Tag Archives: dermatology

Understanding Acne (Part 1)

Acne is the most common skin condition in America, afflicting over 50 million people. Acne can effect anyone, but is most commonly associated with adolescence and young adulthood. Because of its prevalence, we wanted to take a peek behind the scenes of acne – what causes it? What worsens it? What treatment options are available? Read on to find out!

Acne Facts, Tips and Myths:

  • The term ‘acne’ encompasses pimples, boils, cysts, whiteheads, blackheads and other similar inflammatory skin issues.
  • 85% of adolescents and young adults will experience at least one minor bout of acne.
  • Acne is a product of hair follicles becoming blocked with a mixture of sebum (natural skin oil), dead skin and dirt.
  • Bacteria called Propionibacterium Acnes also helps cause and worsen acne.
  • Acne can show up virtually anywhere on the body but primarily effects the face, neck, back or arms.
  • People of all ages can develop acne – even babies! However, it usually first appears around the onset of puberty.
  • This skin condition can last for a few months, a few years or can intermittently afflict someone much of their life.
  • Treating acne early hails the best results and less scarring – treatments include topical prescription creams, oral medications or a combination of both.
  • Things that can worsen acne include: changes in female hormones, certain medications, pollution or humidity, squeezing, picking or irritating your skin.
  • Contrary to popular belief, stress does not cause acne but it can exacerbate the condition.
  • Acne can be comorbid with psychological issues such as anxiety or depression as it can adversely impact confidence and self image.
  • Twin study research seems to point to a genetic component with acne, but it is unclear just how strongly genetics factor into the equation.
  • Medical scar reducing procedures such as chemical peels and dermabrasion are often used to treat and minimize bad acne scarring.
  • Be careful in the sun if you have acne, the powerful UVA and UVB rays can further aggravate the condition.
  • There are 3 levels of acne severity: mild, which consists of a few surface-level pimples and blemishes that aren’t inflamed; moderate, which consists of deeper acne, some wound-like blemishes, soreness and redness; and severe acne which is usually very inflamed, infected, multiple cysts and pain or soreness.
  • Some acne medications can cause unwanted side effects or complications, such as problems for pregnant women, so it is important to thoroughly explore your options with your doctor or dermatologist to make sure you choose the right method for you.
  • There are certain myths surrounding acne such as: poor hygiene causes acne, acne will clear up without treatment or you can catch acne from someone. All these are 100% false. Don’t believe everything you hear!

There you have our fast facts on Acne! Keep an eye out for our next post, Acne Part 2 – Skincare Tips and Treatment to read about how telemedicine can effectively handle acne maintenance care. Tanks for visiting DocChat!



Medical And Natural Stretchmarks Treatment


Stretchmarks, medically known as straie, are a type of scarring millions of people develop when the dermis (the skin’s middle layer) stretches beyond its tolerance. This causes connective tissue and elasticity to break down creating thin, long scars. These can occur on any area of the body but are most common on the stomach, thighs and hips. While stretchmarks pose no health risks and don’t bother some people, many others wish to lessen or remove them. There are a few different options available for this.

What Causes Stretchmarks?

Most often losing or gaining a significant amount of weight, becoming pregnant or growing too fast for the skin to catch up causes stretchmarks to form. Ethnicity seems to factor in, as people with darker complexions are generally less likely to have as pronounced stretchmarks. Medical research illustrates that some people may have a genetic predisposition for developing stretchmarks as well.

Why Treat Them?

There is no medical reason to treat stretchmarks, they won’t cause any health risks.  The main reason people seek to lessen or remove them is aesthetic. Some people aren’t worried about their stretchmarks, and power to those people for feeling comfortable in their own skin! But to those who aren’t happy with the streaks, it makes perfect sense to try to reduce the appearance of the marks. Often when people spend months training to become more fit and lose a considerable amount of weight, the stretchmarks and lose skin remain an unpleasant thorn in the side after working so hard. This is understandable, but to each his or her own!

Non-Medical Options

For people who just wish to fade stretchmarks there are many non-invasive skincare products out there that have a proven track record for helping. Striae creams can at least lessen the appearance of stretchmarks. They may not be as effective as medical procedures but they are much cheaper and non-invasive. Some of these creams contain such ingredients as a synthetic duck feather moisture which has shown promise in reducing the appearance of scars. The problem is there are a surplus of ineffective ‘knock off’ creams, so it is best to do adequate research before purchasing. These creams generally work better on fresh stretchmarks and scars rather than older, more defined ones.

What Are The Surgical Options?

There are a few medical procedures people can undergo to remove or lessen stretchmarks including laser stretchmark removal, surgical stretchmark removal, microdermabrasion, blue light therapy or chemical peels. Laser stretchmark removal, also known as ablation, uses an excimer laser to disintegrate the skin tissue so it will grow back without as many marks. Abdominoplasty surgery (commonly known as the ‘tummy tuck’) removes extra skin and stretchmarks via surgery. This is the costliest, most invasive and riskiest treatment, but it is also hailed as the most effective for actually eliminating them.

Chemical Peel And Microdermabrasion 

Chemical peels are essentially just as they sound, they use chemicals to peel off the skin containing the stretchmarks in hopes new skin will heel mark-free. Microdermabrasion has a similar objective as chemical peels, but uses very fine crystals to essentially file away problem skin. Because of the risks and cost involved in medical striae removal methods, anyone considering them should do adequate research, speak with different doctors and ensure the procedure is right for them before proceeding.

Natural Remedies

It is difficult to know how effective natural treatments are as there isn’t as much empirical research to back up or refute the claims, but many dermatologists recommend trying such home remedies as:

  • Sugar which is known for its natural exfoliating effects which can help with scars and impurities.
  • Aloe Vera is highly esteemed as an effective remedy for many skin issues, including improving scars and stretchmarks.
  • Castor oil has proven effective in helping certain skin issues such as fading scars.
  • Olive oil also helps naturally moisturize and reinvigorate the skin.

So there are many options to consider if you feel the need to lessen the appearance of stretchmarks. It is important to consider all your options before choosing to ensure you know the risks and benefits. Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Winter Skincare – Tips to Ditch Those Itches


Dry Winter Skin

According to the American Skin Association, xerosis (excessively dry skin) is a very common condition that afflicts people of all ages. Dry winter air is notorious for causing xerosis, as well as exacerbating pre-existing skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and dandruff. All of these skin conditions can cause discomfort and intense itchiness.

Tips for Keeping Control

There are various measures you can take to relieve your irritated epidermis. Taking showers or baths with cooler water (or more brief hot ones) can help, as hot water sucks the moisture from your skin. You can apply light, non-alcohol moisturizers several times daily, and try to avoid harsh chemical irritants such as cleaners or scented soaps. When outside, don’t forget to protect your skin from the winter elements with warm scarves, mittens and hats. For psoriasis, try an oatmeal bath. You can also add a humidifier to your home to help replenish moisture during the dry winter months.

Natural Moisture Locking Remedies

There are a number of natural remedies for parched winter skin:

  • An olive, lemon and salt scrub – mix a whole lemon’s juice with 1 tbsp olive oil and 5 tbsp sea salt for a beautifully moisturizing facial (or body) scrub
  • Honey softens and moisturizes problem skin
  • Coconut oil is a gentle way to replace moisture in your dry, cracked hands
  • Aloe vera has amazing healing powers and can help replenish and rejuvenate your tired winter skin. You can buy your own aloe plant, and remove a tentacle to squeeze onto your skin

What’s Your Winter Culprit?

Dry skin can be just that, or it can be an indication of another dermatological issue. According to WebMD, some skin conditions that similarly present as dry, red, itchy skin are:

Psoriasis: an autoimmune condition which creates skin ‘plaques’ by overproducing skin cells. Psoriasis can range from mild, causing dry, cracked, red and itchy skin, to a severe systemic form which can be debilitating.

Eczema: A skin condition characterized by inflamed, red, cracked, blistered and itchy skin, often much worse in dry air (especially harsh winter air).

Dandruff: Causes your scalp to produce extra skin cells which become inflamed and flake off, sometimes causing immense itchiness. In severe cases, prescription shampoo may be necessary.

Rosacea: A condition causing small blood vessels across the cheeks and bridge of the nose to be inflamed, creating an uncomfortable, raised rash that can resemble acne. Rosacea can be a symptom of a larger autoimmune condition such as scleroderma or lupus.

When to Consult a Doctor or Specialist

If you’ve tried home remedies and over-the-counter creams to no avail, it is time to seek medical attention. It is important to consult a dermatologist if your symptoms are particularly severe, because a specialist is trained to distinguish which skin condition you may be suffering from and provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan. Some of these conditions, such as psoriasis, can become very troublesome if unchecked. Be sure to make an appointment with your doctor, or see one of our certified DocChat physicians today.