask as multiple layers of product can clog your pores or soil your mask leading to breakouts.
  • Continue to follow your treatment plan if you have prior skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis unless otherwise advised by your dermatologist.
  • Don’t start a new skincare routine unless otherwise instructed by your doctor as wearing a mask even for a short time can make your skin sensitive and react adversely to new products leading to irritation or breakouts.
  • Regularly clean your cloth masks to prevent bacteria, dirt, and debris from building up on your mask. Keep a rotation of masks on hand and wash them after every use.
  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser daily and always apply a moisturizer formulated for your skin type after.

For more information on how to handle mask-related skin conditions or to schedule an appointment with our office, please contact us today.

PREPARING YOUR SKIN FOR YOUR WEDDING

There are many options when it comes to rejuvenating your skin before your magical day. In addition to the treatments already mentioned, we also offer fillers that can help restore volume and reduce facial lines. Fillers need to be injected 3-4 weeks before the wedding for the best results. These may be an appropriate form of treatment depending on your specific skin type, condition, and goals, which you can discuss with your dermatologist during your consultation. Contact The Pearl Dermatology today for more information and to schedule a consultation!

WRINKLES IN THE UPPER FACE

Regardless of how old you are, wedding planning can age you. Between the stress of planning all the last minute details and the anticipation of your big day, you may be looking in the mirror and feeling less like a glowing bride and more like a tired woman. Whether you have lines between your eyebrows or unwanted crows feet that you would love to get rid of, we have you covered.

We typically recommend Botox or Dysport for these skin imperfections, and treatment should be performed 2-3 weeks before your big day. These products are especially effective in treating wrinkles in the upper face as well as relaxing and smoothing lines on the forehead and between the eyebrows. Results tend to last 3-4 months (depending on how fast your body metabolizes the product), so you will still be looking fresh throughout your honeymoon! If this is your first time trying Botox or Dysport, we recommend coming in 3-4 months before your wedding for a “test drive” of the product so that we can determine how your body responds to the treatment and how much product you need to achieve your desired result.

We also recommend a variety of Collagen Builders to help smooth your skin. In the month of March we are offering 15% off the following products:

  • Neocutis Lumiere Firm
  • Neocutis Microbody
  • Neocutis Neofirm
  • Neocutis Biocream Firm
  • Neocutis Journee SPF
  • SkinMedica TNS Advanced Serum
  • SkinMedica Recovery Complex
  • SkinMedica Retinols
  • Skinceuticals Glycolic Renew Overnight
  • Revision Nectifirm Advanced

EXCESSIVE UNDERARM SWEATING

Between the stress leading up to your big day and the excitement, dancing, and even the weather during your wedding and reception, sweating can quickly become an unwanted issue. Sweating under the arms can be particularly bothersome as it can cause staining on your gown as silk repels water rather than absorbing it. It also retains body odors more than other types of fabric, which could make dancing and socializing in close quarters a little uncomfortable and embarrassing. Fortunately, Dysport and Botox can be beneficial treatments for this condition as well. Botox injected into the underarms can help reduce sweating in the area for up to 6 months. Our board-certified dermatologists recommend you come in 2-3 weeks before your wedding for optimal results. There may be a slight risk of bruising and swelling that can last up to 3-7 days, but will be long gone before your big day.

DULL SKIN

Everyone wants that newlywed glow on their wedding day, and often you need more than just makeup to achieve this look. The Spectra “Hollywood Laser Peel” is our go-to treatment to help remove dead cells that accumulate on the top layer of the skin which can often create a dull appearance. Within hours, your skin can appear softer and more radiant. Not only does the Spectra treatment help to create a radiant and healthy glow, but each treatment can also help improve the appearance of melasma, acne, acne scarring, reduce pigmentation, pore size, fine lines, and wrinkles. We recommend coming in a week before your event to prepare your skin for your big day and more importantly, your makeup artist. Give your skin a fresh new glow that will make all the difference on your big day, and come in for a Spectra Hollywood Laser Peel!

We also recommend Microneedling. Microneedling with PRP uses fine, sterile needles to create microscopic channels in the skin without the use of a laser. Since there is no laser or heat energy distributed to the skin, this device is safe in all skin tones and has a low risk of adverse events. After the microneedling procedure is complete, your dermatologist applies your PRP directly to the skin. The PRP then sinks down into the channels to promote further collagen stimulation. Microneedling with PRP is used to help improve skin tone, fine lines, texture, and shallow scars. Following a facial treatment, most patients will experience 36 hours of mild redness and mild swelling when PRP is added. PRP helps to shorten healing times; therefore, the healing time lasts longer when PRP is not used. A series of at least 3 to 5 monthly treatments is needed. Makeup can be applied 6 hours post treatment.

Another great treatment is Morpheus. Morpheus from Inmode Aesthetics is a new dimension in radiofrequency (RF) technology used to address sagging skin, wrinkles, and changes in skin texture. It combines fractional RF technology with microneedling. Delivering RF heat energy to the dermis encourages new collagen growth and tissue tightening at precise predetermined depths in the skin. The result is a little downtime procedure which can greatly improve wrinkling and skin laxity. Patients most commonly undergo 3 treatments at 1 month interval. Our doctors often combine Morpheus with the AccuTite procedure on the same day to enhance the collagen stimulating effects.

A few helpful products we recommend are the SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum and Colorescience Glow, which can be mixed with your foundation.

SUBMENTAL FULLNESS OR DOUBLE CHIN

Having a double chin in wedding photos can be a fear for many brides, especially if you have a stubborn pocket of fat under your chin. With the help of Kybella, Coolsculpting, and a skin tightening treatment such as Ultherapy or Morpheus, we can get you in picture-perfect shape in no time. During your consultation, you can discuss the various products and treatment options with your dermatologist so that together you can create a customized treatment plan. Usually, this needs to happen 6 months prior to the wedding, but specific treatment options will vary and are listed below.

  • Kybella: Kybella is injected in a series of treatments ranging from 2-5 treatments. These results of fat reduction with Kybella are permanent; however, the final results can take 2-3 months after the final treatment to be seen. ⠀
  • Coolsculpting: CoolSculpting is a noninvasive, innovative way to contour your body by freezing unwanted fat away with no surgery, scalpels or downtime. It can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to see results, so it is recommended that treatment be done 3-4 months prior to the wedding.

For patients with skin laxity, we recommend adding Ulthera, and/or Morpheus, to your treatment regimen to produce a skin tightening effect. For products, we recommend Revision Nectifirm, which is discounted in March! Talk to your dermatologist about which options are right for you.

BROWN SPOTS

Similar to redness, pigmentation and sunspots on the face and body can be treated using IPL, also known as Photofacials. For more intense pigmentation and/or photodamage, your doctor may recommend a fractionated 1927 nm thulium laser (LaseMD, Fraxel DUAL, or the Clear and Brilliant Permea) alone or in combination with IPL. It is often necessary to have multiple treatments depending on the desired result. As discoloration or brown spots can occur commonly present on the face, neck, and chest we recommend treating all three areas to create a smooth, even appearance. This is something very important to consider if you’ve chosen a strapless gown! Treatment should occur 3-4 months before your big day, so be sure to keep that timing in mind when scheduling your consultation.

There are a variety of products that can help as well! We recommend Neocutis Pearl, Glytone Enhance Brightening Complex, Skinceuticals Phloretin, and Colorescience Even Up Multi Correction Serum. You can view our products here!

REDNESS AND WRINKLES

Redness on the face can be difficult to cover up with make-up alone for women. Men can find it even more challenging as coverage and concealing options are more limited. Whether it is caused by stress, heat, or a skin condition called rosacea, redness can be reduced significantly by using laser & light treatments such as a Photofacial. We typically recommend a series of 3-5 treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart depending on the amount of visible redness. It is important to consider visiting your dermatologist at least 3-5 months in advance to allow plenty of time to squeeze in a few treatments and achieve your best results before your big day.

Do you have more than one issue that needs to be addressed? No problem! Many of our patients seek to simultaneously reduce redness, fine lines, and/or shallow acne scars. To address all of the issues, we offer combination therapy with Photofractional therapy. During this treatment, an IPL is performed using the Lumenis M22. Immediately afterward, a light resurfacing laser called the Resurfx is performed to stimulate collagen. Downtime is minimal with a few days of mild redness and swelling.

A few products may help as well. We recommend Neocutis Peche Redness Control, Colorescience AllCalm, and SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel and Mask. You can view our products here!

ACHIEVE YOUR DREAM WEDDING LOOK

With wedding season upon us, our dermatologists at The Pearl Dermatology are ready to put together a plan to help you look your best! Every bride is unique, and it is best to meet with your dermatologist at least 6 months before your wedding day to customize your treatment and skincare regimen. We will create a plan & timeline as to when you should come in for each specific procedure, or when you should apply each product.

We have helped so many brides achieve their fairytale look and this year provides more challenges than ever before. Contact us today to schedule your wedding consultation!

Fight Off Winter Lips

Fight Off Winter Lips

Fight Off Winter LipsThe cold,dry, outdoor air combined with indoor heating can cause your lips to become severely dried out and chapped. Add in harsh winds to a cold day and your lips are at a higher risk for ending up chapped, dry, cracked, and red. Though chapped lips are common during the dry winter months, that doesn’t mean you have to wait for spring to have supple, smooth lips. The delicate skin of your lips needs extra care during winter to stay hydrated, so use these tips to keep your lips hydrated and supple this winter.

Combat Chapped Lips

Lip Balm

Make a habit of using a hydrating lip balm daily. Reapply throughout the day as necessary and once before going to sleep. A lot of people sleep with their mouths open which can dry out the lips.

There are many lip balms to choose from, so you may need to experiment and find what works best for you or ask your dermatologist for suggestions. We recommend products that use petroleum jelly or shea butter to lock in moisture and heal cracks.

Hydrate

The most common reason for chapped lips is a lack of moisture. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body and lips hydrated.

Don’t Bite

We understand that dry lips can cause flaking and peeling which may be uncomfortable, but it’s best not to bite or pick at the peeling skin. This can irritate your lips more leading to cracks, splits, bleeding, and sores. Instead, use a heavy ointment-based balm to heal your lips.

Don’t Bite

We understand that dry lips can cause flaking and peeling which may be uncomfortable, but it’s best not to bite or pick at the peeling skin. This can irritate your lips more leading to cracks, splits, bleeding, and sores. Instead, use a heavy ointment-based balm to heal your lips. You can even try making a “lip mask” by applying Avene Cicalfate cream to the lips in a thick layer and sleep with it on all night.

We also recommend using a humidifier in your home, especially at night, if your house is dry from the heat. Don’t forget to cover your lips when you bundle up to brace for the cold outside!

Try to add these lip care tips as part of your morning, bedtime, and outdoor routines to fight off chapped lips this winter. For more information on chapped lips or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Face Masks and Your Skin

Face Masks and Your Skin

Masks play a vital role in reducing the spread of the coronavirus. However, these masks can also irritate your skin, clog pores, and cause flare-ups and breakouts. This reaction can be more than just a few pimples as patients are also reporting peeling skin, rashes, and raw skin as a result of wearing masks frequently. To help reduce your risk of developing mask-related skin problems, we recommend these steps to protect your skin.

How do face masks affect our skin?

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that everyone wear a mask while in public areas and caused many to notice the toll of wearing a face mask daily. However, even before the pandemic it was widely known from healthcare workers that the constant use of a face mask can cause skin irritation.

There are three main ways that your face mask can damage your skin, including:

  • Rubbing – Masks can irritate your skin through friction leading to chafing and exposing raw skin, similar to a rug burn. The areas that are most commonly affected include the bridge of the nose and where the bands rub behind the ears. Over time, tight-fitting masks can cause the skin to break and become inflamed.
  • Irritation – Aside from contact irritation, your mask may also absorb natural oils or debris from outside that can irritate your skin leading to skin sensitivity or dryness. Residue from detergents or fabric softeners may also cause inflammation or irritation as the skin on your face can be more sensitive to chemicals. Those with skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema may experience occasional flare-ups as a result of wearing face masks frequently.
  • Clogged Pores – Facial mask also can limit the breathability of your pores increasing the risk of them becoming clogged and leading to breakouts. Masks can also create a perfect humid environment for bacteria to grow which can also contribute to breakouts and clogged pores.

What makes a good mask?

The CDC recommends that healthcare workers wear surgical masks and N95s, while the public wears cloth masks. The material of your mask affects how well it can protect you from the virus as well as how well you can breathe through it.

The best choice for your skin is a tightly woven natural fiber such as cotton as it is effective while still being gentle on your skin providing an excellent balance of protection and comfort. Your mask should fit snugly over your nose and mouth, but also comfortably.

Treating mask-related skin problems

If your skin is experiencing the effects of a face mask, here is what you can do for the most common problems.

Dryness and peelings can be the first signs of mask irritation. Over time your skin can become sensitive, red, and inflamed. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face after each use and don’t forget to apply a moisturizer and/or ointment afterward to rehydrate and soothe your skin. Applying moisturizer or petroleum jelly before wearing your mask can also help to provide an extra layer against friction, chafing, and dryness.

If you begin to notice raw skin, breaks, or fissures, apply an over-the-counter ointment and dressing bandage to the area before putting your mask back on. This will help to prevent further skin damage. Remember to also apply the ointment at night or when you are not wearing the mask to protect and heal your skin.

Mild breakouts can often be treated with classic over-the-counter acne treatments, so most patients will be able to continue using their go-to products. Keep in mind that both prescription and over-the-counter acne remedies can be irritating to the skin due to frequent mask usage, even if you didn’t experience irritation in those areas before the pandemic. In these cases, you may need to use your treatment less frequently or adjust the amount used to help your skin.

If you are unable to find relief with these methods or if the symptoms worsen, please contact our office to schedule an appointment so that we can help you find the right treatment option for you.

Ways to prevent mask-related skin issues

As masks continue to be an essential part of our daily attire, here are some helpful tips to prevent skin problems from developing underneath your mask.

  • Avoid wearing makeup beneath your mask as multiple layers of product can clog your pores or soil your mask leading to breakouts.
  • Continue to follow your treatment plan if you have prior skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis unless otherwise advised by your dermatologist.
  • Don’t start a new skincare routine unless otherwise instructed by your doctor as wearing a mask even for a short time can make your skin sensitive and react adversely to new products leading to irritation or breakouts.
  • Regularly clean your cloth masks to prevent bacteria, dirt, and debris from building up on your mask. Keep a rotation of masks on hand and wash them after every use.
  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser daily and always apply a moisturizer formulated for your skin type after.

For more information on how to handle mask-related skin conditions or to schedule an appointment with our office, please contact The Pearl Dermatology today.

Acne Cosmetica

Do you ever find that though you often wear makeup to help enhance your features, you end up having worse skin than if you had gone without wearing any? It is true that some cosmetics can cause acne, and we usually refer to this kind of acne as acne cosmetica. However, not all makeup is bad for your skin. The key to enjoying the art of makeup and maintaining healthy skin is finding a product that is right for your skin type and contains ingredients that are not harmful to your skin.

Identifying the culprit

Acne cosmetica is usually characterized by small bumps on the cheeks, chin, or forehead, and some experience whiteheads and pimples. Identifying the products used around the affected area is key to finding the culprit(s) of your acne. Take note of any changes in the products you are using, as it can take anywhere from a few days to 6 months for a reaction to occur. For this reason, it is a good idea to keep a skin care diary so you can accurately determine any patterns and make note of the ingredients in each of your products. If blemishes seem to reappear and seem to worsen, discontinue wearing makeup for a while. Oftentimes the makeup you use to cover the blemishes can make the inflammation and irritation worse.

Recovering From Acne Cosmetica Breakouts

In addition to discontinuing the use of those makeup products that seem to be the culprit of your breakout, follow these tips to help clear up your skin:

  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser at least twice a day, and after exercising or any activity that would cause you to sweat. Be sure to use a cleanser that includes the words “oil-free”, “won’t clog pores”, or “non-comedogenic” on the label. Avoid any abrasive tools used to clean your face. Instead, just use your fingertips and rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Always remove all makeup before going to bed with a gentle, oil-free makeup remover and then wash your face.
  • If you choose to continue wearing makeup, apply it very gently. Consider using makeup brushes to help control the force you use during application.
  • If you use makeup brushes, clean them on a regular basis and do not share them with others.
  • Do not share makeup.
  • If irritation continues, consider using an over-the-counter medication to help treat and heal the affected area. Look for products that contain one or more of the following ingredients:
    • Benzoyl peroxide (fights acne-causing bacteria)
    • Salicylic acid (helps unclog pores)
    • Adapalene (helps unclog pores)

If acne persists, you will want to see your dermatologist here at The Pearl  Dermatology to help sort out other factors that could be causing your acne.

For more information about acne cosmetica or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

Post-Quarantine Rejuvenation at The Pearl Dermatology

Post-Quarantine Rejuvenation at The Pearl Dermatology

As we begin to navigate this next chapter together, we want you to know that our team at The Pearl Dermatology is here to support and serve our patients in any way we can. We realize that quarantine may have taken its toll on our patients, and we want to help provide services that will help rejuvenate your skin, confidence, and overall wellbeing. We have provided information about some of our services that can help you to feel your best!

Botox and Dysport

Botox
If you’re looking for a way to refresh your face and erase signs of aging and stress, Botox may be the solution for you. Different from facial fillers, Botox relaxes tense muscles that cause wrinkles and defined expression lines. When done by a board-certified dermatologist, Botox safely and effectively diminishes wrinkles and lines without leaving you “frozen-faced.”

Patients typically seek Botox to eliminate the appearance of forehead lines, crow’s feet (wrinkles near the outer corners of the eyes), frown lines between the eyebrows, neckbands, and under-eye wrinkles.

How does it work?
Botulinum Toxin A, the scientific name for Botox, provides a buffer to neurotransmitters within the injected muscles, lessening the signal to contract. This releases wrinkles and folds around the injection sites. The full effects of Botox can take 2-14 days to fully develop and can last on average 3 months. Patients may resume all normal activities immediately after treatment. Common side effects, as with all injectable products, include swelling, bruising, bleeding, and itching at the injection site. Most side effects resolve themselves naturally within 24 hours.
Dysport
Dysport® is an FDA-approved purified neurotoxin prescription injection that is primarily used to treat moderate to severe frown lines. To effectively minimize the appearance of frown lines between your eyebrows, Dysport’s purified Botulinum Toxin properties soften the muscles in your glabellar area. Dysport® is incredibly effective which is why it is frequently used to enhance other parts of the face.

How long does Dysport® last?
Dysport® lasts 3 months on average and usually takes up to seven days to take effect.

Photofacials/IPL Treatment

Our photofacials use light to diminish the appearance of broken blood vessels, redness caused by rosacea, and pigmentation caused by sun damage. The special light used ensures that patients have little to no downtime and usually requires 3-5 sessions.

The IPL treatment specifically targets problem areas while leaving healthy skin alone. In our practice, IPL is personally performed by one of our board-certified dermatologists, ensuring efficacy and safety.

With little to no downtime, you’ll be back to all normal activities immediately. It is one of the most effective skin pigmentation treatments available today.

Skin Tightening

As the name suggests, skin tightening is the process of tightening loose skin on the face, neck, and body through cosmetic procedures. Skin tightening can be used to reduce the effects of aging, promote firmer skin, and restore youthfulness. Many of these treatments are non-surgical and can be done in our office.

To begin, we will identify the best cosmetic skin tightening solution for you depending on the targeted area, your desired result, desired downtime, and other underlying medical conditions. Many skin tightening treatments require no downtime, while the downtime for minimally invasive surgical procedures such as AccuTite or FaceTite may vary.

Fillers

Dermal fillers are safe, gel-like injectable substances that smooth creases, fine lines, and wrinkles to rejuvenate your skin and add volume and fullness to your face. Dermal fillers are composed of hyaluronic acid, a sugar-like material that naturally occurs in our skin. These can be used to enhance your lips, fill and define your cheeks, straighten out your jawline, soften grooves underneath your eyes, and many other cosmetic alterations to reduce the visible effects of aging.

FDA-approved dermal fillers can last between six to 12 months before fading and requiring another injection. The lifespan and overall effectiveness of your dermal filler treatment depend on your physiological makeup, the area being treated, and the unique properties of the filler which is why we recommend consulting your doctor before beginning treatment.

Typically, most FDA-approved dermal fillers are also infused with lidocaine to help minimize discomfort during and after treatment. Injecting cosmetic dermal fillers only takes a short amount of time to complete, and most patients are able to return to their normal activities immediately after treatment.

CoolSculpting
CoolSculpting is an FDA approved non-invasive fat reduction procedure that eliminates fat cells through a process known as cryolipolysis, where stubborn fat cells are frozen and eventually die. CoolSculpting gives long term results and naturally eliminates the dead cells from your body within a few months resulting in fat reduction.

The number of fat cells a person has is set during childhood and adolescence and can vary from person to person. When you start to gain weight, those fat cells expand which causes your waistline, hips, thighs, and other areas to expand. A healthy diet and exercise causes these cells to shrink and give you a slimmer shape, but it only changes the size of the cells and does not eliminate them. Coolsculpting is a form of cold therapy that destroys fat cells safely and in a non-invasive manner. Fat cells are more sensitive to the effects of cold vs other skin cells and at a certain temperature will freeze and die off. Your body will then naturally break down the cells through the metabolic process over a few months, leaving you with a more toned and finely sculpted area.

If you have questions about our services or if you would like to schedule an appointment, we encourage you to give us a call today. We would love to help find the right treatment to help meet your goals!

Bug Bites and Stings

Bug Bites and Stings

With warmer weather and summer on the horizon, it is important to go over proper skincare. In addition to our usual concern for protecting our skin from the sun’s rays, we also need to be aware of some threats we may encounter in the great outdoors such as bug bites and stings.

Though many of the bites and stings can be bothersome, they are mostly harmless, however, certain bugs can spread infectious diseases such as Zika Virus, Lyme Disease, Dengue fever, and Malaria. Whether a bee sting or mosquito bite, it is important to understand what to do to properly treat and prevent these irritations.

    Identifying common bug bites

It can be tricky telling what insect bit you if you weren’t aware at the time. Here are some ways to help pinpoint what summer bug might have bitten you.

  • Bed Bugs leave large circles of bites often in groups of three’s that cause itching, redness, swelling, and even blisters. Bed bugs can live in beddings, chairs, couches, curtains, and many other fabrics, including clothing.
  • Chiggers are not insects, but a common summer pest found in the outdoors. They are painless biters, but produce itchy raised red bumps that appear on the lower legs.
  • Fire Ants have both a bite and sting. These usually have a red center surrounded by lighter colored rings. Pus may develop inside the bites.
  • Fleas are common if you live with pets. Their bites begin as an itchy rash of tiny bumps often on the lower legs. The area may swell or turn white when touched.
  • Mosquito bites can be severely itchy and cause mild to moderate swelling of the skin. Mosquito bites typically have a small puncture at the center. Mosquitoes often lurk in humid, shaded areas near bodies of standing water such as pools, ponds, and lakes.
  • Ticks can pass numerous illnesses. If bitten, be sure to remove the tick if possible and watch for symptoms such as rashes, headaches, or fever which may be signs of tick-related diseases.

    Common symptoms

Symptoms can vary depending on the type of insect that bit you, however common bug bites or sting symptoms may include:

  • A small raised or red bump(s)
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Blistering

Some people may develop an allergic reaction to bug bites or stings, which is most common in stings from bees and wasps. Others may develop a more severe reaction that may require immediate medical attention. Signs of severe reactions include:

  • Difficulty breathing, chest pain, or increased heart rate
  • Hives on areas of your skin where you were not bitten
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Nausea, cramps, or vomiting
  • Swelling of the tongue, throat, lips, or face

Symptoms felt as a result of a bite or sting typically resolve within a few days if treated properly. If symptoms worsen or you do not experience relief after treatment, contact your doctor.

    Prevention Tips

Use Bug Repellent
Protect against bugs by using an insect repellent that contains at least 20-30% DEET. Spray the repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Follow the instructions on the label and reapply as
directed. Avoid using sunscreen that contains insect repellent as sunscreen must be applied liberally and often as opposed to insect repellent which should be applied sparingly.

You can pretreat clothing with insect repellent ahead of time if you plan on being out in the woods or after dark. Follow instructions carefully and allow clothes to dry for at least 2 hours before wearing them.

Wear Appropriate Clothing
If you are going into wooded areas or spending the day outside, wear the right type of clothing.

Wear light clothing that is moisture-wicking to prevent overheating, and cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and closed-toed shoes. For additional protection, pull your socks over your pants and tuck your shirt into your pants. If possible, tie back your hair or cover your head with a hat.

Use A Bed Net
During the spring and summer, many of us may consider spending the night outside. Whether in a tent or cabin, protect yourself as you sleep with a bed net. Purchase a net that has been
pre-treated with insect repellent. If it is not large enough to reach the floor, secure it underneath your mattress.

    Treatment Tricks

Sometimes despite our best efforts on prevention, bug bites may still occur. Thankfully though, most bug bites and stings can be treated safely at home.

For painful bites or stings, we recommend taking an over-the-counter pain killer, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be sure to always follow the instructions and use the correct dosage.

Bites that itch can be some of the most bothersome, so in these cases you can apply an ice pack to the area or an over-the-counter anti-itch cream such as hydrocortisone. Another option can be to take an oral antihistamine bought from a local store.

Swelling is a common symptom of bug bites and stings and a cold compress can reduce pain and swelling.

For more information on how to prevent and treat bug bites and stings, please contact The Pearl Dermatology today.

Rosacea During the COVID-19 Crisis

by Jennifer Deaver Peterson, MD, FAAD
The Pearl Dermatology, Houston, TX

April is Rosacea Awareness Month. Rosacea, also known as acne rosacea, affects 16 million Americans. It occurs in men, women, all skin tones, and is characterized by facial redness, flushing, sensitive skin, broken blood vessels (telangiectasias), and/or acne-like lesions. Rosacea is best controlled with a combination approach of gentle skincare, prescription medications, laser/light therapy, and minimization of triggers.

Treatment

Many rosacea patients also have sun-damaged skin in the form of brown spots (lentigines). The Lumenis M22 intense pulse light (IPL) uses a spectrum of wavelengths of light to simultaneously reduce facial redness, telangiectasias, and lentigines. These treatments have the benefit of minimal to no downtime and are performed in a medical office. Not all IPL devices are created equally and not all can be used safely in patients with Asian, Hispanic, Brazilian, Mediterranean, and olive skin tones. The Lumenis M22 has enhanced safety features such as contact cooling, multiple sequential pulsing, optimal pulse technology, and longer wavelength filters to allow for treatments in patients with a variety of skin tones.

Choosing the Right Skincare Products

Sensitivity to facial skincare products is a common trigger in rosacea. Those suffering from rosacea should use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner such as CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser or Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk and gently pat dry. Some may be tempted to try at home peels, scrubs, or masques; however, these have the potential to worsen facial redness and cause burning, stinging, and irritation. For patients looking for home treatments, we recommend soothing and calming masks such as SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque and Avene Antirougers Calm Soothing Repair.

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen!

Although we are staying at home during the COVID-19 crisis, most of us are still getting outdoors for fresh air, exercise, and/or playing with our children. The sun is a trigger for the majority of rosacea patients and results in increased facial redness. Therefore, sunscreen must be an essential part of the skincare regimen. Mineral (zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) sunscreens are preferred as they provide broad-spectrum UV coverage and are less irritating than chemical sunscreens. New, cosmetically elegant mineral sunscreens in cream, lotion, powder, and stick based formulations are available and blend beautifully into the skin. Some excellent options include Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50, Colorescience Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50, and Coola Mineral Sun Silk SPF 30.

Other Triggers

There are many potential triggers for rosacea. Heat can exacerbate facial redness. Therefore, it is important to keep cool and limit activities such as saunas and hot yoga. Food and alcoholic beverages such as spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka, and champagne are common triggers but vary from person to person. Fumes from some household chemical cleansers can also act as exacerbators for many rosacea patients. Finally, stress can trigger a flare of rosacea. Taking a careful rosacea diary for a week can be helpful to pinpoint triggers. While it is not possible to eliminate all triggers from a daily routine, limiting exposure to triggers will aid in the management of rosacea.

Treatment During COVID-19 Crisis

At certain times during the COVID-19 crisis we have been unable to perform cosmetic procedures. However, we can still help control our patients’ rosacea by utilizing gentle skincare, continuing prescription medications via telehealth, and minimizing triggers and stress. While there is no cure for rosacea, there are a variety of effective topical and oral prescription medications available to control and manage rosacea. Many of rosacea treatments are directed towards reducing the acne-like (aka papulopustular) lesions of rosacea and require long-term usage. Another class of topical medications called alpha-adregeneric agonists work to reduce the facial redness of rosacea for up to 8 hours.

Soon we will be back in our offices and have the capacity to re-establish our combination treatment protocols. In the meantime, with gentle skincare, minimization of triggers, prescriptions, and telehealth we can help our rosacea patients navigate the COVID crisis with success.