Breast Cancer and the Skin: What You Need to Know

The team at Ironwood Dermatology in Tucson provides a wide range of cosmetic and medical skin services for patients in the local area and beyond, including information on how skin health can reveal underlying medical conditions and concerns. For example, women may be able to detect potential signs of breast cancer by examining their skin for signs of specific changes. Knowing what to look for is important, as patients with breast cancer have a higher chance of a successful cure when the disease is treated in an early stage.

Some of the most common signs to watch for are texture changes, such as scaly areas around the nipple and areola, and thick patches of skin. Swelling, inflammation, and itching may be present. One red flag is a dimpled, “orange peel” quality to the skin. Discoloration is another sign that can indicate an underlying problem. Red, blue, or purple coloring should be more closely examined by a physician.

Breast cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment or chemotherapy frequently experience ongoing discomfort from dryness in the treatment area following their sessions. Skin dryness is a typical problem for many people with the passage of time, as aging causes moisture and oils in the skin to be depleted. Adding to that, skin suffers repeated wear and tear from harsh weather fluctuations, pollution, chemicals, and sun damage, so adding intense medical procedures that further dry the skin can create very uncomfortable conditions.

Some people have naturally dry skin. However, in more severe cases, dryness can be accompanied by scaling, itching, cracking, or flaking. People often experience dry skin in the colder months of autumn and winter. If you are unable to improve dryness on your own, the condition is becoming worse, or you are unsure of the cause, it is best to talk to a qualified dermatologist.

You may need to make lifestyle changes before and after breast cancer treatments to take care of your skin, hair, and nails. Some of the best ways to manage dryness are to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day, to moisturize regularly, to routinely protect your skin with sunscreen, to use mild soaps, and to invest in a humidifier for your home. Avoid heavy, harsh, or scented products for the skin, and be especially wary of sun exposure, as the skin will be more prone to skin cancer after radiation therapy.

Ironwood Dermatology provides medical and cosmetic dermatology services, as well as guidance on related health issues, for residents in Tucson and surrounding areas. To learn more, call the practice at 520.618.1630 or book a consultation by filling out an online contact form.

5 BOTOX® Aftercare Tips to Maximize Results

What should you not do after BOTOX®? Our Arizona-based team knows that patients are wondering what they should do after injections to get the best results and manage any side effects. While the procedure itself is quick and simple, proper aftercare is essential to ensure optimal results and minimize any potential risks or side effects.

1. Be Patient and Realistic

Do not be alarmed if you do not instantly notice the results you want. BOTOX® typically takes a few days to start working, and the full effects may not be visible for up to two weeks. It is important to be patient and allow the treatment to take its course. Avoid any temptation to touch up the results or seek additional treatments before the recommended time.

2. Avoid Strenuous Exercise

If you have a regularly active lifestyle and love working out, you might be curious about when you can start exercising again after this treatment. You need to allow your BOTOX® to settle and have enough time to work, which means avoiding strenuous activity, such as intense exercise. The BOTOX® could spread to an unintended area if your blood really gets pumping, causing the treatment to be less effective on the intended area.

3. Avoid Putting Too Much Pressure on the Treatment Area

It is best to leave the treatment area alone for several days, which means no massages, tight clothing, or headgear that might cause the active ingredient to migrate. For the first few hours after the procedure, it is especially important to avoid touching, rubbing, or applying pressure to the treated area.

4. Avoid Too Much Sun Exposure

Sun exposure will not prevent this treatment from working and does not have any long-term negative side effects specifically related to BOTOX®, but if you want to avoid bruising after your injections, try to keep out of the sun. Heating up can raise your blood pressure and cause the face to become flushed.

5. Refrain from Consuming Alcohol

To minimize the risk of bruising, it is advisable to avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours after receiving BOTOX® injections. Alcohol can thin the blood and increase the likelihood of bruising or swelling at the injection sites.

What else should you do or avoid to maximize your BOTOX® results? Our Arizona-based Ironwood Dermatology team can tell you more about what you should and should not do after this neuromodulator treatment. Call us at 520.618.1630 or submit a contact form if you would like to request a consultation.

How Do IPL Treatments Compare to Lasers?

Energy-based cosmetic treatments provide a wide range of benefits for patients: They refresh and rejuvenate the skin and are effective tools for treating numerous types of skin problems. Patients seeking this type of rejuvenation have multiple options, including both lasers and other lights. While it is true that light-based treatments like intense pulsed light (IPL) work similarly to lasers, they are not the same thing.

What is the difference between laser and light therapy? Our Arizona-based Ironwood Dermatology team knows that patients are sometimes unsure about which type of treatment will be best for them. The best choice for you depends on how you feel about the time commitment, recovery, and results from the treatments you choose.

Here is what you should know about how laser therapy compares to light therapy with IPL.

Lasers produce a single strong wavelength of light that targets a specific chromophore in the skin (such as melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin), water, or hemoglobin in blood vessels. These treatments penetrate the skin more deeply than IPL treatments and produce a more concentrated wavelength of light. Lasers are also highly effective for promoting collagen production. There are several subcategories of lasers, including ablative devices that remove the outer layer of skin and non-ablative treatments that heat the underlying layers of skin to encourage collagen growth without harming or removing the surface.

IPL treatments also use light to rejuvenate the skin, but they are gentler than lasers and typically better for light touch-ups compared to more powerful laser skin rejuvenation treatments. IPL devices give off multiple wavelengths of light ideal for reducing red and brown pigmentation. They are less aggressive and cause less discomfort compared to more aggressive lasers. They can also cover a larger area of skin, so sessions are shorter and there is minimal downtime after—making them perfect “lunchtime treatments.”

Laser treatments are better for deeper resurfacing and, depending on the intensity of the laser, may require fewer treatments compared to IPL.

Our Arizona-based Ironwood Dermatology team can tell you more about what both laser and light treatments involve. Call us at 520.618.1630 or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation with our providers if you’re ready to learn more.

Debunking 5 Common Misconceptions about Eczema

Living in a very hot and dry climate will often cause flare-ups of eczema to be much worse because the dry heat dehydrates the skin. Those who live with these itchy, red rashes may find them very difficult to cope with, but having a better understanding of the disease and your triggers can help you manage it more easily. There are still so many misconceptions surrounding this inflammatory skin condition. A common question that providers are asked is, “Can eczema spread from person to person?” Our Arizona-based Ironwood Dermatology team can explain the truth behind the myth that eczema is contagious, along with other popular misconceptions about this skin disease:

Myth 1: You Can Contract Eczema from Someone Else

You can rest assured that the myth that eczema is contagious is false. The disease cannot spread to people if someone who has eczema rubs against them or they make contact with their rash. Eczema is thought to have strong genetic and environmental links.

Myth 2: Eczema Sufferers Shouldn’t Do Activities That Involve Water

Regular baths, showers, and swimming won’t be an issue if you have eczema.

Myth 3: Eczema Causes Poor Hygiene

There is no proof to suggest that poor personal hygiene is associated with eczema. Its actual cause is much more complex. While the exact cause of the disease still is not fully understood, and there are plenty of unknowns, scientists believe that it is primarily associated with genetic factors and exposure to certain environmental triggers.

Myth 4: Moisturizers Are All You Need

While moisturizers are helpful, you may also need skin steroids or other treatments to manage this condition. Identifying triggers is also an important part of living with the chronic condition.

Myth 5: Eczema is not a Serious Issue

Although it is not a life-threatening condition, eczema can have a detrimental impact on a patient’s quality of life—depending on its severity. For example, the flares often get worse at night, which can lead to sleep deprivation. Eczema is more than just a skin condition. Other emotional issues like depression or mental health problems can develop because of this disease.

If you’re searching for an answer to the question, “Can eczema spread from person to person?” contact our Arizona-based Ironwood Dermatology team to learn more about this chronic skin condition. Call us at 520.618.1630 or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation with our team so that we can help you with diagnosis and coping with skin conditions.

Turn Back the Clock with Laser Skin Resurfacing: Your Guide to Laser Skin Treatments

Are you interested in discovering the secret to youthful, vibrant skin in the heart of the Sonoran Desert? Welcome to the enlightening world of laser skin treatments in the Tucson area! Laser skin resurfacing can help you achieve revitalized skin that radiates health and vitality by reducing fine lines and improving skin tone.

Skin Aging: A Battle We All Fight

The living canvas of our skin portrays our stories, emotions, and the passage of time—but early signs of aging such as fine lines, age spots, and wrinkles are not welcomed with open arms. Happily, there are ways we can take control of the story our skin tells all who see us.

The Power of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing, an advanced technique in the world of dermatology, helps us combat years of sun damage and age. By removing the outermost layers of skin, this advanced treatment speeds up the natural healing process, promoting new collagen growth and unveiling fresh, radiant skin.

Getting Up Close and Personal with Laser Skin Treatments in Tucson

Ironwood Dermatology in Tucson is proud to offer state-of-the-art laser skin revitalizing treatments that produce successful and lasting outcomes. Our team is both proficient and caring, providing a personalized experience for each individual. We adjust every session to accommodate your skin type, specific needs, and aesthetic goals.

Expectations and Results

Wondering what to expect during and after the treatment? On average, laser skin resurfacing takes between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on the area being treated. You may experience a feeling akin to a mild sunburn after, along with redness and swelling. Expect a significant change as your skin regenerates and heals: Reduced wrinkles, improved texture, and faded scars are all part of the package!

Make an Enlightened Decision

Before choosing laser skin resurfacing, it is important to consider the benefits and risks of the procedure. Although the treatment has several benefits, a few people may encounter side effects like extended redness or minor alteration in skin pigmentation. The importance of a pre-procedure consultation cannot be overstated to ensure optimized, tailored results. Ironwood Dermatology’s team is dedicated to guiding you on the exciting journey toward rejuvenated skin.

Transform Your Skin Story with Laser Skin Treatments in Tucson

To sum up, laser skin resurfacing can transform your skin from a story of aging to a narrative of rejuvenation and radiance.

Is it time to turn a new leaf in your skin story? Take the journey of transformation with us at Ironwood Dermatology! Get in touch with us today at 520.618.1630 or book a consultation for all your laser skin treatment needs. We are dedicated to providing personalized care and unparalleled commitment to help you present your best face!

Is Preventative BOTOX® Worth It?

Is it worth it to get preventative BOTOX®? Our Arizona
-based team at Ironwood Dermatology provides this injectable treatment to reduce wrinkles that have already formed, but it can also be used for other purposes.

Preventative BOTOX® is a cosmetic strategy that has gained popularity in recent years. Unlike traditional BOTOX®, which is used to reduce the appearance of existing wrinkles, preventative BOTOX® is employed to prevent the formation of wrinkles in the first place. Here’s how it works.

First, it’s important to understand what causes wrinkles. As we age, our skin loses elasticity and collagen, which are essential for maintaining a smooth, youthful appearance. In addition, repetitive facial expressions like frowning, squinting, and raising eyebrows can cause lines and wrinkles to form, especially on the forehead area and around the eyes.

Preventative BOTOX® works by targeting the muscles that cause wrinkles to form. This makes it ideal for patients who want to take a proactive approach to anti-aging treatments instead of correcting wrinkles that have become deeply etched in. When BOTOX® is injected into specific muscles, it relaxes them for months at a time. Using this injectable before wrinkles have a chance to form allows the skin to better maintain its elasticity and collagen, resulting in skin that has an overall smoother and more youthful appearance.

Preventative BOTOX® is typically recommended for individuals in their 20s and 30s, before wrinkles have become deeply ingrained in the skin. However, the treatment can also be effective for older individuals who are only just starting to notice the early signs of aging.

The procedure for preventative BOTOX® is similar to traditional BOTOX®. We will inject small amounts of the neurotoxin into the targeted muscles using a fine needle in the areas where deep creases are likely to develop.

This treatment can potentially slow down the development of wrinkles or prevent them from forming at all. Preventative treatments can be ideal for patients who are likely to get deep wrinkles or a high number of wrinkles. If you have family members with an excessive number of wrinkles or who have a very expressive face or thinner, finer skin, you may be a good candidate for this procedure.

Our Arizona-based team at Ironwood Dermatology can explain more about using injectable treatments to soften—or prevent—wrinkles on the upper third of the face. Call us at 520.618.1630 or submit a contact form if you’d like to learn more.

Can Laser Therapy Reduce Scars?

Many of our patients want to know: What is the best laser for scar removal? Our Arizona-based team at Ironwood Dermatology explains that fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing is highly effective for reducing scars along with other skin tone or texture irregularities.

Scarring (whether by acne, other conditions, trauma, or surgery) occurs as a normal part of the healing process. After tissue is damaged, the body stimulates collagen growth in the area as a way of repairing wounds and closing any gaps that have developed. Acne, for example, can penetrate the outer layer of skin and harm the deeper layers, prompting a response from the body. Acne can be an inconvenience at best—but may also have a harmful effect on your self-esteem in addition causing permanent damage to the skin.

As collagen continues to build up throughout the healing process, the skin can develop a raised or bumpy appearance. Scar tissue may also be smooth or an obviously different texture from the surrounding skin, as well as a different shade or color.

Scars don’t ever completely go away, but they can gradually fade over time. Women and men who want to take more direct action can choose laser skin resurfacing, which uses light energy to remove the outer layer of damaged skin while promoting the production of new skin to take its place. Although lasers won’t completely remove scars, they can minimize scars’ appearance by prompting a fresh round of “repair work” in the target area.

Laser skin resurfacing can minimize several different types of scars, including: 

• Injury scars

• Burn marks

• Acne scars

During a laser treatment session, light passes through the surface to create heat beneath the skin. This prompts the creation of new, healthy collagen and promotes the growth of fresh skin.

There’s no one treatment that’s suitable for everyone—and acne scars can be especially stubborn. In addition to laser treatments, patients may consider facial fillers for indented scars, along with other approaches like chemical peels, microneedling, and microdermabrasion to remove outer layers and encourage renewal in inner layers. Keep in mind that fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing can reduce more severe scars compared to other types of laser skin treatments. 

Our team at Ironwood Dermatology can explain more about scar treatments during your consultation. Call us at 520.618.1630 or submit a contact form to request an appointment if you’d like to discuss laser skin resurfacing treatments to improve the look of your skin. 

How Can You Get the Most Natural Results from Facial Fillers?

Can dermal fillers look natural? Our Arizona-based team at Ironwood Dermatology is aware that many patients prefer their filler results to look as subtle and natural as possible rather than overdone. The goal is to enhance the face and emphasize your natural beauty without ending up with a pillow face or “duck lips” appearance. “Pillow face” is a term that’s used to describe that unnatural look with overly pronounced lips and cheeks that you can get from overusing fillers. 

Of course, most of us would prefer to avoid that look—but is it possible to get fillers that are so subtle others notice the change but aren’t sure why? The answer is yes. It’s entirely possible to achieve natural-looking results from injectables if you want to get a youthful, rejuvenated look. There’s no need to be afraid of ending up with results that look overly “fake” from fillers, especially when you work with highly trained and experienced injectors—such as the Ironwood Dermatology team—who know that fillers are customizable so they can be as subtle or as detectable as you would like them to be. 

Here are a few more tips for avoiding duck lips:

Take a “Less is More” Approach

Getting great results from fillers won’t necessarily be about using lots of the product. Injecting the right amount of filler is critical, which is where choosing an experienced provider comes in. The anatomical placement of the filler and the type of filler used are both important aspects that should be considered. 

Get a Treatment Plan

You will need a detailed, well-thought-out plan to ensure that your fillers look natural. Work closely with your injector to explain your goals and understand the possibilities. The results should enhance the balance of the face and provide support when they’re done correctly.

Use the Right Ratios 

When it comes to adding volume—especially lip injections—there are specific ratios that will provide the most natural look. There should be a 1:1 ratio between the outer corners of the top and bottom lip. The lower lip should always be larger than the upper lip, and the skin should have some variation since a perfectly smooth, shiny appearance would not look natural. 

Talk to our Arizona-based team at Ironwood Dermatology for more details about what fillers can do and how to get ideal results from the treatment. Call us at 520.618.1630 or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation. 

Who’s an Ideal Candidate for Kybella®?

A pocket of fat below the chin—commonly referred to as a “double chin”—is often believed to be caused by weight gain, but that isn’t always the case. Yes, gaining excess weight all over your body can cause more fat to be deposited in the chin and face area, but people who aren’t overweight at all can also sometimes have this issue. This is because genetics determine where the body stores fat. So-called double chin exercises that claim to reduce fat in this specific area might be able to strengthen your neck muscles, but they probably won’t have any effect on the localized fat, because targeting specific congregations of fat cells doesn’t work that way. Even with a strict diet and good exercise routine, it may seem nearly impossible to get rid of persistent double chin fat. A more reliable option is Kybella®, an injectable form of deoxycholic acid that gradually dissolves isolated fat below the chin to create a sharper jawline without harming other tissues in the body. Not sure whether double chin reduction at the Tucson and Oro Valley area’s Ironwood Dermatology is right for you? Here’s what makes a good candidate:

You Prefer a Non-Surgical Approach

Patients who are frustrated by the appearance of submental fullness but want to avoid the long recovery times, invasive nature, incisions, and anesthesia involved in plastic surgery can avoid all of those drawbacks with Kybella®.

You’re at a Stable Weight

Patients get optimal results when they remain at or close to their ideal body weight, because future weight gain could cause any remaining fat cells below the chin to become enlarged and create a bulkier look once again.

You Have Good Skin Elasticity

Is your double chin caused mainly by loose skin or by fat? Kybella® is ideal for reducing fat cells specifically, but tightening loose skin requires other strategies. That means fat-reduction injections produce better results on patients who only have mild to moderate skin elasticity. People who have dramatic skin elasticity may have better results with other procedures.

Kybella® is a convenient injectable treatment for removing stubborn fat below the chin without invasive surgery. Sculpt a more defined jaw area with double chin reduction from Ironwood Dermatology, or find out about other cosmetic treatments available. Call 520.618.1630 or submit a contact form to request an appointment and find out whether you are eligible.

How to Supercharge Microneedling Results

Many people looking for a rejuvenated look wonder: “Does microneedling actually work?” The simple answer is yes. While deep creases and hollows may respond best to facial fillers, the collagen-replenishing effects of microneedling are proven to improve the overall health of your skin from the inside out, addressing a wide range of cosmetic complaints. Some people may consider face rollers and antioxidant products to try to give their skin a renewed glow at home, but skin needling from our Tucson and Oro Valley area team at Ironwood Dermatology is a safe, reliable, and ideal way to revitalize your skin “from the bottom up” by boosting collagen levels.

If you’re thinking about getting a treatment, or are about to come in for a microneedling session, take a look at these additional steps you can take before your visit and when you get home to maximize your results:

  • Exfoliate several days before microneedling (just remember to never try exfoliating the night before you’re planning to have skin needling!). Exfoliating several times in the weeks leading up to skin needling will improve your results by shedding the dead skin from the surface.
  • Microneedling makes your skin more sensitive to sun damage. Constantly apply sunscreen during the first two weeks after having a treatment, especially during the hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun’s rays are most intense. Limit your exposure as much as possible to prevent discoloration, dryness, and other side effects of ultraviolet radiation.
  • Keep your skin well hydrated and nourished following microneedling. After you’ve had skin needling, it’s the perfect time to add in extra hydration and use topical anti-aging products, since they will be absorbed more effectively. Many patients like to use serums containing hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and sheet masks on the same day that they’ve had this treatment.
  • Reduce your risk of infections by washing your hands before you touch your face and applying antibiotic creams if your dermatologist prescribes them.
  • Your skin needs time to heal, so be gentle with it. You’ll want avoid activities that cause you to sweat and open your pores. Protect your skin during the first 72 hours by avoiding swimming pools, saunas, and heavy workouts at the gym.

Explore your options for skin needling at Ironwood Dermatology or learn more about other skin rejuvenation techniques available. For more advice on getting a radiant and smooth look, call us at 520.618.1630 or submit a contact form to request a consultation.