How to Handle Common Skin Issues
As a dermatologist, I can definitely say that no one has perfect skin. We all encounter skin imperfections at one point or another, but there are ways to keep these issues in check. Many of my patients ask me how to care for minor skin imperfections and to avoid expensive or invasive procedures; I sometimes recommend easy at-home treatments.
Question: What exactly are ingrown hairs and how can I take care of them?
Dr. Baldwin: Ingrown hairs are hair follicles that have curled around and grown back into a person's skin instead of rising up from it. An ingrown hair produces a bump, or a group of bumps, that often become irritated, red and itchy or in some cases, infected. For ingrown hairs, I recommend being patient and waiting for the hair to grow and then cutting the hair short, but not tweezing, as an ingrown hair will grow back if tweezed. However, in more severe cases when at-home treatments may not improve the condition, electrolysis or laser hair removal may be an effective treatment option. Always consult your physician or dermatologist before treating an ingrown hair, especially if you think it may be infected.
Question: How do I make my scars less noticeable?
Dr. Baldwin: Another issue that I frequently talk to my patients about is the appearance of scars on the skin. Scars form when the body produces special cells in the skin that make collagen to repair damaged skin , and the repaired skin looks different than the undamaged skin. For scar care, I recommend Mederma® Advanced Scar Gel, which is the first and only 1X topical scar gel that is clinically shown to improve the overall appearance, color and texture of scars. Scars will never go away, but Mederma® Advanced Scar Gel can make them less noticeable. To find Mederma® scar products, just go to the first-aid aisle of your local drug store or mass retailer.
Question: What is the best way to treat burns?
Dr. Baldwin: Burns should be treated immediately after receiving them. For minor burns, I recommend holding the burned area under cool (not cold), running water to help alleviate the pain. It's important to avoid putting the newly burned area in direct contact with ice, as this can cause further damage to the skin.4 Once the burn has cooled from the water, cover it with gauze or a sterile bandage. Also, do not unroot (i.e., drain the fluid, but don't tear the skin off) any blisters that form as a result of the burn, because this can cause pain and infection. If there is a scar left behind from the burn, just like a scar resulting from a cut or a scrape, I recommend Mederma® Advanced Scar Gel to reduce the overall appearance of the scar.
Question: How can I reduce the appearance of stretch marks?
Dr. Baldwin: Stretch marks are often a result of pregnancy, rapid weight gain or a growth spurt and they can appear on the abdomen, breasts, upper buttocks and thighs as purple or pink streaks. You can't make them go away completely, but with Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy, you can reduce the overall appearance, color and texture of stretch marks. To find Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy, just go to the skincare aisle of any local drug store or mass retailer.
Don't let skin conditions overwhelm you, because you have many options to care for them – and if you're unsure, just consult your physician or dermatologist.PREVIOUS: Winter Skincare Tips and TricksNEXT: Why Moisturizers are important for all skin types