Let's Talk About Skin

skin

Q: Why is taking care of your skin so important?  What role does your skin play in your health?

A: Skin has a vital role both functionally and cosmetically. The skin known as the integumentary system is the largest organ in the human body. Functionally it provides barrier protection which provides the first mechanism of protection against infection.  It also has critical functions in regulation of human physiology and body temperature control, and sensation. Maintaining the integrity of the skin is key in allowing it to function properly. This entails appropriate cleansing including hand washing when appropriate, taking care of trauma to the skin including simple cuts and scrapes, and maintaining the barrier through moisturization.

Sun protection is important for both skin health and aesthetics. Photoaging is one of the biggest complaints I hear from my patients. This includes changes to the pigment of the skin and skin wrinkling. We can't do much about the way we genetically age, but these skin changes due to the sun can be avoided by sun protection early in life and consistent sun protection throughout life. Additionally, sun protection is one of the only controllable risk factors for skin cancer.

Q: What are the most common skin issues you see as a dermatologist?

A: The 3 main skin issues I deal with are skin cancer, skin infections, and inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

Q: What can people do daily, weekly, monthly or even early to keep their skin healthy?

A: moisturize and sun protect. There are certain products such as topical retinoids among others that have shown benefits to facial skin.

• don't delay in having a skin concern evaluated and addressed by a dermatologist. Early detection and treatment is key in successful treatment of most dermatological conditions.

Q: Are there any products you recommend people to use?

A: daily facial moisturizer with spf 30 sunscreen. There are several other products but generally these recommendations are made case by case.

Q:  What are common misconceptions or mistakes people make in the treatment of their skin?

A: There are numerous misconceptions about skin care. Some include:

1. The more you bathe the better. There is a point of diminishing returns. Generally you shouldn't shower more than once a day, sometimes less if you have significant dry skin or eczema.

2. Diet has a large impact on skin. Generally speaking diet rarely affects the skin in particular with regards to inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Although this is not always the case, rarely does your diet affect those conditions.

3. Scar creams work. These is still no good treatment for scars.

4. Sunscreens are harmful. There is no good data that sunscreens can harm humans when used on the skin. The positives of sunscreen use outweigh the negatives.

Q: What are the different skin types (dry, oily) and do you recommend certain treatment for each?

A: I don't consider there to be skin types with regard to dryness and oiliness but rather there is a spectrum. Everybody lies somewhere on the spectrum. The dryer your skin is the more risk there is for developing symptomatic itchy skin. As such in these cases, minimizing wetting and drying the skin, using mild soaps, moisturizing the skin, among others are recommended.

There are some products such as washes made for oily skin but they tend not to be too effective.

Q:  Any fun or interesting facts about skin and/or skin care?

1. Some systemic (internal) diseases such as autoimmune diseases and internal cancer can be diagnosed by certain skin changes.

2. Melanoma skin cancer kills one person every hour in our country.

Q: How should skin care change as you age?

1. Generally the skin dries as you age. So you need to moisturize more and more as you age.

2. Not always but generally as you age you need more frequent skin checks since skin cancer incidence