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Optima Dermatology Has Opened Its First New England Practice in Exeter, NH

Exceptional Dermatology Care for Exeter-Area Residents

Optima Dermatology is pleased to announce the opening of our first New England practice, located in Exeter, NH. We’re excited to be expanding access to our expert skin care services to a new area, and look forward to serving patients in Exeter, NH and surrounding areas. 

Our Exeter, NH practice, which officially opened on February 1, is in a temporary location at 1 Hampton Rd., Suite A306 across from the Exeter Town Recreation Department, while our new state-of-the-art facility is being constructed nearby.

Our Exeter practice is led by Dr. Brian M. Connolly, MD, FAAD, and his expert staff, and is currently accepting new patients. We treat a broad range of medical dermatology conditions and diseases, including skin cancer, eczema, acne, psoriasis, and others. In addition to general dermatology, Optima Dermatology offers medical aesthetic services, including neurotoxin injections (such as Botox® and Dysport®), fillers, and more.

Leading With Care and Expertise: Get to Know Dr. Brian M. Connolly

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Brian M. Connolly has been serving patients in the Seacoast area since 2018 after completing his residency at John Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Connolly shares Optima Dermatology’s core value of treating every patient the way we would want our friends and family to be treated, and has also applied that approach to his patient care throughout his career. 

What does that mean for his patients? You can expect attentive, personalized care with treatments tailored to your specific needs. Everyone is different, and we take the time to identify the best approach to your unique skin and condition. Dr. Connolly continuously makes positive impacts in his patients’ lives by applying the latest advances in dermatological treatments and delivering a comprehensive approach to care.

We are confident patients and providers in the Exeter, NH area will find incredible value in Dr. Connolly’s expert care. 

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Connolly and learn a little bit more about him, and we’re excited to share our Q&A so you can get to know him too!

Q: Where did you go to college?

A: Cornell University

Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in dermatology?

A: Dermatology is unique because it has a very broad scope. It is one of the only fields where we treat patients of all ages, literally from birth to death. Dermatology is also fun because it combines many different specialities. Dermatology uses oral and injectable medications that require the knowledge base of internal medicine. We also perform surgical excisions and advanced repair techniques in the same manner as surgeons. And lastly, we are all trained as part of our residency to perform advanced cosmetic procedures like Botox, fillers, and lasers. Dermatology truly has it all!

Q: What is your number one tip when it comes to taking care of your skin?

A: The number one thing is a consistent routine. Nothing works quickly in dermatology and medicine in general. Maintaining a consistent routine over months is of utmost importance. Exfoliating and SPF daily with a sprinkling of retinoids are a great place to start, but don’t give up too quickly. For most things, a 90-day trial is necessary before declaring a treatment failure. 

Q: If there is one thing you want your patients to know about you, what would it be?

A: Skin exams can often feel embarrassing! I strive to create a comfortable environment for patients. Please don’t be nervous! 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being a dermatologist?

A: Treating skin disease is special because it goes well beyond the skin. Often the self confidence that patients develop when their skin improves expands into other arenas of their lives. An improvement in someone’s mood often positively affects social interactions, relationships, and trickles down into every aspect of life. Dermatology is much more than skin deep.

Q: What is your approach to treating your patients?

A: Every patient is an individual. With that being said, medicine (and clinical trials specifically), is very much a population-based science. Balancing individual needs and expectations with results from population-based studies is part of the art of medicine. A one-size-fits-all approach is therefore not appropriate. I work with patients to bring my knowledge of medicine and dermatology into a treatment plan that will work for their individual condition. Sometimes this approach requires some trial and error, but we will find the best regimen that works for a patient. 

Working With Area Providers

As a new dermatology practice in the Seacoast, NH area, we look forward to building partnerships with the local medical community to provide a seamless approach to patient referrals and care. We value our provider relationships and strive to make the referral process an easy and positive experience for providers and patients. 

If you are a provider interested in learning more about our services and our new Exeter, NH practice, or a new patient looking to schedule an appointment with Dr. Connolly, you can contact us and get more information about the new practice here.

(855) 277–9689

SkinPen Microneedling Benefits

Understand How SkinPen Microneedling Can Help Improve Your Skin 

SkinPen microneedling is a safe, comfortable and easy option for treating acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and enhancing the overall appearance of  your skin. As the first FDA-cleared device, SkinPen microneedling is made in the USA and rigorously tested for safety. 

What is SkinPen Microneedling?

The SkinPen microneedling device uses tiny, sterilized needles to prick the skin and create microscopic channels that activate the body’s natural healing response, stimulating the production of elastin and collagen. 

Think of a SkinPen microneedling treatment as a reset for your skin. The increased production of collagen and elastin makes the skin look younger, healthier, and more luminous. 

It’s important to note that while microneedling is also available with at-home devices, these treatments are unlikely to produce the same quality and long-lasting results as SkinPen microneedling delivered by a board-certified dermatologist or medical aesthetics provider using the FDA-cleared device. 

At-home treatments can also cause complications like infection or injury due to dull or poorly sterilized needles.For the best long term results for your skin health, we recommend consulting with our dermatologist or specialized medical aesthetic providers who are highly experienced and trained to provide these precision SkinPen treatments.

Do I Need SkinPen Microneedling?

SkinPen microneedling is an effective way to treat a variety of skin conditions. It is typically performed on the face, but can also be used to treat the skin on other areas of the body, such as the neck or decolletage. 

Cosmetic conditions that can be treated with SkinPen microneedling include:

Medical conditions that can be treated with SkinPen microneedling include:

What Can I Expect From a SkinPen Microneedling Treatment?

The treatment typically takes between 10 and 30 minutes and has few side effects. You can expect 3-6 visits to see the full effects of your SkinPen microneedling treatment.

At your visit, your dermatologist or medical aesthetic provider will apply a numbing cream to your face. The SkinPen microneedling device itself will be moved around the treatment area, and tiny needles within the device will prick the surface of the skin. 

Minor bleeding from the treatment is rare but possible. Your provider may apply a soothing cream to alleviate any discomfort. 

SkinPen microneedling has relatively minor side effects, but you may experience any of the following:

Contact your provider if any of these side effects last longer than a few days or cause a severe reaction. In rare cases, scarring or infection can occur. It’s best to discuss all side effects with your dermatologist before beginning a SkinPen microneedling treatment. 

SkinPen Microneedling Before and After

Depending on your goals and skin condition, our providers will create a custom plan with a recommended number of treatments, typically three to six total. Usually, treatments occur four to six weeks apart. While you may not see the full results until 2 to 4 weeks after your final visit, you can see improvements in just one week following the first procedure. Your skin will gradually improve as your body’s healing process promotes collagen remodeling.

Following each treatment, you should take care of your skin by avoiding sun exposure and applying any creams or ointments prescribed by your dermatologist. You will be able to apply makeup the following day post treatment.

We recommend a thorough consultation before beginning treatment so you understand what to expect from SkinPen microneedling before and after the treatment. 

Our team of expert dermatologists and medical aesthetic providers are highly skilled, with advanced training and experience for a range of procedures and treatments. Our team also values exceptional patient care above all else, so you’ll know you’re in good hands. 

Come in for a free consultation to learn what will work best for you. For the month of January, we are offering 15% off a single session of SkinPen microneedling with or without PRP!  Schedule a free consultation today.

(855) 277–9689

Considering Botox® Injections?

Know What to Expect From Your Botox® Treatment 

For cosmetic issues such as fine lines or wrinkles, and medical conditions like muscle spasms or migraines, Botox® injections are a widely-used treatment. If you’re thinking about getting Botox® to treat a cosmetic or medical condition, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about what Botox® is, how it’s used, and what to expect from your Botox® treatment.

What is Botox®?

Let’s start with the basics. Botox® is a well-known and trusted brand name for a toxin that is made from the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. There are other brands such as Dysport and Xeomin, but Botox® gained popularity as the first injectable botulinum toxin. 

Put more simply, Botox® is a neurotoxin that blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles, causing muscles to relax and soften. Preventing the nerves from activating certain muscles can have a profound impact on reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, or relieving more serious or chronic medical conditions. 

Millions of individuals have chosen Botox® injections as an effective way to treat cosmetic and medical conditions and it has a robust safety record over the decades it has been used. 

How is Botox® Used?

Botox® injections can be a helpful and effective solution for a variety of conditions, both cosmetic and medical. 

Cosmetic treatments using Botox® can include:

Medical conditions that can be treated with Botox® include:

What to Expect From Your Treatment: Botox® Before and After

Botox® has been used for many years and has an excellent safety record; however, every person is different and it’s important to understand what to expect from your Botox® treatment. 

A Botox® procedure only takes a few minutes, is non-invasive in most cases, and has few if any major side effects for most people. 

Before your Botox® treatment, it is advised that you avoid alcohol for a week leading up to the procedure, and refrain from taking anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen up to two weeks prior to the procedure, as it can increase risk of bruising following treatment. 

Before receiving a Botox® treatment, you will have an in-depth conversation with your provider about what to expect, and you should use this time to ask any questions you have and ensure you are comfortable and feel knowledgeable going into the treatment. 

Following most types of Botox® injections, patients experience mild if any side effects. Possible, temporary side effects can include:

Side effects vary depending on the location of your Botox® treatment and the specific condition you are treating. In most cases, patients are able to go back to their lives as normal following the treatment but may be advised to avoid exercise and remain upright for 4 hours. 

Patients also should avoid rubbing the injection site to prevent spreading the Botox® to other areas. 

The effects from your Botox® treatment should last between 3 to 4 months before activity returns to the muscles. Over time, if you continue to treat the affected area with Botox® injections, your cosmetic or medical condition should improve. 

How to Get the Best Results From Your Botox® Injection

Seeking care from a trained and certified medical aesthetics provider ensures you will have a safe, effective, and positive experience with Botox®. At Optima Dermatology, we work closely with each patient to discuss your needs, present your options, and provide a clear picture of what you can expect from your treatment. 

Our team of aesthetic providers is highly skilled, with advanced training and experience for a range of procedures and treatments. Our team also values exceptional patient care above all else, so you’ll know you’re in good hands. 

Come in for a free consultation to learn what will work best for you. Schedule an appointment today.

(855) 277–9689

Shelley Plescia, NP-C, is Optima Dermatology’s Newest Medical Aesthetics Provider

Take Advantage of Expert Neurotoxin Injections and Other Cosmetic Dermatology Treatments

Optima Dermatology’s Macedonia, OH team is excited to welcome our newest medical aesthetics provider, Shelley Plescia, NP-C. Shelley brings more than 17 years of experience in dermatology and aesthetics, with advanced training and experience with neurotoxin injection treatments, dermal fillers, hair restoration, and microneedling. 

Shelley has treated patients across the country from South Carolina and Michigan to Orange County and Beverly Hills, CA. With each transition, Shelley sought more training to gain greater experience, and has even provided training to health care providers in aesthetic injection, neurotoxins, and HA fillers. 

A Commitment to Excellent Patient Care

Shelley’s approach to patient care reflects Optima Dermatology’s commitment to treating every patient the way we would want our friends and family to be treated. 

Shelley’s patients can expect custom aesthetic treatment plans tailored to their needs. She is passionate about making a positive impact in her patients’ lives and strives to build long-term relationships with her patients.

We recently had the opportunity to learn more about Shelley, her approach, and the path that led her to pursue aesthetic dermatology.

How/when did you know you wanted to be a nurse practitioner? Were you always interested in medical aesthetics? What was your path to this career?

I was interested in aesthetics when I was 21 and started getting acne facials. I loved my aesthetician and she made me feel so much better about myself, which made me want to make others feel the same way. My aesthetics career started when I became an aesthetician working for a dermatologist and a plastic surgeon doing facials, peels, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, IPL, Fraxel, and more. Working with physicians and nurses, I was able to see a lot and I learned so much from them. Given this opportunity, I wanted to go back to school to expand my knowledge and skills to have the ability to provide my patients with more advanced treatments. I then decided to go back to school for nursing to expand my scope of practice and to be able to do cosmetic injections, assist in surgeries, and much more. Fast forward a few years – I worked in Orange County and Beverly Hills as a nurse injector and laser specialist prior to moving to Ohio. I then returned to school to pursue my nurse practitioner degree so I could expand my scope of practice even more.

What do you enjoy most about treating your patients and what is unique about your approach?

I enjoy making my patients feel more confident. First, I make sure to thoroughly consult with my patients to understand their cosmetic concerns and goals. My approach is conservative and natural. I provide my patients with a treatment plan to address their concerns. Each patient is unique; what I recommended for one patient may not be my recommendation for another. To achieve optimal results, a variety of treatments may be recommended, as well as a series of treatments. I make sure my patients have realistic expectations; patient education and communication are key.

What are some common treatment areas for neurotoxin injections, and what technique do you typically apply?

  1. A couple of units of a neurotoxin can create a subtle flip of the top lip for those that are not ready for filler. If a patient has a “gummy smile” we can inject just a few units to keep the top lip from rising too high and showing the gums when smiling.
  1. For vertical lines around the mouth, a neurotoxin can relax the muscles and decrease the “pursing” around the lips that end up creating the lines. Patients will still be able to eat, drink, talk and smile, since the muscles are still active, just not as strong as they were prior to treatment.
  1. There is a muscle that causes the corners of our mouth to turn down, contributing to a “sad face” look, and over time can cause what we call marionette lines. This muscle is the depressor angularis oris (DAO) and can be treated with a few units of neurotoxin to keep the mouth from turning down. The smile is not affected when treating this muscle.
  1. We all know you can treat the “crow’s feet,” and decrease lines around the eyes. But did you know we can create a subtle “brow lift” and open up the eyes without causing a “surprised look”? We do this by treating the tail-end of the brow with a small amount of neurotoxin, as well as a few units between the brows.
  1. The texture of the chin can change over time and cause an “orange peel” or golf ball texture, which is caused by the mentalis muscle that sits in the ball of the chin. This muscle also creates the horizontal line above our chin, which can deepen over time. Treating the mentalis muscle can cause the ball of the chin to come down and prevent it from turning upward, which can cause uneven skin texture and deepen the horizontal line.
  1. The nasalis, aka “bunny lines”, are the small lines on the side of the upper part of the bridge of our nose. Some people scrunch this area when smiling or laughing and lines form. This muscle can be treated with just a few units on each side.
  1. We have superficial muscles in our neck called platysmal bands. The more these muscles are used, the stronger they get, which can cause unwanted skin laxity in the neck and under the chin, making the bands appear more prominent.

What kind of medical conditions can neurotoxin injections help with?

Neurotoxins not only treat lines on the face from repetitive expression and muscle movement but can also help with migraines. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and teeth clenching and grinding can also be treated by injecting the masseter muscle. In addition, neurotoxin injections can address hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating under the arms. Blepharospasm, or eye twitching, can also be treated by neurotoxin injections to decrease the muscle contraction that’s causing the spasm or twitch near the eyes.

What are the most common areas you treat with filler?

Cheeks are a common area for filler since we lose volume in our cheeks as we age, which in turn causes the fat pad of our cheeks to flatten over time. This volume reduction can also occur with weight loss or simply having a thin face. 

Another common area is the lips. Patients often want to add more volume to the lip area or to treat the fine lines around the lips called perioral rhytides.

Where are some unexpected areas that you treat with filler that produce great results?

Common areas many people don’t realize that can be treated with filler and make great improvements are the temples, chin, and hands. As we lose volume in our cheeks, we lose volume in our temples. If we only treat the cheeks with filler, we may not have the balance needed for a youthful look. Having filler placed only in the cheek area can make the temples look even more hollow. Treating the chin can help create more balance in the face.

The skin on our hands is thin. Over time, the veins and the tendons become more prominent. We can inject filler to add more volume so that the veins and tendons are not as noticeable, and the skin appears thicker as it once was.

Which patients would you recommend a SkinPen® treatment for? What are the benefits of incorporating PRP into the treatment?

The SkinPen® is a great treatment for improving acne scars, large pores, fine lines, and uneven skin texture. Microneedling done with the SkinPen® is a non-invasive, in-office procedure that helps stimulate collagen, also known as collagen induction therapy. This non-invasive treatment has minimal downtime and can be done on any skin type. We all lose collagen over time, so the SkinPen® is a great way to stimulate the collagen in the skin.

The benefit of incorporating PRP with the SkinPen® treatment is to stimulate even more collagen than the SkinPen® alone can and to promote healing and skin rejuvenation. The PRP contains growth factors that allow more collagen to be stimulated and help with tissue repair. In addition, PRP can also be done in the scalp area for hair growth.

What do you like to do when you are not in the office?

I enjoy getting outdoors, being active, and love to hike with my husband and our two mini-Goldendoodles, Luna & Cali. I also enjoy cooking and spending quality time with family and friends. You can also find me running, biking, biohacking, wine tasting, and traveling.

Answer this question: If you know me you would know…

Gymnastics was my first love. I adore my two mini-Goldendoodles. I love the outdoors, especially the mountains and the beach. I always have my sunscreen! Balance is key.

What to Expect From Cosmetic Treatments From Shelley and Her Team

If you’re considering a cosmetic treatment such as HALO™, BBL™, or Botox®, it’s important to understand your options and explore the best treatments for your specific goals. 

Our expert team of specialized medical aesthetic providers, like Shelley, have advanced training and experience for a range of procedures and treatments. These include:

Come in for a free consultation to learn what will work best for you. Shelley is accepting new patients at Optima Dermatology’s Macedonia, OH practice.  

(855) 277–9689

Optima Dermatology’s Newest Medical Aesthetics Provider Offers HALO Laser, BBL Treatments

Optima Dermatology is excited to introduce patients to our newest medical aesthetics provider, Teniele Cochern. Teniele is joining our Columbus, OH team as a certified provider of HALO Hybrid Fractional Laser and BBL (Broadband Light)  treatments, and is an experienced neurotoxin and dermal filler injector. 

Teniele brings with her a wealth of experience; she graduated from Ohio State University in 2004 with a B.S. in Nursing and went on to receive her Master of Science in Nursing. Teniele has been a registered nurse for more than 15 years, and a board certified family nurse practitioner since 2013. For over 10 years, Teniele has provided aesthetic services to her patients to ensure the best cosmetic experience possible. 

Reflecting the Optima Dermatology Mission

At Optima Dermatology, we are committed to treating every patient the way we would want our friends and family to be treated, and Teniele Cochern reflects this important value. 

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Teniele and learn more about her background, experience, and approach to patient care. 

Q: How or when did you know that you wanted to be a nurse practitioner? 

A: I became a nurse in 2004, and after working side by side with some amazing nurse practitioners, I realized I wanted to further my education so that I could provide the services that make patients feel great about themselves.

Q: What do you enjoy most about treating your patients?

A: I love that I get to make such a difference in people’s lives by helping them to realize their own beauty and to make them feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Q: What is your advice to patients who have not had any aesthetic services and are considering trying out a treatment for the first time?

A: Baby steps. You don’t have to come in with a plan to overhaul your entire look. If you have a wrinkle that bothers you, let’s touch it up with a little BOTOX®. If there are a couple of sunspots you don’t like, let’s treat them with a simple laser. We can start small and start building toward your goals.

Q: For patients who may not be familiar with the service, how would you explain what a BBL treatment is like and what it does?

A: BBL is a light-based treatment that uses different wavelengths to specifically treat certain targets such as freckles, age spots, small blood vessels, rosacea, and acne. There is no downtime and you may apply makeup and return to work the same day if you desire.

Q: For patients who may not be familiar with the service, how would you explain what a HALO treatment is like and what it does?

A: HALO combines deep tissue rejuvenation with surface renewal for a combined synergistic effect you can’t get with any other treatment. HALO will treat many of your texture concerns, such as fine lines, enlarged pores, poor texture, sun damage, and discoloration. 

Q: For patients deciding between HALO and BBL, what are the main differences between the two services, and how do you help patients decide between the two?

A: Come in for a consultation and we can discuss your goals and make a plan together!

What to Expect From Cosmetic Treatments

If you’re considering a cosmetic treatment such as HALO, BBL, or Botox, it’s important to understand your options and explore the best treatments for your specific goals. 

Our expert team of specialized cosmetic providers, like Teniele have advanced training and experience for a range of procedures and treatments. These include:

Come in for a free consultation to learn what will work best for you. Teniele is accepting new patients at Optima Dermatology’s Columbus, OH practice.  

(855) 277–9689

Optima Dermatology Has Opened a Practice in Macedonia, Ohio

Temporary Location Will Offer Quality Dermatology Care for Macedonia Residents

Optima Dermatology is pleased to announce the opening of our newest practice in Macedonia, Ohio. We take great pride in making access to our expert skin care easy and convenient, and we’re excited to be serving patients in this community.

The temporary practice is located at 911 East Aurora Rd in Macedonia and is currently accepting new patients. Our exceptional care, provided by Meredith Reimer, MD, FAAD, and her expert staff, address a broad range of medical dermatology conditions and diseases, including skin cancer, eczema, acne, psoriasis, and more. Dr. Reimer and her team also provide cosmetic services, including fillers and neurotoxin injections such as Botox® and Dysport®.

Dr. Reimer has been serving patients in the Cleveland area since 2013, preceded by two years in Colorado and four years in Chicago. 

Cosmetic Services Offering

Another exciting feature of our Macedonia practice is cosmetic services provided by Shelley Plescia, NP. Plescia joins the Optima Dermatology team with more than 17 years of experience in dermatology and aesthetics, treating patients across the country from South Carolina and Michigan to Beverly Hills, CA. 

Plescia has advanced training and experience with  Botox® and Dysport®, dermal fillers, including Juvéderm®, VolumaTM, Vollure, Volbella, and Restylane®, Kybella®, PRP hair restoration, and microneedling. Plescia has also trained healthcare providers in aesthetic injection, neurotoxins, and HA fillers. 

Plescia’s patients can expect custom aesthetic treatment plans tailored to their needs. She is passionate about making a positive impact in her patients’ lives and strives to build long-term relationships with her patients.

Referrals and Our Provider Relationships

We look forward to building trusted partnerships with the local medical community for a more seamless approach to patient referrals and care. We believe in close collaboration to ensure a positive experience for both patients and providers, and to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for dermatological skin care.

We work hard to make the referral process easy for patients and providers. If you are a provider interested in learning more about our services and our new Macedonia practice, or a new patient looking to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reimer, you can contact us or get more information here.

Leading With Expertise: Get to Know Dr. Meredith Reimer

We’re thrilled to introduce Dr. Meredith Reimer, board certified dermatologist who will be serving patients at the Macedonia location and overseeing her expert team. Dr. Reimer shares Optima Dermatology’s core value of treating every patient the way we would want our friends and family to be treated and has applied that approach to her patient care throughout her career. 

We are confident patients and providers in the Macedonia area will enjoy working with Dr. Reimer and will find incredible value in her expert care. 

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Reimer and learn a little bit more about her, and we’re excited to share our Q&A so you can get to know her too!

Q: Where did you go to college? 

A: I went to college at Northwestern University in Chicago and I studied biomedical engineering. I always knew that I wanted to go to medical school and pursue medicine as a career. I then went to medical school at The Ohio State University. I was interested in lots of different specialties and didn’t decide to pursue dermatology until I did my first dermatology rotation as a 4th-year medical student.

Q: What made you decide to pursue your career in dermatology? 

A: I chose dermatology because I loved the diverse nature of our patient care and patient interaction. I also love seeing patients of all ages and genders. 

Q: What is your number one tip when it comes to taking care of your skin? 

A: Sun protection!

Q: If there was one thing you wish your patients knew about you, what would it be?

A: I have 4 kids (ages 2-14), so most of my free time is with them! They are a busy crew with lots of activities and sports. Outside of my kids, I try to keep active, spend time with friends and family, travel (during NON-Covid times!), and read.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being a dermatologist?

A: I love forming relationships with patients and their families. One of my favorite parts of practicing is that I get to know a patient’s whole family, often spanning many generations.

Q: What is your approach to treating your patients?

A: I try very hard to form a collaborative and trusting  relationship with patients

(855) 277–9689

How Can I Get Rid of Eczema?

7 Questions to Ask Your Dermatologist if You’re Diagnosed With Eczema

If you’ve been diagnosed with eczema, you might feel a bit of relief at finally having an explanation for your itchy, bumpy skin. But your next order of business should be asking your dermatologist about the best treatment for eczema and how you can manage it. 

There are a lot of ways to treat eczema, as well as lifestyle changes you can make to relieve or prevent the symptoms. Your dermatologist will be able to help you navigate the options based on your specific type of eczema, your age, and your health history. 

First Thing’s First: What Type of Eczema Do You Have?

At Optima Dermatology, we won’t just diagnose you with eczema; we will tell you the specific type of eczema you have. Eczema manifests in different ways, and depending on which type you have, the best treatment for eczema can vary. 

Here is a quick rundown of the different types of eczema:

Atopic Dermatitis (AD)

An extremely common form of Eczema that begins with itchy skin that forms a rash. It affects infants, children, and adults. In adults, AD often manifests on the hands or eyes as dry, scaly, or patchy areas. Common symptoms include itching, and raw, bleeding, or oozing skin.  

Contact Dermatitis

Caused by an irritant that comes in contact with your skin and triggers an itchy, rashy reaction. In some cases, the cause is as simple as the laundry detergent you’re using, but it can also be more difficult to know what you are coming in contact with that is irritating your skin. 

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Also called Pompholyx, this type of eczema causes tiny, highly itchy blisters on the hands and feet and can become chronic. The most effective treatment is identifying the allergen that is triggering the blisters. 

Hand Eczema

Deep, painful cracks on the hands accompanied by excessively dry or chapped skin. It can lead to painful, bleeding blisters that are uncomfortable and hard to manage, and traditional hand creams and moisturizers do little to relieve the symptoms.

Neurodermatitis

Highly common among adults and tends to affect only one or two patches on the body, as opposed to other types of eczema that affect multiple areas at once. The cause of Neurodermatitis is unknown, but treatments are highly effective.

Nummular Eczema

Typically brought on by extremely dry skin, Nummular Eczema manifests as itchy, red bumps and can look similar to Atopic Dermatitis and Ringworm. Moisturizing treatments are the most helpful for preventing Nummular Eczema. 

Stasis Dermatitis

Primarily affects the lower legs and feet, causing inflammation, swelling, itchiness, scaling, and hyperpigmentation. In some cases, ulceration occurs. Stasis Dermatitis is caused by chronic edema or swelling, and treatment is highly focused on a self-care routine.

7 Questions to Ask Your Dermatologist About Treating and Managing Eczema

  1. Could my eczema be caused by an allergy or another health condition?

In children specifically, there is a link between allergies and eczema. WebMD presents several interesting statistics about the correlation between allergies and eczema in children and their parents:

While eczema is caused by a problem with the outer layer of your skin, symptoms can correlate with allergies or be exacerbated by certain allergens like pollen, dander, cosmetics, fabric softeners or soaps, and certain foods. 

Your dermatologist may recommend allergy testing or an elimination experiment to try and identify a potential allergen that could be causing your eczema to flare up. In some cases, patients may be diagnosed with another health condition like Celiac Disease or Lactose Intolerance that is creating larger problems for their eczema.  

  1. Can I enjoy a day outdoors in the sun without worrying about an eczema flare-up?

Sun exposure can make your eczema worse. When your skin heats up, perspiration or UV ray irritation can cause eczema to flare up or existing flareups to worsen. 

However, your dermatologist can work with you to help you manage your eczema without having to sacrifice quality of life. Days spent outside enjoying the fresh air are extremely healthy for your overall well being, and the right eczema treatment combined with sun protection measures, can help you keep your plans, and keep your eczema under control. 

  1. Do sweat and exercise make eczema worse?

Similar to the effects of sun exposure, sweating from exercise or vigorous activity can also cause an eczema flareup, or worsen an existing flare up. However, exercise is important for staying healthy and for reducing stress, and your dermatologist can help you manage your eczema so you can stay comfortable during exerting activities. 

  1. Can stress make my eczema flare up or worsen?

Emotional stress causes a “fight-or-flight” reaction in the body that produces the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline. When too much Cortisol is produced, it causes an inflammatory response in the body, and this type of internal inflammation can cause your eczema to flare up. 

Eczema caused by stress can turn into a vicious cycle when you are also experiencing stress because of your eczema. Stress management is the most important step in managing eczema caused by stress, and your dermatologist can help you pursue the appropriate mental health care to manage your stress and your eczema. 

  1. Can eczema cause other skin conditions or lead to other health complications?

Because eczema is an inflammatory condition, it may put additional stress on the body that makes individuals with eczema more susceptible to other health problems. While eczema has been linked with certain allergies, like hay fever, asthma, or food allergies, it has also been linked to more serious conditions like obesity and heart disease.

Other issues include a greater risk of different skin conditions, mental health challenges caused by feelings of self-consciousness or depression from dealing with eczema symptoms, and even poor sleep habits. 

At Optima Dermatology, our goal is to understand every aspect of your skin condition, including those that may not be direct symptoms. Treating the whole person is the only way to improve quality of life and avoid additional health challenges down the road. 

  1. Is there a skincare routine I can follow to prevent flare-ups?

Taking care of your skin is important whether or not you have eczema, but for eczema symptoms, a skincare routine that involves daily moisturizing with a fragrance-free cream can be helpful. It is recommended that you apply the moisturizer after bathing as water also adds moisture to the skin. 

You can also use ointments or creams with high oil content. Oil won’t burn or sting affected skin as much as a water-based lotion, and it helps seal moisture into your skin.

The National Eczema Association also recommends skin barrier creams. These contain lipids and ceramides, which are naturally occurring substances that support healthy function of the skin. Lipids are part of what makes up the structure and function of skin cells, and ceramides help form a barrier in the skin. Both substances can help the skin heal and be more resistant to eczema symptoms. 

Your dermatologist can help you create a healthy daily skincare routine to complement additional eczema treatment. Understanding how to care for your skin, even when you’re not experiencing a flare-up, promotes habits for healthy skin into the future. 

  1. What lifestyle changes can I make to prevent flare-ups?

If you are diagnosed with eczema, you will likely begin a treatment plan after consulting with your dermatologist that can include medicated solutions. However, there are also lifestyle changes that can help keep your eczema stay under control. 

We have already mentioned the importance of adopting a healthy skincare routine and taking precautions when spending time in the sun or when exercising. To further prevent flare-ups and worsening eczema symptoms, wear lighter, loose-fitting clothing made with breathable fabrics, avoid scratching the affected skin, and consider adjusting your diet to avoid foods that can cause an inflammatory response in the body, such as sugar. 

Eczema manifests in different forms and can affect everyone differently. All types of eczema are treatable using a combination of medicated solutions and self-directed care, such as adopting a healthy skincare routine and identifying and avoiding allergens and triggers. 

Your first step in treating and managing eczema should be asking your dermatologist these 7 important questions and understanding how to keep your eczema under control while maintaining your quality of life. At Optima Dermatology, our expert, board-certified dermatologists know the best approach to treating and managing your eczema.

Request an appointment to discuss the best treatment plan for your eczema.

(855) 277–9689

Optima Dermatology Featured in Columbus Dispatch

Columbus, OH: With plans underway for Optima Dermatology’s new state of the art facility in the Easton area of Columbus, the Columbus Dispatch interviewed CEO Max Puyanic on the company’s growth and the essential dermatology services Optima is providing to the region.

GARY SEMAN JR. 9/29/21

A medical company based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has major growth plans in Ohio, with another facility planned for Northland.

Optima Dermatology wants to build a 2-story 14,800-square-foot building at 4048 Morse Road, just west of Interstate 71, near Easton Gateway.

Max Puyanick, CEO, the state-of-the-art building and equipment “will allow us to provide industry-leading care.”

Michigan-based Columbus Retail Management LLC is the project developer of the vacant site, according to documents from the city.

The medical facility requires two variances from the city of Columbus.

One, which is under the jurisdiction of the Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment, asks to vary the building setback line from 11 feet to 59 feet, said Tony Celebrezze, assistant director of the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services.

The other, which falls under the domain of the city’s Graphics Commission, would allow a sign of 126 square feet instead of 16 square feet on two elevations, along with a ground sign to face the same street, Celebrezze said.

Puyanick said the entire country is lacking dermatological care and Ohio in particular.

Skin cancers are the most common types of cancer in the us. Of the 7 million cases of all cancers diagnosed every year, about 5.5 million are skin cancer, he said.

Melanoma, for example, has increased by 110% over the past two decades and is one of the fastest-growing forms of cancer, Puyanik said.

Optima Dermatology would provide not only essential dermatology care but also cosmetic services and clinical trials in which the company would work with pharmaceutical companies on emerging drug protocols and measure effectiveness and success, he said.

Optima Pharmaceutical locations are in Boardman, Mentor and north of Cincinnati, with facilities planned for Salem and Warren.

“We’re targeting communities that have particularly bad access to dermatological care,” Puyanick said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary

Original Article: https://amp.dispatch.com/amp/5917551001

(855) 277–9689

Optima Dermatology Has Opened an Easton Area Practice in Columbus, Ohio

Quality Dermatology Care for Easton Area Residents

Optima Dermatology is pleased to announce the opening of our Easton area practice. We take great pride in making access to our expert skin care easy and convenient, and we’re excited to be serving patients in this community.

The practice is located just three miles from the Easton town center and is currently accepting new patients. Our exceptional care, provided by Dr. Meeks and her expert staff, treats a broad range of medical dermatology conditions and diseases, including skin cancer, eczema, acne, psoriasis, and more. Cosmetic services, including fillers and neurotoxin injections such as Botox® and Dysport®.

Referrals and Our Provider Relationships

We look forward to building trusted partnerships with the local medical community for a more seamless approach to patient referrals and care. We believe in close collaboration to ensure a positive experience for both patients and providers, and to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for dermatological skin care.

We work hard to make the referral process easy for patients and providers. If you are a provider interested in learning more about our services and our new Easton area clinic, or a new patient looking to schedule an appointment with Dr. Meeks, you can contact us or get more information here.

Leading With Expertise: Get to Know Dr. Natalie Meeks

We’re thrilled to introduce Dr. Natalie Meeks, board certified dermatologist who will be serving patients at the Easton location and overseeing her expert team. Dr. Meeks shares Optima Dermatology’s core value of treating every patient the way we would want our friends and family to be treated, and has applied that approach to her patient care throughout her career. 

We are confident patients and providers in the Easton area will enjoy working with Dr. Meeks and will find incredible value in her expert care. 

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Meeks and learn a little bit more about her, and we’re excited to share our Q&A so you can get to know her too!

Q: Where did you go to school, and did you know you wanted to be a dermatologist from the start?

A: I went to school at Eastern Virginia Medical School, 20 minutes from my parents’ house in Virginia beach. I wanted to stay as close as possible to my family, so I chose this school for that reason! I sure am glad I did because I met my Ohio-native husband on the very first day of medical school. He is the whole reason I moved to Ohio and I am very glad we ended up here! 

I went to medical school wanting to be a Pediatric Oncologist; however, after my third year rotations through the wards, I realized that it was not the path for me. As a pediatric cancer survivor myself, being around the unit that I spent so many hours on was too hard emotionally. I knew I had to find a different specialty to channel my desire for medicine. 

Q: Why did you choose dermatology? What did the path to get there look like for you? 

A: Dermatology kind of snuck up on me during a free clinic I was volunteering at. I will never forget coming home to my husband – then boyfriend – and telling him I loved Dermatology and I was going to apply.

I chose Dermatology because I loved how you could see the results of your care. Not with some numbers you follow or an x-ray, but with your own eyes. And your patient’s could see and appreciate those results as well. I found it extremely rewarding. Initially I had no interest in Dermatology. I frequently volunteered at a student run health clinic where they had different subspecialties represented. I was sort of pushed to run the Dermatology clinic one night when the original volunteer didn’t show up. Although I was initially quite upset, after three hours I was hooked and I knew I had to switch my career path. 

Q: What is your number one tip when it comes to taking care of your skin?

A: I think the best thing you can do for your skin is use liberal sunscreen and a great retinoid. Skin care doesn’t have to be fancy, although it totally can be! A great moisturizer with a strong SPF daily can really work magic over years of use in preventing that dreaded sun damage. Additionally, a good retinol at night can really help with fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentary changes with consistent long-term use. 

Q: What do you like to do when you are not in the office?

A: I have three kids under the age of 4, so I spend most of my time with my children and my husband. However, when I do get a few seconds to myself I love to run and work out. Something I hope to be able to do more as my kids grow! 

Q: If there was one thing you wish your patients knew about you, what would it be?

A: I want my patients to know that I put my heart and soul into my job. I will do all that I can to make sure that they get excellent care. If I can’t be the one to solve their problem, I’ll make sure that I find the right person who will. 

And if you’re looking for some facts that are a little more fun, my patients should know that I am very down-to-earth. I grew up in a beach town in Virginia surfing with my brother and dad on a frequent basis! 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being a dermatologist?

A: My favorite aspect is that I get to meet so many amazing people and be a part of their long-term healthcare. I hope that I can form relationships with my patients that will last a lifetime. Everyone needs a skin check every year and I love that I get to see my patients often and help keep them healthy. 

Q: What is your approach to treating your patients?

A: I think that the most important thing about my approach is that I really listen. I went to school for a long time and I know what the textbook says, but my patients know their own bodies better than anyone. I am there to help guide them to finding the correct diagnosis and treatment they need, and I try to combine their wishes and my expertise. No patient is treated the same; I make sure everyone is individually taken care of the way that they need. 

I love all aspects of dermatology, and I love seeing a variety of patients everyday.

(855) 277–9689

Identifying, Treating, and Preventing Skin Conditions in Young Athletes

Tips for Parents As Kids Head Back to School

The occasional pulled muscle, ankle sprain, or even broken bone are well-known, albeit unfortunate, byproducts of playing any sport. A lesser-realized risk, however, are the skin conditions in young athletes that, while common, have the potential to sideline a player.

Athletes in particular are at greater risk of developing a skin condition because of being in close contact with other players, and the presence of sweat and wetness against the skin that provides an ideal environment for bacteria. 

In most cases, skin conditions in young athletes won’t prevent their participation in a sport, but there are more serious skin infections where contact should be avoided. However, with sports clubs and teams starting up with back-to-school in the fall, both you and your young athletes should be aware of different skin conditions, how to treat them, and how they can be prevented. 

Skin Conditions in Young Athletes You Should Know About

Due to the unique conditions of gyms and the environment that is present in contact sports, bacteria often grow easily and can infect unsuspecting young athletes who simply suffered a scrape or forgot to bandage an open wound. 

In some cases, these skin conditions and infections can be more long-term and require ongoing treatment, and depending on the severity, they can impact a player’s ability to participate. Early identification and treatment, however, can make a significant difference. 

Staph infections. The risk of contracting a staph infection is one of the primary reasons why it is important to bandage any open sore before going to a gym facility or playing a contact sport. The bacteria, staphylococcus aureus, spreads through skin-to-skin contact and enters the body easily through open wounds. Staph can cause a number of different types of infections; the most common to athletic environments are cellulitis and skin abscesses, both of which affect the inner layer of the skin. 

Ringworm. Primarily a risk for young athletes who come in close contact with one another and share equipment like helmets or gloves, Ringworm, which is caused by a fungus (not a worm), can cause a number of different skin reactions. Ringworm spreads easily between infected people, animals, or objects contaminated with the fungus, such as a piece of equipment or a locker room floor. Depending on which part of the body it affects, Ringworm has different names: when it impacts the feet it is known as Athlete’s Foot; when it impacts the groin it is often called Jock Itch, and when it impacts the scalp it is known as Scalp Ringworm.

Warts. There are many different types of warts individuals can develop as a result of physical contact, and young athletes in particular contract them easily, commonly on the bottom of the feet or in-between fingers. They may impact participation in sports depending on where they are located and how severe they are, but warts are typically very treatable. 

Molluscum. This contagious skin infection causes raised lesions or bumps called Mollusca on the skin primarily in exposed areas. Mollusca live only in the top layer of the skin, and this skin infection is especially prevalent among young athletes because it can easily be spread through person-to-person contact. 

Impetigo. Caused by strains of both staphylococcus aureus bacteria and streptococcus bacteria, Impetigo is highly contagious but easy to treat. It is more common among children and spreads easily in athletic environments due to close contact between players and the prevalence of a warm or humid environment. 

Other Skin Conditions

Young athletes are prone to developing skin conditions that are temporary or non-contagious and, depending on severity, unlikely to impact their participation in a sport. These skin conditions are more common and rarely are cause for concern.

Cuts, scrapes, and other skin sores. Young athletes often develop skin injuries like cuts, scrapes, blisters, or friction burns. While common and often seen as minor, these injuries should be treated and well-bandaged to prevent blood or other fluids from coming into contact with other players. As long as the player can still comfortably participate, these skin injuries shouldn’t impact participation. 

Folliculitis. Easily spread through skin-to-skin contact, Folliculitis manifests as small, itchy red bumps or white head pimples and occurs when the hair follicles become infected and inflamed. Folliculitis can appear anywhere on the skin and is typically caused by bacterial or fungal infections. Bacterial Folliculitis is generally caused by staphylococcus aureus after it enters the body through an open wound. Folliculitis typically clears on its own, but in more severe cases, a dermatologist may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal cream.

Psoriasis. This itchy, chronic, autoimmune skin disease is not caused by athletics; rather, certain athletic conditions can cause flare ups or discomfort for individuals who suffer from psoriasis. For young athletes, avoiding scrapes and skin lesions during play can help reduce the onset of psoriasis symptoms. During flare ups, players should avoid synthetic fabrics, use skin-protecting lotions and sunblock, stay hydrated, and clean off immediately to limit the amount of time sweat stays on the body. Psoriasis is not contagious. Click here to learn more about psoriasis.

How Young Athletes Can Avoid Contracting Skin Conditions and Infections

Contact between players is often inevitable in sports, but there are precautions young athletes can take to minimize their exposure to and risk of a skin condition or infection. 

Young athletes are likely not thinking about the risks of skin conditions and infections when they’re out on the field or in the gym, but prevention is far easier than having to treat what can be severe or highly uncomfortable symptoms.

Additionally, many of these skin conditions or infections can impact an entire team – not just a single player – if allowed to spread. The earlier they are identified and treated, the better. It is a good idea to routinely conduct skin checks on young athletes to be sure there are no skin anomalies present. 

In the event of a skin condition or infection in your young athlete, Optima Dermatology is here to help. We are committed to helping our patients navigate treatment and get young athletes back in the game as soon as possible.

Request an appointment for a routine back-to-school skin check or to explore treatment.

(855) 277–9689

What is Psoriasis? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

How to Identify and Manage this Common, Inflammatory Skin Disease

There can be many causes of itchy, red, burning or stinging skin, but if it is persistent and won’t go away on its own, you may have psoriasis. What is psoriasis? It’s a chronic skin disease that can affect any part of the body, but is often found on the knees, elbows, or scalp.

The National Psoriasis Foundation explains that psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system in which the growth of skin cells occurs very quickly. It takes about a month for normal skin cells to finish growing and be shed from the body. With psoriasis, skin cells finish growing every few days, and instead of shedding, they pile up on the surface of the skin.

In most cases, psoriasis is characterized by raised areas, or plaques, on the skin that are typically red, itchy, and can burn or sting.

Psoriasis is not contagious, and is not always hereditary. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes psoriasis in a certain individual, but we do know that it occurs when the immune system is reacting to a triggering event, which can include illness, stress, exposure to hot or cold temperatures, contact with an allergen, or even trauma to the skin, such as a burn or scrape.

Do I Have Psoriasis?

If you are experiencing itchy, red, burning or stinging skin, always contact your dermatologist for a clear diagnosis. Individuals who suffer from psoriasis describe it as a persistent burning, stinging itch; different from something more benign like a rash or irritation.

There are actually five primary types of psoriasis that can all affect different parts of the body. Some individuals have more than one type of psoriasis. 

Plaque Psoriasis: This most common type affects 80-90 percent of individuals diagnosed with psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis manifests as raised patches of skin called plaques, which are itchy, red, inflamed, and often appear to have silvery scales or even a dark coloration, depending on skin type.

Inverse Psoriasis: Affecting about 25% of those living with psoriasis, inverse psoriasis is most commonly identified by the lack of scales on the skin that are so common with plaque psoriasis. It is also most often found within skin folds – under arms, under the breasts, or in the genital or buttocks areas.

Guttate Psoriasis: Slightly different in appearance from other types of psoriasis, guttate psoriasis typically manifests as small red spots, and is frequently found on the arms, legs, chest, stomach, or back. Guttate psoriasis is less common, affecting about 8 percent of those living with psoriasis.

Pustular Psoriasis: A far smaller population of people (about 3 percent) are affected by this type of psoriasis, which is characterized by pus-filled bumps that are painful and irritated. While it is most commonly found on the hands and feet, it can also appear on any area of the body.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis: Very rarely, individuals with psoriasis may develop erythrodermic psoriasis, which causes redness and excessive shedding of skin layers. About 2 percent of people with psoriasis suffer from erythrodermic psoriasis, and it can be severe enough to be life threatening. Symptoms include itching and pain, an almost burned appearance of the skin, as well as more serious conditions such as changes in heart rate or dehydration.

In some cases, psoriasis can lead to other health conditions, including psoriatic arthritis, which can cause symptoms of arthritis in the joints, and affects about 30 percent of individuals with psoriasis. Psoriasis can also affect fingernails and toenails, causing pain, pitting of the nail, separation of the nail from the nail bed, or coloration changes.

While these types of psoriasis vary widely in how they affect people, and can be more mild or more severe depending on the flare-up and other physical or environmental factors, you should always contact your healthcare provider or dermatologist to ensure a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Eczema vs. Psoriasis: What’s the Difference?

Like psoriasis, eczema is a very common skin condition that causes red, itchy, and sometimes flaky patches on the skin. While individuals with psoriasis report more burning and stinging associated with their flare-ups, eczema can look and feel very similar, making it difficult to self-diagnose.

Ultimately, your dermatologist needs to make the final call, but there are a few characteristics of eczema that set it apart from psoriasis.

When considering eczema vs. psoriasis, there are almost more similarities than differences, which underscores the need to consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Psoriasis Treatment: How to Manage Symptoms

About 7.5 million Americans, and 125 million people worldwide, are living with psoriasis. Psoriasis currently has no definitive cure, and because it’s a chronic disease, those who have it will have it for life. While psoriasis can occur at any age, it first appears most commonly in individuals between the ages of 15 and 35.

The symptoms of psoriasis do come and go, and the onset of symptoms, or flare-ups, can vary in severity. The goals of psoriasis treatment are to reduce the occurrence of flare-ups, and to reduce the severity of those flare-ups when they happen.

There are a few different ways to manage psoriasis. Patients may try multiple approaches before finding one or more that make a difference.

Within the last few years, different prescription drug treatments, or biologics, have come onto the market to help people manage their psoriasis, and have been found to be highly effective in treating psoriasis symptoms. However, individuals should consult with their doctor prior to taking a biologic, as these drugs can suppress the immune system in ways that can lead to serious infections, such as tuberculosis.

Biologic treatments are often considered for individuals who are not responding to any other type of psoriasis treatment, but there are other medications available that can be used when other drugs can’t be given.

These drugs can be administered orally in liquid or pill form, or through an injection or intravenous infusion. It is best to speak with your dermatologist about the right medication to treat your psoriasis.

Creating Greater Awareness Around Psoriasis

Finding a treatment is important for reducing the discomfort that can come with psoriasis flare-ups, but for many individuals suffering from psoriasis, there is an emotional impact as well. Even mild psoriasis can make individuals feel self-conscious or lead to social and mental health consequences. With stress being considered a trigger for psoriasis, it can create a challenging cycle for individuals feeling anxious about the appearance of their psoriasis when in public settings.

Fortunately, awareness about psoriasis has grown exponentially. The month of August is National Psoriasis Month, helping to spread information about this disease and make those who suffer from it feel less isolated. Coupled with television commercials for psoriasis drug treatments and billboards and other advertising highlighting the challenges of psoriasis, there is far more acceptance and hope for people with psoriasis than ever before.

At Optima Dermatology, we are committed to helping our patients find the right psoriasis treatment. Our goal is to give you power over your psoriasis so you can manage your flare-ups and get back to your life.

Request an appointment today for a diagnosis and to begin conquering your psoriasis.

(855) 277–9689

5 Tips to Protect Your Children’s Skin This Summer

Did you know, it only takes one serious sun burn during childhood or adolescence to nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life? Unfortunately, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Fortunately, you can decrease chances of developing melanoma by practicing proper skin protection with your children from day one.

Here are 5 tips to protect your child from harmful UV rays and overexposure. 

Stay in the Shade

This may seem obvious, but shade is the best form of protection from the sun. Keep your child in the shade as much as possible. Be ready to create your own by having an umbrella, canopy, or stroller hood handy. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are also great ways to provide personal shade.

Sun-Protective Clothing

Resist the urge to put your little one in shorts and a sleeveless shirt on a hot day. Light, long-sleeved shirts and pants are an excellent protective layer for their sensitive skin. UPF clothing, specifically designed to protect skin from UV rays, is another great option. When purchasing UPF protective clothing, keep an eye out for the UPF rating. UPF ratings indicate what fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can penetrate the fabric. A fabric must have a UPF rating of more than 15 to be considered sun protective. A rating of UPF 30 is sufficient, but UPF 50 will provide the best sun protection.

Apply Sunscreen, Properly

If your child is younger than six months old, limit the frequency and amount with which you apply sunscreen on them. For children older than six months 30 SPF, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide is recommended. Have you heard of the “teaspoon and shot glass rule”? To make sure you are applying the correct amount of sunscreen, Harvard Health recommends 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to cover the face and neck, and enough to fit a shot glass (approximately 1 ounce) for remaining exposed areas. Always remember to reapply immediately after swimming (even if it is water-resistant!) and every two hours.

Avoid the Strongest Rays

Direct sunlight is dangerous, and it is typically strongest from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Try to stay in the shade, dress in sun-protective clothing and apply sunscreen properly during these hours. Be cautious even on cloudy and overcast days. The “invisible sun” can cause sun damage and sun burns!

Be Careful Around Water and Sand

Water and sand reflect sunlight, making the damaging rays of the sun much stronger. If your child is out and about near sun and water, be sure to practice the sun protection practices we’ve outlined here.

Protecting your children from the dangers of skin cancer (let alone parenting in general) is a daunting task. With these tips and expert recommendations, you will have an excellent foundation to keep your child safe and raise skin cancer awareness in your family.  Remember that these practices are important all year round! While risk is heightened during the warmer summer months, skin damage can occur year-round.

If you are looking for an annual skin check, dermatology services or just want to know more, contact Optima Dermatology today!