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Keep Your Skin Healthy for Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Keep Your Skin Healthy for Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May is the perfect time to start spending more time in the sun—the weather is heating up, the school year is coming to a close, and vacation season has begun. However, as you begin to spend more of your day outdoors, remember that May is also Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s important to protect your skin.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with over 2.4 million new diagnoses every year. Although basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are usually cured, melanoma is much more dangerous. The key to curing skin cancer is early detection, so be sure to schedule an annual skin cancer screening with your dermatologist.

You can also screen yourself monthly for skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using a mirror to examine every inch of skin and writing down a record of any moles, freckles, and age spots. Use the “ABCDEs of Melanoma”—Assymetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter (anything wider than a pencil eraser may be cancerous), and Evolving size, shape, or color. Recording your findings can allow you to track any new developments and helps your dermatologist find any abnormalities.

Summer may be heating up, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the health of your skin.

Remember these Dos and Don’ts of skin cancer prevention:



Get checked for skin abnormalities by a dermatologist at least once a year, especially if you use tanning beds
Apply sunscreen whenever you’re in the sun, and re-apply every two hours and after swimming
Choose sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays
Stay in the shade whenever you can, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Use indoor tanning beds, which increase the risk of melanoma dramatically.
Get sunburned, especially on May 27, Don’t Fry Day.
Stop using sunscreens once summer is over- the sun’s rays are still dangerous in winter and on cloudy days.

Image source: White93

New Product Breaks Down Melanin for an Even Skin Tone

Though wrinkles are one of the most dreaded side effects of aging, another culprit could be adding years to your appearance. Changes in skin pigmentation can begin to show up as early as your 20s, and left untreated, brown spots can blemish and age otherwise flawless skin.

Using mushrooms to even skin tone?

Luckily, new developments in skin care research and technology have led to new ways of maintaining an even skin tone. A newly-developed agent derived from mushrooms, utilizing lignin peroxidase, works by breaking down melanin, the dark pigment in skin. Lignin peroxidase is the active ingredient in elureTM, carried by Dr. Zimmet. Recent studies show that lignin peroxidase appears to be highly safe and non-irritating, even at doses 17,000 times the recommended amount.

The product used before this development, hydroquinone, works by trying to block melanin development, rather than address the discoloration that already existed. As a result, skin whitening was a slow process and hydroquinone never brought skin back to its previous glow. Furthermore, hydroquinone may cause itching and redness in a significant number of patients, especially those with rosacea and sensitive skin. Further, cases of increased pigmentation have been reported after use of hydroquinone.

Products such as elureTM can be a useful and easy way to bring back that youthful, even glow. Ask your dermatologist about the latest approach to skin lightening that contains lignin peroxidase rather than hydroquinone.

elure™ Advanced Skin Brightening Technology

Benefits of lignin peroxidase:

  • Naturally derived from mushrooms
  • Well tolerated, even by people with skin sensitivities
  • Breaks down existing melanin/pigment

Concerns with hydroquinone:

  • Skin irritation is common
  • Most physicians recommend only short courses of hydroquinone to reduce risk of increased pigmentation as a side effect
  • Unable to destroy existing melanin

Source: karen_neoh

Ask a Cosmetic Dermatologist Expert about Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing

Have you ever considered a cosmetic dermatology procedure, but had a question you couldn’t find the answer to online?  Can you really trust the information you find on Yahoo Answers, Twitter or Google?  Here’s your chance to ask a cosmetic dermatology expert!  Every month, Dr. Zimmet will provide up-to-date answers to frequently asked skincare & cosmetic dermatology questions submitted to his blog.

May’s topic is Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing.

Does laser resurfacing hurt?

Laser resurfacing feels hot. We find that it’s pretty well tolerated with good topical anesthestics that are applied an hour before the treatment, along with local anesthetic nerve blocks and a cold air blower (Zimmer Chiller). We also offer Xanax to help you relax and a pain medication, if desired.

Why take Valtrex before CO2 fractional laser?

Valtrex is used to prevent a herpes fever blister outbreak. Many, if not most physicians recommend this for all patients undergoing facial resurfacing, even if there is no history of fever blisters.

What are pre-op instructions for fractional C02 laser?

Below is Dr. Zimmet’s fractionated CO2 (Active/Deep FX) pre-op care instructions:

-Avoid sun exposure and self-tanning cream for 4 weeks

-Avoid topical exfoliation for 2 weeks

-Understand the post-op care, and prepare by getting old pillowcases, shirts, etc

-Start the antiviral (Zovirax, Valtrex), if prescribed, the day before the procedure

– Eat a meal the morning of the procedure

-Shower and wash your face with an anti-bacterial soap

-Shampoo your hair

-Wear an old button-down shirt

Women (morning of procedure):

Do not use make-up, mascara, lipstick, lotions

Don’t wear jewelry

Do not use hair products of any kind

Do not use perfume

Men(morning of procedure)

Do not use any lotions on your face

Do not use hair products

Shave areas to be treated

What are post treatment instructions for fractional CO2 treatment?

Your physician should provide clear and preferably written instructions on how to care for your skin. The most important things are to apply Aquaphor to the treated area several times a day, and to be very gentle with your skin. Check out our survival guide for fractionated CO2 resurfacing.

Will I experience skin dryness after fractional C02 laser?

Your skin may ooze for the first day or so. We recommend Aquaphor ointment to speed healing. Without Aquaphor ointment, your skin would become very dry. Letting your skin dry out will greatly impede healing, so the Aquaphor or similar ointment is very important.

Can I use Cerave moisturizer after laser resurfacing?

I recommend nothing but Aquaphor ointment until your skin peels, generally about 5-6 days for the face. Following this, we advise SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair for about 1-2 weeks.  Beyond 2 weeks, we recommend daily application of moisturizers like Cerave or Cetaphil.

What is the recovery time for fractionated CO2?

Recovery time depends on the area treated, the depth/aggressiveness of treatment and on the individual. Generally you can expect the following for the initial major healing phase: Face 5-6 days, Neck 7-10 days, Chest 10-14 days.

Should I ice my face after CO2 fractional laser?

Cold compresses or ice packs can help reduce the sunburn sensation that is typical the first day after treatment, and help reduce swelling.

Should I lay down after fractional laser?

You may be tired after the treatment, and laying down is fine. However, I do recommend sleeping with your head elevated for a couple of days, to help minimize facial swelling.

What are some tips for healing from C02 active laser?

The most important things are to apply Aquaphor to the treated area several times  a day, and to be very gentle with your skin. Your physician should provide clear and preferably written instructions on how to care for your skin. Check out our survival guide for fractionated CO2 resurfacing.

When does peeling start after fractional C02?

Peeling can start within a day or so, and is usually completed by day 5-6.

What does it look like when you have fractionated C02?

Your skin will usually be rather red for about a week, with gradual fading over a several week period. In my experience things look much better once the treated skin is fully peeled, usually about 5-6 days after treatment. There may be some oozing the first day, and swelling may be present the first few days. Learn more by reading our laser resurfacing diary.

Why does your face itch after fractional laser?

Itching is very common after fractionated CO2 resurfacing. The underlying cause probably relates to nerve signals stimulated by the inflammation and healing process. Medication such as Benadryl may be recommended if the itching is significant, but don’t drive or do similar activites as Benadryl can cause drowsiness.

Photo: By Craig Cloutier

Medical Professionals Caution Against Dangerous ‘Botox® Parties’

If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to standard cosmetic dermatology, or even just a fun night out with the girls, you might be considering a “Botox® party”: a get-together during which people mingle and socialize, then receive Botox® injections. However, what may seem like a fun way to save some money it could be, at best, a waste of money, and at worst, risky.

Botox® parties have gained popularity in the last few years, causing some health professionals to become alarmed at the possible risks. Although Botox® is normally a very safe and effective procedure, some Botox® party “practitioners” have no qualifications and use watered-down product or even substitutes for actual Botox® . Furthermore, Botox® parties are more likely to take place in a home rather than a doctor’s office, boosting the likelihood that the procedure will be unsanitary, and totally unprepared for dealing with emergency situations that may arise.

Does the “host” know how to deal with a vasovagal event? Have they ever heard of a vasovagal event? Do they have the know-how and supplies to manage an allergic reaction? Other questions that come to mind are how do they dispose of contaminated needles, and where are they getting their syringes and needles? Is there good lighting? Does the host use any magnification? Is the set-up, including the exam table/chair, conducive to administration of a good treatment, or do the ergonomics make this difficult? These are simple but important questions.

With Botox® parties and any cosmetic dermatology procedure, Dr. Zimmet recommends the right questions about the person who is going to perform the procedure. Make sure he or she is a doctor or a nurse under a physician’s supervision who has the proper knowledge, skill and experience for the procedure to be done.

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