Spironolactone for acne?

Spironolactone is an oral medication that is used to treat hormonal acne.  Although it is often thought of as a blood pressure medication, it is also effective for hormonal acne.  Hormonal acne manifests in women as acne that has a predilection for the jawline and chin.  Additionally, the acne often flares before periods.  Patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) often have hormonal acne as well.  Do you have hormonal acne?  If so, talk to your medical provider.  There are side effects and contraindications to this medication so it’s important to discuss whether this medication is appropriate for you.  Additionally, don’t be surprised if the effect of the medication does not kick in immediately.  It may take a few months or further dosage adjustments to see an effect!

Frequent handwashing leading to irritation?

Whether it’s a need to do chores involving water, due to one’s occupation, or just a habit, frequent handwashing can lead to irritated skin of the hands.  The hands become dry and stripped of their natural protective oils.  Irritant dermatitis is the name of the rash which often ensues from frequent handwashing — it is a type of rash that occurs as a result of direct physical, mechanical or chemical trauma from an outside culprit.  The most frequent culprit is handwashing.  Between the soap and the water, the damage is done.  Skin becomes dry and rough, and can become variable degrees of pink/red.

So how can you prevent irritated hands from frequent handwashing?

– First, if it’s not necessary, then don’t wash your hands.  This is not to mean that you should not wash your hands when they are dirty or soiled. You should!  Handwashing is important in preventing spread of germs.  However, if you find yourself excessively handwashing, figure out if you can cut back.

– Although hot water helps cleanse the hands more readily of microbes, they can also strip the skin’s oils more readily.  Depending on how germy your hands are, you may considering using lukewarm or cold water to wash as opposed to hot water.

– Limit the amount of time you are washing.  Do not wash for an excessively long time.

– Pat dry instead of rubbing dry.

– Follow up with a moisturizer.

– If all else fails, see a medical professional such as a dermatologist for help.  If your rash is particularly bad, prescription medicated creams or ointments may be helpful.

Vaniply Ointment/Skin Protectant

We’ve previously discussed the use of skin protectants and ointments for irritated skin such as eczema skin.  One of my favorites is Vaniply ointment.  One frequent complaint I hear from patients about ointment is that it leaves the skin and clothing sticky and goopy, and that it’s difficult to apply.  Vaniply is somehow much smoother and much easier to spread.  It also doesn’t leave that really sticky feel behind.

Vaniply is made by the same company that makes Vanicream.  All of their products are meant to be hypoallergenic. Specifically, Vaniply is free of fragrance, preservatives, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde releasers, sulfates, gluten, and chemical irritants.  Patients with eczema are more likely to develop contact dermatitis so it’s good that Vaniply has taken out all the above offenders.

So what does Vaniply contain?  1% dimethicone, C30-45 alkyl methicone, C30-45 olefin, hydrogenated polydecene, microcrystalline wax, polyethylene, silica dimethyl silylate

What are the uses of Vaniply?

It can function as a skin protectant — serving as an extra barrier between the skin and the outside world.   As such, you can use it over chapped lips, hands, feet, and elsewhere.  You can also use it in areas that develop a rash from constant moisture (think babies’ bottoms or skin folds).  It helps “seal” in the water content of the skin, so you could use it as part of the “soak and smear” method if you’re trying to hydrate the skin and then trap the moisture in (e.g. for those with eczema).  It can also be used as part of the wet wrapping procedure (again, often used in eczema patients).

Vaniply is “kid friendly” and has also received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.