NEW YORK (Nov. 8, 2007) – When it comes to helping patients detect skin cancer, combat acne and acne scarring, treat hair loss and nail fungus, and find a customized daily skin care regimen to maintain healthy skin, dermatologists – physicians with extensive training and experience in treating skin, hair and nail conditions – are the specialists to whom millions of people of all ages turn for expert care. In addition, dermatologists can advise patients looking to improve aging skin on the most appropriate over-the-counter, medical and surgical options available to them.
In recognition of National Healthy Skin Month, dermatologist Arielle N.B. Kauvar, MD, FAAD, chair of the Academy’s Council on Communications, spoke today at the American Academy of Dermatology’s (Academy) academy on the breadth of expertise dermatologists provide and led an open discussion with fellow dermatologists on their top skin, hair and nail tips.
“Dermatologists are an invaluable resource for anyone who has questions or concerns about their skin, hair or nails, or a new skin care product or cosmetic procedure,” said Dr. Kauvar. “From evaluating the latest sunscreen ingredients to advising patients on the best way to combat dry winter skin, patients appreciate the practical tips dermatologists can offer year-round.”
From the Experts: Top Skin Care Tips
When the academy presenters were asked for their top skin care tips, the responses offered a glimpse at the kind of expert care that dermatologists provide their patients every day. These include:
- Use Soap on Select Areas of the Body to Avoid Dryness – “Unless you have really oily skin, because you are a teenager or work with oils or gases, you do not need soap to get yourself clean. Pure water does the job to get you clean. However, you do need to use soap on your face, under your arms, and in the groin area. As you get older, the use of soap on the rest of your body can unnecessarily dry your skin.” – Brian B. Adams, MD, MPH, FAAD, associate professor of dermatology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio; director of dermatology, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Don’t Smoke! It Causes Wrinkles – “Quit smoking or, better yet, don’t even start! More and more young people are smoking and doing so to relieve stress, but it’s bad for your skin and causes wrinkles. Deep-set wrinkles will appear around your mouth from puckering, your skin will be dehydrated and dull, and you may experience premature aging.” – Flor A. Mayoral, MD, FAAD, clinical instructor, departments of dermatology and cutaneous surgery, University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.
- Wear Sunscreen! It Prevents Wrinkles – “Use sunscreen every day, preferably one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Today, many skin care products contain sunscreen and are multifunctional, which allows you to get many skin benefits from one application. This saves time and money. For example, to protect and maintain healthy skin, use a daily facial moisturizer containing sunscreen. You also can find body lotions that contain sunscreen. These products can help hydrate and protect your skin, especially areas of your body that are sun-exposed throughout the day – like your hands.” – Sandra I. Read, MD, FAAD, instructor of dermatology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
- Your Skin Reflects What You Eat – “What you apply to your skin helps give it a healthy, radiant glow, but remember what you put into your body is just as important. A balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants can make a real difference in the appearance of your skin.” – Susan C. Taylor, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.; clinical assistant professor of dermatology and associate faculty, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
- Do As Little As Possible to Your Hair – “When it comes to hair care, less is more. Using unnecessary products or subjecting the hair to repeated procedures – such as perms, coloring, waving or straightening – can damage the hair and lead to breakage. Although women use these things to improve the cosmetic appearance of their hair, in the long run they will inevitably cause the hair to lose some of its natural luster and look unhealthy. I advise my patients to do as little as possible to their hair, which will help keep it healthy.” – Zoe D. Draelos, MD, FAAD, private practice, High Point, N.C.
- Dermatologists Can Help Turn Back the Hands of Time – “Dermatologists can now use a combination of procedures to give a non-surgical facelift. For many people in their 40s, 50s and even 60s, combining laser and other light-energy treatments with botulinum toxin and fillers can take years off their appearance while maintaining a natural, youthful look using non-invasive procedures. Some procedures, such as photodynamic therapy, can even remove pre-cancerous growths – improving the health of the skin.” – Arielle N.B. Kauvar, MD, FAAD, clinical associate professor of dermatology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, N.Y
Specialized Training Equals Unmatched Care
As we age, genetic and environmental factors – such as sun exposure or smoking – can begin to take a toll on the skin. When the appearance of laugh lines, crow’s feet and sun spots create little to smile about, people often seek out cosmetic procedures to help turn back the hands of time.
“Although the scope of skin care has expanded tremendously in recent years, with it has come an increasing number of unqualified practitioners who are not properly trained or do not have the medical expertise to treat the skin,” said Dr. Kauvar. “It is vital for patients to select a qualified physician to ensure a safe and effective skin care procedure.”
In addition to earning a medical degree and completing an internship, Dr. Kauvar explained that dermatologists receive three more years of specialty training in the medical, surgical and cosmetic care of the skin, hair and nails. This intensive residency training includes hands-on instruction in dermatopathology, the study of skin disease through the examination of skin biopsies, and dermatologic surgery. Some dermatologic surgeons also participate in post-graduate surgical fellowships lasting one to two years.
To assist patients in choosing a qualified physician, the Academy recommends that patients should ask the following questions:
- What are the doctor’s credentials? Is he/she a board-certified dermatologist or other appropriately trained surgeon? Ask to see the doctor’s credentials.
- How many procedures has the physician performed?
- What results can be expected? How long is the recuperation period? For cosmetic procedures, ask to see before and after photos of the physician’s previous patients.
- What are the risks, if any, of the procedure or treatment?
- Where is the procedure typically performed?
- What is the cost?
“Patients who are well informed and ask questions are on the right track to experience a successful treatment outcome,” said Dr. Kauvar.
For more information on common skin conditions and the latest cosmetic procedures for aging skin, go to www.skincarephysicians.com, a Web site developed by dermatologists that provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 15,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org.
# # #