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General dermatology posts
It can sometimes seem like everyone is obsessed with skincare these days, but it’s more than just a passing trend. There are very good reasons behind this movement toward protecting and enhancing our body’s outer covering. It’s so important to give your skin the attention it needs consistently, not just for cosmetic reasons (such as making your pores appear tinier and defying the aging process), but also for the sake of your overall health. Even though we might think we’re doing our skin good, sometimes we’re actually harming it without knowing. Understanding where you’re going wrong can help you to keep your skin calm, avoid intense breakouts, and enjoy your most stunning complexion. At Ironwood Dermatology, our team provides aesthetic treatments like neuromodulators and injectable fillers for Tucson and Oro Valley area patients, and we can also assess your skin to help you develop a skincare routine that’s customized for your needs.
With that in mind, here are some of the most typical beauty mistakes most people make—most likely without even realizing it.
Overdoing Exfoliation Techniques
As any experienced skin professional will tell you, regular exfoliation is the key to maintaining clear, glowing skin instead of being left with a dull, washed-out, and uneven look. Exfoliation removes dry skin, dead cells, and dirt that clog the pores. Just remember that too much exfoliation with harsh mechanical techniques or chemicals can harm the skin’s moisture barrier.
Forgetting the Neck
The neck has thinner skin and is one of the areas that shows the most pronounced signs of aging. Don’t forget to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and use sunscreen on the neck area.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that toners are useless. Actually, toners can be a crucial part of your skincare routine because they help to close the pores after you’ve finished cleansing and prevent any remaining dirt or impurities from getting in. They also prevent your skin from becoming dried out and boost the effects of serums or moisturizers. If you’re not using toner, your skin might become dehydrated.
Some skin conditions only cause minor symptoms and don’t have an impact on your quality of life, while others are more severe. Although many of us put off going to a dermatologist unless there’s an emergency—and plenty of appointments have been put on hold since the coronavirus pandemic began—it’s important to get the care you need for your health and prevent problems from becoming worse. Still wondering if it’s worth it to go to a dermatologist? The mid-20s and onward is the perfect age range to start seeing a skin-focused provider regularly each year. Here are the three top reasons to visit your nearest dermatologist if you haven’t already. Not only can we diagnose and treat skin conditions like acne for Tucson and Oro Valley-area patients, but we can also help you manage skin diseases and provide other ways to enhance the appearance of your skin.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer globally and can become deadly when it spreads. It’s also highly preventable, as well as curable when diagnosed in its earliest stages. Annual skin check-ups by a dermatologist are a critical component of this effort, especially for people who are high risk for skin cancer, such as patients who have numerous or abnormal moles, red or blond hair, light eyes, and fair skin that sunburns easily, who spend a lot of time in the sun, or who live in a sunny or high-altitude area.
Damaged, Aging, or Lackluster Skin
Dermatologists see many patients who are self-conscious about skin that has an irregular tone and texture, or even more severe signs of sun damage and wrinkles. If these are some of your concerns, you can finally get the treatments you need to repair your skin, such as injectables, microneedling, chemical peels, and laser skin resurfacing. A dermatologist can also advise you on the lifestyle changes you need to make to improve your skin health and appearance.
Something’s Bothering You
Many patients are unsure why they’re experiencing rashes, irritation, flaky or scaly areas, hair loss, or other symptoms. Dermatologists diagnose and treat conditions that occur anywhere on the skin, as well as nails and hair. Some of these symptoms can indicate more serious underlying health problems, so trusting your health to a specialist can be key.
If you need to see a dermatologist for a skin condition, the Tucson and Oro Valley-based providers at Ironwood Dermatology are available to answer any of your questions and guide you on what you need for healthier, clearer skin. Call us at 520.618.1630, or submit a contact form to request a consultation.
Allergan makes many products that dermatologists use every day to improve the look of patients’ faces. One of the most popular lines from this manufacturer is Juvederm®, which is a family of hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers. Fillers are typically associated with smoothing out static wrinkles on the face, but the volume-adding clear gel can accomplish so much more. Case in point: VOLUMA® XC at Tucson’s Ironwood Dermatology.
A special process that links different “weights” of molecules together gives VOLUMA® XC some unique qualities. It is both smooth and hardy, able to flow easily into the skin when injected, but also robust enough to provide the structure and support so crucial to the midface.
Patients who benefit from VOLUMA® XC are those who have lost volume in the “apples” of their cheeks. So named because of their rosy roundness, the apples are signs of youthful health—and are especially apparent when someone smiles.
Unfortunately, the natural effects of aging on the skin can be particularly apparent on the apples. As volume decreases over time—a process made worse by regular exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun—the roundness can flatten into a gaunt look. As volume loss continues, it can progress into an aged, even skeletal look common to older people who have hollow cheeks.
To further the undesirable cosmetic changes, dwindling volume also leads to skin laxity. Tissue that slides downward without proper support from healthy amounts of collagen and facial fat creates jowls.
VOLUMA® XC counters all of these changes by restoring that vital volume. The gel is injected directly into the skin to replenish the apples. Using just the right amount, an injector creates a natural-looking symmetry that can make the apples “re-appear”—which also lifts away the slight look of volume-loss-related jowling.
Of all the available Juvederm® fillers, VOLUMA® XC lasts the longest. Studies have shown that its effects can last for up to two years—especially when injected by experienced providers who know how to maximize results.
Patients interested in smoothing out nasolabial folds or other creases are encouraged to learn more about other options available in the Juvederm® family. Signs of aging are not typically limited to just one area, so chances are good that diminished volume in the cheeks may accompany facial creases, thin lips, and other signs of retreating collagen.
Arizona is known for its deserts and interesting geologic formations, so locals should feel right at home with the language commonly used to describe laser tattoo removal. Tucson-based Ironwood Dermatology offers the PicoSure® laser from Cynosure for treating unwanted tattoos, which are often described as being made up of “rocks” of ink in the skin.
Since ink is a liquid, many people may picture it as a black or otherwise colored fluid that flows into the skin and sits there, or perhaps dries, to form the image seen in a tattoo. It is actually more accurate to think of the pigment as tightly packed chunks of material. If someone no longer wanted their tattoo, these bigger chunks could be broken down into smaller pebbles, rather like a worker wielding a pickaxe to pulverize a rock.
This is the premise behind nanosecond lasers, which use light energy to attack the ink and break it apart. Unfortunately, the process generated a significant amount of heat, making the process uncomfortable for patients. There is also only so much the body can do with “pebbles” of ink. Though they are smaller than the original “rocks,” they can still leave visible evidence of a tattoo, which may look faded, but not cleared up.
The picosecond laser—known as PicoSure®—improves on both of those drawbacks. First, the increased speed of the laser means sessions can be shorter and not generate as much heat during a full session. Second, instead of achieving “pebbles” as an end result, the breakdown creates something more akin to “sand.” These significantly smaller particles of ink are far easier for the body to process and remove, making the tattoo that much harder to see.
Arizonans know: Sand can be a beautiful thing, whether it’s creating a beautiful landscape or referring to the fading of an unwanted tattoo of any color.
There are many factors that set BOTOX® and dermal fillers apart—including how they work and what they treat—but a question patients frequently ask at Ironwood Dermatology is “How long will it last?”
Keeping in mind that BOTOX® Cosmetic is for inhibiting muscle activity and that dermal fillers come in a wide variety of volume-adding formulas, it can be wise to track which effects last the shortest and longest, especially for patients who want to maintain a more youthful-looking face for the long term. Scheduling maintenance visits is easier when you have a good idea of how long your forehead will appear smooth or jawline should have extra definition.
First, BOTOX®. Tucson-area women and men regularly choose this treatment for their forehead and frown lines, as well as their crow’s feet. After a brief session with one of our injectors, you can expect three to four months of smooth skin, worry-free. After that time, the targeted muscles will start moving again, leading to visible furrows and wrinkles whenever you frown or make similar facial expressions.
Dermal fillers, on the other hand, tend to be longer lasting. Juvederm®, for example, has several gel fillers that go the distance, including Volbella (which enhances lips and smooths out vertical lip lines for up to a year), Vollure (which reduces the appearance of nasolabial folds and more for up to 18 months), and Voluma (which adds volume to the midface and lasts up to two years).
With this in mind, you may have several BOTOX® sessions between visits for dermal filler injections.
A member of the Ironwood Dermatology team can work with you to ensure your schedule is as seamless as possible, which means you can enjoy an overall youthful-looking face with no interruption to the smooth look in just one area.
The saying goes that beauty is only skin deep, but it should be updated to note that many times imperfections are similarly shallow. The fine lines and clogged pores that can make a face look older are often easily addressed by simply getting rid of the skin where they are found. The dermatologists at Tucson’s Ironwood Dermatology offer numerous treatments that do just that. Here is a brief look at four of them:
Within this category alone there are several variations, but all of them work the same way: A strong, acid-based solution is applied directly to the skin and left to work for a set amount of time. The outer layer will later peel away. This accomplishes two things: It gets dead cells and debris off of the face, and it promotes natural rejuvenation.
As opposed to covering the entire face at once in a peeling solution, microdermabrasion involves buffing the dead skin cells away from top to bottom, cheek to cheek. The ultimate result is much the same, in that healthier-looking, younger skin is revealed and collagen rejuvenation is kick-started.
Similar to microdermabrasion, dermaplaning is a treatment that mechanically removes dead skin cells, but it involves manual action from a cosmetic professional. Working directly on the skin with a special tool, the dermaplaner will exfoliate to remove unwanted cells and encourage healing.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Short pulses of energy from a specially designed laser make this a non-invasive treatment that promotes collagen production without ablating—or removing—the skin. The resulting rejuvenated collagen can improve the look of everything from fine lines to visible scars and marks.
Patients are not expected to know which of these treatments would work best for their own skin. The Ironwood Dermatology team can suggest an ideal plan after a consultation tailored to the individual. Learn more by reaching out online or calling 520.618.1630.
When it comes to nonsurgical cosmetic treatments, from microdermabrasion to BOTOX®, Tucson’s Ironwood Dermatology team noted with interest the recently released results of an annual report compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Published at the start of March 2018, the report details statistics from 2017, taken from medical databases and doctor surveys. Among the many items of interest is the overarching fact that nonsurgical cosmetic treatments on the whole are growing in popularity. The entire field grew by 2 percent from 2016 to 2017, with more than 15.7 million treatments performed on men and women across the United States.
That also represents a 186-percent jump from the year 2000.
Topping the list is—as usual—BOTOX® and its fellow injectables based on botulinum toxin type A, which collectively made up almost half of the total treatments performed. With 7.2 million treatments reported, this option is unquestionably the most frequently chosen cosmetic option in the country—surgeries included.
Next on the list, with more than 2.6 million applications, is soft tissue fillers, which includes the entire Juvederm® line. There are formulas for reducing the appearance of nasolabial folds, for adding youthful roundness to the apple of the cheeks, and for subtly boosting lip contours.
Chemical peels came in third with 1.3 million applied. Though they all accomplish the same thing—removing the outermost layers of dead skin for a brighter, fresher look—they come in a variety of compounds with different strengths. This treatment also makes the skin more receptive to revitalizing serums.
Fourth is laser hair removal, a versatile treatment that can be applied virtually head to toe. Statistics show that just more than a million laser hair removals were performed in 2017, proving that bare skin made smooth without the hassle of razors or waxing remains a popular choice.
Rounding out the top five is microdermabrasion, which essentially buffs or polishes away dead skin cells in the outermost layer. Though the mechanics are different, the results are similar to a chemical peel.
The internet is rife with certain “fitness gurus” touting claims of reducing fat on the arms, thighs, or belly through various kinds of focused exercises. Unfortunately, this is not how the body functions.
While eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly can yield significant physical and mental health benefits, and are key to maintaining a healthy weight, all they ultimately do are reduce the size of fat cells – they do not get rid of them.
As for focused exercises, the most they might do is improve muscle tone and definition in those areas to make fat look less obvious. While overall slimming down of the body is possible, it generally does not yield the extent of reduction we would like in specific areas.
This is part of what makes medical-grade, non-invasive fat reduction treatments so popular. CoolSculpting® offers Tucson, AZ, patients a pain-free alternative to surgery that is much more effective than diet or exercise at reducing fat in specific areas of the body.
The FDA-cleared device comes with a variety of applicators, each uniquely shaped and sized to accommodate almost any type of fat pocket on the body. The device cools down the area the applicator is attached to, causing fat cells to crystallize and die while leaving skin and other types of tissue in the areas unharmed.
Fat cells are much more sensitive to temperature changes, which is why they are much easier to damage with cold than other types of tissue. Once they die, the leftover matter from these cells is flushed out of the body through its natural processes.
With the right applicator, settings, and number of treatment sessions, CoolSculpting® is a quick, comfortable, and effective way to treat specific areas of fat. To learn more about the treatment, contact Ironwood Dermatology online or call 520.618.1630.
There’s a saying that beauty is only skin deep. The Ironwood Dermatology team knows that beauty is a lot more than that, but still, there’s something to be said about rejuvenating the face by focusing on the outermost layers. By working with an experienced dermatologist, Tucson-area men and women can enjoy a refreshed, revitalized look—all by merely “scratching the surface.”
Such a cosmetic change is possible because many of the visual annoyances and problems associated with aging and looking aged—like wrinkles, spots, redness, and visible veins—can be found on the surface of the skin or just below. Skin resurfacing, via a Cynosure® Focus treatment laser, does exactly what it sounds like it does: It creates a new, younger-looking surface.
The Cynosure® Focus treatment laser work by sending pulses of specific wavelengths of light into the skin where they trigger natural healing processes. The heat energy generated by these pulses damages unwanted lesions and areas of pigmentation due to the presence of melanin, which absorbs the light more than the surrounding cells do. When laser light impacts a spider vein, for instance, the dark red in the hemoglobin “absorbs” the energy, which ultimately causes the unneeded blood vessel to seal off and wither away. Soon, what was once a visible thin, red line—or, more commonly, a web of these fine lines—is no longer seen on the face.
In addition to impacting lesions, the laser energy also encourages the rebuilding of vital skin components, like collagen and elastin. Production of these can diminish over time, so firing up cells in the skin to begin new production means that over time, after one or more treatments, the surface-level problems can fade and the nourishing benefits of replenished elements can become more noticeable.
To learn more about skin resurfacing with our Cynosure® Focus treatment laser, reach out to Ironwood Dermatology in Tucson online or phone 520.618.1630.
Many people complain of dry, itchy skin that worsens in the winter. It can frequently progress to a diffuse, red, scaly rash that is so itchy that people can’t sleep at night and have difficulty focusing on their normal daily routine. The usual cause of this is xerotic dermatitis, which some people call “winter itch”. This is extremely common in southern Arizona because the climate is generally very dry and during the winter we are inside with heaters that lower the humidity even further. This causes the skin to lose moisture and results in a disruption of the normal barrier of the skin. Once this occurs, there is an inflammatory response (dermatitis) that is very itchy. Over time, with sun exposure and aging, the skin loses its ability to hold in moisture and this condition becomes even more prevalent.
The key to prevention and treatment of this condition is moisture. There are several ways to protect and replenish the barrier of the skin. The most important step is to use moisturizing creams daily. We recommend creams instead of lotions because they hold in more moisture and last longer than lotions. Some people do not like the greasy feeling of creams, but it is a small price to pay to prevent the development of xerotic dermatitis. Another helpful practice is to use soap-free cleansers in the bath or shower, because soap strips the skin of the components that create the barrier and contributes to dryness. Reducing the frequency of water exposure (baths, showers, pools, spa, etc.) and applying the moisturizing cream immediately after drying off will also help prevent flaring of this condition.
If you are disciplined about moisturizing and protecting your skin you can significantly reduce or prevent winter itch. If you have this problem and it is not controlled by the above guidelines, see your dermatologist for an evaluation. They may prescribe a topical steroid to get the condition under control in conjunction with daily moisturizers.