Skin care resolutions for the New Year 2012!

For the new year, make a commitment to these five resolutions which can make a huge difference to your skin and to your life!

5. Do you smoke? If so, make efforts to stop by seeking out support groups or your healthcare professional. We all know the risks of smoking and lung cancer but do you know that smoking causes damage to your skin, making it age faster? You may have noticed vertical lines around the lips, wrinkles, poor skin tone, or blotches and stains on your skin. Not to mention, smoking wreaks havoc on the teeth and gums as well. Here are some photos of what smoking can do to your skin.

4. Do you suntan or go to tanning booths? Opt for sunless spray tan instead. The UV rays cause damage to your skin — making it look old and increasing your risk for skin cancer at the same time.

3. On a related note, make a commitment to wearing sunscreen. Prevent sun damage and prevent skin cancer.

2. Get to know your skin with monthly self-skin examinations. You can’t tell what’s changing or not unless you know what your skin looks like to begin with.

1. Do you have a mole or growth that you’re concerned about and have been putting off? See you dermatologist. Catch a skin cancer early not late!

Happy New Year and best wishes for your health in 2012!



Is sclerotherapy right for you?

Tired of unsightly varicose and spider veins? If so, sclerotherapy may be right for you.

What is sclerotherapy? It’s a procedure where a special liquid or solution is injected into the veins you want to get rid of. The injected liquid could be a salt solution or it could be a special detergent. This solution makes the vein shrivel up.

What can I expect? Your doctor will use a small needle to inject the solution. You may feel some stinging, burning or pain with the injection. Afterwards, bandages may be placed over the areas of injection. You should wear compression stockings afterwards if you have them available.

Who can’t get sclerotherapy? If you’re pregnant or nursing, have had blood clots, are bedridden, are tanned, or have a bleeding disorder, sclerotherapy is not right for you.

Are there other options to sclerotherapy? Absolutely. There are lasers that can be used to get rid of certain veins. For larger veins, a surgeon can remove the vein in question. There are also other devices that can heat up a vein from within and cause them to disappear.

What should I do now if I am interested in sclerotherapy? Seek out a physician (dermatologist, vascular surgeon, etc) who does many of these procedures for a consultation.

Part II: Advice for Dermatology Residency Interviews

Congrats!  You got your interviews, what next?

Scheduling.  Many interviews conflict with each other.  Take the time to go to different program websites and to the website to check out when interviews will be held.  Note that it will be impossible to come up with a complete calendar though.  Schedule EARLY!!!!  I missed several of my preferred dates because I called 30 minutes or an hour after the email was sent.  Consider a phone that accesses email if you don’t have one (I didn’t have a smart phone, so I had emails with the word “interview” texted to my phone).  If you’ll be out of town, have a friend/relative check your email.  It all works out in the end, but you just don’t want to miss interviews if you don’t have to.  If you don’t get the date that you requested, call the coordinator and politely ask if you switch.  There will often be a wait list so call early!  Be prepared though, you just can’t make every interview out there.

Pre-interview dinners. Helpful to go.  You’ll learn a lot about the program and the personality of residents.  Some programs may ask for feedback from residents or faculty who are present.  Be yourself.  Be nice. Look up the restaurant and dress appropriately.

Common questions? See the frequently asked questions list.  Get a curveball?  Don’t worry — probably meant to see how you think through things or respond.  You’re not expected to know everything or be perfect.

Thank you letters. Rank list is probably already made by the time your letter arrives, but send letters or emails as you see fit; try to put something somewhat personal in there.

Giving talks. Some programs will ask you to give a 10-15 min. talk, particularly if you are a research applicant.  Obviously, practice your talk and be prepared to answer questions about related literature etc. Most folks at these talks are genuinely interested and ask good questions.  Few “pimped.”  If you don’t know the answer to something, say I don’t know.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be the expert on everything!

Are fillers right for you?

Don’t be scared away from fillers by that awful story of the fake doctor injecting patients with cement and tire sealant.  If you find a real doctor who does a lot of filler injections (with real filler material), this treatment may be right for you.

You might have heard of fillers such as Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm, Radiesse, Sculptra, Zyplast, Zyderm, ArteColl or ArteFill. The first three are probably the most popular fillers and they contain something called hyaluronic acid.

So what is the deal with these fillers?

They’re used to add volume where volume has been lost, usually in the aging process. As we age, our skin loses its plumpness and elasticity. Things start to sag, droop, and fold on itself. Lines start to appear. Fillers are used to try to counteract these effects of aging.

Where do people use fillers?

The most common areas are those diagonal lines between your nose and mouth — the “marionnette lines” (I know, sounds terrible!) A little bit of filler can go a long way and cause a visible difference.

Where should I go for my filler treatment?

Find a doctor who has plenty of experience doing these procedures. It’s your face after all!  Your doctor can talk to you about the different sorts of fillers.  Most fillers are not permanent and the effect does wear off.

Advice for Dermatology Residency Interviews: FAQs

Tis the season for residency interviews. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to be prepared for! Go and nail one of those ~270 spots!

Why derm?
Why this program?
Why this city?
What are you looking for in a program?
What other programs are you considering?
If not derm, what would you do?
Tell me about yourself.
Tell me about a difficult situation you have been in.
Tell me about a medical case where an ethical problem came up.
Tell me about an interesting derm case.
What is the most interesting thing you have done?
Tell me about your research/project/case report.
Who are your role models?
Tell me about the last book you read.
Specific interests in derm?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
When have you been a leader?
How are you a team player?
What achievement are you most proud of?
Any questions?

For research applicants:
Be prepared to give a 5 min synopsis of your research.
Be prepared to answer ?’s regarding literature surrounding your area of research.
Who are potential research mentors at this program?
If you don’t have a PhD, do you think you can be a successful physician-scientist?
What challenges do you envision as a physician-scientist?
Why do so few dermatologists do research or stay in academics and what makes you different?

Rashy as a baby’s bottom?

Changing diapers immediately as they become wet can help prevent diaper rashes.

The saying goes, “smooth as a baby’s bottom…” but what if your baby’s bottom is rashy and not smooth? It could be irritant diaper dermatitis (dermatitis = fancy word for rash).

Diaper rashes are very common. Why? Because babies are in diapers and they pee and poop and all that wetness and material gets smushed next to the skin. That irritates the skin, causing it to become red, scaly and sometimes peel off.

So what can you do to prevent irritant diaper dermatitis?
– Prevention is key. Keep the buttocks dry — as soon as the diaper gets wet, change it! The longer the urine or stool sits longer the skin, the more irritated the skin becomes.
– After cleansing, you can air drying the area.
– Apply a barrier cream. Barrier creams containing zinc are helpful and there are many brands available. It protects the skin from outside irritants, serving as a protective layer. You can also try an emollient such as plain old vaseline or Aquaphor healing ointment.
– Don’t go nuts with wipes. Being overly aggressive can actually damage the skin. Try using a squirt bottle to rinse off stool. Or just use your hands and water.
– Avoid wipes or soaps that have allergens (e.g. fragrances, etc).

If the diaper rash doesn’t go away, talk to your pediatrician or dermatologist. It may be time to make sure there isn’t extra bacteria or yeast hanging around or another more serious cause for a rash in the diaper area.

Looking for a really good cover-up?

Image courtesy of wikipedia user Calliopejan

I recently checked out an amazing video of Rico Genest (aka Zombie Boy) where his all-over tattoos from the waist up are covered up with Dermablend’s coverup. I do believe that we should all embrace our skin and love it, but there are times when you do want to cover blemishes. Companies like Dermablend make opaque cover-ups in different shades that can be used to cover up tattoos (e.g. for work, weddings, etc.) or to conceal skin conditions (e.g. vitiligo — a disease where pigment of skin is lost, redness, conditions with increased or decreased pigment, etc.). For folks who find themselves on camera, cover-up makeup is useful for hiding blemishes in this HD age. In dermatology, we try to reverse skin diseases but sometimes the outcomes are not 100% and corrective makeup can help fill in the gaps in the cosmetic outcome. So whether it be wedding photos or a job interview, consider opaque makeup if you’re feeling self-conscious about your skin.