The best way to maintain healthy skin is to prevent skin damage from occurring in the first place. Wrinkles, age spots and leathery patches are all the result of skin damage from overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Although we can decrease our sun exposure, certain aspects of aging process are unavoidable. As we age, our skin becomes dryer and thinner. Repeated movements of facial muscles, such as frowning, smiling or squinting, cause wrinkles over time. Stress, gravity and environmental insults also contribute to wrinkled or sagging skin. As skin becomes thinner, it is more susceptible to tearing and bruising.

Photoaging

Aging of the skin from ultraviolet light exposure is called photoaging. Photoaging occurs when ultraviolet radiation penetrates into the epidermis and causes discoloration and wrinkles. UV rays that penetrate into the dermis damage collagen fibers and changes other support structures of the this skin layer. The results of repeated UV exposures are wrinkles, discoloration of the skin (especially brown spots), leather-like changes and sagging skin.

Skin Care Routine

A healthy skin care routine throughout life can reduce the symptoms of aging in the skin. These include:

  • Wash your face using a gentle non-soap cleanser and lukewarm water.
  • Pat, don't rub skin dry.
  • Occasionally exfoliate the skin with an acid-based product (i.e. glycolic acid).
  • Apply a moisturizer to skin within 10 minutues after a shower or bath.
  • Wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 to 30 every day.
  • For women who wear makeup, be sure to leave time each day when the skin is clean and free of makeup.
  • Never use tanning beds.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep every day.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid too much stress.
  • Conduct a monthly self-examination of your skin to detect any changes that might lead to cancer.
  • See your dermatologist once a year.

Anti-Aging Treatments

Prevention is the best medicine, and the best way to care for the skin is to protect it from the sun, keep it clean and moisturize it often. However, one damage is done there are a wide range of options for slowing down the effects of sun and time on our skin. Please see the Cosmetic Dermatology section of this website for more information about:

  • Botox
  • Chemical peels
  • Dermabrasion
  • Fillers
  • Laser Resurfacing
  • Retinoids

Skin Infections

There are three major types of skin infections:

Bacterial Infection

Many types of bacteria live on the surface of healthy skin--most of them are "good" bacteria. However, after a break occurs in the skin barrier, or there is overgrowth of "bad" bacteria, an infection can result. Examples of common bacteria include staphylococcus (staph) or streptococcus (strep). These bacteria cause impetigo--a relatively common skin infection in children. Oral or topical antibiotics may be used to treat bacterial skin infections.

Viral Infection

Viruses are parasitic organisms that can live and grow inside living cells. They cause either death or rapid grow of infected cells. Commons causes of viral skin infections include human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes common warts and genital warts; herpes simplex virus (HSV), which causes cold sores and genital herpes; and herpes zoster virus (HZV), which causes chicken pox and shingles. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics such as amoxicillin. Anti-viral medications may prescribed to help shorten the course of shingles or alleviate the symptoms of the infection however. Additionally, vaccinations such as the shingles vaccine may be used to prevent disease.

Fungal/Yeast Infections

Fungal or yeast infections of the skin are common and include ringworm, candidiasis (yeast), jock itch and athlete's foot. Treatment is important to reduce spread to others and to avoid deeper infection and/or co-infection with bacteria. Ringworm of the scalp, which is common in children, can cause hair loss and fungal infections of the nails (especially toenails) is very prevalent and may result in thick, yellow crumbling nails. Treatments for these infections range from topical agents to oral medications.