Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition commonly seen on the upper arms, buttocks and thighs. The skin cells that normally flake off as a fine dust from the skin form plugs in the hair follicles. These appear as small pimples that have a dry ''sandpaper'' feeling. They are usually white but sometimes rather red. They usually don't itch or hurt.
Keratosis pilaris is particularly common in teenagers on the upper arms. It may occur in babies where it tends to be most obvious on the cheeks. It may remain for years but generally gradually disappears usually before age 30. Keratosis pilaris is unsightly but completely harmless. It is usually worse during the winter months or other times of low humidity when skin dries out, and may worsen during pregnancy or after childbirth.
Treatment of keratosis pilaris is not necessary, and unfortunately often has disappointing results. With persistence, most people can get very satisfactory improvement. Initial treatment should be intensive moisturizing. Try a cream such as Acid mantle, Vaseline or Complex 15 after bathing, and re-apply the cream again several times daily.
If this does not help, change to a medicated cream containing urea (Carmol, Vanomide, U-Kera, Ultra Mide, Nutraplus) or alpha-hydroxy acids (Aqua Glycolic, Lacticare) applied twice daily - it may be too irritating to use more often. More aggressive home treatment can be done if ones skin can tolerate it. The plugged pores can be removed by taking long, hot soaking tub baths and then rubbing the areas with a coarse washcloth, stiff brush, or 'Buf-Puf'.
Prescription medicines that may help include antibiotics if the spots are very red and topical retinoid creams. The retinoid creams, which are a relative of vitamin A, may cause irritation in some people. Call us for an appointment if you continue to have problems.
Corns and calluses are hard, thickened areas of skin that form as a result of friction or pressure on the skin and develop naturally to help protect the skin underneath them. Calluses can develop anywhere on the body where there is repeated friction, such as a guitar player’s fingertips or a mechanic’s palms. Corns develop due to bone pressure against the skin. They are common on the tops and sides of the toes and on the balls of the feet. Corns can be hard and dry or soft and mushy.
Here are some tips to help:
- Soak the corn or callus in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes or until the skin softens.
- File the corn or callus gently with a wet pumice stone, using a circular or sideways motions to remove dead skin.
- Be careful not to take off too much skin: Doing so could cause bleeding and infection.
- Apply moisturizing lotion or cream to the area daily: Look for a moisturizing lotion or cream with salicylic acid, ammonium lactate, or urea. These ingredients will help gradually soften hard corns and calluses.
- Use padding: To protect calluses from further irritation during activity
- Wear shoes that properly fit
- Keep your toenails trimmed: Toenails that are too long can force the toes to push up against your shoe, causing a corn to form over time. To remove this pressure, keep your toenails trimmed.
Most corns and calluses gradually go away when the friction or pressure causing them stops. However, if you aren’t sure what is causing your corn or callus, if the hardened skin is very painful, or if you have diabetes, make an appointment to see us. 800.447.8405.
- Keep nails clean and dry.
- Cut nails straight across. Use sharp nail scissors or clippers. Round the nails slightly at the tips for maximum strength.
- Keep nails shaped and free of snags by filing with an emery board.
- Do not bite fingernails or remove the cuticle. Doing so can damage the nail.
- Do not use your nails as a tool, such as opening pop cans.
- Trim toenails regularly. Keeping them short will minimize the risk of trauma and injury.
- Avoid “digging out” ingrown toenails, especially if they are infected and sore. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, see us for treatment.
- Wear shoes that fit properly. Also alternate which pair of shoes you wear each day.
- Wear flip flops at the pool and in public showers. This reduces the risk of infections caused by a fungus that can get in your toenails.
- If your nails change, swell, or cause pain, call us for an appointment because these can be signs of serious nail problems. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, it’s especially important to seek treatment for any nail problems. Call us for an appointment if you have any of the above problems.
Blisters are no fun!
Most of the time we often think of blisters on our feet. But these painful skin irritations can occur anywhere on the body where body parts rub together or rub against clothing. We know you can prevent blisters by preventing chafing. Pay attention to your skin and stop them before they appear. Take precautions if you know you’re going to do a lot of walking, running or other physical activity.
To prevent chafing that can lead to blisters, we recommend the following:
- Protect your feet: To prevent blisters on your feet, wear nylon or moisture-wicking socks. If wearing one pair of socks doesn’t help, try wearing two pairs to protect your skin. You should also make sure your shoes fit properly. Shoes shouldn’t be too tight or too loose.
- Wear the right clothing: During physical activity, wear moisture-wicking, loose-fitting clothes. Avoid clothes made of cotton, as cotton soaks up sweat and moisture, which can lead to friction and chafing.
- Consider soft bandages: For problem areas, such as the feet or thighs, consider using adhesive moleskin or other soft bandages. Make sure the bandages are applied securely.
- Apply powder or petroleum jelly to problem areas: This helps reduce friction when your skin rubs together or rubs against clothing.
- Stop your activity immediately if you experience pain or discomfort, or if your skin turns red: Otherwise, you may get a blister.
If you do get a blister, be patient and try to leave it alone. Most blisters heal on their own in one to two weeks. Don’t resume the activity that caused your blister until it’s healed.
To treat a blister, dermatologists recommend the following:
- Cover the blister: Loosely cover the blister with a bandage. Bring in the sides of the bandage so that the middle of the bandage is a little raised.
- Use padding: To protect blisters in pressure areas, such as the bottom of your feet, use padding. Cut the padding into a donut shape with a hole in the middle and place it around the blister. Then, cover the blister and padding with a bandage.
- Avoid popping or draining a blister, as this could lead to infection. However, if your blister is large and very painful, it may be necessary to drain the blister to reduce discomfort. To do this, sterilize a small needle using rubbing alcohol. Then, use the needle to carefully pierce one edge of the blister, which will allow some of the fluid to drain.
- Keep the area clean and covered: Once your blister has drained, wash the area with soap and water and apply petroleum jelly. Do not remove the “roof” of the blister, as this will protect the raw skin underneath as it heals.
As your blister heals, watch for signs of an infection. If you notice any redness, pus, or increased pain or swelling, call us at 800.447.8405 to make an appointment!
Skin Care Tips for men
When it comes to skin care, men have traditionally kept it simple. However, more men are now pursuing healthier, younger-looking skin, making it a great time for men to evaluate their skin care routine and learn more about how to take care of their body’s largest organ. Although there are key differences between men and women’s skin – for example, men’s skin is thicker than women’s – the basic elements of an effective skin care plan remain the same.
First, it’s important that everyone, including men, identify and understand their skin type:
- Sensitive skin may sting or burn after product use
- Normal skin is clear and not sensitive
- Dry skin is flaky, itchy or rough
- Oily skin is shiny and greasy
- Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others
Understanding your skin type will help you learn how to take care of your skin and select skin care products that are right for you.
To help men develop healthy skin care routines, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
- Consider product labels and ingredients:
The skin care products you choose will depend on your skin type. If you have acne-prone skin, look for cleansers and moisturizers that say “oil free” or “non-comedogenic,” as these won’t clog your pores. If you have sensitive skin, use mild, “fragrance free” products, as products containing fragrances can leave skin feeling irritated and dry. However, beware of products labeled “unscented,” as many of these contain masking fragrances that can still irritate your skin.
- Wash your face daily and after exercise:
Since regular bar soap often contains harsh ingredients that can be drying to the skin, wash your face with a mild facial cleanser and lukewarm – not hot – water.
- Watch your shaving technique:
For some men, multi-blade razors can work too well or shave too closely to your skin. If you often experience razor bumps, razor burns or ingrown hairs, use a single- or double-blade razor instead and do not stretch your skin taut while shaving. Before you shave, wet your skin and hair to soften it. Use a moisturizing shaving cream and shave in the direction of hair growth. Rinse after each swipe of the razor, and change your blade after five to seven shaves to minimize irritation.
Moisturizer works by trapping water in your skin, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and make your skin look brighter and younger. For the best results, apply moisturizer to your face and body immediately after bathing, showering or shaving while the skin is still damp.
Check your skin regularly:
New spots or moles that itch, bleed or change color are often early warning signs of skin cancer. If you notice any suspicious spots, make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Men over age 50 have a higher risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than the general population. However, when caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable.
Wear sunscreen whenever outdoors:
To help prevent sun damage that can lead to wrinkles, age spots and even skin cancer, before going outdoors, apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin, including your scalp, ears, neck and lips. For best protection, use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. You can also protect your skin by seeking shade and wearing protective clothing, including sunglasses that have UV protection and wide-brimmed hats.
Every man’s skin is different, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to skin care. If you aren’t sure what skin type you have, or if have questions about how to take care of your skin, make an appointment to see us by calling: 800.447.8405.