Our Dermatology Blog

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Importance of Moisturizing Skin after Hand Washing to Prevent Dry, Cracked Skin & Infections

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, health officials have been urging Americans to wash their hands at every opportunity. Hand washing is critical to the effort to stop the spread of the virus. However, a side effect of frequent hand washing is dry skin that can flake, itch, crack and even bleed, say dermatologists at the American Academy of Dermatology, making people more susceptible to germs and other bacteria. Fortunately, there are simple precautions you can take to avoid excessive dryness due to hand washing:

1.  Wash your hands using lukewarm water. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure to get between your fingers and around your nails. Always wash your hands after using the restroom, visiting a public place, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

2.  Moisturize immediately after washing your hands. Moisturizing while your hands are still slightly damp helps lock in the moisture on your skin. Wash your hands, pat them dry, and then rub a pea-sized amount of moisturizer over your hands. Make sure to get the product onto the tips of your fingers, as that area can be prone to dryness and cracking.

3.  Use moisturizers that contain mineral oil or petrolatum. Look for moisturizing ointments and creams (the ones you squeeze out of a tube), as these are more effective than lotions you pump out of a bottle. Fragrance and dye-free products are less irritating. If more relief is needed for extremely dry skin, dab petroleum jelly on your hands and put on cotton gloves before bed. This will lock in moisture all night.

4.  When soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer, followed by moisturizer. The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer made with at least 60% alcohol to effectively kill germs. Since these can be drying, it’s important to moisturize afterwards to maintain hydration. However, after applying hand sanitizer, make sure your hands dry completely before applying the moisturizer. Try to use only soap and water at home, and save the hand sanitizer for when you don’t have that option.

5.  Don’t believe everything you hear or see online. Contrary to statements being made on social media, using moisturizer after washing your hands does not negate your hand-washing efforts, and there is no evidence that using hand sanitizer makes you more vulnerable to infections or viruses.

Even if your hands are dry, you should continue to wash them, as doing so can remove harmful bacteria and viruses. If moisturizing after hand washing does not relieve your dry skin issues, call for an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist at Warrenton Dermatology, as you may require a prescription cream or ointment. Dry skin can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as eczema, and a dermatologist can give you a proper diagnosis.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

It may sound too good to be true, but it’s really that good! CoolSculpting is a non-invasive fat reduction and body contouring treatment offered at Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center in Warrenton, VA. The CoolSculpting device targets and freezes fat cells so your body can naturally remove them in the weeks and months that follow.

Here are answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions about CoolSculpting:

1. How is CoolSculpting performed?

The CoolSculpting applicator is applied to one area of unwanted focal fat at a time. This typically involves one or more of the following areas: abdomen, hips, bra-fat, inner/outer thighs, or chin. Using vacuum suction, the device gently draws tissue with unwanted fat into a chamber. Controlled cooling is then delivered to the treatment area, and the fat cells undergo “cryolypolysis” (cell death) due to freezing, while the surrounding tissue is unharmed. Approximately 25% of the exposed fat cells will be permanently destroyed, for significant body contouring improvement.

2. Is CoolSculpting painful?

There is some mild, temporary discomfort due to the initiation of strong suction and extreme cold. You may experience sensations of pulling, mild pinching, tingling, stinging or cramping. However, as the temperature falls, there is a numbing effect and most patients sit comfortably during the treatment reading, watching television, or even napping. There may be some hypersensitivity of the skin in the treated area post-treatment, but this general disappears in several days. There may also be some tenderness or soreness for about a week – similar to muscle soreness after a strong workout session. Patients are usually able to return to normal activities immediately post-treatment.

3. Will the fat come back?

The total number of fat cells in your body is constant once you reach adulthood. These cells will get bigger or smaller as you gain or lose weight, but the number of cells remains the same. CoolSculpting destroys fat cells in the treated area and they are eliminated for good. So, it actually reduces the total number of fat cells you have in your body, and makes it so your body cannot store as much fat in the treated area as you could have before, leaving that area “sculpted” even if you gain weight in the future.

4. How long does it take to see results?

Results may be seen as early as 1 to 3 months after treatment. You will initially experience some mild inflammation and swelling to the treated area. This should resolve within one to two weeks, then it will take another few weeks to see a noticeable difference. Full results from that session should be achieved within 12 weeks. Many patients require more than one treatment session to achieve their desired results. So, we schedule a follow-up appointment (including before and after photos and weight) 3 months after initial treatment to assess results and schedule future sessions, if needed.

5. Are there any side effects?

Following treatment, you may experience mild redness, bruising, swelling or numbness in the treated area. This should resolve within 1 to 2 weeks. The fat cell death is a small enough volume that your body breaks down the free fatty acids and triglycerides into harmless energy substrates, so there is no risk of elevated harmful lipids, heart disease or atherosclerosis as a result of CoolSculpting treatment.

6. Will I lose weight with CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a contouring or sculpting procedure that modifies the distribution of fat cells to change the shape of your body. Results are not related to weight and CoolSculpting is not a weight loss solution. It is a tool to eliminate diet and exercise resistant fat pockets. The closer you are to your ideal body weight, the more you will see your CoolSculpting results. We recommend a healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet and exercise to augment and support your CoolSculpting results. Weight is monitored during your treatment cycle to ensure that patient weight gain is not impairing results.

7. What should I do before and after CoolSculpting?

Before treatment, avoid anti-inflammatory products (NSAIDs, ibuprophen, etc.) to help reduce the chance of bruising. After treatment, you may return to your normal daily activities immediately (including exercise). It is important to maintain your weight post treatment, as significant weight gain will compromise best results.

8. How much does it cost?

Every patient has a unique treatment plan based on their body’s distribution of fat and their desired results. A personalized plan, including cost, will be developed for you at a private consultation appointment where you will receive a full-body assessment and all of your questions will be answered. Most treatment plans for a particular area fall between $2,000 and $4,000. We offer no-interest financing options, that allow for easy monthly payments, if desired (must qualify for financing).

Schedule a consultation at Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center today to learn more about CoolSculpting and get a personalized treatment plan. 540-341-1900 x214

When going to a doctor's office, you may have seen medical providers that do not have the designation M.D. (Medical Doctor) after their name. Do you ever wonder what "PA-C" means? It stands for Physician Assistant, the "C" means that they have been certified by the National Commission of Certification of PAs.

PAs are state licensed health care providers who work in close collaboration with physicians to improve access to healthcare and to provide patients with many of the services traditionally provided by physicians. Educational requirements for a PA include an undergraduate degree followed by a master's degree in a certified PA program. PAs practice in all fields of medicine and in all states. PAs work closely under the supervision of a physician to provide health care. The care provided by PAs varies depending on their training and the discretion of the supervising physician. While some PAs work in primary care, some others choose to practice in a more specialized field. Dermatology trained PAs can perform some of the same duties and procedures as dermatologist. They can perform skin checks and treat a multitude of skin conditions.

The relationship between a physician and a PA is based on trust and mutual respect. The dermatologist and the dermatology PA are part of the dermatology care team and, as such, their mutual goal is to provide the highest level of care to patients in the clinic. Patients should know that PAs work closely with a dermatologist and should know that the physician is always available to the PA for consultation when needed. At times, the PA may even ask the physician to assume the care of more complicated cases if these are outside the scope of practice of the PA. When seeing a dermatology PA, it is important to know if they have maintained their certification and if they have been trained by a board certified dermatologist. At Warrenton Dermatology, our board-certified M.D. is fortunate to practice side-by-side with two amazing PA-Cs. Not only are they smart and competent but compassionate and dedicated to our mission.

When it comes to protecting your skin, using the right sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection is of the utmost importance. However, if that’s all it has, it won’t be enough. Your sunscreen also needs to protect skin from infrared-A (aka IRA) rays as well, and here’s why.

Besides the sun, these IRA rays can also come from less-obvious places, like electronic devices (i.e. your computer, hair dryer, etc.). IRA rays travel even deeper into skin than UVA and UVB rays, causing free radicals that damage skin and further accelerate aging. What you’re left with are fine lines and wrinkles no matter how much sunscreen you’re putting on.

So what is your sunscreen missing? Potent antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E that can counteract those free radicals and keep skin looking young and smooth.

Check out this article excerpt, which originally published in Elle magazine:

Sun Protection News: Traditional Sunscreens May Not Be Enough Research shows infrared radiation could be causing more damage than UV rays

By Maggie Bullock

It's winter in Sydney, but the foamy breaks at Bondi Beach—a small yet legendary crescent of sand minutes from the city's urban bustle—are studded with surfers. Sleek and shiny in uniform black wet suits, they paddle out, pivot, and ride back to shore, on repeat: a smooth, mesmerizing loop. The Australian sunlight is brilliant, strong enough to necessitate sunglasses indoors. Yet somehow, the most famous Australian beauties—Nicole, Cate, Naomi—stay resolutely untouched by the sun.

"I don't have a single friend who goes to the beach to tan. Not one," declares Jo Horgan, the owner of Mecca Cosmetica, a string of culty beauty boutiques in Australia and New Zealand. Horgan has a zero-tolerance sunburn policy for her employees. If you're pink and peeling, don't even bother showing up—it sends the wrong message to her sun-smart clientele.

Horgan's attitude embodies a seismic cultural shift in the way in which Australians think about the sun. Prompted by startling statistics (for instance: Two out of three Aussies will be diagnosed with skin cancer before age 70), the country's government has attacked the issue of sun safety aggressively, with an approach that ranges from cutesy—the '80s slogan "Slip! Slop! Slap!" (slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat) was set to a catchy tune any schoolchild could trill—to the stomach-churning: In a TV spot from 2008, a pretty 26-year-old tearfully expresses her desire to live. Moments later, we learn she has already died of melanoma, and a tagline rolls: "No tan is worth dying for." The same year, Cancer Council Australia announced that teen tanning had declined by 45 percent over three years.

Think such extreme measures are uncalled for in the United States? More than a million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in this country every year—higher than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers combined. And up to 90 percent of the visible signs of aging—that's 90 percent of all spots, wrinkles, sagging—are caused by the sun. Yet 60 percent of Americans report that they rarely or never apply sunscreen, and only 27 percent apply the one-ounce, full-body dose necessary for the level of SPF offered on the bottle.

Now comes news that the sunscreens we are using may not be doing enough. Previously, skin-care scientists focused exclusively on ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB), devising chemical blockers such as avobenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule to absorb them and physical blockers (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) to deflect and scatter them. ("Broad spectrum" indicates that a sunscreen contains a mixture of both.) But a German study published last year suggested that the spectrum of sun damage is wider than previously suspected: Infrared radiation may also release free radicals and accelerates aging. While UV rays account for only 6.8 percent of solar light, infrared, which we mainly experience as the heat of the sun, makes up 54.3 percent (the rest, called "visible light," is what we see as the colors of the rainbow). How much skin damage infrared does remains to be seen—some estimates indicate that the combination of infrared and visible causes some 10 to 20 percent of sun damage—but, according to Michael Southall, PhD, a senior researcher at Johnson & Johnson, "traditional sunscreens, which only block UV, don't protect us from the sun's total oxidative toll."

Our best defense may be the same family of ingredients that likely already fortify your day cream but that are relatively new to mass-market sunscreens: antioxidants. When skin absorbs solar energy (whether UV or infrared), renegade photons cause a burst of free radicals—short-lived atoms or molecules that have lost an electron, making them unstable and bound to damage any proteins or genes that get in their way. Antioxidants—including vitamins A, C, and E, green tea, and pomegranate—have the unique ability to donate an electron to a free radical, stabilizing it without destabilizing themselves […].

SkinMedica’s Total Defense + Repair SPF 34 provides broad spectrum protection against harmful UVA, UVB and Infrared waves. This sunscreen features SOL-IR™, advanced antioxidants that combat free radicals and boost your sunscreen's ability to shield your skin against sun damage. With a lightweight texture that leaves no white residue behind, you can wear it with or without makeup for daily sun safety.

In addition to protecting skin, each application helps revitalize your complexion to erase fine lines and wrinkles and even skin tone and texture. Total Defense + Repair SPF 34 is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV sunscreen. Find this and other SkinMedica products at Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center.

By Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center
September 11, 2015
Category: None
Tags: Untagged

Welcome to the Blog of Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center

Whether you are an existing patient or searching for a dermatologist in the Warrenton, VA area, we’re excited you are here. With the dermatology industry advancing, we recognize the importance of keeping our patients and visitors up to date with all of the new and exciting things taking place in our practice.

As we move forward with our blog, we hope to promote skin health awareness as a vital part of your healthy lifestyle. Here you will find a variety of articles and topics including dermatology news, advancements in dermatology treatments, practical skin care advice and updates from our practice.

We hope you find our blog to be helpful, engaging and informational to ensure your best skin health. 

As always, feel free to contact Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center with any dermatology questions or concerns.


-- The Dermatology Team at Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center