Psoriasis vs Eczema

Anyone with dry, itchy skin and prone to skin rashes has probably wondered if they have either psoriasis or eczema. Psoriasis vs eczema, it is easy to confuse these two common skin conditions, but they are distinctly different, despite their similar symptoms. Of course, only a dermatologist can tell you if you have either or which one. However, you can better understand each problem and have an idea of what to expect.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects about three percent of the U.S. population. In other words, about 7.5 million adults in this country.

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease. This means the immune system triggers inflammation, but it’s unclear why. With this skin condition, the inflammation becomes raised plaques and scaly skin. When someone has psoriasis, their skin goes into overdrive.

psoriasis vs eczema

What Causes Psoriasis?

When asking psoriasis vs eczema, it is the cause that differentiates them. For some reason, the immune system triggers the production of skin cells to increase. The skin is constantly regenerating. Normal skin cells slough off in a month, and new cells replace them.

When you have psoriasis, new skin cells grow faster than the old ones die off. So, cells form every three or four days instead of new skin growing in one month. That causes them to pile up and create plaques. The plaques make it hard for the old skin to fall off, too, so you have new cells growing on top of old ones.

The result is thick, scaly patches of skin. For some, that skin becomes itchy and stings, too. Flare-ups usually appear on the knees, elbows, or scalp, causing thick, red or gray patches. It can appear anywhere on the body, though.

What Does Psoriasis Look Like?

Psoriasis symptoms include thick areas on the skin that form with psoriasis plaques. Skin plaques seem to lie flat on the skin, even though they are part of it. Some refer to them as silvery scales because they can look like fish scales.

The plaques can be small or large. They can be red or gray, too. There are different types of psoriasis, though, and the appearance can vary.

What Are the Different Types of Psoriasis?

The different types of psoriasis can vary in symptoms. They include

  • Plaque psoriasis – This is what many people think of when they hear the word psoriasis. It is the most common type and is characterized by skin plaques.
  • Nail psoriasis – As the name suggests, this affects the toe and fingernails, causing pitting and abnormal growth.
  • Guttate psoriasis – This form of psoriasis typically affects children. It results from a bacterial infection such as strep. It appears as small, scaly spots on the body shaped like tears.
  • Inverse psoriasis – Inverse psoriasis appears in skin creases and places with moisture and friction.
  • Pustular psoriasis – This form of skin condition is rare. It causes blisters to appear on the palms and soles of the feet.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis – This is the least common form of the condition and the most critical. It leads to large areas of skin peeling all over the body.

The treatment options are different for each form of this condition.

Is Psoriasis Contagious?

Psoriasis is a condition of the immune system, so it is not contagious. There are triggers for flare-ups, and each person can be different. You can not catch it from someone else. In other words, when you come in contact with something, it might trigger psoriasis to start. Some common triggers are:

  • Stress
  • Skin injury
  • Being sick
  • Weather changes
  • Allergies

The triggers vary from person to person.

Psoriasis vs Eczema: What is Life Like With Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that people live with their whole lives. It can impact how they feel about themselves, and the plaques can make them self-conscious. As a result, people with this condition often try to cover it up with clothing. They tend to wear long sleeves and pants so it doesn’t show.

Psoriasis can affect other parts of the body, too. Some people develop psoriatic arthritis when they have this skin condition.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

When considering Psoriasis vs Eczema, think about what else is going on with your body, too. Psoriatic arthritis typically affects people with psoriasis. The cause of arthritis is the same as what leads to skin plaques – a malfunctioning immune system. The immune system begins to attack the joints, causing inflammation and pain. This form of arthritis can be debilitating.

What is Eczema?

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is in many ways more complex than psoriasis. The direct cause is very dry skin. However, many things cause dry skin, according to the National Eczema Association. So, there are several potential eczema causes, as well.

For some, dry skin is genetic. A weak barrier function in the skin tends to run in families. That means the skin is less able to hold in moisture and fight off invaders. It is more sensitive to environmental irritants, such as tobacco smoke.

Eczema may also be an allergic reaction. You might be sensitive to soaps, allergens, or weather changes. For example, some people have an eczema flare-up as soon as the weather turns cold. Things rubbing against the skin, like wool gloves, can trigger a flare-up, too.

It may also be a result of hormonal changes in women. Their symptoms may only appear around their period or if they get pregnant.

For many people with eczema, the key to managing their condition is identifying the triggers.

psoriasis vs eczema

What Does Eczema Look Like?

The symptoms of eczema include

  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Blisters
  • Peeling skin
  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Oozing from the skin
  • Thicken skin

Eczema is extremely itchy. People with it tend to have scratch marks all over the affected area because of the intense itchiness. Even if they avoid scratching during the day, they may do it in their sleep. In severe cases, this makes them prone to infections, as well.

What Are the Different Types of Eczema?

When trying to identify psoriasis vs eczema, the type matters. There are seven different types of eczema:

  • Atopic dermatitis – This is the most common form and is characterized by dry, scaly skin.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema – Develops as small itchy blisters and lesions on the hands or feet.
  • Contact dermatitis – The eczema is triggered by something the body comes in contact with, such as wool.
  • Discoid eczema – A long form of eczema characterized by circular, itchy patches. The patches eventually crack and ooze.
  • Neurodermatitis – This condition has an unknown origin but results in large, thick patches of leathery skin with an intense itch.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis – Scaly patches that form mainly on the scalp. They can also appear on the face.
  • Stasis dermatitis – Occurs due to poor circulation in the legs.

Each type has a different origin; and some people develop more than one kind.

Psoriasis spelled with wooden letters image

Is Eczema Contagious?

Eczema is simply extremely dry skin, so not contagious. The rashes are prone to infection, which can be contagious. Frequent hand washing can make the condition worse, too.

Psoriasis vs Eczema: What is Life Like With Eczema?

Eczema can be very uncomfortable. It is very itchy, especially at the beginning of the breakout. When scratched, the skin breaks down, causing an open wound that may be further complicated by infection.

People with eczema often have other allergic conditions, such as

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Rhinitis

There is an especially strong connection between asthma and eczema. Both conditions also tend to run in families.

Psoriasis vs Eczema

Psoriasis vs eczema, in some cases, these two skin conditions can seem very similar. Eczema can develop a crusty appearance that may look like psoriasis without close inspection. Both conditions can appear anywhere you have skin, as well. Common places include the scalp and hands. They can be very difficult to tell apart, and you can have both.

What is the Difference Between Psoriasis and Eczema?

The most significant difference between these two conditions is the underlying cause.

Psoriasis causes are related to the immune system. The immune system malfunctions, and skin cells grow at an accelerated rate. As a result, the cells start to build up, and a plaque forms.

Eczema is much more difficult to pinpoint. There can be both genetic and environmental issues at play with this condition. Eczema tends to run in families, but you can still have it if it doesn’t.

Instead of being caused by a dysfunctional immune system, eczema may occur due to a problem with the protective layer on top of the skin. Triggers are environmental, like fragrances, or hormonal such as pregnancy. Cold or hot weather can cause an outbreak, as can an allergic reaction.

Skin Reaction

Psoriasis and eczema can look similar but don’t feel the same. Although psoriasis may come with a mild itch, it doesn’t compare to what those with eczema experience.

The itching sensation with eczema is so intense that people scratch in their sleep. They scratch the skin so hard it breaks open and bleeds. Unfortunately, that scratching also makes eczema prone to infection.


Psoriasis and eczema can both affect the following:

  • Scalp
  • Elbow
  • Knees
  • Buttocks
  • Face

People can also develop eczema on the back of their knees and inside elbows. A rash in those locations is one thing that makes the condition disincentive.


This is one area where these two conditions are similar. Both can be allergic reactions to an allergen like soap or detergents. Environmental factors can also be triggers, such as pet dander. Psoriasis can also occur due to the following:

  • Sunburn
  • Scratches
  • Vaccinations
  • Medications

These three things do not usually trigger eczema, though.

First Outbreak

Eczema is a condition that often affects children. Some people outgrow it. It is less common to develop it as an adult. If you have it as an adult, you probably had it as a child and maybe didn’t realize it.

Psoriasis tends to develop later in life. It can start between 15 and 35, although people get plaques earlier or later.

Treatment Plan

There can be different treatment options for each condition, as well. For mild cases of eczema, over-the-counter products like a topical corticosteroid are all it takes. Your healthcare provider might suggest specific skin care products like moisturizers and cleansers.

Mild to moderate eczema can also respond to unique home treatments. Old-school home treatment involves solid vegetable oil on the skin. The doctor may suggest you wrap affected limbs in plastic at night to make the treatment more effective.

They may try medications that affect the immune system to control it for severe outbreaks or a prescription-strength-topical steroid. Light therapy or phototherapy can be effective, too.

The psoriasis treatment can be similar. For instance, the healthcare provider might suggest a topical corticosteroid in mild cases. Light therapy and drug therapy are often necessary for a systemic psoriasis flare. A dermatology specialist might prescribe a biologic injectable drug.

Both conditions require some skin care basics to control them. Good skin hygiene goes a long way to keeping them at bay, especially moisturizing.

The key to figuring out which of these two skin diseases you might have is to see a dermatologist, like the specialists at Venice Avenue Dermatology. Otherwise, you are just guessing, which may make the problem worse. This is true even if eczema runs in your family.

The medical dermatology department at Venice Avenue Dermatology can pinpoint the cause, help identify the triggers and create a treatment plan to clear up your skin. We offer UV light therapy to treat both psoriasis and eczema. Both often respond well to this treatment. We also prescribe systemic or biologic medications, when appropriate.

Psoriasis and eczema can affect your quality of life, so let us help. If you are still wondering about psoriasis vs eczema, call our office today to make an appointment if you live in Venice, Sarasota, or the surrounding area in Florida.

How Long Does Botox Last?

Botox cosmetic injections effectively reduce wrinkles, but how long does Botox last? The answer is somewhat complicated. It will be different for each person and Botox treatment because there are many variables. An excellent place to start is with an understanding of what Botox is and how it works.

What Is a Botox Treatment?

Botox injections use a toxin called onabotulinumtoxinA, or botulinum toxin, to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles. It is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is the same toxin that causes botulism but given in a small, safe dose.

A report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found a dramatic increase in the number of people getting Botox during 2020. They state in one year; there were more than 800,000 treatments done. It is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures globally.

Some common drug products used for this treatment also include Dysport, Myobloc, and Xeomin. Each one is FDA approved for use as a skincare product.

how long does botox last

How Does Botox Work?

Botox blocks chemical signals from nerves that control facial muscles. The injection causes targeted muscles to relax, helping to prevent wrinkles and remove fine lines.

Think about what happens to a garden hose when you fold it repeatedly. Eventually, a crease forms in the hose that will become permanent unless the folding stops. The older the hose is, the more times it has been folded and the weaker the structure becomes.

The same happens with the skin and intensifies as a person ages and collagen production drops. Collagen is a fibrous material that gives skin structure. For example, when you smile or raise your eyebrows, you crease the skin on your forehead and around your mouth and eyes. Over time, the creases become wrinkles like crow’s feet, forehead lines, and other signs of aging.

Wrinkles build up over time as skin becomes naturally less elastic, which is normal. Treatments like Clostridium botulinum can help prevent wrinkle formation and reduce the repetitive movement of muscles.

Botox is a relatively safe way to fight frown lines without resorting to plastic surgery. It works because when the neurotoxin blocks those chemical signals, the muscles do not crease the skin. It is a faster treatment, too. For some, the results are almost immediate, unlike surgery, where you must wait for wounds to heal. You’ll notice the benefits of Botox within days as opposed to months.

What Are the Benefits of Botox?

Botox can prevent new wrinkles from forming and help reduce existing ones. It is less invasive than other anti-aging options like cosmetic surgery. The treatments tend to focus on areas people first notice, such as the forehead, around the eyes, and mouth.

Just doing something about wrinkles has a cascading effect, too. For example, you may feel better about yourself, which relieves stress and makes you happier.

What Are the Risks of Botox?

One of the most significant benefits of this treatment is there are very few risks. It is possible to develop an infection at the injection site, but the needles are very thin, so the puncture is small. Some people experience mild side effects after the treatment, such as:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Eye dryness and tearing
  • Drooling

The side effects are minor and temporary, though.

What Can You Expect from a Botox Treatment?

Botox treatments are relatively painless even though it is an injection. The provider uses very thin needles, so you don’t feel much. A Botox treatment typically consists of multiple injections, too.

Afterward, you will get a list of instructions. You should not rub or massage the area for at least 24 hours after the treatment. You want the Botox to stay localized and not spread.

You should see results for Botox within a few days. After that, the provider will tell you when to get a follow-up treatment to maintain the effect.

How Long Does Botox Last?

How long does Botox last? The duration of the effects of Botox varies from person to person based on critical factors like:

  • Age
  • The elasticity of the skin
  • Depth of the wrinkles

The injection location also matters, as does the number of toxins used. In general, Botox lasts from four to six months, though. Your provider may tell you what to expect when you have the injection based on your situation.

The effects can last longer with each subsequent treatment, however. This is because botox paralyzes the muscles, so they shrink over time. That also means you may need fewer treatments.

What Can You Do to Make Botox Last Longer?

You can do some things between Botox treatments that might extend the effects.

Avoid the Sun

Dermatology experts have warned against the damaging effects of sun exposure for decades. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that one should avoid the sun after a Botox treatment. Sun damage breaks down collagen, creating wrinkles Botox can’t fix.

Remember that Botox works only on skin lines that occur due to muscle movement. Sun damage causes a different kind of wrinkle. The sun will also trigger an inflammatory response that breaks down Botox, making it less effective. So if you do go out, wear sunscreen.

Switch to Low-Intensity Workouts

Excessive and high-intensity exercises increase the metabolism rate, breaking down the Botox faster. On the other hand, your body needs exercise, so workout just switch to something low-intensity like walking instead of running.

Manage Your Stress

If you are stressed, you will frown or scowl, which tenses your facial muscles. That puts pressure on the Botox treatment muscles and causes the effect to wear off sooner.

Don't Smoke

Stay away from nicotine products. Nicotine also breaks down the collagen in your skin, making Botox less effective. Smoking or vaping also creates new facial wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. These are the kinds that Botox can’t fix.

Moisturize Your Skin

Make moisturizing a regular part of your skincare routine. Invest in a quality facial moisturizer to keep your skin smooth. Moisturizers have ingredients such as collagen and hyaluronic acid that plump up the cells and give you a youthful, fresh look. That will enhance the effects of Botox. If possible, use a moisturizer with sunscreen for extra protection.

Use a Gentle Skin Cleanser

A gentle skin cleanser will help keep your face moisturized. They also have ingredients that help protect the skin.

Take Zinc

At least one study found that a 50-milligram zinc supplement helps prolong the results of Botox. Over 90 percent of those participating in the research saw a 30 percent increase in the duration of the treatment. Talk to your doctor about taking a supplement first, especially if you take prescription medications or are on a special diet.

Stay Hydrated

Your skin needs water to stay healthy. It improves circulation to the skin and keeps it from getting dry. Water is also necessary for new skin formation. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day.

Keep Your Follow-Up Appointments

Your skin needs water to stay healthy. It improves circulation to the skin and keeps it from getting dry. Water is also necessary for new skin formation. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day.

How Often Can You Get Botox?

If you are wondering how long does Botox last, you might also wonder how often you can get it. Your healthcare provider can help you decide how often you want to get Botox. Typically, you would not see another Botox injector for at least three months. Getting these injections too often can mean you build up resistance to the neurotoxin. Ideally, you would go as long as possible between treatments. That is another reason follow-up appointments are essential.

It is important to remember that Botox is a medical treatment. It is critical that the injections be in the right place with proper spacing and that the product used is high-quality. There are a lot of scams out there, so stick with a board-certified dermatology office to get your treatments.

If Botox isn’t an option, you might qualify for Juvederm dermal fillers, instead. Dermal fillers work well as an alternative wrinkle treatment because they add volume to your face. 

Contact Venice Avenue Dermatology Today

Since 1997, Venice Avenue Dermatology has provided high-quality dermatology services to Sarasota and Charlotte counties in Florida. Our board-certified providers stay up to date on the most cutting-edge cosmetic dermatology treatment options for our patients.

We perform routine skin examinations as well as diagnose and treat skin conditions. In addition to cosmetic procedures such as an FDA-approved injectable dermal filler or Botox injections, we provide medical and surgical dermatology services.

If you are still asking, “How long does Botox last?” contact us today to find out more about Botox injections and what it can do for you.

Dermaplaning Guide – Face Rejuvenation

Dermaplaning allows those living with imperfections on their faces, such as unwanted hair or scars, to get rejuvenation. Acne affects 80 percent of the population between the ages of 11 and 30. Another five percent will continue to have this skincare problem throughout their lives. One out of five will also experience minor to serious scarring as a result.

Even if the blemishes clear up before you reach adulthood, some people live with them for the rest of their lives thanks to acne scarring. It’s something that will undoubtedly affect how they feel about themselves. Many possible treatment options and help, such as this dermaplaning guide, that can help are available at Venice Avenue Dermatology, including a dermaplaning facial.

What is Dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is a minimally invasive exfoliation treatment that takes off the skin’s top layer, mostly dead cells. This form of exfoliation is done using a unique scalpel. Some other common names for this process include: microplaning or blading.
It is effective for all skin types and can help fade acne scarring.

what is dermaplaning

Why Do People Get Dermaplaning Done?

The goal of dermaplaning is to remove dead skin cells and hair. The hair taken off with dermaplaning isn’t beards or whiskers but peach fuzz that can affect the look of the skin. The ultimate goal is to give the face a smooth, youthful appearance.

People get this treatment to remove imperfections on their skin, such as:

  • Scars
  • Dull skin,
  • Sun-damage
  • Dry skin
  • Fine lines

Dermaplaning removes the top layer of skin and all the dead skin cells. The esthetician uses a sterile blade and runs it over the face at a 45-degree angle. There is no incision or cut made. The blade simply drags across the skin to remove what is on the surface.

What Is the Difference Between Dermaplaning, Microdermabrasion, and Dermabrasion?

They are similar in many ways. All three provide immediate results and leave the skin looking and feeling fresher and younger. They each go about it in different ways, though. For example:

  • Dermaplaning – Uses a scalpel to remove the top layer of the skin.
  • Dermabrasion – Uses a rotating device to remove the top layer of the skin.
  • Microdermabrasion – Uses a small applicator with a mildly abrasive surface and an exfoliant to remove the top layer of skin.

The goals are the same with each procedure, but the method differs.

Is Dermaplaning the Same Thing as Shaving?

Dermaplaning is also very similar to shaving. In this case, the two have like methodologies but different goals. Shaving runs a blade across the face to remove something – usually facial hair at the shaft, leaving hair follicles in place. That is all it does, though.
While that is what dermaplaning does, the benefits of dermaplaning go further. It also removes dead skin cells. That exfoliation makes skin look younger and more radiant.

Can You Do Dermaplaning at Home?

DIY dermaplaning is possible and common. It is likely to be riskier at home and possibly less effective. Many people think they can use a standard blade to dermaplane at home. That won’t work as well as the dermaplaning tool a dermatologist uses. The tools are available to the public for people who want to do their own skincare treatment. There are both manual and electric devices available similar to razors.

A clinician will use a fully sanitized tool, as well. You would need an autoclave at home to get the same level of disinfection.

The main benefit of getting it done professionally, though, is quality. The dermaplaning done in a clinic will provide deeper exfoliation and offer longer-lasting results.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dermaplaning?

Anyone looking for face rejuvenation that comes with glowing skin and a younger look can benefit from dermaplaning. It is ideal for those with scarring, age spots, or dull skin. It is also an alternative for someone who fails to respond well to other methods, such as microdermabrasion.

How Much Is Dermaplaning?

The cost will vary based on a number of factors. For example, your location will make a difference. It may be more expensive in bigger cities where the demand is higher. Also, it will depend on the service provider and how many treatments they recommend.

How Is Dermaplaning Done?

During a dermaplaning session, you will lie down on a table fully dressed. A provider will go over your face with a specialized tool or a scalpel. They will hold the sharp blade at a 45-degree angle while dragging it over the skin.

There is no pain during the procedure because there is no incision or cutting. It will feel like shaving. You may feel a tingling as the blade removes skin cells. The treatment does not require anesthesia, although some providers offer numbing and an oral sedative if the patient is uncomfortable.

The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes and will leave you with skin that feels smoother. Afterward, they may give you moisturizer with SPF to protect your fresh skin

What About Dermaplaning at Home?

You can do dermaplaning at home with the right tools. It is essential that you use the proper equipment to avoid cutting yourself and risking an infection.

It is not a difficult process if you have the right tool. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Step One: Wash your face thoroughly with a cleanser before starting. This will clean off debris.
  • Step Two: Use a toner on your skin. This closes the pores to prevent breakouts after the treatment.
  • Step Three: Use a sterilized dermaplaning tool. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sterilizing the blade.
  • Step Four: Hold the tool at a 45-degree angle over the skin. Move it slowly, using short strokes over the face. If you feel pain, stop. There may be nicks.
  • Step Five: Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer for hydrating. If going outside, make sure to use one with sunscreen in it.

Anyone considering dermaplaning at home should consult their health provider first. Let them ensure it is safe and that there are no other skincare problems that might be affected by the home treatment. For example, it is not recommended for those with active acne, rosacea, or another type of skin irritation.

What Do I Do to Prepare for In-Office Dermaplaning?

The staff will give you a list of instructions to follow before your session. Generally, they will tell you to cleanse your skin and then use a toner. Cleansing will remove dirt and oil from the skin. The toner will close the pores so that dead skin cells don’t clog them up or buildup during the procedure.

What Do I Do After Dermaplaning?

After a dermaplaning session, it is critical that you keep in mind that your skin is vulnerable right now. It is new skin that will be sensitive to irritation and the sun. Follow the post-treatment care instructions from your provider. Typically, they involve:

  • Avoid direct sunlight for up to three days.
  • Avoid extreme heat like a sauna or hot tub for three days.
  • Do not exfoliate or scrub the skin for up to one week,
  • Avoid chlorine, such as what is found in swimming pools
  • Apply serums like retinoids and lotions to help prevent dry skin.
  • Use sunscreen as a skin barrier if going outside. You can use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it, as well.

The care provider might have specific products they want you to use to protect the new skin, like a gentle cleanser.

Benefits and Risks of Dermaplaning

The benefits of dermaplaning include:

  • Younger looking skin
  • Skin taut and firm
  • Fading of scars
  • Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hair removal

The procedure will leave you with a radiant glow.

What Are the Risks of Dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is a safe cosmetic procedure with few side effects for most people. It does come with some risks, though, such as

  • Infection
  • Keloids or raised scars,
  • Pigment discoloration

The skin around the treated area may look lighter or darker after dermaplaning.

Recovery From Dermaplaning

There is no downtime after a dermaplaning treatment. You can return to your daily activities. Follow the instructions provided by the esthetician carefully. They may recommend changes in your skincare routine and new ways to shave your face if applicable.

How Long Before I See Results From Dermaplaning?

There may be some redness in your skin, which may be sensitive, so use the recommended skincare products. After a few days, that redness will disappear, and you will see the results of your treatment more clearly.

How Long Does Dermaplaning Last?

The results are temporary. In about three weeks, they will fade, the skin may appear dull again, and there may be hair growth.

Most people can benefit from dermaplaning once a month This ensures the removal of dead skin cells, so you always have a fresh-looking appearance.

Venice Avenue Dermatologists provides a range of cosmetic dermatology services, including dermaplaning. While getting a dermaplaning treatment, consider some other ways to reduce aging and approve your appearance such as botox, chemical peels, and microneedling. We also offer dermal fillers. Contact us today to make an appointment.

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels

Suppose you are looking for ways to correct uneven skin tone, eliminate wrinkles, soften acne scars or improve the appearance of your skin. In that case, you might ask which option between microneedling vs. chemical peels could offer the best benefits. These are two distinctly different skin treatments, so how can you decide which option is the best for you?

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling uses tiny needles to promote skin healing. The goal is to create micro-injuries that your body will heal and give you new skin in the process. The tiny injuries invoke a healing process that stimulates collagen production and new skin formation.

Collagen is the infrastructure of the skin. As a person ages, their body naturally produces less collagen, so skin loses some of its elasticity. Microneedling can give collagen production a jump start.

It also acts on the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. This naturally thins with age. Microneedling can make it thicker and more toned.

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel offers much of the same benefits as a microneedling treatment, but it goes about it differently. Deep chemical peels remove the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer, and can affect the dermis, the middle layer of the skin. This triggers a healing response that forces the body to create new skin.

There are different levels of chemical peel treatments: from light to deep. Your care provider will help you decide which form of skin care makes the most sense for your condition. For example, someone with scars that go into the deep layers of the skin will want a more aggressive peel than a person looking for an anti-aging treatment.

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels: Which Is Better for You?

Both of these skin care treatments offer benefits. Only your dermatologist can decide the best option for you based on skin types and other considerations. Both can reduce the appearance of fine lines. Both lead to the rejuvenation of the top layer of skin, too. However, they both require some downtime, as well.

For some people, the answer might be a combination of both. For example, microneedling might be able to reach deeper layers of skin and, when combined with superficial peels, give you a more youthful appearance.

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels, Which is Better for Dark Spots?

Dark spots are a type of skin hyperpigmentation. In other words, the dark areas have more pigment cells than other areas. There can be a number of reasons for this, such as:

  • Aging
  • Sun exposure
  • Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause

Some people develop uneven skin coloration due to acne, trauma, hair removal, ingrown hairs, harsh skin care products, and scarring from conditions such as psoriasis. It is essential that you have dark areas on your skin checked to rule out other medical problems, then you and your care provider can decide how to remove them.

Both microneedling and chemical peels are effective for most common dark spots. If the dark spot is on the top layer of the skin, then a chemical peel might be the best option. If it is deeper, you might not remove it with the peel. In that case, microneedling is the practical approach.

What Are the Differences Between Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels?

Although both treatment options can produce similar results, they go about it differently. Chemical peels remove layers of skin that the body replaces. Microneedling causes damage to the skin, stimulating a healing process to repair it.

So, if you have damaged skin, the chemical peel will remove it and let the body rebuild. Microneedling does the opposite. It leaves the damaged skin in place but creates small injuries to it. That triggers the body to remove the problem layers and replace them with new skin.

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels: Which is Better?

The answer depends on your skin condition and the results you hope to achieve with the treatment. Chemical peels often work better for surface damage on the skin. For example, they are a practical choice to remove wrinkles or correct skin texture. On the other hand, Microneedling might be the best choice for skin problems such as hyperpigmentation, lack of tone, or rosacea.

Should I get a Chemical Peel or Microneedling for Acne?

Again, either treatment might be effective. The key is to control the acne first. Once your skin is healthy, it will depend on how deep the acne scars go. In this case, a combination approach might work best. Chemical peels remove superficial imperfections while microneedling goes deeper.

The skin peel can remove the discoloration left over from the acne, but scars are typically best removed with microneedling. Your care provider will examine your skin and help you make the right choice for your needs.

Can I Microneedle Before a Peel?

For the best results, you would have the chemical peel first. Chemical peels provide exfoliation to remove dead skin. After about four to six weeks, you can start the microneedling treatments to improve collagen production to heal the deeper layers.

microneedling dermaroller

What is the Best Chemical Peel for Sensitive Skin?

The chemical solution used in peels can irritate the skin. There are types of chemical peels available for sensitive skin, though.

Glycolic chemical peels, for example, come in different sensitivity levels. Lactic peels are the most irritating and not the best option if your skin is sensitive. If you are unsure how your skin will react, a consultation with a skin professional might be a good place to start.

In some cases, it will also depend on the results you want. For example, retinol peels are an effective option if you are looking for an anti-aging formula. Retinol is a form of vitamin A.

Your best approach is to talk to your care provider. They will give you options that work well for your sensitive skin.

Can You Do Microneedling and a Chemical Peel at the Same Time?

You can do both effective skin treatments, but you wouldn’t do them at the same time or during the same appointment. Most care providers will recommend you start with a chemical peel. This will give your skin a fresh new look and remove surface problems like age spots and other signs of aging.

After the chemical peel heals fully, in about four to six weeks, you could go back for microneedling treatments to reach deeper layers of skin. Microneedling helps to promote collagen growth. That will provide your skin with a more solid foundation. The chemical peel will remove imperfections and then the microneedling to tone. They are a great pair, just not at the same time.

What About Wrinkles? What Is the Best Treatment?

Wrinkles are a natural part of aging, but different factors are involved in their formation, such as sun damage. As you get older, your skin naturally loses some elasticity. It also can become dry and more fragile.

Repeated facial expressions create creases in the skin. This is why people develop wrinkles in the same places, such as laugh lines and crow’s feet. Laugh lines are the accumulation of many smiles, and crow’s feet come from squinting, something everyone does at some point.

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels: How Do They Help Wrinkles?

The role of a chemical peel is to cause controlled damage to the upper layers of skin. In this way, they can help eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. Once the fresh, new skin grows, it will have fewer wrinkles. It works best on fine surface problems. Chemical peels will be less effective on deeper wrinkles.

The objective of the microneedling procedure is to start your body’s healing process by increasing the amount of collagen and elastin to the tiny injuries caused by the process. Collagen helps fill in and smooth out wrinkles.

Does Microneedling Help Wrinkles?

Microneedling can also be effective in smoothing out wrinkles, especially the deeper ones. Chemical peels remove the surface layers of the skin. Microneedling triggers a healing process that requires more collagen production. This is why microneedling is sometimes called collagen induction therapy.

Collagen plays a significant role in tightening and toning the skin. Firmer skin will be more taught and have fewer wrinkles.

If you are looking for ways to have better toned, younger-looking skin, the experts at Venice Avenue Dermatology can help. For more than 20 years, Venice Avenue Dermatology has been serving the residents of Sarasota and Charlotte. Find out more about microneedling vs. chemical peels treatments by contacting our office today and making an appointment. Both can offer dramatic results.

How Long Do Dermal Fillers Last?

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery defines a dermal filler treatment as a gel-like substance injected under the skin. Injectable dermal fillers let you restore volume to your face and reduce the signs of aging. It is a way to get rejuvenation without undergoing invasive procedures like a facelift or other forms of plastic surgery.

As a person ages, their face loses some of the subcutaneous fat that gives it volume. In addition, the body makes less collagen, which provides skin structure. The result is skin that stretches and sags. Derma facial fillers repair some of the effects and gives the face a fuller appearance.

Dermal fillers smooth lines, replace lost volume, and plump the skin. The question isn’t whether injectable dermal fillers are effective, but how long do they last? How often do you need to replace the filler to maintain that volume in your face?

How Often Do I Need Dermal Filler Injections?

There is no clear answer to this question because different products offer different results. Eventually, the body will metabolize the gel, but it does so at different rates based on a number of factors. The most commonly used brands of injectable dermal fillers rely on hyaluronic acid, a natural lubricant.

Other considerations can affect the longevity of a dermal filler, too. For example, the injection location can have an impact. How much filler is used with each injection matters, as well. Since the body metabolizes the gel, metabolic rate can matter, too. Again, it will differ for each person.

In general, the effects can last from three months to two years. The key to maintaining the look is to get regular injections, though.

How long do dermal fillers last?

How Long Do Juvederm Brand Fillers Last?

Juvederm fillers are some of the most popular on the market today. They offer a variety of brands, and each one has a different effect.

The six brand names from Juvederm include:

  • Vollure XC
  • Voluma XC
  • Volbella XC
  • XC
  • Ultra XC
  • Ultra Plus

The provider will decide which is best for you based on where you want the injection and other factors. For example, Vollure XC and XC work best to soften and smooth out lines around the mouth – laugh lines. They can also fill out deep wrinkles around the nose.

Voluma XC is designed to add fullness to the cheeks and Volbella to reduce the appearance of vertical lines. These injectable treatments also fill out the lips while giving you natural results. The Ultra XC brand is a practical all-over injectable. Since they each have a different formula, the lasting times vary. Common longevity times for each include:

  • Juvederm Voluma – 24 months with a touch-up in 12
  • Juvederm Ultra and Ultra Plus – 12 months with a touch-up in 6 to 9 months
  • Juvederm Vollure – Around 12 to 18 months
  • Juvederm Volbella – About 12 months

How your body responds to the filler may be different, though.

How Long Do Lip Fillers Last?

Like all dermal fillers, injections into the lips offer a temporary effect. Lip plumping and defining injections with hyaluronic acid is the most common choice. Hyaluronic acid is a bacteria-derived gel-like substance. Attaching itself to water molecules in the skin gives the appearance of thick lips.

Juvederm’s Vollure is a popular choice for lip injections. It offers some of the longest results and tends to have fewer side effects like swelling. Often providers will combine direct lip injections with fillers to reduce wrinkles around the mouth for a more comprehensive effect. Juvederm products can last as long as six months when used as a lip filler. You would be able to get a repeat injection at six months to help maintain the look.

How Long Do Under Eye Filler Last?

There is a variety of under-eye fillers available with different formulas. Some of the options include:

  • Hyaluronic acid fillers
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite
  • Poly-L-lactic acid such as Sculptra

You can also get a surgical fat transfer, which lasts longer than injectable fillers. In general, injectable fillers with hyaluronic acid will last from 9 to 12 months when applied under the eyes. The other formulas may last a little longer. For example, calcium hydroxylapatite can last up to 18 months and Poly-L-lactic acid up to two years.

How Long Does Chin Filler Last?

Getting an injectable dermal chin filler can help change the contour of your face for a more balanced look. Chin filler can also help make the jawline look stronger and the face more youthful. There are various types of fillers, and they all behave differently. The duration of chin fillers is affected by the type of filler used, the treatment area, and an individual’s body chemistry. Denser products injected more deeply generally last longer.

One of the most common approaches is hyaluronic acid filler like Juvederm. They can last from 6 to 12 months, depending on your metabolism. Calcium hydroxylapatite fillers are also available; they will last around 12 months.

How Long Do Jaw Fillers Last?

A jawline filler can create a more defined separation between the face and the neck. It can also make the jawline more symmetrical. As with most dermal fillers, the longevity can depend on the type of filler used. The most common ingredient is hyaluronic acid filler like Juvederm or Restylane. These will last six to 12 months, depending on your metabolism.

The calcium hydroxylapatite filler also has a shelf life of up to 12 months. There are also fillers with polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) for the jaw. They tend to last up to five years.

How Long Do Cheek Fillers Last?

Cheek fillers give your cheekbones a lift. People of all ages use them. As with the other filler types, the most common for cheeks is a hyaluronic acid filler like Juvederm. They can last from six months to two years, depending on other factors such as metabolism.

how long do dermal fillers last

Where Do Dermal Fillers Last the Longest?

It is difficult to say what part of your face a dermal filler will last the longest because there are too many variables. The areas of the face that are most active, like around the mouth and eyes, will likely break down the fastest. On average, most will last from six months to a year. You might get more mileage out of cheek fillers, though. They can last up to two years.

A quality care provider will tell you when you should consider getting a follow-up injection to keep the look fresh. That will affect the overall lifespan of the dermal filler.

What Happens When a Dermal Filler Wears Off?

In most cases, when the filler wears off, the face will return to its normal appearance. That means if you got the filler to eliminate wrinkles, they would reappear; the areas that experience volume loss will lose that volume again.

Some people who consider getting dermal filler injections worry about getting new wrinkles if the fillers wear off. That is not a concern. When the filler wears off, the face returns to its pre-filler appearance.

Do Fillers Ever Go Away Completely?

Fillers  do go away completely. They  are designed to be temporary. Since they are a gel, the body will metabolize them and absorb the material. There is no evidence that any of the filler remains.

How Long Does Filler Last the First Time?

The first filler may last a shorter time frame than the next injection. This is because the first injection builds the base, so most providers take a gradual approach to application. Typically, you would get the first one and then go back in a few months for a follow-up injection.

Venice Avenue Dermatology has been providing quality dermatology services to Sarasota and Charlotte counties in Florida since 1997. Our board-certified care providers stay current on the most innovative cosmetic dermatology treatment options available to our patients.

We provide routine skin examinations and diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions. We offer medical and surgical dermatology services in addition to cosmetic procedures like an FDA-approved injectable dermal filler or Botox injections. So contact us today and let us create a treatment plan tailored to your specific skin care requirements.

Dysport vs. BOTOX® Cosmetic vs. Xeomin:
Which option is best for you?

Do you ever dread looking in the mirror? Are you tired of seeing your once youthful appearance succumb to the aging process? Time marches on, and unfortunately, those years of life experience can show more quickly on your face than other parts of your body, especially if you are a facially expressive person. That’s where injectables such as Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin may have crossed your mind. Botox vs. Dysport vs. Xeomin which is the best option?

Even with a proper skincare regime and skin maintenance, crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles, and frown lines are a natural part of life. The good news is, you don’t have to let your age show through your face. There are alternatives to plastic surgery that can provide you with smoother skin, fewer wrinkles, and a younger look. Injectables such as Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport, can help to soften the appearance of heavy wrinkles and lines and temporarily eliminate fine lines.

The trained professionals at Venice Avenue Dermatology are well versed in the benefits and administration of injectables and can recommend the best option for your specific skin needs. Call today to schedule your appointment and determine which neurotoxin treatment will work best for your skin needs.

dysport vs botox

What are BOTOX® Cosmetic, Dysport, and Xeomin?

Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, and Xeomin are injectable neuromodulators that block nerve signals. When this occurs, the facial muscles responsible for most facial expressions are targeted, and muscle contractions are limited, reducing wrinkles. All three treatments fall under the category of non-invasive antiaging treatments.

All three are considered neurotoxins derived from botulinum toxin type A or bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. They are a popular anti-aging option as the treatment is quick with no downtime after the procedure. They are an excellent option for patients looking to reduce the appearance of frown lines, crow’s feet, and deep forehead wrinkles but don’t want to have a facelift.

What is the difference: Dysport vs. Botox vs. Xeomin?

While all three neurotoxins are similar in their make-up and function, they have slight differences. The formulation of Xeomin differs slightly from the others as it contains no additives and does not require refrigeration. They also vary slightly in the appearance of results. The effects of Botox spread three to five days after treatment when the full effects are seen. Xeomin can take even longer, with full results in roughly five to seven days. Dysport, or abobotulinumtoxina, is the option where results in the target areas will be seen most rapidly, with visible results within one to two days after treatment.

Xeomin and Dysport treatment also have greater diffusion than Botox, which allows them to reduce the appearance of wrinkles over a larger area. Botox is much more targeted and one of the most effective treatments for severe wrinkles in the forehead and glabellar lines.

Why choose a cosmetic dermatologist for neurotoxin injections like Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport?

Injectable neurotoxin treatments are aesthetic and can be administered at medical spas, by plastic surgeons, and in dermatology offices. While getting your anti-aging treatment at a medical spa may seem quick and easy, you will benefit more by having your procedure done at the dermatologist’s office.

Board-certified dermatologists and their staff care about the health and quality of your skin. They can help you discover the best options to achieve your desired results and address any underlying skin issues that could negatively affect your treatment. While considered a safe treatment option for fine lines and wrinkles, neurotoxins should be properly administered. Otherwise, you could end up with less than ideal results or more negative side effects.

By choosing a dermatologist for your injections, you will be given options for a more effective approach to your skin concerns and achieve better results from your treatment.

Which is better for crow’s feet: Dysport vs. Botox vs. Xeomin?

Botox is considered one of the best options for the treatment of crow’s feet. It has been the primary go-to for decades because it can tackle tough and deep facial lines and wrinkles. Full results may take longer to notice with Botox, but once the results have fully spread, you will see the best results for your crow’s feet with this option.

Which option is better for other fine lines?

Xeomin is one of the most popular choices for more fine facial lines. The product does not have preservatives and does not need to be refrigerated, making it more comfortable for injection and the more popular option for minor wrinkles. Xeomin requires fewer units for treating fine lines, making it an overall more cost-effective option for these types of lines. Xeomin is also ideal for those who have previously used Botox and Dysport and had resistance since it is considered a more purified form of neurotoxin.

Which option is better for forehead lines?

The fact that Botox is the most targeted option and works well on severe and deep wrinkles with fewer units makes Botox the best choice for horizontal forehead lines. The other two options can help to reduce forehead lines but may not soften them as significantly as Botox can.

What’s the difference between neurotoxin cosmetic injectables and dermal fillers?

Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport work by freezing facial muscles responsible for forming lines and wrinkles on the face. As long as these muscles are frozen, they cannot be used, which means your face will be more relaxed, leading to a softening of the facial profile. Dermal fillers address more static lines and hollow areas of the face by plumping up areas that have lost volume. This can help bring back fullness more common with a youthful appearance.

Neurotoxins and dermal fillers also differ in how they are administered. Neurotoxins are almost exclusively delivered into the upper part of the face, where wrinkles from facial muscles most often occur. Dermal fillers are injected anywhere on the face, especially around the lip and cheek area.

A final way the two non-invasive anti-aging treatments differ is in the length of time they last. Neurotoxins will last an average of three to four months, while dermal filler can last up to a year. Many patients who want to achieve an overall more youthful look to their face will often combine neurotoxin injectables and dermal filler treatments to tackle lines, facial wrinkles, and areas on their face that lack volume all at the same time.

Which lasts longer, BOTOX® Cosmetic or Dysport or Xeomin?

When properly administered by a certified injector, all three options should last between three and four months before additional injections are needed. Some patients have reported shorter time frames between injections, while others have been able to go the full three to four months between treatments. Some patients have reported that although the effects of Dysport tend to show up sooner, they fade slightly sooner as well.

dysport vs. botox

How many units of Dysport vs. BOTOX® Cosmetic vs. Xeomin will I need?

Dysport, Xeomin, and Botox injections require a specific number of units to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and achieve youthful results. Overall, Botox will require the least number of units. Deep forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet typically require 10 to 15 units to be effective, and frown lines can require between 20 and 30 units.

Xeomin comes in a close second, requiring between 15 and 30 units for frown lines and between 20 and 40 units to tackle tough forehead wrinkles. Dysport requires the most units, making it a more expensive option even though the units cost less. You will need between 30 to 50 units of Dysport for your crow’s feet and around 60 units for deep glabellar lines.

Are Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport the same price?

Some options are priced differently per unit, and each option requires a different number of units to achieve the desired result, which makes the overall cost of each treatment type different. Xeomin and Botox typically run in the same average range at $12 to $17 per unit. Still, Xeomin requires more units to complete treatment, in most cases, which can make Xeomin treatment more expensive than Botox. Dysport injections run an average of $4 to $6 per unit. While Dysport may cost less per unit than the other options, typically twice as many units of Dysport are required for most treatments.

Which is more natural looking?

All three products can reduce the signs of aging and be a natural-looking wrinkle treatment if appropriately done by a certified professional. Though out of the three, Xeomin is the more concentrated and pure form of Botulinum toxin as it contains no preservative proteins. It is sometimes referred to as“naked injectable.”

What are the side effects of Dysport vs. Botox vs. Xeomin compared?

All three products have been rigorously tested by the FDA and received FDA approval, meaning they are considered to be safe for most people if properly administered. Each product uses the same active ingredients, which makes the side effects similar each, though patients with certain medical conditions may have more side effects than others. The most common side effects associated with Dysport, Botox, and Xeomin include:

  • Eye dryness
  • Blurred vision
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Headache
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain, bruising, or irritation at the injection site or treatment area

In most cases, side effects fade rather quickly.

How long does Dysport vs. Botox vs. Xeomin last?

All three products are designed to stay in effect for 3 to 4 months before additional injections are needed, though the actual length can vary from person to person.

Ready to take control of your skincare needs and find the right neurotoxin treatment to help you turn back the clock? The professionals at Venice Avenue Dermatology are here to help you fight the signs of aging and enjoy the more youthful look you desire. Schedule an appointment today to take the first step to start seeing a more youthful you in the mirror.

Skin Care Basics

The skin is the body’s largest organ and accounts for roughly 18% of an adult’s weight. It serves as a protective outer layer that keeps in moisture and keeps out invasive organism (like infections). It protects our organs against injury. It also helps regulate the body’s temperature and has self-healing capabilities.

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. But the aging process for skin is unavoidable. As we age, skin becomes dryer and thinner. Repeated movements of facial muscles, such as frowning, smiling or squinting, cause wrinkles over time. Stress, gravity and obesity also contribute to aging skin. And because the skin is thinner, it is more susceptible to bruising.

Person applying lotion to hand image


The premature aging of the skin from ultraviolet light exposure is called photoaging. Photoaging occurs when ultraviolet radiation penetrates deep into the dermis, damaging collagen fibers and causing the increased production of abnormal elastin. This breakdown in fundamental skin structures leads to deep wrinkles, fine lines, discoloration of the skin (age or liver spots), leatheriness and sagging skin.

Skin Care Routine

A healthy skin care routine throughout life can reduce the symptoms of aging in the skin. Be sure to:

  • Wash your face using a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water twice a day.
  • Pat skin dry; don’t rub it dry.
  • Exfoliate the skin twice a week to remove dead cells.
  • Apply a moisturizer to skin immediately after a shower or bath.
  • Wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 every day.
  • For women who wear makeup, be sure to leave time each day when the skin is clean and free of makeup.
  • Do not use tanning beds.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and drink lots of water.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep every day.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid 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

Beyond prevention, in today’s world there is a wide range of options for slowing down the affects of aging on the skin. See the Cosmetic Dermatology section of this website for more information about:

Skin Infections

Anyone who has a break in the skin is at risk for an infection. There are three types of skin infections:

Bacterial Infection

There are many bacteria that live on the surface of healthy skin. But with a break in the skin, these bacteria can invade the outer layer of skin and cause an infection and rash. Staph is a common cause of bacterial infections of the skin. Impetigo is one of the most common causes of skin infections in children. Oral or topical antibiotics are used to treat bacterial skin infections.

Viral Infection

Viruses are parasitic organisms that can live and grow inside living cells. They cause either a degeneration or a proliferation of the cell. Most causes of viral skin infections are either from Human Papilloma Virus, which causes warts, or Human Herpes Virus, which causes cold sores, chicken pox, shingles, genital herpes and mononucleosis. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Generally, medications are prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms of the infection, such as a rash or itch. Additionally, vaccinations are used to prevent viral infections.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections of the human body are called mycoses and affect only the outer layer of skin. Although seen in all areas of the body, skin mycoses most frequently appear as yeast infections, thrush, athlete’s foot or jock itch.

Sun Safety

Because of the ultraviolet radiation it emits, the sun is inherently dangerous to human skin. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology stipulates that there is no safe way to tan. Tanning is the skin’s natural response to damage from the sun. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency proclaims that everybody, regardless of race or ethnicity, is subject to the potential adverse effects of overexposure to the sun. That’s why everyone needs to protect their skin from the sun every day.

How We Burn

When ultraviolet light penetrates the epidermis it stimulates melanin, the substance responsible for skin pigmentation. Up to a point, the melanin absorbs dangerous UV rays before they do serious damage. Melanin increases in response to sun exposure, which is what causes the skin to tan. This is a sign of skin damage, not health. Sunburns develop when the UV exposure is greater than the skin’s natural ability to protect against it.

Child on beach wearing bucket hat image

Sunscreens and Sunblocks

The sun emits two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays that are harmful to human skin. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis and lead to wrinkles, age spots and skin cancers. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn, cataracts and immune system damage. Melanoma is thought to be associated with severe UVB sunburns that occur before the age of 20.

Sunscreens absorb ultraviolet light so that it doesn’t reach the skin. Look for sunscreens with the active ingredients PABA, benzophenones, cinnamates or salicylates. Sunblocks literally block the UV rays instead of absorbing them. Key active ingredients for sunblock success are titanium oxide and zinc oxide.

There is no sunscreen or sunblock that works 100%. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the manufacture and promotion of sunscreens. Sunscreens are given a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number that indicates how long a person can remain in the sun without burning. It is recommended that people use products with a SPF of 15 or greater. Sunscreens are not generally recommended for infants six months old or younger. Infants should be kept in the shade as much as possible and should be dressed in protective clothing to prevent any skin exposure and damage.

There is no such thing as “all-day protection” or “waterproof” sunscreen. No matter what the SPF number, sunscreens need to be re-applied every 2 to 3 hours. Products that claim to be “waterproof” can only protect against sunburn up to 80 minutes in the water. Products labeled “water resistant” can only protect against sunburn up to 40 minutes in the water.

Even in the worst weather, 80% of the sun’s UV rays can pass through the clouds. Additionally, sand reflects 25% of the sun’s UV rays and snow reflects 80% of the sun’s UV rays. That’s why sunscreen needs to be worn every day and in every type of weather and climate. The sun’s intensity is also impacted by altitude (the higher the altitude the greater the sun exposure), time of year (summer months) and location (the closer to the Equator, the greater the sun exposure).

Protecting Yourself From Sun Exposure

  • Look for sunscreens that use the term “broad spectrum” because they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF rating of 15.
  • Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you head out into the sun to give it time to seep into the skin.
  • Apply sunscreens liberally. Use at least one ounce to cover the entire body.
  • Use a lip balm with SPF 15 or greater to protect the lips from sun damage.
  • Re-apply sunscreen immediately after going into water or sweating.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Use sunscreen every day regardless of the weather.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats and protective clothing to limit skin exposure to the sun.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible.
  • Avoid using tanning beds.

Treating a Sunburn

If you experience a sunburn, get out of the sun and cover the exposed skin as soon as possible. A sunburn will begin to appear within 4 to 6 hours after getting out of the sun and will fully appear within 12 to 24 hours. Mild burns cause redness and some peeling after a few days. They can be treated with cold compresses on the damaged area, cool baths, moisturizers to prevent dryness and over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams to relieve any pain or itching. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids when you experience any type of sunburn.

More serious burns lead to blisters, which can be painful. It is important not to rupture blisters as this slows down the natural healing process and may lead to infection. You may want to cover blisters with gauze to keep them clean. Stay out of the sun until your skin has fully healed. In the most severe cases, oral steroids may be prescribed to prevent or eliminate infection along with pain-relieving medication.

Skin Cancers

Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancers, affecting more than one million Americans every year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. Skin cancers are generally curable if caught early. However, people who have had skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing a new skin cancer, which is why regular self-examination and doctor visits are imperative.

The vast majority of skin cancers are composed of three different types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

This is the most common form of skin cancer. Basal cells reside in the deepest layer of the epidermis, along with hair follicles and sweat ducts. When a person is overexposed to UVB radiation, it damages the body’s natural repair system, which causes basal cell carcinomas to grow. These tend to be slow-growing tumors and rarely metastasize (spread). Basal cell carcinomas can present in a number of different ways:

Cancerous mole on arm image
  • raised pink or pearly white bump with a pearly edge and small, visible blood vessels
  • pigmented bumps that look like moles with a pearly edge
  • a sore that continuously heals and re-opens
  • flat scaly scar with a waxy appearance and blurred edges

Despite the different appearances of the cancer, they all tend to bleed with little or no cause. Eighty-five percent of basal cell carcinomas occur on the face and neck since these are areas that are most exposed to the sun.

Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma include having fair skin, sun exposure, age (most skin cancers occur after age 50), exposure to ultraviolet radiation (as in tanning beds) and therapeutic radiation given to treat an unrelated health issue.

Diagnosing basal cell carcinoma requires a biopsy — either excisional, where the entire tumor is removed along with some of the surrounding tissue, or incisional, where only a part of the tumor is removed (used primarily for large lesions).

Treatments for basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Cryosurgery — Some basal cell carcinomas respond to cryosurgery, where liquid nitrogen is used to freeze off the tumor.
  • Curettage and Desiccation — The preferred method of dermatologists, this treatment involves using a small metal instrument (called a curette) to scrape out the tumor along with an application of an electric current into the tissue to kill off any remaining cancer cells.
  • Mohs Micrographic Surgery — The preferred method for large tumors, Mohs Micrographic Surgery combines removal of cancerous tissue with microscopic review while the surgery takes place. By mapping the diseased tissue layer by layer, less healthy skin is damaged when removing the tumor.
  • Prescription Medicated Creams — These creams can be applied at home. They stimulate the body’s natural immune system over the course of weeks.
  • Radiation Therapy — Radiation therapy is used for difficult-to-treat tumors, either because of their location, severity or persistence.
  • Surgical Excision — In this treatment the tumor is surgically removed and stitched up.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cells are found in the upper layer (the surface) of the epidermis. They look like fish scales under a microscope and present as a crusted or scaly patch of skin with an inflamed, red base. They are often tender to the touch. It is estimated that 250,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed annually, and that 2,500 of them result in death.

Squamous cell carcinoma can develop anywhere, including inside the mouth and on the genitalia. It most frequently appears on the scalp, face, ears and back of hands. Squamous cell carcinoma tends to develop among fair-skinned, middle-aged and elderly people who have a history of sun exposure. In some cases, it evolves from actinic keratoses, dry scaly lesions that can be flesh-colored, reddish-brown or yellow black, and which appear on skin that is rough or leathery. Actinic keratoses spots are considered to be precancerous.

Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is diagnosed via a biopsy — either excisional, where the entire tumor is removed along with some of the surrounding tissue, or incisional, where only a part of the tumor is removed (used primarily for large lesions).

Treatments for basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Cryosurgery Some basal cell carcinomas respond to cryosurgery, where liquid nitrogen is used to freeze off the tumor.
  • Curettage and Desiccation — The preferred method of dermatologists, this treatment involves using a small metal instrument (called a curette) to scrape out the tumor along with an application of an electric current into the tissue to kill off any remaining cancer cells.
  • Mohs Micrographic Surgery — The preferred method for large tumors, Mohs Micrographic Surgery combines removal of cancerous tissue with microscopic review while the surgery takes place. By mapping the diseased tissue layer by layer, less healthy skin is damaged when removing the tumor.
  • Prescription Medicated Creams — These creams can be applied at home. They stimulate the body’s natural immune system over the course of weeks.
  • Radiation Therapy — Radiation therapy is used for difficult-to-treat tumors, either because of their location, severity or persistence.
  • Surgical Excision — In this treatment the tumor is surgically removed and stitched up.


While melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, it is by far the most virulent. It is the most common form of cancer among young adults age 25 to 29. Melanocytes are cells found in the bottom layer of the epidermis. These cells produce melanin, the substance responsible for skin pigmentation. That’s why melanomas often present as dark brown or black spots on the skin. Melanomas spread rapidly to internal organs and the lymph system, making them quite dangerous. Early detection is critical for curing this skin cancer.

Melanomas look like moles and often do grow inside existing moles. That’s why it is important for people to conduct regular self-examinations of their skin in order to detect any potential skin cancer early, when it is treatable. Most melanomas are caused by overexposure to the sun beginning in childhood. This cancer also runs in families.

Melanoma is diagnosed via a biopsy. Treatments include surgical removal, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

What to Look For

The key to detecting skin cancers is to notice changes in your skin. Look for:

  • Large brown spots with darker speckles located anywhere on the body.
  • Dark lesions on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, fingertips toes, mouth, nose or genitalia.
  • Translucent pearly and dome-shaped growths.
  • Existing moles that begin to grow, itch or bleed.
  • Brown or black streaks under the nails.
  • A sore that repeatedly heals and re-opens.
  • Clusters of slow-growing scaly lesions that are pink or red.

The American Academy of Dermatology has developed the following ABCDE guide for assessing whether or not a mole or other lesion may be becoming cancerous.

Asymmetry: Half the mole does not match the other half in size, shape or color.

Border: The edges of moles are irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined.

Color: The mole is not the same color throughout.

Diameter: The mole is usually greater than 6 millimeters when diagnosed, but may also be smaller.

Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that is different from the rest, or changes in size, shape, or color.

If any of these conditions occur, please make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists right away. The doctor may do a biopsy of the mole to determine if it is or isn’t cancerous.


Roughly 90% of nonmelanoma cancers are attributable to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. That’s why prevention involves:

  • Staying out of the sun during peak hours (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
  • Covering up the arms and legs with protective clothing.
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Using sunscreens year round with a SPF of 15 or greater and sunblocks that work on both UVA and UVB rays. Look for products that use the term “broad spectrum.”
  • Checking your skin monthly and contacting your dermatologist if you notice any changes.
  • Getting regular skin examinations. It is advised that adults over 40 get an annual exam with a dermatologist.

Skin Growths

Seborrheic Keratosis

Also known as seborrheic verruca, most people will develop at least one seborrheic keratosis during a lifetime. Fortunately, these lesions are benign and don’t become cancerous. They are characterized as brown, black or yellow growths that grow singly or in groups and are flat or slightly elevated. Often they are mistaken for warts. Generally, no treatment is required unless the growth becomes irritated from chafing against clothing. However, because it look similar in appearance to precancerous growths (actinic keratosis), your dermatologist will likely biopsy the tissue to confirm the diagnosis.

If a seborrheic keratosis becomes irritated or unsightly, removal is conducted using one of these three methods:

  • Cryosurgery, which freezes off the growth using liquid nitrogen.
  • Curettage, in which the doctor scrapes the growth off the surface of the skin.
  • Electrocautery, used alone or in conjunction with curettage to burn off the tissue and stop the bleeding.
Woman with facial mole image

Moles (Nevi)

Moles are brown or black growths, usually round or oval, that can appear anywhere on the skin. They can be rough or smooth, flat or raised, single or in multiples. They occur when cells that are responsible for skin pigmentation, known as melanocytes, grow in clusters instead of being spread out across the skin. Generally, moles are less than one-quarter inch in size. Most moles appear by the age of 20, although some moles may appear later in life. Most adults have between 10 and 40 moles. Because they last about 50 years, moles may disappear by themselves over time.

Most moles are harmless, but a change in size, shape, color or texture could be indicative of a cancerous growth. Moles that have a higher-than-average chance of becoming cancerous include:

Congenital Nevi

Moles present at birth. The larger their size, the greater the risk for developing into a skin cancer.

Atypical Dysplastic Nevi

Irregularly shaped moles that are larger than average. They often appear to have dark brown centers with light, uneven borders.

Higher frequency of moles

People with 50 or more moles are at a greater risk for developing a skin cancer.

In some cases, abnormal moles may become painful, itchy, scaly or bleed. It’s important to keep an eye on your moles so that you can catch any changes early. We recommend doing a visual check of your body monthly, including all areas that don’t have sun exposure (such as the scalp, armpits or bottoms of feet).

Use the American Academy of Dermatology’s ABCDEs as a guide for assessing whether or not a mole may be becoming cancerous:

Asymmetry: Half the mole does not match the other half in size, shape or color.

Border: The edges of moles are irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined.

Color: The mole is not the same color throughout.

Diameter: The mole is usually greater than 6 millimeters when diagnosed, but may also be smaller.

Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that is different from the rest, or changes in size, shape, or color.

If any of these conditions occur, please make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists right away. The doctor may do a biopsy of the mole to determine if it is or isn’t cancerous and/or may surgically remove it.


Warts are small, harmless growths that appear most frequently on the hands and feet. Sometimes they look flat and smooth, other times they have a dome-shaped or cauliflower-like appearance. Warts can be surrounded by skin that is either lighter or darker. Warts are caused by different forms of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They occur in people of all ages and can spread from person-to-person and from one part of the body to another. Warts are benign (noncancerous) and generally painless. They may disappear without any treatment. However, in most cases eliminating warts takes time.

The location of a wart often characterizes its type:

Common warts can appear anywhere on the body, although they most often appear on the back of fingers, toes and knees. These skin-colored, dome-shaped lesions usually grow where the skin has been broken, such as a scratch or bug bite. They can range in size from a pinhead to 10mm and may appear singly or in multiples.

Filiform warts look like a long, narrow, flesh-colored stalk that appears singly or in multiples around the eyelids, face, neck or lips. They are sometimes called facial warts. They may cause itching or bleeding, but are easy to treat with over-the-counter medications.

Flat (plane) warts appear on the face and forehead. They are flesh-colored or white, with a slightly raised, flat surface and they usually appear in multiples. Flat warts are more common among children and teens than adults.

Genital warts appear around the genital and pubic areas. It is also possible to get genital warts inside the vagina and anal canal or in the mouth (known as oral warts). The lesions start small and soft but can become quite large. They often grow in clusters. They are both sexually transmitted and highly contagious. In fact, it is recommended you generally avoid sex with anyone who has a visible genital wart. Genital warts should always be treated by a physician.

Plantar warts appear on the soles of the feet and can be painful since they are on weight-bearing surfaces. They have a rough, cauliflower-like appearance and may have a small black speck in them. They often appear in multiples and may combine into a larger wart called a mosaic wart. Plantar warts can spread rapidly.

Subungual and periungual warts appear as rough growths around the fingernails and/or toenails. They start as nearly undetectable, pin-sized lesions and grow to pea-sized with rough, irregular bumps with uneven borders. Subungual and periungual warts can impede healthy nail growth. Because of their location, they are difficult to treat and generally require medical attention.

Most warts respond to over-the-counter treatments, including:

  • Cryotherapy, which freezes off the wart using liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide.
  • Electrosurgery, which sends an electric current through the wart to kill the tissue.
  • Laser surgery, which essentially heat up the wart until the tissue dies and the wart eventually falls off.
  • Nonprescription freezing products (dimethyl ether), aerosol sprays that freeze the warts and cause them to die off.
  • Salicylic acid preparations, which dissolve the protein (keratin) that makes up the wart and the thick layer of skin that covers it. It comes in gels, pads, drops and plasters and takes 4 to 6 weeks to eradicate the warts.

If self-treatments don’t work after a period of about 4 to 12 weeks, contact our dermatologist. We’ll assess your warts and recommend the best option.

Always contact the dermatologist if a wart is causing pain, changes in color or appearance and for all genital warts.

Actinic Keratosis

Also known as solar keratosis, actinic keratosis affects more than 10 million Americans. These precancerous growths on the skin are caused by overexposure to the sun over a long period of time. They are characterized by rough dry lesions or patches that appear on sun-exposed areas of the skin, such as the face, back of hands, arms, scalp or shoulders. The lesions may be red, pink, gray or skin colored. Lesions often begin as flat, scaly areas and develop into a rough-textured surface. Sometimes it is easier to feel a growth than it is to see it.

Actinic keratosis is more common among fair-skinned people and those who have had years of outdoor or tanning bed exposure to ultraviolet light. Actinic keratosis can develop into malignant cells, typically squamous cell carcinoma, which is a type of skin cancer. That’s why treatment isimportant. After a physical examination and biopsy of the lesion, your dermatologist will opt for one of the following treatments to remove the growth:

  • Cryosurgery, which freezes off the growth using liquid nitrogen.
  • Surgical removal in which the doctor scrapes off the lesion and bleeding is stopped by electrocautery.
  • Chemical peels that cause the top layer of skin to peel off.
  • Photodynamic therapy in which a dye is applied that sensitizes the skin to light and the area is then exposed to light via a laser or other light source.
  • Topical Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) that cause a slow inflammation and peeling; used in more superficial cases.
  • Topical Chemotherapeutic agents (5 Fluorouracil, Aldara) can also be used.

Our Info