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The Principles Of Moisturizing Your Skin

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When I was in medical school on my dermatology rotation, we joked that all skin treatments boil down to three decrees: If it’s wet, dry it. If it’s dry, wet it. And if in doubt, use steroids.

Some other time I’ll discuss the “drying” of skin, or the use of steroids (which are not, by the way, the kind of steroids taken illegally by athletes!) Today I’ll cover how to keep the skin “wet” – and some principles of moisturizing.

Skin is our first line of defense against disease. Bacteria, viruses, parasites – dangers lurk everywhere. But our epidermis (the outer layer of our skin) blocks them almost always. When people have inflamed skin, the epidermis becomes disrupted and infectious particles can enter their body.

The key to keeping the epidermis intact is keeping it moist. Now, I’m talking about moisture just below the surface of the skin (within the epidermis), so the outside surface doesn’t feel wet. There are molecules within the epidermis that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Making Sense of Medicine*

How To Treat Vertical Lines Around The Lips

The vertical lines around the mouth are challenging to fix but now there are things you can do to improve them.

Most people call these lines ‘smoker’s lines’ but they aren’t necessarily from smoking.  Everybody will eventually get them as they age, smokers just get them earlier, and so do women.

I want to give you a quick overview of how I treat them in my dermatology practice.  To reduce the  appearance of vertical lines around your mouth consider one or more of the following treatments (click on any of the blue links to see more about the options).

The Best Treatments For ‘Smoker’s Lines’

Using skin care products to brighten the skin.

These will lessening the dark, wrinkled textural appearance of this area and it’s something you can do with your at-home skin care regimen. The best product options include prescription tretinion, retinol (helpful, but not as effective as prescription tretinoin), and AHA products (the best contain glycolic acid with a concentration over 10% and pH around 4). The tretinoin and AHA products may also stimulate a little collagen formation under your skin to actually build up the area to help permanently diminish the wrinkles too.

Doing a series of superficial professional skin treatments that peel, abrade and brighten the skin. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Bailey's Skin Care Blog*

Can Sunscreens Cause Skin Cancer?

“According to that study, nearly half of the 500 most popular sunscreens may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer such as melanoma.

Why? Because they contain Vitamin A, an ingredient that was added to sunscreen formulations because it’s an antioxidant that slows skin aging.

This isn’t necessarily new information….as some studies suggest “that vitamin A might have some phototoxicity.”

Source: health.msn.com/health-topics/skin-and-hair/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100260739

Take it easy folks. One study on the effects of Vitamin A on skin cancers in animals does not invalidate sunscreen use. We don’t really need Vitamin A in sunscreens though. We need good blockers of UVA and UVB at an SPF of at least 30.

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Will Insurance Cover A Mole Removal?

In years gone by, I spent far too much time removing small skin bumps in the office. At the time, I was sharing space with another doctor who was profiting by any service I provided. His staff scheduled me with tons of things that simply made me no money. [Meanwhile his stuff diverted some of my better business into his schedule as opposed to mine.]

The facts of life are that medicine is a business and when I am paying a huge chunk of change to overhead, I need to make that back or I operate at a loss.

Patients frequently don’t understand why I cannot remove their moles for what their insurance pays and make a profit. Well, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Is A Compressed Spinal Nerve Causing Itchy Arms?

Medical science is getting closer to understanding one of the most common causes of chronically itchy arms called brachioradial pruritus.

This means we’re also getting closer to helping people who suffer from this extremely frustrating condition!

A new study exploring the cause of brachioradial pruritus was just reported in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.  The authors used MRI imaging to look at the cervical spine of 41 patients suffering from chronic itching of what was otherwise normal appearing skin on the outer surface of their forearms arms (called brachioradial pruritus).  MRI imaging showed a very strong correlation between the itch and nerve compression in the patient’s neck. In fact, the exact site of the itch on the skin correlated precisely with the spinal location in the neck where the nerve resides that supplies that part of the arm skin (we call this a dermatome*).

What’s so interesting is that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Bailey's Skin Care Blog*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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