Tag Archives: skincare

10 Tips for Healthier Skin

Your skin is your largest (and most exposed!) organ, so it is important to take care of it so it stands the test of time. Not only that, but millions of Americans struggle with skin problems like acne, eczema and rosacea. So what can you do to keep your skin fresh and happy, as well as tame or avoid some of these issues? Let’s look at a few tricks:

  1. Go herbal for a glow – try some natural products such as witch hazel for inflammation control and rejuvenation, aloe vera for its calmative properties, or oats which have been FDA approved for treating dry or eczema skin.
  2. Learn from the Type B’s out there Stress can have catastrophic effects on skin (and rest of the body) when it amps up too high. So, a word to all you stressers out there, practice good self-care and learn to relax so you can bring those chronically soaring cortisol levels back down.
  3. Stay active. Exercise is beneficial to keep your whole body running smoothly, and your skin is no exception. Working up a sweat helps eliminate the toxins that pollute your skin, leaving it healthier and cleaner. Exercise also releases mood boosting endorphins and helps lower stress.
  4. Hands off! Our hands come in contact with millions of germs daily, some of which can be harmful and may cause issues with the sensitive skin on your face, so it is best to avoid biting your nails, touching your face or rubbing your eyes in order to help protect your skin from unnecessary microbes.
  5. Kick the habit. Smoking is terrible for not only your overall health, but that of your epidermis as well. Smoking exacerbates your skin’s natural elastin and collagen, contributing to early wrinkles. Smoking also causes the tiny blood vessels in your face to constrict, decreasing blood flow and causing blemishes.
  6. Rescue your skin from rays Most of us know that too much solar exposure can be harmful to the skin, but are you aware just how harmful it can be? It can cause sun spots, burns and premature wrinkles, not to mention the scariest of all potential side effects: skin cancer. An American dies of skin cancer every hour, totaling over 10,000 people yearly. What can you do to prevent this, as well as to avoid getting sun-damaged skin? Check out some of our sun skincare tips.
  7. Keep shower-time cool – hot showers tend to dry out your skin (and hair) as well as strip natural oils that are important for skin health. So try for short, lukewarm or chilly showers on the reg, limiting hot showers to the occasional treat!
  8. Slather it up – moisturizer should be a central part of your skincare regiment. You may need to switch to heavier moisturizer in the winter, as the air dries out the skin quicker. Also, be sure to watch the ingredient labels carefully. Try to avoid products and makeup with too many unpronounceable ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin. Try for noncomedogenic products which will be less likely to cause acne.
  9. Exfoliate more than your face. It is important to routinely remove dead skin cells in order to freshen your skin, and help your complexion. There is no need to stop with your face, treat all your skin to the same TLC by using a loofa or specially designed shower mittens to remove dead cells all over for healthier skin.
  10. Check yourself – Another way to keep skin healthy and disease-free is to catch any problems before the arise, such as skin cancer. By performing regular head-to-toe skin checks, you can keep an eye on any issues in the earliest stages.

    That’s all for now, thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any skin problems like acne and are looking for an experienced doctor, our board certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365!

Telemedicine for Acne Care and Maintenance

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, afflicting over 50 million people. Luckily there are many self-care and medical treatments available, as well as different continuing care options such as telemedicine that can help with acne maintenance. Some personal practices that can help acne include:

  1. The National Institute of Arthritis, Muscoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMD) suggests using a mild cleanser and cleaning skin very gently several times a day, such as after a workout. Do not scrub as it can worsen acne.
  2. Be careful shaving
  3. Keep germy fingers off your face! Hands are a breeding ground for germs because of all the contaminated surfaces we touch between hand-washings over the course of a day, these germs can make acne worse by causing infections in already inflamed and irritated hair follicles.
  4. No matter how uncomfortable, do not pick, squeeze, scratch or pinch your pimples or you are likely to develop much worse scarring than someone who doesn’t pick their acne.
  5. Makeup and skincare products can also clog pores making acne worse. The Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) suggests searching for products with acne-friendly labels that include “oil-free”, “non-comedogenic”, or “non-acnegenic” ingredients.
  6. If your hair is oily, shampoo it often with gentle, nonacnegenic shampoo
  7. Be careful with astringents and exfoliants as they can dry out the skin.

Treatment Options For Acne

There are many treatments on the market for acne care and maintenance, depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor or dermatologist may recommend a combination of treatments. Some of the more common acne treatments include:

  • Topical medications such as retinoids (derived from vitamin A), antibiotic creams to reduce germs and redness and Dapsone gel which is usually prescribed to be used with retinoids.
  • Hormone treatment such as combined contraceptives (birth control pills) have shown great promise in reducing acne in females.
  • Oral medications including antibiotics or Isotretinoin, a severe medication reserved for extreme cases of acne or for moderate cases that don’t respond well to other treatments.
  • Blue light therapy, according to the Mayo Clinic, has been used successfully to treat certain cases of acne. Patients can gain access to a handheld blue light device for convenience.
  • Extraction – dermatologists can extract troublesome whiteheads and blackheads using tools.

Unfortunately, the skin is slow to warm up to many treatments, so don’t give up on a course of treatment too quickly as it may take as long as 12 weeks to start taking effect (but usually starts working in 6 weeks). Try to at least give your treatment plan a month before making changes.

Telemedicine For Continued Acne Care

As we’ve mentioned previously, telemedicine can handle up to 78% of all medical issues and complaints, included on the list of these manageable conditions is acne (and other skin disorders). Here at DocChat, we have handled many cases of acne care and management, helping with advice, medication adjustments as well as helping deal with flare-ups. In our HD video consultations, DocChat physicians can examine the person’s skin along with progress photos the patient shares. We may have a jump on brick-and-mortar medicine for conditions like acne because you can access one of our highly knowledgeable DocChat physicians anytime, day or night, 265 days a year which comes in handy when you have a spontaneous flare-up and don’t want to go to the ER or wait weeks for an appointment with your primary care physician.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Feel free to sign up today to start your first video consultation with one of our board certified physicians!



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!


10 Summer Sun Skincare Tips

  1. Avoid ‘Peak Sun’ Hours

    Between 10 and 4pm are the hours when the sun is hottest. If you can’t avoid prolonged exposure during this time on hot days, try to restrict it best you can or take extra precautionary measures.


  2. Check Your Prescriptions

    Some medications such as antibiotics can cause dangerous photosensitivity, so make sure you read up on all your medications before venturing out in the summer sun!


  3. Slather Year-Round

    Even though we don’t think about the sun as a threat during colder months, it is still shining down on you all year round. It is best to wear sunscreen year-round to really protect the skin (perhaps a lower SPF in winter months). The sun is even a problem on overcast summer days – people think they can get away without taking precautions when the sun is hiding, but those days can be the worst for summer sunburns.


  4. Cover Up

    If you are spending a lot of time in the sun (especially if you’re not used to prolonged exposure), try to spend some of your time in long sleeves to give your skin a break from the sun’s powerful rays.


  5. Avoid Fake n’ Bake

    Unless you have a medical condition such as severe psoriasis that calls for UV therapy during shady parts of the year, just about the worst thing you can do for your skin is to spend time in tanning beds. They have been not only correlated with, but directly linked to skin cancer. People often use them as prep for warm-weather trips, but in actuality routinely using them can increase your risk of melanoma (by 75% if you start tanning before 30).


  6. Go Heavy Duty When Necessary

    If you are going somewhere or engaging in an activity that will prolong your exposure to the sun (especially during peak hours), use a broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. Remember, you’ll have to reapply every couple hours or after swimming.


  7. Protect Your Extremities, Lips and Eyes Too

    Protection from the sun isn’t exclusive to only some parts of the body. People often forget to sunblock hands and feet (garnering strangely shaped sandal burns). People also often forget lips and eyes – so be sure to rock those shades and some SPF lip balm.


  8. Make Sure Your block Is Full of Goodies!

    Try to use oil-free sunscreens with added antioxidants like green tea to give a little added protection. The less unpronounceable ingredients, the better. There is no guarantee that antioxidants will help your skin, but there has been research linking antioxidants to cancer prevention. Vitamin C has shown promise in protecting the skin against sunburn. It is important to make sure your sunblock is broad spectrum as well so you are protected from all types of harmful rays. The Mayo Clinic has an excellent sunblock guide.


  9. Have A Nightly Skincare Regimen

    No matter how careful you are, the sun is still hard on your skin, so engaging in a nightly moisturizing ritual is a must if you wish to avoid too many wrinkles, sun spots or other similar sun-caused skin issues (up to 90% of wrinkles are caused by lifelong sun exposure!)

  10. Monitor Your Skin

    One of the single best things you can do to protect yourself from skin cancer is to do regular self examinations of your skin. If you see any spots or moles that have changed since the last check, book an appointment and have your doctor take a closer look.

For more summer skincare tips, or questions about skin cancer sign up to DocChat today for a video consultation with one of our highly qualified DocChat physician. Thanks for visiting!



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.