Healthy Skin, Healthy You
Healthy, beautiful skin is viewed as an outward sign of good health and wellness.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your skin healthy is by protecting it from the damages of the sun. The National Institute on Aging has even pointed to sunlight as a major culprit of wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Skin conditions like acne and rosacea, that have less serious health implications, can cause significant psychological, social and occupational issues, if left untreated.
The National Rosacea Society estimates that 14 to 16 million people suffer from the condition which may include redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead, small visible blood vessels on the face, bumps or pimples on the face and watery or irritated eyes. Because of its red-faced, acne-like effects on personal appearance, rosacea can cause significant self-confidence and emotional problems.
While the cause of rosacea is unknown and there is no cure, medical help is available that can control the signs and symptoms of this potentially life-disruptive disorder.
Brevard Skin and Cancer Center’s Mario Sequeira, MD says many Americans are not even treated for rosacea even though significant progress has recently been made in treatments.
“Treatments depend on which of the four type of symptoms a patient has,” Dr. Sequeira said. “Medical treatment and other measures must be tailored for each individual case.”
Facial redness – the appearance of flushing, redness and visible blood vessels is generally treated with a prescription cream or gel you use on your face once or twice a day and an antibiotic pill.
It may be reduced with lasers or intense pulsed light therapy. Several sessions are typically required for satisfactory results and touch-up sessions may later be needed.
Bumps or pimples – a number of medications have been extensively studied and approved for this common form of rosacea and may also be used on a long-term basis to prevent recurrence of symptoms.
Skin thickening – characterized by skin thickening and enlargement, most frequently around the nose and primarily with men. A surgical laser may be used as a bloodless scalpel to remove excess tissue and re-contour the nose.
Eye irritation – a watery or bloodshot appearance, foreign body sensation, burning or stinging, dryness, itching, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Treatments include artificial tears and oral antibiotics. Triggers like exposure to the sun, stress and spicy foods can make symptoms worse for all types.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne, a chronic inflammatory skin condition, is characterized by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Though acne usually begins in puberty, it can occur at any stage of life. Acne often causes significant physical and psychological problems such as permanent scarring, poor self-image, depression and anxiety.
Acne can be caused by many factors affecting the skin. Generally, overactive sebaceous oil glands can produce too much oil and combine with skin cells to plug pores. When the pores in the skin become plugged, the bacterium multiplies and leads to lesions on the skin.
Genetics, hormones, menstruation or emotional stress can also cause or even worsen it. Recently, studies have proven that some foods make acne worse. Foods with a high glycemic load such as white grains (bread, rice, pasta) and sweets have been linked to acne. Though Dr. Sequeira generally doesn’t recommend that the average patient restrict his or her diet unless the patient hasn’t responded to other treatments.
Acne treatments aren’t a one-size-fits-all and there is no “miracle” cure. While some over-the-counter medications can effectively treat mild acne, a dermatologist can successfully diagnose and treat the skin using a variety of topical medications like antibiotics and procedures. Some of the common topical medications include benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, retinoids and salicylic acid. Oral antibiotics are a standard of care for moderate and severe acne and acne that is resistant to topical therapy. Oral retinoids like the former Accutane are used for the most severe cases.
“Some prescription agents or antibiotics may have side effects,” warned Dr. Sequeira. “That’s why patients need supervision by a dermatology provider.”
Because of the effects that acne has on sufferers, new technology and therapies are regularly being developed for its treatment.
Photodynamic therapy utilizes light treatments along with an application of a photosensitizing agent; it is thought to work by shrinking the skin’s oil glands. This can drastically reduce the amount of oil within the pores, may also kill bacteria that cause acne breakouts and normalize the shedding of dead skin cells within the follicle. Side effects typically include redness in the treated area.
Once treatment of acne has been completed, Dr. Sequeira recommends waiting a year before undergoing laser resurfacing to reduce scarring, especially if oral retinoid pills were used. Since acne scars are unique in their appearance and often have complex characteristics, a dermatologist should determine an individualized treatment plan for the most successful result.
Dr. Mario Sequeira joined Brevard Skin and Cancer Center in 1998. He completed his medical degree from the University of Miami where he was a member of the accelerated Medical Scholars Program. He went on to complete his internship in internal medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and residency in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami, FL. In addition, Dr. Sequeira finished a post graduate fellowship in Dermatologic Cosmetic Surgery in Morristown, New Jersey under the auspices of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.
Dr. Andrew Miner did his medical training at the University of Texas Southwestern. After an internship in internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center, Dr. Miner completed his dermatology training at the University of Miami. Next Dr. Miner worked as a dermatologist and specialized in Dermatopathology at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Miner practices general and cosmetic dermatology in addition to Mohs surgery. Dr. Miner also interprets biopsies of skin growths and rashes in
Brevard Skin & Cancer Center has been serving Brevard for over 50 years; the team of board-certified dermatologists and experienced medical professionals are dedicated to the diagnosis, education, prevention, and treatment of hair, skin and nail conditions. “We’ve grown as Brevard County has grown and we look forward to continuing to grow,” said Dr. Miner. Three centers throughout Brevard County including Viera at 8059 Spyglass Hill Rd. #103. Visit BrevardSkin.com or call (321) 636-7780 to request an appointment.