Look at the right side of your face. Now the left. Now look at your left hand compared to your right. See a difference in the number of freckles or in the texture of your skin? It may be subtle, but many of us have a noticeable difference. Why? It’s from the time we spend every morning and afternoon, driving to and from work–the added UV exposure through the driver-side window (left side of the face) and through the windshield (driving hand). It adds up to quite a lot of sun exposure and ultimately premature aging of skin. In fact, the sun is responsible for 70% of skin aging! Many patients tell me they use sunblock when they’re out in the sun – but if you’re driving to work, or take a quick walk at lunchtime, you’re getting sun– and it’s the small amounts that add up.
Get your skin ready for summer – exfoliate! It’s important to exfoliate your skin, especially after the dry winter months. Exfoliating helps remove some of the top dead-layer of skin and opens the pores. Exfoliating helps acne prone skin, particularly heat or sweat-induced acne breakouts. Exfoliating also decreases the look of fine lines so we look younger and more fresh – glowing skin is in! There are different ways to exfoliate, from office-based procedures such as gentle chemical peels and micro-dermabrasion, scrubs you can use at home (once a week at most to avoid irritation), the Clarisonic, and washes (great for sensitive skin) or leave-on serums/lotions that include alpha hydroxyl acids (glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, citric acid and malic acid) and beta-hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid).
I know you’ve dyed your hair. Most of us do! In fact, it’s estimated that up to 75% of woman and 10% of men use hair-coloring products. However, a recent article in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology “reviews the evidence relating personal hair-dye use to the risk of developing several type of malignancies.” In other words, those scientists asked: Is there any evidence out there that using hair dye can cause cancer?
Several studies have demonstrated that direct application of some of the chemicals found in hair dye can cause cancer in lab animals, but does this translate to humans? In the 1980′s some of these cancer-causing chemicals were banned from hair dye in the US. However, similar compounds can still be found in certain hair dyes currently on the market.
The authors reviewed 60+ studies on the topic. For most of the cancers examined, studies did not demonstrate an increased risk from hair dye use.
However, a couple of associations were seen. First, there was an increased risk of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), among women who used hair dye prior to the 1980s, and who used permanent, dark colored dyes for more than 15 years. One study showed increased risk of the follicular type of NHL in women who used dark colored dyes regardless of the year of use.
Second, the authors also reviewed articles that demonstrated a statistically significantly increased risk of certain tumors in children whose mothers used hair dye during pregnancy.
The writers concluded there may be an increased risk of NHL from hair dyes made of darker colors and increased number of exposures to such dyes and there may be an increased risk of childhood malignancy from hair-dye use in pregnancy.
The authors suggested a couple of anecdotal tips to decrease risk: before dying your hair “apply a petroleum-based ointment to the scalp” so as to minimize the dye’s contact with that skin. Also, “reduce the time of dye application by 25% for each dying session.” And finally, if you are pregnant, play it safe and avoid hair dye all together!
Saitta P, Cook CE, Messina JL, Brancaccio R, Wu BC, Grekin SK, Holland J. Is there a true concern regarding the use of hair dye and malignancy development? A review of the epidemiological evidence relating personal hair dye use to the risk of malignancy. The Journal of Clinical and Aethetic Dermatology. 6(1):39-46, 2013
photo by: Nathan O'Nions
It happens to most of us at some time or another and, in winter, it is more common: dandruff! There are a multitude of anti-dandruff products on the market and here are some tips to make the most of those over-the-counter shampoos: 1) Don’t rush the process. It’s important to lather and leave shampoos on for five minutes before rinsing. 2) Remember that anti-dandruff shampoos are treatments for the scalp, not your hair, so make sure you are getting the lather directly on the scalp skin. If you don’t like how your hair smells or feels after using one of these shampoos, you can follow with your preferred shampoo or conditioner. 3) It can help to get two or three different anti-dandruff shampoos (with different main ingredients) and alternate between them (e.g. use two or three different shampoos in a given week). The reason this strategy can work is because the various ingredients target different aspects of dandruff:
It’s that time of the year! Snowing and Minnesota-cold! Check out Dr. Ahmed’s skin tips for Jason DeRusha on how to treat dry skin. Are you using the right moisturizer? You’d be surprised!