Dry Skin Care – it’s that time of year again.

With the dry air seen in the Winter, people are more susceptible to having dry skin or flares of eczema. Here are some simple tips that can help keep your skin well-moisturized.

  1. Shower no more than once daily. NEVER use hot water.
  2. Use a mild soap, like Dove fragrance-free soap. Pure soaps or those from “specialty stores” should be avoided. Try using soap only where needed (groin, armpits, under the breasts) most of the time.
  3. It is best to apply moisturizer immediately after showering, while the skin is still moist.
  4. Never sit is soapy bath water. Use soap immediately before exiting.
  5. Oils and Ointments are better than creams, which are much better than lotions.
  6. Good examples of moisturizer include: Eucerin cream and Cetaphil cream, both of which are readily available. For those who just cannot stand putting anything on their skin, Nivea In Shower Lotion for Severely Dry Skin (dark blue bottle) is good for those that have mild dryness and are not overly sensitive. For those on a budget, Crisco oil works great as a moisturizer too and is easy to spread.
  7. Use laundry detergents and fabric softeners that are mild–“free of dyes and perfumes”. Dreft and Ivory Snow, for babies, is a good alternative.
  8. Avoid irritating clothing–i.e. wool.
  9. Apply perfume or cologne to clothing and not directly to the skin, as these contain alcohol which is irritating.
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The Acne One-Two Punch–the best over-the-counter treatment

Finally, patients are able to self-treat mild to moderate inflammatory and comedonal acne with over-the-counter treatments.

Blackheads and whiteheads can now be treated effectively with Differin gel, which went over-the-counter earlier this year. This medication is similar to Retin A, the drug everyone knows about. These medications help to unclog pores are and more effective than any other over-the-counter medication.

Inflammatory lesions, such as red bumps and pustules, can be treated using a 5% benzoyl peroxide gel (use 5% or less as higher concentrations result in more skin irritation).

I do not recommend spot treating as acne is a chronic disease, so the idea is to treat the lesions that one has, but we also want to prevent new lesions from coming up.

Those with cystic or very inflammatory lesions will benefit from oral antibiotics and/or Accutane, both of which require a prescription.

Those with scarring should seek professional advice from a board-certified Dermatologist as soon as possible.

“Better than Botox?”

Revance Therapeutics Inc. said that an experimental drug RT002 [injectable daxibotulinumtoxinA] can smooth wrinkles for longer than Allergan’s Botox, according to the results of late-stage studies. We will have to wait for the published data to see, but at least early reports look promising.

Fragrance-Free and Hypoallergenic Moisturizers: MOST are not!

A study published in JAMA looked at the 100 “best-selling” moisturizes that claim to be “hypoallergenic” found that 83% had a potentially allergenic chemical. Additionally, the study found that 45% of the products marketed as “fragrance-free” contained a botanical ingredient or one that reacts to a fragrance that can cause reactions.

Consuming alcohol increases risk of Skin Cancer: maybe

A recent study has shown a positive association of increased alcohol consumption with the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. The study was small, so larger studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.

Here is yet another possible reason to limit or eliminate alcohol consumption. Red wine has some other health benefits that, according to some, might outweigh the negative effects when taken in moderation–no more than one glass per day, but even that is somewhat controversial.